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Governing Complex SystemsSocial Capital for the Anthropocene$
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Oran R. Young

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035934

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035934.001.0001

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Introduction: The Age of Complexity

Introduction: The Age of Complexity

(p.1) Introduction: The Age of Complexity
Governing Complex Systems

Oran R. Young

The MIT Press

The Earth is moving into a new era, frequently referred to as the Anthropocene, in which anthropogenic drivers have become major determinants of the trajectory of the Earth system. Compared to the Holocene, a relatively benign era from the perspective of human well-being, the Anthropocene is emerging as a more turbulent era featuring processes of change that are often nonlinear, frequently abrupt, typically surprising, and generally challenging from a human perspective. Our basic understanding of governance, derived from the effort to solve largescale environmental problems like the depletion of stratospheric ozone remains relevant in this setting. But now we must supplement this understanding with new perspectives on meeting needs for governance that will augment the social capital available to those responsible for creating and implementing governance systems that will prove effective in addressing problems like climate change and the loss of biological diversity.

Keywords:   Anthropocene, Holocene, human-dominated systems, social capital, socio-ecological systems

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