Thinking about Models | Conceptual Model | Theory


lan Miles and Sam Cole1 September 1978 Preface A few words to guide the reader through what has become an oversize paper due to the difficulties posed by the topic. The contents are as follows: 1) introduction a few words on the term 'model', and different modelling approaches. 2) What Are Models For? - uses of models in theory development, analysis of concrete situations and choices, and communication and legitimation, with Table 1, an attempt to summarise the Issues here. 3) An Unavoidable Diversion: Organisational and Resource Requirements - in which some tricky questions of cost and lntra-project communication are raised. 4) in Small Beautiful? Notes Against the Juggernaut Models (With A Digression On Desirable Futures.) argues that models of existing systems, of major transformational

Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. At the time of writing, Sam Cole has not

had the opportunity to contribute to the final drafting of this working paper, prepared for the meeting of the GPID project in October 1978 (originally scheduled for Hamadan). The authors were asked to prepare this paper in the light of previous GPID notes on the possible roles of modelling for the project, drawing upon our previous experience in the development and critique of modelling and related techniques in forecasting (e.g. Encel, Maretrand and Page, 1975; Clark and Cole, 1975; Cole, 1977; Freeman and Jahoda, 1978). We shall refer in particular to one of the earlier notea: prepared in 1978 by J. Galtung, C. A. Mallmann and S. Marcus, entitled "Notes on 'Visions of Desirable Worlds' and World Models", and shall identify this an GMM.

This is strictly a working paper, and the rather diverse and sometimes speculative material involved is often it will remarkable if we have not dropped some clangers - cybernetic,

poorly formulated and integrated.

epistemological, political economic, and so on - although we hope that the main arguments made here retain their force. We must apologise for the length of this piece, too!

processes, and of future goal states are best conceptualised together, but kept distinct as formal models. 5) Is Hierarchy Horrendous? Against Monolithic Models argues that in an ambitious approach to drawing together a wide range of issues it can be more fruitful to develop a set of submodels around a 'parent' model than to relate everything together in one incomprehensible package. 6) Models and Worldyiews further points out that models need firm grounding in their theoretical bases, and that modelling is no technical fix for theoretical divergences. 7) Theoretical Foundations for GPID Models: Some Suggestions outlines one theoretical perspective useful to the GPID project and discusses some of the Issues it raises for modelling, including the viability of using aspects of previous modelling studies in GPID. 8) Speculative Models: Some Statistical Modelling Approaches presents a view of how processing of empirical data in regression and path analysis could play a limited role in our work. 9) Speculative Models: Conceptual and Computer Approaches takes up the practicability of using matrix layouts as a means to Simplifying and relating together our material for various purposes, and then indicates some possible directions for computer simulation approaches to GPID-type Issues. 10) Conclusion does the same sort of job as this preface, for those readers shocked into amnesia while working through this text. There are two tables and seven figures, and an appendix on world modelling studies. Introduction The word 'model' has several distinct senses in social science, usually indicating some attempt to express some state of difference from the use of 'theory'. Thus, sometimes 'models' are held to be pre-theoretical analogies or impressionalistic images of processes which suggest some weakly developed sense of how a system behaves. in contrast, 'models' are sometimes held to be very highly specified versions of theories, so that it can be said that a given theoretical statement can be represented by any number of models (each one only differing minimally from many of the others). We shall be concerned with the second sense of the term in the present paper. This seems to accord with the formulation of GMM:


"The word models in used here in its more general connotation, which refers to conceptual models both formalised and un-formalised. The reason for this in that we believe that the most important part of a model in always the conceptualisation it to based on and not so much the tools which are used to formalise it". Of course 'models' are distinguished from 'conceptualisations’, and this is related to the use of 'tools' which may be more or less formal. The tools are used to produce a model - a purported representation of relationships characterising some aspect of the word - on the basis of conceptualisations - 'mental models', which may take the form of relatively coherent welldeveloped theories, or poorly integrated theories and analogies. By working on data concerning aspects of the world, in terms of the categories provided by theory (that may itself be worked on and modified in the process), a representation of these aspects of the world is produced which may be communicated: the tools structure a language of sorts. in some cases this way be a more or less precise everyday language; in other cases it may take the form of mathematics, algebraic logic, or computer programmes; and in yet other cases the model may involve human behaviour (an in simulation gaming). The model - understood as the rules which govern the game or programme, the system of equations, etc. - can be used to produce an output, which again can take various forms. So far just about any project of the GPID project could be taken to be a model. Why, then, a discussion of models outside of our regular methodological discussions? One clue lies in the titles of the three previous GPID notes, which all bear the phrase 'world models' in their title. This phrase generally refers to a class of computerised representations of the world system'2 some four of which have achieved some prominence in the 'world futures debate'. One possible function for a GPID project's use of models might be to effect entry to this debate, to reach the audiences that find these world models worthy of attention. However, we would argue that we be clear from the outset that it in unduly limiting, and probably


the chief examples of these are reviewed in Freeman and Jahoda (1978), Cole (1977) and - together with a new model - Chichilnisky and Cole (1978). One might bark back to earlier attempts to relate national economic models together, as in the case of Project LINK, an also belonging within the class of 'world models', although these earlier projects were constructed for short-term forecasting and accounting purposes rather than to study long-term development issues. We discuss previous world models in Appendix 1.


misleading, to restrict 'models' in 3 GPID to 'computerised world modelling'3


computerisation itself involves using technical languages which have their own drawbacks (not least of which in the level of expertise required to determine the ever-changing level of sophistication which mathematicians and cyberneticians have achieved in producing computerised symbolisation of operations performed in other languages). Adequate critical analysis of computer models is out of the question for most people, lacking as they are in the necessary technical experience and dissuaded as they often are by the 'mystique' of the 'electronic brain'; thus computer models may be poor vehicles for communicating complex ideas. It is difficult, as we shall elaborate below, to represent various important processes and forms of analysis in computer models. And a computer model never stands alone: it in always located within some theoretical discourse, some other system of modelling which provides the claims for it to be relevant to understanding an aspect of the world. Second, 'world models', and the term has so far been used, are barely capable of fruitfully bearing all of the sorts of analysis with which the GPID project Is concerned. It in doubtful whether the bent-known models so far have penetrated to any depth in accounting for world development issues: indeed, the earliest models did not disaggregate the world into nations, while none of these models consider class differentiation within nations4. It may be relevant for addressing many of the crucial Issues of world development to construct computer models of national, regional, or other sub-divisions, processes. While we shall argue that these models should not be constructed in Isolation from analysis of the world-system, they need not form part of a single computer model of the world. This in not to argue that computer models, world models, or even computerized world models are inappropriate to the GPID project. It is rather to enter a plea, before we enter a discussion largely pitched at these macrosocietal and technical forms of representation, that other forms of modelling not be overlooked. For example, gaming can be a powerful tool for demonstrating the operation of social tendencies Bertell Ollman's simple board game Class Struggle is a successful recent demonstration of this. There is considerable potential for gaming as a tool for generating analytic and educational insights, and we would suggest that this be taken up at least by the

To what extent this corresponds to earlier GPID notes is unclear. A note by Galtung in March argues for a 'soft,weaker type' of model to codify key research 'findings'. The other notes, however, are much less specific, and could easily be taken to refer to fairly esoteric forms - thus in a note by Marcus, Mallmann and Galtung, "world models should be elaborated by means of a language having both natural and artificial components...."

We are reminded of Marx's strictures on taking population as the starting point of economic analysis. A model that does (or at least does in some of its variants) take social class into account to some degree in its formulations in the North-South model of Chichilnisky and Cole (1978).


project members considering forms of presentation. More generally, computer and mathematical models need to be substantiated by other forms of formal analysis. Formal models, in general, are purported representations of processes underlying some aspect of the world, in a language with well-defined terms (and rules for consistency etc.). Relatively well-defined-terms offer some precision of expression - in the case of arithmetic and formal logic, rigid rules of operation provide (and may demand) considerable precision, while being quite demanding of expertise. These factors have an intimate bearing on the uses of models, as we shall now see with reference to the GPID project. 2. What Are Models For? In order to assess whether the GPID project should consider constructing models, and, If so, what form these might take, we should have a reasonable Idea of what these models are to be used for. For example, Johan Galtung's February note ("Some Reflections on World Models") makes the points that “through coding, model operation, and decoding it should be possible to arrive at propositions (theorems) insights not easily arrived at without the models .... these processes may also stifle creativity, and generate proposals and insights in wrong directions" and suggests that a GPID model should "perhaps mainly serve as a codification of key research findings (sic) and as heuristic to participants and others". Let us distinguish between three related uses of models: the specification and development of theories; the analysis of questions of strategy and choice; and the communication and presentation of principles, results or strategic options. Formal models, expressed in relatively well-defined languages, have a number of advantages and disadvantages in respect of each of these possible roles. (See Table 1: we should note that different judgements of what constitutes (dis)advantage are not uncommon - for example, mystification may be a positive asset to some modellers and model users5 ). Models may be used to analyse in some detail the consequence of both minor differences in theoretical specifications an well as more major changes in assumptions, varying data bases, special cases, etc. Likewise, they may be used to simulate the effects of interventions or other erogenous (i.e. unmodelled) changes in the system under consideration. And models may be used for various communication Purposes: to structure a dialogue over

Thus, see Atklnson and Kuqch (1977), Clark and Cole (1976) and Golub and Townsend (1977) on world models, or Cole and Turner (1979) and floss (1972) on the use of models in social planning.


theoretical issues, to demonstrate that a particular type of analysis can be expressed in terms no less 'scientific' than those of mainstream analysts (or to mystify the theory - and value commitments which underly an analysis, so as to legitimate decisions with which it is consistent no neutral, rational, etc.)6


it is not necessary to mystify with models. Bibby (1977) has pointed out that the technical sophistication of mathematical models makes their evaluation@ difficult for the untrained: but what is most Important Is the alleged correspondence between the model and empirical phenomena. Formal models are themselves generally silent on this metaIssue, of course, but the researcher can be at pains to make the necessity of, and the specific nature of, conceptual and Ideological stages in modelling clear. One need not proclaim model results as being proved by value-free computers; one need not argue that quantitative analyses are intrinsically more valud and rigorous than others; one need not argue for technical devices an solving theoretical problems. in the GPID project a model may in principle be used to facilitate communication among researchers and to depict and drew attention to the broad outlines of the conclusions of various studies without such dissimulation.


Table 1

Formal Models and Research Projects ADVANTAGES a) can in principle allow for closer relationship of subprojects b) can be a vehicle of communication to wide audience means of drawing attention to results of study DISADVANTAGES c) requires additional technical division of labour which is liable to be institutes through divisive social divisions of labour. d) Costs of some formal techniques – like computer simulation – are very high e) Technical language and mystique frequently mystifies results, leading to uncritical attitudes or apathy on part of audience h) difficult to represent many types of relationship in formal languages (eg computerised dialectics!) i) Liable to divert attention and resources into methodological issues specific to particular modelling techniques. j) May trigger premature or tangential confrontation of perspectives and feed intellectual rigidity.

