ICCS2004 Application Submission/Review

Abstract for
"REVOLUTION BY OSMOSIS: A CASE STUDY OF WEST FLORIDA, TEXAS, CALIFORNIA AND HAWAII"


The process whereby the United States acquired West Florida, Texas, California and Hawaii followed roughly the same course: colonists emigrate from the United States into territory controlled by another sovereign government. The colonists swear allegiance to their new homeland, pledging to be good and industrious citizens and to obey the statutes and usages of their new country. After a period of time has passed and more Americans have entered, some legally and some illegally, the former citizens of the United States declare their independence of the central government, set up a new revolutionary republic and shortly thereafter petition the United States for admission as a territory. After a period of time (very short in some cases, longer in others) the United States admits the newly declared independent nation to the United States. This paper proposes to utilize agent-based modeling (ABM) and Spreadsheet Modeling of Fuzzy Cognitive Maps (Spreadsheet FCMs) to analyze revolution as an emergent property of American immigration into territory controlled by foreign governments. It is possible to use Spreadsheet-FCMs as well as the NetLogo ABM modeling system to vary the characteristics and investigate the operation of the process. Use of these two methodologies provides a useful check of one against the other, as Spreadsheet-FCM concentrates on the operation of macro-level forces and NetLogo ABM evaluates the results of interactions of many individual agents, allowing a situation to play itself out once agents have been given characteristics expressed as simple rules of behavior. Each method compensates for the implicit assumptions (and potential omissions and oversights) of the other. Both Spreadsheet FCMs and NetLogo ABM are applications of the theory of complex adaptive systems. By generating data in simulations, computer modeling can image behavior of both the individual component agents and the collective revolutionary system in candidate explanatory hypotheses. The “goodness of fit” of various proposed explanations can be tested by running the model and then comparing results to the actual record of events to determine the theory that comes closest. Both modeling techniques permit variation of individual components while maintaining others as constants (this is particularly a feature of NetLogo’s Behavior Space tool), thus the degree of interdependence of the parts of the model can be measured. With an explanatory model chosen and the degree of interdependence of its components determined, the overall complexity of the Osmotic Revolution process can be determined.