Social Entropy and Cultural Decline in America


Social Entropy and cultural Decline in America

A concept related to physical entropy is that of Social Entropy (Mawhinney, 1998). Social entropy is defined as that proportion of human behavioral energy, within a population, which is not available to build and maintain the socioculture–but functions as a drain upon it . In other words, any individual who is significantly incapacitated by any condition (physical or mental) represents an expense in human energy lost to build and maintain the socioculture in which they live. This cost can also be seen in the expense in the human energy and revenues which were originally invested to acculturate the individual. Additional costs are then incurred in order to rehabilitate, prosecute, monitor, imprison, or , to provide welfare for these individuals. Another hidden cost to the socioculture is added when the afflicted individuals’ maladaptive behavior patterns impact upon and harms others who are associated with him or her. I call this spreading effect of the original problem, Behavioral Contagion. Behavioral contagion can be seen as both a cause and a result of social entropy. I believe this positive feeback loop to be both synergistic and exponential in nature.

These behavioral/psychological processes, and their past and future costs, to sociocultures would appear to be very difficult to calculate. However, they can at least be conceptualized and identified as factors worthy of our grave concern.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. 8/15/10

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2 Responses to “Social Entropy and Cultural Decline in America”

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  2. Morris Says:

    Nicely said, Dr. Mawhinney. I was looking for just that, and you said it so succinctly. Now I can go back to that bartender and act like I knew what he was talking about when he brought up “entropy.”

    Like

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