ISSUES OF: 1. Scope, Impact and Resources of Project

2. Theoretical and Intellectual Development

f) can involve clearer thinking, more systematic specification of theory and data. g) Can provide a basis and focus for discussion and confrontation of different perspectives


Thus in the GPID project there are at least three possible roles for modelling. (1) As a means of developing our theoretical approaches, both through using the model(s) as means or focus of dialogue among participants and through relating it to empirical material and appraising. The usefulness of its necessarily idealised representation of such data. (2) As one means of evaluating alternative strategies and courses of development or change, as a focus for debate among participants concerning such alternatives, as a means for understanding the conjunctural specificity of tactics, etc. (3) As a means of promoting the analyses and results of the study in various settings, for example to demonstrate to technocratic planners that orthodox approaches are not the only candidates for 'mathematically rigorous' treatment, or to combat conclusions of other modelling studies cited in public discourse. These three possible uses have some parallels with three dimensions of the GPID project: namely processes, strategies and goals. Throughout these three uses attention has been directed to the possibilities (both virtues and limitations) of modelling an a means of communication and an element in dialogue. In terms of processes, a model may be used to represent the historical development and current status of social relationships relevant to the GPID project. A model can help us to understand these issues of concern better, to the extent that it describes the structures and processes underlying empirical phenomena, giving intelligibility to the postulated unobservable mechanisms (see Kest and Urry, 1976). Second, in terms of goals, a model might be constructed so as to demonstrate the theoretical viability of alternative systems of social relationships (an in the egalitarian, basic needs-fulfilment world of Herrera, 1977). This would not be the Ideal-type model of an instrumentalist philosophy of science but an attempt to represent the central structural features of a transformed world. Given the lack of a world planning agency, most computerised world models have taken the form of propaganda devices. Third, in terms of strategies for change, a model might be used to study processes of transformation: to outline in broad terms the possible routes and phases of development between the contemporary world and futures founded on different social relations. As pointed out in the above discussion and Table 1, a model may facilitate debate on any of these three issues. It may also be used to mystify, and a special effort may be needed to delimit the use of a model in GPID work from the mystifying conventions of social science discourse.



An Unavoidable Diversion: Organisational and Resource requirements

Let us step aside from the main thread of our discussion for a moment. We have specified at a very general level certain advantages and disadvantages associated with modelling for the GPID project. Assuming that the project members judged that the intellectual and impact advantages of some form of computer models can be made to outweigh the disadvantages here, what of the organisational and resource requirements? Computer modelling is an expensive business, even though computing facilities are themselves becoming cheaper. Expertise in programming is called for, and previous world modelling studies have typically been developed by quite large (10 or more researchers) interdisciplinary teams. Good communication has to be established within the team so that the mutual adequacy of different parts of the work can be established. Clark and Cole (1975) reported that "a most Important ingredient for successful cooperation in a world modelling effort seems to be a compatible political and value framework among the researchers. Many of the problems which have arisen in various modelling efforts come from this source and from questions of status within the group ... probably the most efficient team would consist of a few highly expert, hardworking individuals of a similar political outlook". It seems feasible that the GPID project could involve a number of individuals in modelling work - but that it would be vital to ensure that the project's needs were clearly specified, and that the 'modellers' worked closely with other project members. Modelling is, furthermore, an expensive business. As well as wages, computer time has to be paid for. Sam Cole suggests that a serious world modelling effort starting from scratch is likely to cost several hundred thousand U.S. dollars. Clearly we have to consider whether this sort of financial commitment bent suits the project needs. It is not impossible, however, that ways might be found around some of the expenses involved. Various institutions might be prevailed upon to make computer facilities available free of charge. One possibility to consider is that GPID modelling need not necessarily start from 'scratch'. It might be worth considering making use of an existing world model, developing and modifying it to suit our purposes. (See Appendix 1 for a brief review of models). It might prove satisfactory to engage two or three research students to work in collaboration with an extant modelling project, perhaps the most economical way of proceeding. The main problems here would revolve around the compatibility of the model (or models) chosen with GPID approaches, and the maintenance of good communication channels 9

with the students (and members of the ongoing project with which they work). We believe that the decision to make any major modelling effort must involve consideration of the above factors. If it in judged too difficult to proceed in their light, then there may well be grounds for individual project members to make use of less ambitious computer modelling - even world modelling - in their work. And, as argued before, it could be well worth considering 'alternative technologies' in the field of modelling, such as simulation gaming, for any of the three general uses of models within GPID. In the next sections of the paper, however, we will consider other questions concerning the development of computer models in the GPID project: approaches to modelling that may or may not be useful to us here. Much of the following discussion is not specific to computerised modelling. 4. Is Small Beautiful? Notes Against the Juggernaut Models (With A Digression on Desirable Futures) Resuming our discussion of the uses of models, we should now point out that different types of model, or submodel, way be most appropriate for different aims of the GPID project. For internal communication within the project, no more than a matrix or checklist of issues may be required. In the case of Issues with which the GPID project is concerned - understanding the processes and structures of the present world, assessing strategies and contradictions which are relevant to the transition to a future world, and the Illustration and specification of the viability of alternative futures - it may be useful to construct different models. Let us refer to the present stage of the world an I, the transition process II, and the future world Ill. This in not to assert a static present and future, linked by a process of transition. But I and Ill may be structurally different forms of society, and there are various grounds for thinking that structural transformations are necessary conditions for achieving a variety of social goals. Within any one structural form, of course, considerable change in possible (indeed such change is a structural necessity of contradictory social formations)7. However, there are good reasons why models of 1, II and 11 should not be formulated in Isolation (for example by attempting to determine 1 and II and then turning attention to II). If they do not derive from a common approach - one which must be more elaborated than the set of

Perhaps an analogy with matrix algebra in order. I and Ill may be taken as initial and final matrices, with 11 a vector transforming one to the other: I . II-------III


concerns uniting most GPID members - then it will be Impossible to relate together post hoe without doing violence to one or other of the bodies of assumptions employed. We would argue that what is required is an approach that is both dialectical and materialist. Specifying a future in vacuo as a desirable possibility is seen from this approach an itself a rather mystified practice. A 'vision of a desirable future' is inevitably derived from a critical analysis of k resent forms, an analysis which determines with more or less adequacy the limitations of the present and the present contingencies which constrain future development.8 The crucial aspect of this analysis in the identification of what material processes can link 1, 11 and Ill (an opposed to a purely logical unhistorical specification of the differences between I and Ill): which means locating the social agencies which are capable of bringing about, societal transformation, and determining which agencies are interested in so doing. The existing differentiation of subprojects in GPID might encourage an approach of formulating models of I, II and Ill in relative isolation. This would run the risk of failing to relate together I and 111 through tensions and contradictions in I that provide the possibility for change, through positing a 111 which expresses constrained and suppressed potentials of the present. Furthermore, it in necessary to formulate III on the basin of a critical analysis of I precisely to avoid replicating the failures of many past utopian writers whose visions can now be seen to be dependent upon culture-bound notions of human nature9. This critical analysis must probe beneath the dissimulations of I in order to model its underlying structures (including those that produce fetishism, and the alienated, Isolated individual of dominant social theories). The details of future Ill will inevitably correspond to the specificities of transition process II, which in itself a matter of conflict and choice. Thus only fairly broad aspects of Ill could be modelled with any analytic value, although it may be worth constructing some specific scenarios for communication

GPID members have often been divided over the case for several subprojects - see for example, the undercurrents of the Report of the Second Planning Meeting og the GPID project (Geneva, 31 January, 1978) There has been some confusion concerning whether particular subproject; are being criticised per as, or from their lack of deep interconnectedness with the other subprojects. There in evidently some concern about a possible Idealism in specifying a desirable future to which movements in the present are then assumed to tend, in a kind of Hegellan dialectic.

Thus to fit humanity into their notions of an Ideal world, either social controls were proposed which could contain the 'vices and passions' of their contemporaries, or else miraculous transformations of human nature were involved. What in necessary, however, is to proceed in an analysis of how social consciousness and practices are themselves reconstituted in processes.of transformation II (an well an the possible obstacles to this process: a matter taken up by some materialist psychoanalysts in the 1930a and largely neglected since.


purposes or for a form of 'sensitivity analysis' of alternative strategies. We have rather laboriously argued, then, that GPID models could be constructed relevant to processes, strategies and goals, but that these steps should not be taken in Isolation. The modelling of I, II and Ill must be integral parts of the same analysis, not independent studies to be integrated together10 However, it does not necessarily imply that I, II and Ill should all be represented in the same model - indeed, we believe that it would be unwise to consider computerising a juggernaut model which would encapsulate all the tasks of the GPID project simultaneously. On grounds of cost and skill requirements, alone, such a model would be daunting! Different purposes for a model may well suggest the development of different models;11 a point to bear in mind in considering worlds I, II and Ill. For example, the Beriloche team set out to demonstrate the physical viability of a more egalitarian world order in the near future, showing that under reasonable assumptions there was good reason to believe that the basic needs of the population of all world regions could be met without running into severe resource constraints (Herrera 1977). To demonstrate this was taken to be an Important scientific and political task (given the Malthusian controversy) and the Bariloche model accordingly paid little attention to the formal analysis of present structures of transition processes (the framework would seem to be dependency theory); different models would be required for these purposes.


Thus we have reservations concerning the suggestion in GMM that 'different models should be progressively integrated in unified theories of social reality and development'. The integration of diverse objects certainly requires the application of a unified theory: but applying such a theory to an already constructed model may be nonsensical, it the bases of the theory differs from those of the perspective incorporated into the model. We will return to this point later.

Which does not rule out the possibility of re-use of an extant model for different purposes to those originally involved. See Griffiths, Irvine and Miles for a discussion of the Issues here (1979).


Likewise, it may be an unduly complicated tank to attempt to produce a single model which can represent, in more than the most general form, two different social formations. The difference between two such formations in Immensely greater than, say, the difference between two empirical variants of the same social formation. Thus, the calibration of a given economic model to two different mixed economies in relatively easy. in the case of different social formations, qualitative differences in the meaning attached to particular variables exist, while quite different relationships may hold between variables that themselves remain defined in similar terms. A 'single' model able to encompass two such formations (in any but the most broad terms12 ) must be either a pair of models linked be a programme which can specify the restructuring of variables and relationships (either in terms of chronologically ordered and interdependent set of relations governing and expressing the transformation process, or which would presumably be by a single step of reconstitution), or involve a meta-model which itself determines the variables and relationship to be brought into play at any moment. While such approaches are conceivable – at least where a very small number of variables are involved – the more practicable route would be to construct, within coherent theoretical framework, different models corresponding to different historical epochs I, II and III.

5. Is Hierarchy Horrendous? Against Monolithic Models Problems still remain for a project as ambitious as GPID, and these lead to our extending the argument developed above concerning the need to consider several modes (conceptualised in an integral, dialectical fashion, we reiterate, rather than merely being the focus of occasional confrontations) rather than to orient activity towards a single juggernaut of a formal model. The relevant features of the project which have a bearing on the question of models and submodels are first, the multiplicity and complexity of the issues with which we are concerned, and second, the different theoretical perspectives and worldviews which various participants have developed. In this section we will consider the first of these features. The organisation of the GPID project itself suggests the multiplicity and complexity of the issues covered. In the GMM paper at first evaluation is made that the ‘processes and topics which are most relevant (for the attainment of


A broadly conceived ‘model’ of this sort could in principle be useful. We doubt, however, whether it could form the basis of a more specific submodel of different formations.


the goals of development equitably13 each and every present and future human being of the world in an integral way the quality of life of the poorest from the material and non-material point of view) and which have not yet been modelled adequately” include: a) political centralisation and marginalisation processes b) historical expansion and exploitation processes c) psychological authoritarian and obedience enculturation processes d) distribution of activities throughout society e) needs satisfier distribution patterns. As GMM points out ‘the previous list is certainly incomplete’, and as noted before they argue that ‘the strategy should be .to construct partial models of essential components of a model which as one gets along are connected in order to arrive at a progressively more integrated model’. We have already expresses doubts concerning this latter methodological point. The approach implied resembles an empiricist, positivist view of the advance of science by an accumulation of discrete ‘findings’, of ‘grand theories’ as accretions of ‘middle-range theories’. This begs the question of what principles are to be used for integration, and of what sort of theory (commonsense?) underlies the isolated models delimitation one from another in the first place. We would propose that a different tack be taken, one which does not begin with an (empiricist?) specification of disturbing issues and set out to produce explanation and models of each which can be progressively integrated to form a grand model. This sort of ‘holism’ has characterised previous world models, and its typical consequence has been a lack of scrutiny of the received ideas underlying the sub-models (which have sometimes been in some conflict). Furthermore, it already involves some mystification in that the ‘theoretical’ basis of the initial categorisation of issues remains unsounded. As we argued in the case of models for I, II and III, integrated approach would ideally involve starting with a coherent theory and then developing submodels relating specific issues in terms of this. (Of course, the process is dialectical; the study of concrete points may lead to modifications in the abstract analysis). We must thus focus on the development of submodels around a more general model, rather than plan on a movement in research from more limited to more general forms of representation. Given the diversity and complexity of the issues in question, then, we are arguing for the development of submodels in order to ‘focus in on’ specific issues of concern. This approach is actually that taken in the North-South model reported in Chichilnisky and Cole (1978a, b). In that study, a general model has been developed to study relations between central and peripheral

