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An increase in magnitude of some aggregate (see aggregation) measure (see variable) of a system, e.g., growth in gross national product or in complexity. Growth need not be desirable, e.g., growth in unemployment or in violence on television. There are two kinds of growth phenomena, (1) growth in numerority, e.g., population growth or growth in the number of cars produced, and (2) growth in structure, e.g., growth of a crystal or of an enterprise. Without reference to external conditions (see adaptation), structural growth recognises several principles. Growth (a) by nucleation: in any system, a structure has a minimum size below which it cannot exist above which it may expand, (b) by autocatalysis or (c) according to some kind of plan, e.g., by the rewrite rules of a grammar, or by the dna (see development, embryogenesis). In complex systems, (d) structural growth is likely to effect the parts of a system differentially, creating lags and stresses which call either (e) for compensatory activities, e.g., crisis intervention or conflict resolution by a government, or (f) for mediating devices, e.g., exchange networkS or communication technology. (g) All growth creates forms but forms are limited by the pattern of growth (see constitution) thus ultimately terminating in morphostasis (Boulding). (Krippendorff)
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