THE MACROSCOPE: A New World Scientific System by Jo‰l de Rosnay

THE MACROSCOPE: A New World Scientific System

Email this review


The title neologism, coined by the Director of Applied Research and Development at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, refers to a metaphorical instrument--the ""tool"" to be used to examine the larger network in which the living organism is embedded. The macroscope is the key to the author's exercise in developing a ""new world scientific system."" Rather than new, however, let us say that it is a formulation based on the ideas of a French Group of Ten and modifications of the theme of limits to growth of the Club of Rome. It is a sort of global dynamic equilibrium model which expands on such ideas as Leontieff's input-output economic matrices and concepts emerging from studies of energy balance, information theory, and innovations in telecommunications. Okay so far? At the outset de Rosnay envisions the ecosystem as a series of nested Russian dolls. In the past we have tended to dissect, separate, and analyze the individual components. Rather, we should be considering the interactions and interdependence of the components--in short observing the global network, the system as a whole. There follow brief (and often too elementary) analyses of economy, ecology, biological systems, business and industry, education and values, information. . . along with discussions of the contributions and limitations of cybernetics, general systems theory, and systematic as opposed to systemic approaches. In the end, de Rosnay develops a scenario of what could be the new ecosociety in which cooperation, self-development, limited growth, and a rebirth of values emerge, with appropriate new technologies. This, like the rest of the book, is presented as a kind of open-ended dialogue with the reader, who, aside from wondering whether the world really works this way, may well ponder how we could arrive at Ideal Ecosystem from Present Reality.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row