These parentheses are abstracted from the GMM paper. It should be noted that the term ‘equity’ is generally associated with a particular view of the world and that its meaning is certainly shaped in different ways by different theoretical perspectives


economies: it can exist in a range of calibrations for different specific countries, of course, but it is also specified in a number of different versions taking into account different categorisations of commodities, income groups, and regions. To pursue particular issues in depth, submodels are developed which single out the appropriate variables and relations for analysis – thus allowing for easier analysis and clearer interpretations of the role of different determinations in the area of concern. Other arguments also tend to support an approach oriented towards developing several relatively simple submodels around a ‘parent’ model rather than seeking to construct one extremely complex model. McLean (1978) has pointed to ‘the tendency of models to become more and more complex as additional relationships and variables are added to the existing structure. Increasing complexity leads in turn to a reduced motivation to challenge the basic structural assumptions of the model one of the most important theoretical advantages of modelbuilding, the way in which underlying assumptions are made explicit, is often vitiated in practice by the extreme complexity of the representation chosen’. McLean argues for the construction of ‘a range of explanatory models’ rather than ‘ a single elaborate, untestable, complex dynamic model’, and advocates the use of methods enabling ‘the rapid construction of alternative dynamic structural models’. Likewise, Clarke et al (1977) argue against ‘general-purpose models’ and for ‘more compact, issue-specific models, with a clear purpose in view’. So far, then, our suggested approach to formal modelling within the GPID project may be represented something like figure 1. It can be seen that we attach a critical role to the use of general principles of social theory, which perhaps relates to the GMM argument that ‘the most important part of a model is always the conceptualisation it is based upon. This point brings us round to next issue we need to consider, and again it is one raised in McLean’s paper: that large and complex models not only raise problems of interpretation and inertia, but also may conceal problems of theoretical diversity.


Figure 1

Modelling in GPID

Examination of previous literature

ongoing research

Debate and discussion among project members

Formulation of general principles for analysing social formations and transformations

(identification of central social relationships)




Recuperation of existing model(s), or production of related models of different stages of world development (or possible development within a single, simplifies society)

submodels concerning specific issues in world I, including issues opening up prospects of transportation

submodels concerning conjunctural and issue -related aspects of transition processes

Submodels concerning specific issues in World III?


6. Models and Worldviews We have suggested that modelling is most likely to be useful when it is based upon explicit and coherent theoretical perspectives, where a ‘parent’ model is constructed within such perspectives with due caution concerning the problems of representing historical processes within a formal model, and where a ‘family’ of submodels is constructed around the ‘parent’ to provide insights concerning specific issues of concern. However, within the GPID project, there is some diversity of theoretical perspectives; this obviously has implications for any modelling approach which places emphasis on the role of theoretical constructions. We should discount one possibility immediately. There is no (non-mystificatory) way in which modelling could be a ‘technical fix’, reconciling diverse approaches within a varified system. Diverse approaches can of course coexist within a joint project, but then their differences are a continual matter for debate and mutual criticism (hopefully constructive!) while any joining decisions must be a matter of coalition and compromise in the pursuit of common ends. Compromise on programmatic grounds is one thing; compromise on scientific matters another. Two different analyses may both identify benefits in a single common strategy; they may indeed sharpen their mutual understanding by evaluating the processes and consequences of cooperation. Thus, for example, few people would object in principle to the presentation (and confrontation) of analyses deriving from different world-views as chapter in a collection of essays. However, two analyses with substantive differences are unlikely to provide. Or find acceptable, a common rationale for a simplified analysis framework such as is involved in modelling. Different variables and relationships are identified from different perspectives; what in one analysis is the core, in another analysis is often no more than a phenomenal and reified appearance. Reconciling analyses of different issues, or of the same issue, is only possible when the differences between analyses are trivial (in theoretical terms – there may be a wealth of difference in terms of the available empirical substantiation within a shared set of criteria), or where a dialogue between researchers is possible which can enable one or both to transcend their existing perspectives14. A model can transcend nothing, being no more than a formal representation of a system or process derived from a perspective that has itself to be specified in full detail.

(Although the

systematisation often involved in modelling may be useful guide to assessing internal
Thus in previous work (Freeman and Jahoda, 1978, or see Miles, Cole and Gershuny’s presentation to the January 1978 GPID meeting) we found it necessary to spell out the consequences of using different worldviews in analysing possibilities for the world’s future. On intellectual grounds and in terms of the political and theoretical differences within the research group involved in that study, it was out of the question to attempt a ‘synthesis’ of approaches starting out from fundamentally different methodological principles.


inconsistencies implausibilities involved in a perspective). A second possibility, and one which we would not rule out, is that modelling, while not resolving differences, can facilitate fruitful confrontation and dialogue between researchers. In the main this has not been the result of most modelling exercises to date, where there have been tendencies to uncritically accept or equally uncritically reject models without any detailed analysis of what their assumptions might entail15. In part this is because modellers have tended to share similar political affiliations and theoretical assumptions; in part because they are more interested in the delights of baroque methodology than in the relevance of their models to the process in the social world which the models are purported to represent; and in part because the complexity of computer models is often so great as to make it difficult to locate the finer threads of ‘theory’ that run through them, let alone to determine which particular assumptions are most directly responsible for any given set of model results16. Nevertheless, simple models might facilitate dialogue between GPID researchers. Being asked to specify the crucial factors of a development process in a formal language can help to cut through sometimes ponderous and off-putting verbiage; although the obscurity of modellers’ jargon may itself be little improvement! (see table 1). But the debate that hopefully ensues between proponents of different worldviews cannot restrict itself to the terms involved in the model: it will almost inevitably draw upon political and methodological considerations. Such dialogues can be immensely valuable provided they avoid theoreticism or gestural polemics! But we must acknowledge that there are difficulties and limitations here. First, there are limitations to the rationalist view of scientific discourse, in which debates are seen to be resolved by a lucid confrontation of intellectual perspectives. Rather, theoretical and political commitments are intertwined, and the decision to participate in or withdraw from a dialogue is not solely determined by factors internal to the dialogue. It may well be that in many circumstances a researcher will see better hopes for illustrating her/his theory via other means of action than

Some exceptions here are Cole et al 1973 analysis of The Limits to Growth, gutman (1975) on Time On The Cross, and Gough 91976) on gravity models in town planning. See Irvine, Miles and Evans 91979) for related arguments and counter arguments concerning the use of social statistics. 16 Thus, McLean (1978) reports that the reasons for the ‘collapse’ behaviour of the Limits to Growth model are other than has been assumed by most commentators. One approach to ‘untangling’ the behaviour of complex models is that adopted by McLean et al (1976), who have prepared a programme which analyses model structure and searches for the dominant relationships – an approach which has been used with some success in producing pared-down versions of juggernaut models. But instead of simulating simulations, it is more practicable for us to begin with simple models!


discussion of computer models, or will simply wish to reserve judgement on an issue cloakal with expertise, or substantiated by expert witness. Second, there are clearly going to be practical difficulties in involving researchers in the process of model construction and debate. It is hard to imagine the necessary personnel being readily available for the laborious process, another point to bear in mind concerning place limitations on the effectiveness of attempting to realise our second possibility. A third possible role for modelling within GPID related to the preceding ones, and attempts to incorporate pluralism into the modelling procedure itself. This would involve the development of alternative models (or submodels) by different researchers in the GPID project. Such models could be developed with some measure of independence at the researchers’ convenience and the process of confrontation and dialogue channelled through the regular project meetings. There are two chief drawbacks to this approach. First, we may be confronted by a proliferation of models, perhaps even employing different simulation approaches, and have to devote much effort to making sense of their harmonies, discord and silences. The potential impact of report describing divergent models, to, is likely to be far less than of one portraying a clear-cut (if controversial) analysis, and the appropriate strategy for coping with a range of complex issues would be to develop a ‘family’ of submodels ar ound a relatively highly abstract and idealised ‘parent’ model. Given the diversity of approaches within GPID, this would seem to demand several different ‘parent’ models, not all of which would be of equal relevance to particular researchers and research groups. The alternatives to this would seem to be the development of one single family of models which represents only a limited portion of the spectrum of views within GPID. Of course, the project members might move considerably closer towards consensus on a range of fundamental issues, but such a process which is not likely to be encouraged by a premature attempt to develop a single modelling framework. We seem to have argued ourselves into a gradiloquent strategy here. Not only does the range of issues necessitate a family of submodels, but the range of worldviews and the need to consider epochs I, II and III points to the need for a set of such families! Indeed, this is a formidable prospect, and one that would pose severe problems of organisation. But it is not, for all that, unthinkable. The North-South model of Chichilnisky and Cole (1978) is intended to be developed in a number of different forms, with different assumptions corresponding to (modified) neoclassical, neo-Ricardian and Marxian economic theories17. Debate among members of the

Such a ‘pluralistic’ approach is not quite as bland as that taken in our earlier work (eg Freeman and Jahoda,


research group in question revolves not around the practicability of doing this but about the order to work that would be best advance the study, and the appropriateness of different interpretations of each approach to understanding ‘economic’ change. Furthermore, we should reiterate for GPID members that it need not be necessary for all of the formal modelling to take the form of computer simulation; it could be possible to develop the more quantitative studies, for example, so that they are linked together by systematic qualitative analyses. On the other hand, it may be useful to study a specific issues in qualitative detail after have formulated some of the broader parameters in quantitative terms. The aim, after all, is to make flexible use of models: not to rigidly apply a particular formal technique, nor to erect mathematical monoliths for later generations to marvel at (or play among the ruins of). 7. Theoretical Foundations for GPID Models: Some Suggestions Much of the preceding discussion has been abstract and procedural; in part this derives from the situation that the GPID project is a rather disparate and diverse effort. This is not a criticism of the project per se: its very diversity makes it a stimulating site for cross-fertilisation between different disciplines and approaches. However, this does make for problems not usually confronted by modelling exercises. Many modelling studies rest on a received tradition of analysis; rather than go into theoretical exposition, they lurch immediately into constructing simulations. These received traditions take for granted many of the factors that are themselves taken as problems in the GPID group. The appropriate approach for developing models relevant to alternative perspectives, in contract, is liable to be one in which ‘definitions are relational and built up gradually through the text – a few key relations are expounded, and these are looked at from a number of different points of view as other relations are pointed out, the full meaning of the major concepts begins to emerge ’ Only in this process are mathematical equations defined, and while these can be ‘rich implications for an understanding of the dynamics it is the theory in which the model is set and not the equations themselves which provides the explanation of dynamic ’(Sayer 1978)18.

1978) – for, in the present example, it has proved possible to use neoclassical assumptions to expose the contradictions of neoclassical prescriptions. But exposing contradictions in a theoretical corpus is hardly the same as exposing contradictions (which can be the site of activity) in the social world that is the object of


Sayer is discussing problems in urban and regional modelling, and contrasting the use of models by neoclassical theorists (who begin ‘by defining cariables K is capital, T is trips, etc ) with the simple analyses used in Capital by Marx.


