The New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) is an independent educational and research institution dedicated to advancing the study of complex systems.
The complexity of a system's behavior is fundamentally related to the complexity of challenges that it can effectively overcome. Historic changes in the structure of human organizations are self-consistently related to an increasing complexity of their social and economic contexts. Further, the collective complexity of human civilization is directly relevant to its ability to effectively respond to large scale environmental challenges.
To consider the collective behavior of human civilization, one must develop concepts that describe the relationship of individual to collective behavior in a more general way. The goal of this article is to extend the systematic understanding of collective or cooperative behavior so as to characterize such behavior in physical, biological and social systems.