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Casualty Dynamics in Wars and Terrorism and the Scale-Free Organization of Social Systems

Research paper by Ingo Piepers

Indexed on: 20 Jun '06Published on: 20 Jun '06Published in: Nonlinear Sciences - Adaptation and Self-Organizing Systems



Abstract

In this paper I propose a 'mechanism' for the explanation of power-law characteristics of casualty dynamics in inter-state wars, intra-state wars and terrorist attacks: the scale-free physical organization of social systems. Other explanations - self-organized criticality (Cederman, 2003) and the redistribution of total attack capabilities (Johnson et al. 2006) - do not provide a consistent framework for the power-law characteristics of casualty dynamics. The development in time of the power-law characteristics of casualty dynamics during wars and conflicts provides clues for the 'functioning' of social systems which are targeted, and/or for the (in)effectiveness and strategies of actors using force (violence) against these social systems.