We have drawn attention to the central role of the theoretical perspectives in guiding modelling. In order to consider how GPID modelling approach might be developed, in more that the most general terms, we need to have a theoretical perspective on which to base and elaborate our examples. While recognising that our approach is inevitably rather speculative and will be inadequate on various counts, we shall attempt to set out a brief characterisation of the standpoint which we are attempting to work from, and which has already flavoured much of the previous discussion. Adequate accounts of social change are here as being necessarily materialistic, in that they must refer to the transactions within and between societies and between society and nature – that is not to draw upon influences that are extra worldy or cannot themselves be identified in terms of material processes. Central to such accounts of social change are analyses of the labour processes whereby people produce their life and satisfy their needs in common. Individuals are not pre-social creatures whose needs are innately determined, but are themselves agents constituted in specific social formations. The social relations which characterise these formations determine both specific organisations of needs and specific organisations of labour processes, in intimate relation. Thus history is a social product, but rather than the result of agglomerations of individual choices, it needs to be seen as the result of social relations: among which those governing the labour process are most salient, although no all-important, Particular structures of these relations of production – the place they assign to producers, non-workers, the means of production – are termed modes of production: they condition the role of other factors in bringing about social change. In the present world system, a number of observations are in order: the dominant economic powers are those founded on the capitalist mode of production, although even within the most ‘mature’ of these countries traces of other production relations may be located; it has been argued that many Third World countries may fruitfully be seen as characterised by an articulation of an imported capitalist mode of production (CMP) with other forms (sometimes modified versions of extant local feudalism); while the ‘state socialist’ countries may be considered to be transitional between the CMP and socialist production relations, although with no necessary trend towards the latter, and a variety of peculiar features reflecting the prolongation of transitional processes within a hostile environment (although others might find it more acceptable to view these countries as evidencing as etatist CMP, and Asiastic mode, or an entirely mew node of production). These observations have implications for a modelling strategy: for example, it may 21

be possible to build idealised models of significant features of the First world in some abstraction from the global context, but this is unlikely to prove satisfactory for studying many aspects of the Second and Third Worlds. The sort of theoretical perspective outlined here (which often goes under the same name of historical materialism) should keep us alert to the social construction of our world, and to the historically transitory nature of particular patterns of social organisation. In terms of strategies, it suggests consideration of class relations: of structures of hegemony and dominance in the maintenance of oppressive features of existing social formations, and of the role of different classes in the transformation of societies. Classes are defined relative to positions in the structure of production relations, and in the CMP the central differentiation between classes is between capitalists (who own and control the major means of production) and the proletariat (who are dependent on the sale of their labour-power for subsistence, and thus engage in the labour process which renders the means of production, productive being exploited in the process by creating more value than the are returned). Other classes exist, however, by virtue of the elaboration of certain pre-capitalist social relationships within the CMP and/or its incomplete development – eg peasants, petty bourgeoisie etc. and other important cleavages exist in society: the sexual division of labour (structured around reproduction rather than production), cultural/regional divisions, ethnic groups, etc. The point is, not to take these as given, but to understand what forces maintain divisions along these lines and what processes such divisions in turn mediate. This brief exposition would need to be elaborated to be much more than a caricature, but it provides a starting point for a discussion of modelling. For example, it readily leads us to agree with the position stated in the GMM paper that GPID models should go beyond the economic – thus we must consider making explicit use of variables beyond those typically employed in econometric studies or in recent world models. Indeed, this approach throws into question the whole notion of ‘economics’ as isolated from other areas of analysis: we see that at heart ‘economic’ variables involve social relations. This is not the approach taken in other world models. All of these models are fundamentally models of capital accumulation, which is certainly a vital feature of the CMP, but they treat this in a reified way, as an economic phenomenon, albeit one with ecological and sociological implications. For us, however, capital accumulation is no mere technical process of the self-expansion of capital, but is itself a process of class conflict (embodying exploitations, ideology struggles over workplace control and productivity levels, the 22

role of the state in providing the necessary social conditions etc). The dynamic tendencies of capital accumulation are abstract postulates whose empirical realisation is dependent upon a wide ranging, structured, but contradictory, set of social factors19. By analysis of capital accumulation in terms of social relations, we also embark upon analysis of two other vital processes: class conflict and crises (viz Fine and Harris, 1977). What does this imply about the use of ideas or indeed whole systems from previous modelling within the GPID project? We would suggest that the problems are posed most deeply by considered the case of a historical materialist approach, precisely because this approach represents the most radical break with the conventions of orthodox approaches; however, they are likely to be confronted by other tendencies within the GPID project. No world model which we are aware of (including the existing specifications of the Chichilnisky-Cole North-South model) is adequately constructed for the approach we have just outlined, although some have more in common with it than others. Furthermore, existing models have (on the whole) more to offer in respect of epoch I than of II and III. (Bariloche is the exception). If resources were limitless, there would be little reason not to recommend developing our own approach de novo. As they are not, we should consider whether the best strategy is to make use of models at most only in very highly delimited circumstances, or whether to set out to make advantage of existing modelling work. The feasibility of this latter strategy is a mater for discussion and experiment, but some preliminary thoughts may be entered here. First, it could be possible to make use of ‘conventional’ economic variables and relationships under certain strictly defined conditions. They must, of course, be relevant; and it will be necessary to introduce variables not as self-evident categories, but as variables interpreted within a particular theoretical framework. This may mean deciding not to use, or to restructure, certain variables, either on practical or theoretical grounds. Population estimate, labour supply, per

We may also raise the point here that it may prove inappropriate to place much emphasis on mathematical formulations that treat variables as if they were discrete entities, related only by causal links. While corresponding to well-established atomistic practices in Western philosophy, such an approach has come under sharp attack (from, for example, some systems theorists and modern physicists), and it has been cogently argued that a historical materialist approach to social analysis would be best founded on an account of the ‘internal relations’ of variables. (See, especially, Ollman, 1976, and Pannekoek, 1975). Fuzzy set theory appears as a possible mathematical candidate for dealing with such formulations – but we suspect a) tha as as ‘technical fix’ it carries its own ideological commitments that require close scrutiny b) involvement in fashionable and complicated methods of this sort is likely to mean devoting far too much energy on technical issues. Hinrichsen (1976) argues that fuzzy set theory is liable to lead to fuzzy theories of society of applied too liberally to systems modelling


capita income levels, nutritional standards, productivity - at appropriate levels of (dis)aggregation we might choose to use these. On practical grounds one might reject an indicator as irrelevant as in the Bariloche model, where per capita income was judged less important that the consumption of basic goods. Likewise, the definitions of sectors may be unconventional for sound theoretical reasons: the North-South model, for example, uses 'basic', 'luxury' and 'capital' goods sectors rather than the more usual industrial classifications or 'primary', 'secondary' and 'tertiary'. It may be possible to retain relationships from other models, too, providing their uses is suitably qualified by a sound rationale for expecting 'superficial' asiciations to continue to hold true, and by appropriate warnings to those to whom the results are presented. Demographic models may be a case in point, wher very little change would be needed for many purposes. Second, it seems reasonable for a GPID model to make extensive use of 'economic' variables, both because these are relatively well quantifies (although often premises that are theoretically faulty) and because we would see the development and deployment of productive forces as being central to an analysis of world development. However, many of the critical processes which we would wish to discuss operate at a level removed from empirical fluctuations and trends - namely, processes in terms of values rather than prices. It may be possible to develop models in value terms which would illustrate relatively abstract tendencies, and more complicated (and possible interactive) models to represent some aspects of their empirical working-out. A related point here is that most modelling efforts (the North-South model, and Forrester's recent work (1977) being exceptions, and these being cast in the framework of 'cycles' rather than 'crises') have had the remarkably property of representing capital accumulation without reproducing the capitalist crises which form part of this process. Given the significance of crises in the restructuring of sectors, national economies, and the world system, and in conditioning the possibilities for social and political transformations, the GPID project should be prepared to take this issue on board in modelling work. Third, despite their neglect of underlying structures, conflicts, and crisis tendencies in the world system, some aspects of existing world models may still be relevant for developing GPID models and sub-models. For example, in formulating images of future tendencies in respect of 'basic needs' (or such categories as welfare, security, identify and freedom), it may prove useful to consider how existing models have attempted to grapple with questions of international and domestic income distribution (where the data problems may be less intractable). In Appendix 1 24

we present a brief account of world models of interest. Only the North-South model relates inter- and intra-national distribution, and that at a very aggregated level. Fourth, it may be possible to build upon existing models for some purposes, or to use an interactive approach of sorts. It is not strictly necessary to explicitly incorporate all of the factors of interest within the structure of submodels. Often it may be preferable to represent the possible role of variables which are themselves difficult to quantify in terms of adjustments to more traditional parameters. Workers' resistance to technical changes, for example, might be incorporated via exogenous modifications to the rate of change of productivity coefficients in a model of capital accumulation. Re-distributional struggles could be represented by changing income or consumption distribution patterns. The rationale for such exogenous adjustments to a formal model would need to be spelled out explicitly: perhaps we would be making use here of a number of scenarios of possible developments in class relations. Our fifth, and final point is that going beyond conventional 'economic' variables and assumptions is bound to provoke criticism from orthodox economists and other discipline-bound social scientists. To some extent their criticisms may hold, in that it may be difficult to find adequate data (or even to elaborate adequate theory) to produce a quantitative model. This has not prevented modellers in the past trading on the spurious precision that can be produces by simulation modelling to give their studies the air of great rigour. Suck work needs to be approaches or embarked upon with great care - and often must be rejected as mystification. Nevertheless, we are of the opinion that some 'sociopolitical' factors could be included in models in a more direct fashion that the parameter-adjustment approach outlined above. The purpose of this may general be simply to represent abstract tendencies, but there are probably circumstances where it is worth developing simulations of concrete circumstance. These may include macro social processes - eg 'dependency' relationships between countries - or smaller scale phenomena eg educational patterns within a country20. Often it will be necessary to use surrogate data of indicators that are at best approximations of those that interest us most21.

8. Speculation Models: Some Statistical Modelling Approaches
20When we come to consider such specific issues we see another advantage of the 'family' of models approach: by dealing with these issues in submodels where possible, we do not evolve a single structure
that stands or falls with each of its elements. We have several layers of substantiation, rather than all of our eggs in one basket.

21See, for example, the various data and cautions presented by Irvine and Miles (1978) in their 'Alternative Ways of Life' paper - eg 'security' is represented by a multiple operationalidation approach, in terms
of ownership of economic resources, housing situation etc.


Much of our discussion has used a terminology suggesting that simulation modelling is appropriate for the GPID project. Computer simulations do form a sophisticated attempt to represent analyses of social systems, but we should nevertheless bear it in mind that relatively simple techniques may be quite effective ways of dealing with quantified variables. deterministic extrapolation of unexplained trends. Even projection can be very useful, if we free ourselves from the notion that it necessarily involves a If we have an argument (other than historicism) for expecting trends to take a particular form in the future, then a straight forward projection of variables can be a method of analysis or illustration which is unlikely to arouse unwarranted expectations of precision of forecasts. Nevertheless, it may prove to have remarkable power to impress - as in Malthus' extrapolation of food and population trends - and this example points to the utility of contrasting projections of different variables. Population projections, and especially those that take into account the structure of societies, are familiar enough components of development research, and may be useful in indicating the labour supply and scale of 'basic needs' requirements in a country or region. As such they are relevant both to planning and to criticising development strategies (or existing trends) which fail to provide the infrastructure or inputs to give employment and needs satisfaction. But many other processes may be used in projection: for example, the thesis that there has been a historical tendency towards the increasing concentration of economic power in a country could be illustrated with statistics, and such a trend might even be extrapolated (not as a forecast, but as an indication of the long-term direction of one set of current tendencies, ignoring the possible counter-tendencies that may be theorised and, indeed, realised). Projections can find a place in many research reports, but quantitative projection can only be used to provide a starting point for discussion or an indication of unfolding contradictions between trends, and is only really applicable to the study of fairly broad tendencies where it may be meaningful to speak of smooth rates of change. Other approaches to modelling GPID issues involve more of a focus on relationships between variables. (Projection related to the quantitative course of a single variable over time). At the very simplest extreme, we might simply seek to use correlation or regression analysis to demonstrate the existence of some postulated relationship, and to determine the extent to which it is moderated by other factors in a concrete situation. An example of this sort of analysis is provided by Wright and Perrone (1977). These authors first distinguish between four social 26

classes on the basis of positions in the social organisation of production, and proceed to operationalise these so as to be able to record data from occupational classifications (table 2). (Of course, this work does not make any empirical distinction between big and small capitalists, blue and white collar workers, which would be meaningful in a more detailed analysis of social relations of production. In some analyses these authors distinguish between employers with more than less than ten employees; between black and whites, men and women.)


