2024 (21), №1

Exploring Systems Thinking: Between Alexander Bogdanov and Ludwig von Bertalanffy

30.03.202411 апреля, 2024Без комментариев

For citation: 

Kleiner, G. B. (2024). Exploring Systems Thinking: Between Alexander Bogdanov and Ludwig von Bertalanffy. AlterEconomics, 21(1), 20–28. https://doi.org/10.31063/AlterEconomics/2024.21-1.3


The article presents a comparative analysis of the concepts proposed by two influential figures in modern systems theory — Alexander Bogdanov and Ludwig von Bertalanffy. In light of the revival of systems analysis, the article addresses the need to reevaluate the systemic worldviews of these theorists, aiming to discern similarities, differences, and the potential for a systemic synthesis of their ideas. Summarizing the key principles of the new theory of economic systems and space-time analysis, the article highlights distinctions bet­ween Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s discrete (“elemental”) concept and Alexander Bogdanov’s continuous (“process”) concept. The shift in system formation from continuous to discrete forms across various fields is underscored, emphasizing the necessity for a holistic approach in 21st-century systems thinking. The article introduces a tetrad as a universal model, emphasizing its role in fostering integral, full-scale systems thinking. The concepts of Ludwig von Bertalanffy and Alexander Bogdanov can be seen as polar, reflecting a transformation in the theory and practice of system formation from the 1920s to the 1940s, moving from continuous systemic forms to discrete ones. Additionally, the article underscores distinctions between one-sided versions of systems concepts that focus on organizational structures, innovative projects, logistics processes, or intra- and external-system environments. The tetrad, serving as a comprehensive systemic worldview, incorporates object, process, design, and environmental subsystems. The article advocates for a holistic approach, uniting short- and long-term local and global subsystems, and outlines a foundational framework for integral, full-scale systems thinking in the 21st century.

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George B. Kleiner — Corresponding Member of RAS, Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Professor, Head of the Scientific Department Mesoeconomics, Microeconomics, Corporate Economics, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of RAS; Scientific Director of the Department of System Analysis in Economics, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation; Head of the Department of Institutional Economics, the State University of Management; https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2747-6159 (47, Nakhimovsky Prospekt, Moscow, 117418, Russian Federation; 49/2, Leningradsky Prospekt, Moscow, 125167, Russian Federation; 99, Ryazansky Prospekt, Moscow, 109542, Russian Federation; e-mail: george.kleiner@inbox.ru).

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