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Social Dynamics

Introduction to Social Dynamics

A curated collection of works by Jay Wright Forrester

This collection was assembled by Jay W. Forrester in the two years before he died in November 2016 at the age of 98. It contains papers he considered his most important statements about the dynamics of social systems, ranging from corporations and cities to global issues and K-12 education, from the methods of System Dynamics to some of its historically important applications. Social Dynamics is the companion volume to his planned collection Economic Dynamics, which is currently under development by a team led by Bob Eberlein. The papers in this collection are arranged in twelve groups. Although the papers were written at very different times, from 1956 to 2015, they can be thought of as “chapters” in a more-or-less coherent story. 

Each chapter begins with a preface, giving an orientation to what the reader will find in the papers grouped there. There are treasures sprinkled throughout the articles, and the chapter prefaces will help the reader find them.


We acknowledge the extraordinary work of the team including Robin Langer, LouAnne Lundgren, Rod MacDonald, Erin Sheehan, George P. Richardson, Babak Bahaddin, Jane Platania, and Roberta Spencer that made these papers ready for electronic publication. The papers required figures to be recreated, references to be updated, copyright permissions to be obtained, all performed with demanding attention to detail. We would not have this remarkable collection of Jay’s important life’s work without their efforts and talents.