Table 2

Conceptualisation and Operationalisation of Class Positions in the United States

by Wright and Perrone (1977) CLASS POSITION Petty CRITERIA Capitalist Manager Worker Bourgeoisie

Ownership of means of production Purchase of others' labour power Control of others' labour power Sale of own labour power OPERATIONALISED CRITERIA Self-employed Having employees Having subordinates on job Employed PERCENTAGE CLASSIFIED IN CLASS

   X

X X  

X X X 

 X X X

   X 7.4%

X X  

X X X 

 X X X

37.4% 49.2% 4.3%

The theoretical position adopted in this study is simply that class is an important determinant of income level. Regression and covariance analysis was used to demonstrate that class differences in income levels were substantial, and could not be accounted for in terms of occupational status, age, job tenure, sex, or race. It was also demonstrated that the returns to education differ across classes: higher education levels bring greater rewards to managers than to workers, which is here interpreted in terms of a system of social control. Class differences between workers and employers were considerably greater than income differences based on sex or race within the 28

working class, and within class categories sex accounted for greater differences than race. We should make it clear that this paper is not being singled out for special praise: it is simply a convenient example of a relatively simple piece of modelling, illustrating the proposition Class Position Relative Income Level

and going on to consider the role of education and other factors in mediating and structuring this relationship. Of course, we may often want to present rather more elaborate analyses, and again it is possible to construct statistical models which represent these analyses in terms of their consistency with empirical data. A currently popular approach, causal path analysis is employed in a recent study by Walleri (1978). Walleri derives his propositions from dependencia perspectives and derives a simple 'causal model' of dependence and underdevelopment (in the postwar boom phase of neocolonialism) (figure 2). An example of the operationalisations and statistical analyses he carries out in order to substantiate the dependencia analysis is provided in figure 3. (It should be noted that panel analysis, involving time-series date, is also brought into play in order to argue for the particular directions of causality cited). Thinking about statistical models such as this one reinforces many of the points made earlier in the paper. The model of a particular process only gains its meaning from the theoretical perspective, the non-statistical, relatively informal model (dependencia analysis) within which it was framed. Only in these terms does the particular choice of variables make any sense, and only with this broader perspectives can we see that these are in many respects relational: the model relates to the situation of a component of the world system, or to an isolated object of analysis, and that trade dependence is a product of specifiable historical processes, not of original sin. (Indeed, ‘trade dependence’ is no more the cause of underdevelopment than is low GNP per capita). The statistical model is not a general portrait of development processes, but rather and illustration of some structural aspects of underdevelopment in the world system in one historical conjuncture (abstracting, furthermore, from issues of class formation and conflict in the countries studied)22. The model is not itself dynamic, dealing as it does with variables operationalised for

For an informative debate concerning a similar study – Robinson’s (1976) demonstration that incomes inequality within countries was related to national locations in the world economy, see the notes by Bach, Irwin and Robinson in the American Sociological Review 42(5). The causal path analysis technique involves a number of ‘technical’ assumptions that may often have theoretical significance, even beyond the necessity to propose a causal ordering of variables in the first place. See Bibby and Evans (1978) for a detailed critique; also, Forbes and Tufte (1968)


Figure 2

Walleri’s Causal Model

Rise of International Capitalism (eg Colonialism)

Feudal-Capitalist Order in Periphery States

Neo Colonialism Clientalism, Aid, MNCs

Vertical and Feudal Interaction Structures Between Centre and Periphery States

Low Level of Domestic Capital Accumulation and Uneven Development Across Sectors

Increasing Inequality between Centre and Periphery and Within Periphery

Figure 3

Causal Path Analysis of Determinants of GNP Per Capita
Capital Formation 1965

-43 -u Vertical Trade 1960

.33 -14 GNP per capita 1970

Notes: Vertical trade index based on Galtung’s work, relates to location of country in international division of labour as raw material exporter, manufactures importer. Sectoral Income Distribution based on Kuznets Gini Index, relates to sectors, not classes. Capital formation is fixed capital (ie not a Marxian definition) as a percentage of GNP. The data refers to 88 countries, including 15 OECD members


Sectoral Income Distribution, 1960



particular years. There is no good reason to expect a rigid time lag of the sort portrayed in this particular operationalisation to adequately model any real process. Duvall (1978) has discussed issues of this type in the context of dependencia analysis, which he describes as ‘fundamentally dynamic’. He argues that ‘what is needed is a formulation that reflects slow, historically-extended processes, because the theory is ‘historical’ in the sense that it entails arguments that long-term processes of conditioning and determination have worked…over time to set the contemporary scene. Thus contemporary features of the economy and polity of a peripheral country affected…by the extent and form of capitalist penetration of the country over the past 25, 50 or even 100 years…we can represent this kind of argument by a model of the following form: (1)
yt = ∞ 0 xt + α1 xt −1 + α 2 xt − 2 ... + α ∞ xt − ∞ + µt

where yt is the current value of some conditioned feature of the peripheral country xt..xt- are the current and past values of the conditioning phenomena
α 0 ...α ∞ are the parameter values which represent the determining effect on y of each of the x’s

µ t is an error term representing the imperfect character of the conditioning relationship

Using a simple formula to represent the diminution of effects over time, and problems of producing adequate historical data or efficient estimates of structural parameters, Duvall simplifies this model to
y t = λy t −1 + α * (1 − λ ) x t + µ t − λµ t −1

(where λ relates to the decreasing relevance of past states to the present). Discussing methods of incorporating context variables which condition the causal relationship between x and y, Duvall outlines his hopes for developing an adequate formal model of some dependencia postulates in


such terms23, and attempts to operationalise it as a ‘test’ model on available data. The final form of Duvall’s equation represented above is very much like the form taken in the equation structure of many computer simulations (and incorporation of contextual features, too, should pose no great problems here). Tuomi (1977) reports that such ‘behaviouralist’ appropriations of dependencia ideas have been strongly criticised from Cardoso (and no doubt other formulators of the perspective). Among the relevant criticisms concerning such models are (1) the failure to take internal factors and dynamics into account, except as dependent variables (Duvall’s study is an exception); (2) the failure to consider periodisation and qualitative changes in dependency relations; (3) ‘stagnationism’, interpreting peripheral country economies as completely stagnant. Tuomi also points to the need to consider financial and technological (and political, military and cultural?) dependence as well as trade dependence, and to take into account the geographical structure of such relationships in the world system. The preceding examples of statistical models could each be scrutinised in much more detail, and many similar cases cited24. They demonstrate that there can be a role for statistical modelling in the illustration and further development of theory in areas of concern highly relevant to the GPID project, if the models are used in a non-mystifying way. Perhaps the gains in this sort of modelling would be twofold. First, such statistical analyses are a sine qua non for presenting research results in many social science journals, and we may judge that given the current crisis in mainstream social research it is an apt time to use such medial for presenting parts of our work. Second, a critical use of such models can be a useful discipline for the researcher. While it may be a time-wasting irrelevance to ponder the exact form that a relationship ‘should’ take, or not very rewarding to devote resources to determining which, if any, of a set of candidate variables best operationalise one’s concepts, it can be useful to systematically work through an assessment of structure and process, of how time-series and cross-sectional relationships may converge of diverge, and of what are conjunctural and what underlying factors. What should also mention that an adequate technical critique of other models is difficult without some experience in modelling! Despite these possible roles of statistical models, it should be pointed out that very

It may be worth GPID researchers making a closer scrutiny of this model, which the present authors have not yet inspected. The data-bank associated with it may also prove useful – as may some of the other data banks constructed in the fields of macrosociology and comparative political science in recent years. However the definition of variables in such data banks needs careful scrutiny! 24 Our examples have also tended to focus on ‘economic’ outputs. There is no reason why similar approaches should not be taken using other forms of social indicator. In the literature of macroquantitative analysis, however, most attention has been centred around rather dubious conceptualisations of political violence and political structures (for critiques see, for example, Bodenheimer, 1971; Miles, 1975; Nardin, 1971, Alford, 1977).


simple statistical techniques may often be quite sufficient to make one’s point – perhaps its only concerning issues where there has already been much working-over of the ground from different theoretical perspectives that complicated data processing is brought in to demonstrate the superiority of one or another approach. Furthermore, empirical data can only have a direct bearing on what already is (state I); in the GPID project we are also concerned with what could be (II and III). 9. Speculative Models: Conceptual and Computer Approaches Forecasters have often used matrices as ways of trying to grasp complicated sets of issues. Perhaps best known here is the cross-impact matrix, in which the mutual effects of a number of possible future events are set out (on the basis of ‘expert judgement’) so as to be able to produce scenarios of possible future ‘histories’. Typically this approach focuses on the more obvious products of a social system while neglecting the texture of whatever underlying structures are at work. The same criticism applies to those attempts to build ‘world problems’ checklists, in which people concerned with one problem issue can identify other issues related to it. But the GPID project might be able to achieve something more with matrix approaches – after all, it is already structures as a matrix, and, even id the groupings that are formed thereby are pragmatic rather than theoretical, perhaps it would be worth experimenting with attempting to ‘write into’ the different cells (formed by listing the subprojects are rows and columns of a matrix) what we see as constituting the salient links between each component. Matrices which are purely arithmetic are likely to be unuseful for our purposes. A simple theory concerning the relationships between a set of variables might be set out in matrix form, but it runs the same sorts of risk as the cross-impact matrix. Multiple contingencies, for example, are excluded – that is, the way in which changing two factors together might change a third, the way in which changes in one variable may change the relationship between others25. Overcoming such problems, beyond the most simple sets of relationships, means sacrificing the simplicity of the arithmetic matrix approach26. But as a concrete representation of a theoretical model, it is possible that we could make use of matrices in which verbal formulations (which can express

Recall the historical materialist framework discussed earlier. Here not all variables are of equal status, as is suggested by arranging them as rows and columns in a matrix, and simply showing within the matrix elements that some bear more quantitative influence is insufficient. We need to be able to grasp causal hierarchies, to take into account structured combinations of variables. 26 For example, by dividing the matrix into different ‘levels of analysis’


qualitative shifts, historical specificities, etc) are written into the elements or cells. Such matrices relating subprojects or issues could be useful for stock-taking and dialogue within the project; relating variables could be useful to specific pieces of research. The use of such a matrix can also make apparent whether or not sufficient theoretical clarity has been achieved to proceed to construct formal models, and can point to ‘under-developed’ areas of theory. Earlier in this paper, with reference to simulation modelling, we proposed that rather than an allpurpose juggernaut model, modelling work would best be organised as a family of submodels around a parent model. The discussion of statistical models in the previous section also leads us to think that such models would best be developed – within the context of a powerful general theory – as issue-specific contributions to an integrated work. A matrix formulation could prove to be an effective way of organising submodels together for analytic and expositional purposes. Submodels would form the rows and columns of the matrix, whose elements would then summarise the sorts of exogenous determinants that need to be borne in mind (or experimented with) in interpreting submodel results. (This might be the most satisfactory formulation of the GMM aspirations to consider all variables relevant to ‘the future development of the world’ together ‘in a single model’). Computer simulation is not necessarily an alternative to matrix approaches and statistical models, and certainly not for the hard work of analysis and debate. A powerful and fairly flexible means of representing analyses of empirical or imagined circumstances, it does not seem to have been such a rich source of insight as has often been claimed. In principle practically and quantitative verbal statement of relationships between discrete variables would be handles by a language like DYNAMO. This enables the use of look-up tables in addition to equations, and allows for the representation of dynamic, non linear, multivariate and recursive relationships (with attendant opportunities for the unwary users to become confused). While any particular simulation now requires precise specification of relationships and initial values, it is possible to vary these in sensitivity analyses, thus ensuring the strain to credulity implied by precision in the absence of adequate theory and data. Simulation approaches are most familiarly applied to represent accounts of social reality that ignore the fundamental role of conflict in producing and structuring social change. Exceptions do exist, however, for example Moy’s ( ) simulation of Barrington Moore thesis concerning the ), we might set out advent of bourgeois democracy. In general, following Stinchcombe ( 34

