The concept of resilience has become popular in international development circles in recent years, but it is only one of many factors in a larger, integrated, empirical understanding of systemic health and development emerging from the study of energy-flow networks. This article explores how the Energy Network Sciences (ENS) can provide a robust theoretical foundation and effective quantitative measures for resilience and other characteristics that undergird systemic health and development in socio-economic networks. Einstein once said that “theory makes measurement possible.” We believe ENS can provide a more effective theory of economic health, which will open the door to surprisingly precise measures. Our goal is to outline the basic reasoning behind both theory and measures.
Dr. Sally Goerner is Science Advisor for Capital Institute (Greenwich, CT). With advanced degrees in engineering, nonlinear dynamics, and psychology, Dr. Goerner lectures worldwide on how the Energy Network Sciences (ENS) can create a commonsense narrative of how to rebuild economic vitality by revitalizing human networks. Working with theoretical ecologist Robert Ulanowicz and Belgian financier Bernard Lietaer, she recently helped create an empirical measure of economic sustainability that shows why systemic health in economic networks requires maintaining a critical balance of resilience and efficiency. Dr. Goerner is also a member of the General Evolution Research Group (GERG), past-president and co-founder of the Society for Chaos Theory in the Life Sciences, and director and founder of the Integral Science Institute. She has written over 50 articles and four books: The New Science of Sustainability: Building a Foundation for Great Change (2008); After the Clockwork Universe: The Emerging Science and Culture of Integral Society (1999/2007); The Coming Great Change in Education (2007); and Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe (1994). She’s a co-author with Benard Lietaer of Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link – Report from the Club of Rome (2012).