Publication 1280

Umpleby S. A. (2007) Reflexivity in social systems: The theories of George Soros. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 24: 515–522. Fulltext at
George Soros’s reflexivity theory is quite compatible with second order cybernetics. Indeed his work shows how to apply ideas in second order cybernetics to economics, finance, and political science. This paper briefly reviews three theories of reflexivity in cybernetics. It provides an introduction to Soros’s version of reflexivity theory and reviews applications in economics and finance. Soros’s approach to economics is based on different assumptions about information and about human behavior. His approach to finance is more holistic than most current work in finance. He does not emphasize mathematical models but rather sees finance as a human player game with himself as a participant. The paper concludes that Soros’s work is a very important contribution to and expansion of contemporary social science.


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