accounts of the development of institutional phenomena out of a process of class conflict, as in

figure 4. Like Moy, Stinchcombe is concerned with the forces acting to form the particular institutions of bourgeois democracy, but the general representation pictures above could be employed to represent the establishment of other institutions or components of the social ‘superstructure’ – or indeed to focus on such elements of the ‘base’ as technological innovations. Four points should be raised concerning such a model. First, if one is not to reify class relations, it is important to bear in mind that classes are relational, and that class boundaries may themselves be in part determined by practices in the institutional superstructure. Second, coalitions and compromises are an integral part of a conflictual social world (eg the British state system was shaped by an accommodation of bourgeois and feudal interests). Three, the general form of a model such as the above concerning the formation and power of an institution may be applied to analysis of the outputs of a given institutional system, for example to represent the development of policies favouring various classes within parliamentary system – but the pitfalls of mainstream political science must be avoided, and the determination of the state form in class relations, which conditions the specific structures of its outputs (so that not only, say, are ‘welfare’ outputs unevenly distributed, but they also perform particular functions in maintaining hegemonic structure) taken into account. A model of ‘policy outputs’ should be conceived of as a submodel of a more general model of state forms, just as these have to be seen in terms of class relations. Fourth, relating to the point about coalition and compromise, the modelling of a system such as that in figure 5 may be deterministic or probablistic, but will not capture the learning, changing consciousness, and tactical moments which are involved in the social world. These factors will certainly condition the form of the institution that is produced: there is not a clear-cut choice between one of a few alternatives, and perhaps all that it is worthwhile to use modelling for in the present state of knowledge would be to indicate certain broad possibilities. The possibilities for further extension of models such as the above, relating together the frequently fragmented political economic and cultural aspects of social formations, require testing in practice. It is possible to speculate further concerning the forms of model that might be developed. Figure 5, for example, represents a straightforward enough model of a ‘deviancyamplification’ process where gains accrue unevenly to groups who have most power to begin with. A use of this sort of analysis, applied to income distribution within class society, within a broader crisis theory (ie not one that sees the source of economic crisis as lying in the squeezing of profits by wages) in a central country is suggested in figure 5.


Figure 4 Class Power and Institutional Forms








Figure 5

Some Aspects of Wealth Production and Income Distribution
Formation of scientific and technical elites and workforce

Investment capital intensive processes

deskilling and degradation of work unemployment level

Capital exports

Tendency for rate of profit to fall Power of workers’ organisations

Capitalist class cohesiveness


price levels

Capitalist consumption

Distributional conflict at workplace

Income of workers

State income and welfare policies imperialism State form

Working class consumption

Growth of bureaucracies Monetary problems


For the analysis suggested in figure 5 to be anywhere near adequate as a representation of crisis tendencies and consumption differentials it would be necessary to take into account i) the development of new products as well as new processes, and the related prospects for so-called underconsumption ii) different economic ‘departments’ and class functions iii) the international environment. Nevertheless, this representation hopefully indicates that in principle it is possible to such issues of interest to GPID as inequalities and consumption levels, economic crisis and problems of the ‘fiscal crisis of the state’, the growth of state and professional bureaucratic interest groups, the worldwide expansion of the power of central ruling classes, and the like. It is not in principle impossible to add to such a model explicit recognition of contradictory tendencies including those which mediate class consciousness, anti-imperialism struggle and the like. Models of dependent peripheral countries are also feasible. Figure 6 is such a model, with the descriptive terms reflecting the current state of many Third world countries. Whether such models are useful as more than devices to present and systematise one’s analyses is a matter for experiment rather than speculation at this point. Rather than simply pointing to the inadequacies of those outlined here, we would suggest that readers ask themselves: is it possible to include the sorts of issues which concern us in such representations (with appropriate caveats as to qualitative change and the like?) Can we specify the types of linkages between variables in such a way as to be able to relate quantitative changes in one to those in another? And, perhaps most intriguingly, can we move away from models of type I to developing type II models which pose maters concerning the unfolding of contradictions and the possible strategies that these open up? On this latter point we might consider a network analysis type of approach in simulation. Reasonably enough caricatured as ‘the science that tells you to put you socks on before you shoes’, network analysis simply consists of determining the appropriate sequence in which steps should be taken. In many situations one has little control over the sequence of events, and to posit a rigid sequence may anyway overlook the possibility of dialectical processes. Even so, it may be worthwhile to speculate about how we might proceed to take type II models on board.


Figure 6

The Situation of Dependent Countries












The example we will use here is based upon Ollman’s (1972) discussion of class consciousness, in which he proposes some eight stages in the development of such consciousness and outlines some of the factors conditioning each. Again, the substantive accuracy of the analysis here (which we shall modify and elaborate in some aspects) is not the main point, we simply wish to outline how this might be represented in terms which suggest what would be required for the development of a formal model. Figure 7 gives an outline of some of the issues that could and should be taken on board in such a modelling exercise. Only some general indicators of higherlevel determinations are given here and feedbacks are ignored. We would anticipate a series of such models to be outlined for different class functions such as women, ethnic and regional groups, workers with different positions in the social division of labour (including the unemployed) and so on, and for the relations between these groups to be included, as well as to the conscousness and action of superordinate classes (moving us towards a more elaborate form of figure 5, in which both activity within and beyond given institutions may be included). The same sort of interrogation of this approach is in order as for the simulation approaches outlined above: is it possible to specify the moments in the development of a transitional situation without unmanageable complexity or too restrictive conjunctural specificity? We have presented this example with some trepidation, and would suggest that only GPID members working directly on subprojects related to strategies can determine the value of proceeding with such an approach.


Figure 7

Towards a Possible Model of the Development of Class Consciousness Conditions of work

1. Recognition of own interests (as opposed to apathy, brutishness)

information flow from education and media privatisation and fragmentation of workforce

2. Recognition that own interests locates in class interest

cooperation at workplace and elsewhere adequacy of gains won through unionism, reformism experience of alternatives working conditions, social facilities strength of racism, imperialism, sexism

3. Recognition of class interests as transcending economism, quantitative improvements

4. Recognition of class interests as superordinate to sectional interests

Boom/crisis tendencies in economy

action of other class factions, including collaboration stability and contradictions of bourgeois norms

5. Recognise exploitation and dominance by capitalist class

legitimacy of dominant political order experience of good models of alternative social organisation-political organisations, coops etc experience of bad models - eg degenerated socialist states experience of partial struggles

International situation

6. Recognition of possibility of qualitative restructuring of social activities

Class strategy of state

7. Recognition of efficacy as agent of change

scale and practices of organised parties of workers incorporation of social democratic parties etc proliferation of political ‘sects’ sectarianism level of repression and strength of repressive forces ties to family, property etc

8. Recognition of appropriate strategies for social revolution

9. Recognition of opportunity to act (as opposed to fear of action)


10. Conclusions Building formal models useful to the GPID project, other than very limited models to assess specific empirical situations, very abstract models to illustrate general processes, or rather ‘unacademic’ models for communication via gaming and the like, is a highly ambitious project. This underlies the speculative and poorly-formulated nature of much of our analysis here, but we hope that a number of basic conclusions come through. Computer modelling can at best only form a limited part of an integrated effort of theory and practice; we should not aim to construct a huge model to represent all of the issues concerned – submodels of various sorts are necessary, and it is probably essential to develop different models for assessing processes, strategies, and goals; and it is vital to be very clear about what our modelling is for and not for. The problems of theoretical diversity, organisation and demystification are all impressive ones, ones that can only be fully confronted by actually experimenting with modelling, and the resources that may be required here are quite considerable. Attention should be paid to the prospects for standing on the shoulders of (or subverting) existing models. We should explore the value and limitations of non-conventional models (eg gaming, scenarios) as means of communication.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Alford, Robert, R and Roger Friedland, 1974, ‘Nations, Parties and Participation: a critique of political sociology’, Theory and Society 1(3) 307-328 Atkinson, Pat and Johan Kusch, 1977, ‘Limits to growth or Limits to Capitalism?’, Science for People no 33 12-14 Bibby, John, 1977, ‘Must Models Mystify?’, Radical Statistical Newsletter no 8, 10-11 Bibby, John and Jeff Evans, 1978, ‘Statistical Models: a social construction of reality’, mimeo, Middlesex Polytechnic, London Bodenheimer, Susanne J, 1971, The Ideology of Developmentalism, Beverly Hills: Sage Chichilnisky, Graciela and Sam Cole, 1978, Technology, Domestic Distribution and North-South Relations (progress report), New York: UNITAR Clark, John and Sam Cole, Global Simulation Models: a Comparative Study, New York: John Wiley Clark, J A, J M McLean and P Shepherd, ‘The General Purpose Model’, Futures, (June) 229233 Cole, Sam and Graciela Chichnilnisky, 1978, ‘Modelling with Scenarios: Technology in NorthSouth Development’, Futures (August) 303-321 Cole, Sam, and Roy Turner, 1979, ‘Arbitrariness, Uncertainty ands Social Welfare in Planning: the case of urban shopping models’ in Tom Whiston (ed) Uses and Abuses of Forecasting, London: Macmillan Cole, Sam, 1977, Global Models and the International Economic Order, New York: Pergamon Duvall, Raymond, R, 1978, ‘Dependence and Dependencia Theory: notes toward precision of concept and argument’, International Organisation 32 (1) Fine, Ben and Laurence Harris, 1977, ‘Surveying the foundations’ in R Miliband and J Saville (eds) The Socialist Register 1977, London: Merlin Forbes, Hugh D and Edward R Tufte, 1968, ‘A Note of Caution in Causal Modelling’, American Political Science Review 62, 1258-64 Forrester, Jay, 1977, ‘New Perspectives on Economic Growth’, in Dennis C Meadows (ed) Alternatives to Growth – 1, Cambridge Mass: Ballinger Freeman, Chris and Marie Jahoda, (eds), 1978, World Futures: The Great Debate, London: Martin Robertson


Golub, Bob and Joe Townsend, 1977, ‘Malthus, Multnationals and the Club of Rome, Social Studies of Science 7, 201-222 Gough, A J, 1976, ‘Social Physics and Local Authority Planning’, in Housing and Class in Britain (London: Conference of Socialist Economists) Griffiths, Dot, John Irvine and Ian Miles, 1978, ‘Social Statistics: Political Perspectives’, in J Irvine, I Miles and J Evans (eds) Demystifying Social Statistics, London: Pluto Press Gutman, Herbert G, 1975, Slavery and the Numbers Game, Urbana: University of Illinois Press Herrera, A (ed), 1977, Catastrophe or New Society?, Canada: IDRC Hindrichsen, Diedrich, 1976, ‘Some theses Concerning the Application of Mathematical Systems Theory in the Social Sciences’ in H Bossel, S Klaczko, N Muller (eds), Systems Theory in the Social Sciences, Basel: Birkhauser Verlag Hoos, Ida, R, 1972, Systems Analysis and Public Policy: a critique, Berkeley: University of California Press Irvine, John and Ian Miles, 1978, ‘Alternative Ways of Life in Britain’, paper prepared for SID/GPID project on ‘Alternative Ways of Life’ Irvine, John, Ian Miles and Jeff Evans, 1979, Demystifying Social Statistics, London: Pluto Press Keat, Russel and John Urry, 1976, Social Theory as Science, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Leontief, W et al, 1977, The Future of the World Economy, Oxford: Oxford University Press McLean, J Michael, 1978, ‘Simulation Modelling’ in Jib Fowles (ed), 1978, Handbook of Futures Research, Dorsey, Illinois: Greenwood Press McLean M, P shepherd and R Curnow, 1976, Techniques for the Analysis of system Structure, Occasional Papers of the Science Policy Research Unit, no 1, University of Sussex, England Meadows,D et al, The Limits to Growth, 1972, New York: Universe Books Mesarovic, M and E Pestel, 1977, Mankind at the Turning Point, New York: Dutton Miles, Ian, 1975, The Poverty of Prediction, Farnborough: Saxon House, Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books Moy, Ronald, F, 1971, A computer Simulation of Democratic Political Development, Beverly Hills: Sage Nardin, T, 1971, ‘Violence and the State: a critique of empirical political theory’, Sage Professional Papers in Comparative Politics, vol 2 series no 01-020


