The Invisible Wand: Adaptive Co-management as an Emergent Strategy in Complex Bio-economic Systems

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"This paper provides an economic perspective on concepts related to adaptive co-management (ACM). The discussion is cast within a formal generalised complex system (CS) framework. The authors explicitly explore the hypothesis of whether ACM can be regarded as an emergent strategy under specific conditions. The conditions draw a corollary from the well-known work of Adam Smith that describes 'self interest' as a forcing factor (the 'invisible hand) that lead to stability and efficiency in economic systems. The specific hypothesis is meant as an exploratory tool that permits the authors: (i) to develop in greater detail a formal definition of the elements of the system within a CS framework; (ii) to provide economic perspectives on the literature relating to ACM; (iii) to derive some related empirical lessons from that literature; (iv) to demonstrate the limitations of existing economic modelling and analytical constructs for addressing ACM issues; (v) to identify potential policy linkages; and (vi) to elaborate research implications."
co-management, adaptive systems, modeling, complexity, policy analysis