Variable: Information

Information is a necessary supply for any biophysical or social system. Information flow, and its potential for feedback, is central to general systems theory (von Bertalanffy 1968), sociobiology (Wilson 1975, 1978), and human ecology (Burch and DeLuca 1984; Hawley 1950).

Information may be coded and transmitted in numerous ways: genes, body language, oral traditions, electronic (digital data), print (local weeklies, national dailies, news magazines), film, radio, and television. It can be measured by both transmission rates, such as amount of local radio programming; and consumption patterns, such as newspaper circulation rates.

Information flow can significantly alter numerous components of social systems such as educational institutions or hierarchies of knowledge. Its impact on other critical resources is also substantial (for example, the importance of maps in land management).

Additional information