Ollman, Bertell, 1972, ‘Towards Class Consciousness Next Time’, Politics and Society 3 (1) 1-24 Ollman, Bertell, 1976, Alienation (2nd ed), London: Cambridge University Press Pannekoek, Anton, 1938, Lenin as Philosopher, reprinted London: Merlin (1975) Rubinson, Richard, 1976, ‘The World Economy and the Distribution of Income Within States: a Cross-National Study’, American Sociological Review 41 (4) (38-659) Sayer, R. Andrew, 1978 (July), ‘Some comments on Mathematical Modelling in Regional Science and Political Economy’, Antipode Stinchcombe, Arthur, 1968, Constructing Social Theories, New York: Harcourt Brace Tuomi, Helena, 1977, ‘Dependency Models in Western Development Research’, in Eeva-Liisa Myllymaki and Brett Belingers (eds) Dependency and Latin American Development, Special issue Rauhaan Tutkien May-June 1977 Walleri, R Dan, 1978, ‘Trade Dependence and Underdevelopment’, Studies 11 (1) 94-127 Comparative Political

Wright, Erik Olin and Luca Perrone, 1977, ‘Marxian Class Categories and Income Inequality’, Americal Sociological Review 42 (1) 32-53





Relation of Social and Political Variables to the Model A ‘holistic’ approach with variables and submodels dealing with selected sociological phenomena ‘Political’ Judgements are introduced as exogenous policy variables A conceptual model describes social & political aspects of the society, whose physical viability is demonstrated by the mathematical model Almost no discussion of social and political factors, although it is claimed that the model can be used to analyse a wide range of scenarios

Assumptions about Technology Based on historical US experience with anticipated future diminishing returns to investment Fixed capital-output ratios calibrated to give model internal consistency for the base year Cobb-Douglas production functions with exponential change parameters used to calibrate model over 1960-1970 period. Optimisation is used to allocate capital and labour inputs Technical coefficients assumed to depend on per capita regional income. Largely based on US experiences

Assumptions about Trade Not considered but implicit continuation of past trends Exports and imports are a fixed share of total world trade per region Imports and exports are a fixed share of gross output

Domestic Distribution

No of Regions 1

Assumptions about Market Behaviour Prices increasing as resources become depleted. No other explicit market assumptions Constant prices supply and investment bound to available consumption Constant prices except for land

Limits to Growth (System Dynamics) (Meadows 1972) World Integrates Model (Hierarchical Systems Theory) (Mesarovic & Pestel 1974) Fundacion Bariloche (Herrera 1976)

Not considered but implicit continuation of past trends Not considered but implicit continuation of past trends Egalitarian distribution of basic goods

Perspectives Generally Supported by the Study World stagnation


World stagnation plus elements of liberal and NIEO Collective selfreliance + unequal exchange


UN Input-Output (Leontief 1976)

Exports fixed share of total world exports, imports a fixed proportion of regional consumption of the good imported

Not considered but implicit continuation of past trends


Prices of raw materials and pollution abatement increase with growth

Northern liberal plus Internationalist NIEO

RIO (Tinbergen 1976)

Mainly discussion of transnational political and economic institutions and desirable human goals

Qualitative sector by sector analysis of major transnational issues

The Great Debate (Freeman & Jahoda, 1978)

Analysis of economic development ‘profiles’ based on competing social theories. A construction of corresponding ‘images of the future’

No macro-economic parameters assumed. Specified industries and technologies considered in relation to economic profiles

Discussion of trade. Different strategies for different issues including international division of labour, cartel formation and collective selfreliance. Different assumptions for different scenarios

Need for more North South equalisation up to ½ of present inequalities, qualitative considerations only

Not applicable

Qualitative discussions only

Internationalist NIEO + some aspects of collective self-reliance

Alternative explanations of changes in domestic and international distribution hypothesised semiquantitative considerations only

From 2 – 8 depending on issue

Critique of different assumptions and implications derived from them

Northern structuralist

Global Forecast and Diagnosis The Limits to Growth (Meadows 1972) Limits reached in next 100 years. Only safe way is to slow down – population growth is greatest impediment to redistribution – must achieve equilibrium or face overshoot and collapse Developing world crisis – regional resource catastrophes could spread world-wide and paralyse future orderly development. Survival of world system is in question – need technological restraint with social institutional and lifestyle reforms Malthusian Constraints Food Physical and social limit force collapse of agriculture in 100 years – ‘law of increasing costs’ Malthusian Constraints Environment Exponential costs of pollution control cannot be met Economic and Institutional Changes Stop industrial and population growth. Create a totally new form of human society in ‘equilibrium’. This requires great moral resources Organic growth co-ordinated global economic cooperation 5% investment aid to LDC’s. create a conservationist global ethic and harmony with nature

Materials 250 years supply only – collapse in 50 years through physical shortage and exponential growth

Energy Needs ultimately adequately supplied by nuclear power

Technology Optimism about ‘cost free’ technology is not justified – blocks to technical progress

Population Collapse at about 16 billion – population could level off at about 8 billion

Strategy for Survival (Mesarovic & Pestel 1974)

Possibilities for expansion of production are in rich countries but lack of production capacity especially Asia

Inexhaustibility cannot be taken for granted

Nuclear power is a ‘Faustian bargain’ – use solar power

Need to exist harmoniously with nature or nature will react against

Exponential growth assumed although ‘appropriate’ technology is called for

8-12 billion by 2100 if an effective population policy is introduced

Catastrophe or a New Society (Herrera et al 1976)

The Future of the World Economy (Leontief 1977)

Catastrophe is an everyday reality in LDC’s – extremet economic difficulty predicted in Asia and Africa by 2000. Scarcity is not due to physical limits – population growth is not the major factor. Must achieve basic needs in LDC’s but without help this will not happen in a reasonable time Second development decade strategy does not provide for sufficient rapid closing of income gap between developing and developed countries – gap would not diminish by the year 2000. Significant changes in economic relations between developed and developing countries – high growth rates in LDC’s coupled with slightly lower rates in DC’s

Scarcity of LDC’s not attributable to physical limits

Minerals can be extracted at decreasing social cost

Fossil fuels depleted in next 100 years – nuclear and fusion power is ‘inexhaustible’

Increasing economy does not necessarily mean increasing pollution

Technology grows faster than consumption – if LDC’s had technology production would outstrip population

Highest 14 billion in 2050 lowest 10 billion – size depends on satisfaction of basic needs

New patterns of self-reliant socialist development world-wide we need with limited mutual aid. This requires fundamental socipolitical reforms and an end to the ideology of growth High investment and brisk expansion of international trade – significant changes in world economic order. Far-reaching changes of social, political and institutional character in developing countries not discussed

Dramatic developments bring new land into production and double or treble yields

Tremendous growth in consumption – not a problem of absolute scarcity – problem is how to exploit more costly reserves

Coal is relatively plentiful even under conservative estimates

Technologically pollution is a manageable problem – economic costs high but not unmanageable

By the year 2000 developed countries other than the US will use the 1970 technologies of North America – other countries will move in this direction

Extremely steep rise in population – UN estimates used average about 10 billion

Model FUGI Future of Global Interdependence Institution (Project Leader) Japanese Club of Rome (Y Kaya) Summary of Project Studies long-term economic relations between industrialised and developing countries, especially the future role of Japan. International division of labour for agriculture, mining, light manufacturing, heavy manufacturing and knowledge intensive industry considered Long-term world agriculture model only using exogenous inputs from UN study. Considers 10 regions with 12 income groups in each (6 urban and 6 rural). Aims to identify casual factors underlying world food situation Long-term model of international markets, contains relatively detailed treatment of bilateral trade, price mechanism and technical change. Based on profit maximisation in neo-classical framework Medium- long-term model focussed on the evolution of less developed countries. Analyse prospects for growth and development under alternative assumptions about growth and inflation in the developed world. Combination of short-term macro-economic models linked through bilateral trade and capital flows. Relates short to medium term projections mainly for OECD countries. A neo-Ricardian North-South equilibrium model demonstrating the impact of technology and its organisation on income distribution within and between countries Regions (or countries) 9 Sectors 6 Population Endogenous Current State of Project Results available (eg Kaya and Suzuki, 1974. Model being further developed (Kaya, 1977)

MOIRA Model of International Relations in Agriculture SARUM Systems Analysis Research Unit SIMLINK World Development Report Model LINK

Free University Amsterdam (H Linneman)


1+ exogenous inputs 13


Results available (Linneman, 1976). Work continuing

UK Department of Environment (P Roberts) IBRD Washington




2 (14 products)

Not treated

Schematic results only. Work continuing and including extension of level of aggregation Results not available. Work on-going and further models being developed Regular analysis of results – work ongoing Pilot study under completion – extensions of the model underway

International co-operative effort (L Klein) Susses University UK Columbia University USA



Not treated

UNITAR (Chichilnisky and Cole, 1978)





Main Issue of Study

Number of Sectors

Number of Regions

Number of Income Groups
3 in each region

Other Economic Actors

Main References

Basic Findings/Other Comments


Background model for study of technology distribution and North-South relations Terms of trade and domestic distribution

3: basic consumption and luxury and capital goods

2: North and South

Appendices ( ) &( )

Reported in Submodels I and II and dynamic runs below

2: basic consumption and luxury/investment 2: North and South 2 in each region

Appendix ( )

Conditions studies under which exports led policies of the south worsen or improve North-South terms of trade and domestic income distribution in the South: abundant labour and dualism in production as special cases

SUBMODEL I Growth of the North and of the South 2: as above 2: as above As above Appendix ( ) More growth of the North increases exports of the South but may under certain conditions worsen terms of trade and total revenues of the south as well as domestic income distribution of the south. In this case for same growth in the South must now produce more investment goods domestically

Appendix ( ) SUBMODEL II Effects of NorthSouth aid in overall equalisation of welfare Effects of 2 2: as above 3: 2 income groups in the North. 1 in South 3 2 Transfer of basic or luxury goods from the high income group of the North to the South is shown to improve the North’s welfare and under certain conditions worsen the South’s unless it worsens the welfare of the poor in the North Appendix ( )


Governments and an international organisation

simultaneous changes in technology, investment, population and trade


that effects transfers -

Increasing labour productivity and population growth tend in general to reduce welfare; investment increases it. As in above models, trade may or may not increase welfare depending on economic conditions

MODELLING IN PREPARATION SUBMODEL III Vintage capital and embodied technical change 1 1 or 2 1 Appendix ( ) Illustrates importance of relationship between productivity and investment, suggests possibility of unemployment arising from labour shedding induced by foreign competition Examination of the proposed relationship between technical change and long-run cycles in unemployment


Long wave Kondratieff cycle

2:’traditional’ and new




Appendix ( )


Transnational corporation and financial advantages. Product cycle




Transnational corporations Government and Firms

Appendix ( )

Conditions for direct investment and increase/ decrease of share of returns of proportion of foreign production Not yet available Not yet available





Appendix ( ) Not yet available


General background model for future issues of interdependence and development alternatives

