The long-term development of society is determind by what happens within the three partial systems: economy, environment and social sector, as well as by the links among these partial systems. If it is intended to obtain information about possible development trends within this highly dimensional and complex system as a whole, suitable models have to be worked out the parameters of which must be estimated on the basis of empirical data, and which may form the starting point for simulations. For models already existing it can generally be said that modelling of the economy and the environment as well as of relations between these partial systems has already been achieved in many fields. In contrast, however, modelling of the social sub-system, based on empirical data, as well as its links to the fields of the economy and the environment is not in sight. The main reason is that a great number of areas belonging to the social sub-system are to be characterized in qualitative terms rather than quantitatively, thus not allowing a model concept primarily based on quantitative information; it is further due to the fact that for many social aspects no hypotheses exist that can be modelled -neither for the individual social phenomena themselves nor for their relations to the other two sub-systems.
In this Cooperation Group, too, we shall not try to model the social sub-system and its relations to the economy and the environment extensively. It is rather intended to take a first step in this direction, i.e., to attempt an integration of those partial systems of the social sub-system for which suitable hypotheses and, in part, empirically founded models for their relations to the economy and the environment have already been formulated. This applies particularly to the two partial systems of "demographic development" and "education".
The object of the Cooperation Group therefore is to study approaches to modelling that have been specified for the demographic development and educational activities in Germany with respect to their suitability for an integration into a comprehensive system of society as a whole and - if suitable in principle - to adapt them. The Panta Rhei Model of Osnabrück University shall serve as a basic model. In addition it will be discussed for which additional field belonging to the social subsystem an integration into a comprehensive model context may turn out promising.
To achieve this, scientists from the fields of sociology, demography, economic sciences, educational economy and statistics will work together at the ZiF for four months. As of August 2004, the group has already implemented a demographic component that can be linked to the PANTA RHEI model the group is using as a starting point. Another model component differentiating demand and supply of labour according to qualification, sex and age has been partially implemented but requires further specification. By the end of September 2004, when the co-operation period ends, the group will be on record both for practical progress in modelling and for outlining a roadmap for substantial further research.
Contribution by Carsten Strahmer (PDF-Datei, ca. 320 kB)
Review of the Group's work by Carsten Stahmer (PDF-file in German only, ca. 240 kB)
Members of the Cooperation Group:
Peter Bartelheimer (Göttingen), Georg Ewerhart (Altenberge), E. Jürgen Flöthmann (Bielefeld), Marc Ingo Wolter (Osnabrück)