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Social Complexity of Informal Value Exchange

from Bruce Edmonds

Informal value transfer and credit networks involve people or institutions providing credit or value transfer services based on social trust rather than laws and contracts. Such networks constitute a complex system that have been relatively unstudied yet have a significant impact on people’s lives.  Examples range from small baby-sitting circles up to the Hawala/Hundi systems of value transfer. Such exchange often involves many social processes and mechanisms other than those usually considered by economists, including: social norms, altruism, reputation, trust, group membership, friendship, kinship, identity, status etc.

A group of academics who aim to use empirical case-studies and agent-based simulation are forming to study these systems.  It will initially organise workshops and aim to apply for network/project funding later.

Its first event is a workshop: “SCIVE 2010” to be held at the European Conference on Complex Systems in September 2010 in Lisbon.  Details at:  http://cfpm.org/scive

If you want to join this effort, or merely be kept in touch with its activities, please email me, Bruce Edmonds on Bruce@edmonds.name

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