6 for international trade, 3 for domestic


3 in each region

Governments and Transnational Corporations

Not yet available

Appendix 1 - Some Models in Review This appendix is based on Cole and Chichilnisky (1978), Chichilnisky and Cole (1978) and unpublished material by Miles 1. What are World Models? We are all used to the term ‘model’ being applied to toys – to scale representations like train sets, model aircraft, and the like. Other scale models are more than toys, however; architects build models of their designs so as to demonstrate their appearance and structural properties; aircraft designers test out the aerodynamic properties of their designs by testing models in wind tunnels. Full scale models are also often used in testing designs and in training exercises – for example, ‘simulations’ of aircraft cockpits give would-be pilots experience in controlling aeroplanes. The ‘model’ the behaviour of the system so that the trainee pilot can safely test out the actions appropriate to various circumstances. Computer simulations of social systems, in contrast, are rarely designed so as to look like whatever is being modelled. Instead, they try to represent its behaviour in numerical terms: a computer model of the world does not look like the world! Such models give numerical accounts of how the world would change given certain assumptions about its structure, they report on trends in the world as far as these can be expressed in numerical terms – for example, population levels, rates of economic growth, and the like are relatively easy to present in this way. The computer reports on the behaviour of its simulation model of the world, and this is crucially different from reporting on the world itself: the world model cannot hope to capture all of the events in the world, nor even all of those that could be expressed in numbers. It only contains those features of the world that the modeller conceives of as relevant. The computer is a versatile and immensely useful tool. It can handle many calculations so that more variables and relationships may be simultaneously taken into account than is generally possible for the unaided human intellect. There are disadvantages associated with the power of the computer: it may be difficult for even the modellers themselves to say which of a large number of relationships are the crucial ones in determining the model’s behaviour. Another feature of most existing modelling techniques is that they call for numerically precise specifications of relationships and of data. In turn they produce very precise results, expressed in

figures rather than in more qualitative words. The adequacy of such a forecast however depends primarily upon the validity of the assumptions used concerning the variables and the relationships between them, and only secondarily upon whether it is presented in a numerical form. The computer, despite its great power, lacks the ability to correct errors built into a model. A computer model can only be as good as the assumptions on which it is based. Much of the difference between the forecasts and prescriptions produced by different modellers is due to their being based on different assumptions. 2. Notes of World Modelling Studies The ‘first generation’ of world models, World Dynamics and The Limits to Growth, were very much a product of the environmental debate. The world was treated as a single global system, rather than as a set of interacting regions in which economic systems, pollution levels or resource availability might vary from place to place. Their economic structure was straightforward enough, relating to food and resources production without breaking these down into different sorts of foodstuffs and different raw materials, for example. Later modellers would, in the main, attempt to take into account more regions and detailed breakdowns of variables. Typically, their models have become very detailed – the model used in Mankind at the Turning Point (Mesarovic and Peste, 1974), which groups the world into ten regions, involves several hundred times the number of relationships involved in The Limits to Growth. None of the more recent computer models predict the sort of ecological catastrophe forecast in Limits. Some do pint to continuing problems of food supply in certain regions (notable South Asia), but they are generally much more optimistic about overall resource and environmental issues, and focus much more upon differences (and to some extent, relations) between regions – especially the rich industrial and the poor underdeveloped regions of the world. Table A1 presents a comparison of some of the main features of the modelling studies, with two non-modelling world futures works. These modellers agree that a projection into the future of current trends would lead to widening or, at best, constant and huge gaps, in income between rich and poor countries. The United Nations World Input-Output Model (Leontief et al 1977) is most concerned with demonstrating that there are no insurmountable physical limits to rapid growth in the third World. It estimates what pollution abatement activities, resource availability, trade and investment would be needed for the levels of economic and population growth involved in halving the income gap between rich and poor nations. Perhaps the most distinctive model is that produced by the Bariloche

group (Herrera et al, 1977) which sets out to show that it would be possible to create a world in which basic needs (for food, housing etc) were met all around the world. This is not a prediction of the world’s future, but rather an illustration that, were incomes distributed more evenly within regions and goods produced according to social need rather than for private gain, such a world could be created. Let us consider how these studies tackle social, political and technological factors. Current global modelling studies exhibit a spectrum of approaches to the inclusive (or non-inclusive) of social and political variables. These are compared in table . The systems dynamics approach (used in the Limits to Growth Study), in principle, is to include important variables, however uncertain their magnitude and relationships into the formal structure of a dynamic model. Thus, sociological and psychological variables such as ‘health’ or level of urbanisation appear in some system dynamics models and to a limited extent affect the results obtained. The results are presented (with some caveats admittedly) with very little discussion of the political implications. For example, in the Limits to Growth the authors propose a transition to a global ‘equilibrium’ society (although the institutional and other mechanisms for achieving this are not debated). In most other studies ‘non-economic’ variables are excluded and treated as exogenous factors. In the Hierarchical systems approach (Mesarovic and Pestel, 1974), for example, the ‘core’ model (and its submodels) is a simple macro-economic model which contains certain policy variables which may be adjusted according to the wishes of the different operators of the model. This approach does not succeed in the impossible task of rendering variables and indeed the structure of the model itself would have to adapt if it is to be consistent with different interpretations and judgements. Greater recognition of this point is achieved by the Bariloche authors (Herrera, 1977) who unlike most global modellers have a rather specific point to make and do not claim to be constructing an analytic tool of policy. The ‘ideal’ society of the Bariloche study emphasises regional selfsufficiency and basic needs. The ‘mathematical’ model containing largely economic variables is seen clearly to be part of a wider ‘conceptual’ model of development which includes social and political factors. However, even in this study it is often not clear how the parameters in the economic model are related in detail to the verbal analysis of the conceptual model. In addition, as in the Limits to Growth there is no discussion of how the ‘ideal’ society is to be reached. This is especially important in these studies since significant changes in national and international

patterns of consumption are envisaged. In contrast to the Latin American model, the United Nations model (Leontief, 1977) makes no discussion at all of possible institutional reforms and social changes associated with the economic policies they advocate. By implication considerable modernisation of developing countries towards the Western model is involved. To some extent such lack of discussion of social and political factors is justified on the grounds that the model is merely being used to ‘demonstrate the physical viability’ (or otherwise) of the path of development in question. (Parenthically it is also because discussion of these factors destroys the credibility of any assertion that modelling studies are a-political). However, the failure to take account of social and political factors in constructing models and interpreting their results is serious given the fact (which we illustrate below) that the economic variables considered in the models are very dependent on them. GPID would need to take a different stance. The treatment of technology in these models especially demonstrates this. Almost no attempt is made to relate assumptions about technology to the situation of different countries. Only the Bariloche study assumes a model structure based on third World rather than industrialised countries experience and recognises, for example, the importance of employment as a redistributive mechanism to reduce poverty. The basic assumption regarding technology in the models is little more than eventually the whole world will adopt technologies with the economic characteristics of those used in the United States. Let us illustrate this with one of the more ‘data conscious’ studies (the United Nations Input-Output model). For the 15 regions, 48 sector input-output model technical parameters are estimated and projected as follows. A ‘reference’ matrix is constructed for the United States for 1970 by aggregating and adjusting a 1967 table. Future changes in the technical coefficients are based on extrapolation. Differences in the coefficients for other regions as a function of capita income are the obtained using a ‘by eye’ regression for different years based on eight countries (of which only India 1960 and Columbia 1969 are Third World countries). No substitution between capital and labour is permitted, so that technologies are fixed by the input-output coefficients – by no means the least satisfactory method to be found. However, for many coefficients serious errors and inconsistencies could arise.

An alternative approach to socio-political and technological factors has been not to use a formal economic model at all but to let the conceptual model form to rigorous structuring device of analysis. For example, in the Science Policy Research Unit studies of alternative scenarios of global development a mathematical model was not used. Instead alternative ‘profiles’ of global and regional economic growth were assumed and interpretations of these growth patterns provided in terms of contrasting socio-economic theories or ‘worldviews’ (see Freeman and Jahoda, 1978). The ‘profiles’ and ‘worldviews’ were then used as a basis for discussion of supply and demand in selected sectors (eg food, energy, raw materials) and of the ‘appropriateness’ or otherwise of particular technologies (eg hybrid seeds, breeder reactors, recycling methods). The principle difference here, therefore in the treatment of technology was that since the discussion was based largely on secondary analysis of detailed case studies, no attempt was made to deduce in a formal way the impact of different technological choices on macro-economic performance. The RIO project (Tinbergen 1976) also used a non-mathematical analysis relying on a series of non-quantitative specialist analyses (for example, of food production and distribution, industrialisation and the international division of labour, transnational enterprises) incorporated into a summary analysis. In some sense this was not forecasting exercise, rather an analysis of historical trends and current economic and political contradictions. There are obviously both good and bad lessons to be learned from existing studies. The failure to take account of social theory and of case studies of novel technologies or social institutions does not always stem from an unwillingness of modellers to do so but from the very real problems inherent in such an exercise. (That these difficulties often arise from the institutional and individual organisational aspects of interdisciplinary policy research has been discussed elsewhere – Clark and Cole, 1975 and see the body of this paper). In each study some balance has to be found as to the weight to be placed on different variables and pieces of information. We conclude this section of the appendix by presenting some further tables comparing different aspects of world modelling studies: Table A2 reports on the main assumptions and results of the models set out in Table A1, and Table A3 gives a brief summary of some other worlds models. 3. The North-South Model One of the authors of the present paper is involved in a relatively recent modelling effort referred

to in Table A3: the North-South model. We propose to devote a little space to describing this model, since working with it has informed some of the positions taken in this paper, eg in respect of the use of submodels around a general model. In its present form, the general model is a highly aggregated macroeconomic dynamic model of relations between Northern (central) and Southern (periphery) economies – whether the term is accurate or not, it has been dubbed a neoRicardian model due to its deviations from the neo-classical framework. The intention is to eventually develop some alternative versions of the model, based on, for example, Marxian theory. A central objective of the study is to develop a model useful for the study of income distribution within and between countries of the North and the South, as mediated through market behaviour. The model developed emphasises the importance of productivity and consumption in basic goods sectors (such as agriculture products) for production and distribution in the economy as a whole. It is also directed towards the central questions of the role played by technology in the determination, through market operation, of income distribution within and between the countries of the North and South. The specifications of the North-south Model used so far in the pilot phase of this study is compared with submodels in Table A4. It has two regions, each one produces and exchanges in domestic and international markets three types of goods: basic consumption goods, luxury goods and capital goods. There are two skill/income labour groups in each region which, together with non-wage earners, make up for three income groups. These income groups are differentiated not only by their earning patterns but also by their patterns of consumption of basic, luxury and capital goods. This model has been calibrated with Brazil and UK data representing the South and the North. While the model is crude in terms of detail, it is relatively sophisticated in terms of its theoretical content, which is important to the qualitative as well as quantitative behaviour we wish to analyse. With a focus on central relationships between technology, trade and production and consumption, within the context of alternative paths of global development, the level of aggregation and an accompanying set of actors and variables is intended to help our quantitative understanding while not hindering or obscuring our qualitative understanding. The model is used not so much to give quantified estimates, in the first instance, but to look for tendencies in variables under different sets of assumptions and to guide the analysis and further our

understanding of detailed issues and policies. Submodels are developed to study special issues, in contrast to the more general practice of developing submodels to deal with subsectors of the economy only. For instance, submodels I was developed to study North-South terms of trade and domestic distribution; submodel II was developed to study the possible effects of aid. The idea is always that, in order to study more pointedly a particular issue, it is useful to single out the main actors and relations which are in general only some of all those considered in the comprehensive model. In addition, a smaller model allows for better analytical study and facilitates interpretation of the numerical computer results of the larger models. Other submodels are being developed and are in different stages of completion and of integration with the North-South model for the study of other issues. Furthermore, in the future work these submodels and their results are being combined within the larger 5-region, 6 market Alternative Independent Model (AIM), which is at present being developed. An exploratory submodel of transitional corporations behaviour and two models of technical change and innovation are also being developed.

In constructing the present model and submodels we focus on the crucial variables in order to eliminate as much detail as possible from the model. In the pilot phase we have not attempted to produce a detailed model calibrated on precise data, but rather to select the economic variables considered to the important and to model, using available (or in some cases adequate ‘plausible’) data, a caricature of the situation under consideration. The results so far are thus better suited to indicate possible inherent tendencies in a given economic arrangement than to offer detailed quantitative forecasts. However, since the larger existing world models offer little more, on balance this seemed a better strategy.

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