# (2011-01-20) Rao Model Dynamics Constraints Boundaries

Venkatesh Rao notes that his interest in marginalized behaviors is in understanding-via-ModelBuilding the Boundary Conditions of Human Systems, which is where he thinks the meat is (as compared to Dynamics and Constraints). *This is also why mathematicians are disappointed when they look at the dynamics and constraints in models built by historians. Toynbee’s monumental work seems, to a dynamics-focused mathematical thinker, much ado about an approximate 2nd order under-damped oscillator (the cycle of Golden and Dark ages typical in history). Hegel’s historicism and “End Of History” model appears to be a dull observation about an asymptotic state... This is part of the reason I don’t like traditional mathematical models at “how the world works” scale, like System Dynamics. They ignore or oversimplify what I think is the main raw material of interest: boundary conditions. A theory of unemployment, slum growth and housing development cycles in big cities that ignores distinctions among vandalism, beggary and back-alley crime is, in my opinion, not a theory worth much. If you could explain elegantly why some cities in decline turn to crime, while others turn to vandalism or beggary, then you’d have interesting, high-leverage insights to work with.*

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