Differences in modelling social and environmental system: learning and adaptation
Just a short thought on the differences in modelling - but also more in general - between social systems and ecological ones.
Agents in social systems can learn and evolve and hence adapt. Sure also agents in ecological systems can adapt, but the only way for them (with the exception of social animals) is trough the natural evolution. Humans evolved to evolve in a faster way. I observe my friend that got a bad car accident because he didn't wear a safety belt, or, in a positive fashion, I observe her becoming very good on a skill because she followed a good course, and I can copy her. The idea is that I can use other's people experience to learn, not just my own one. For plants there is no way to observe the neighbour plant making an early inflorescence and got its flowers killed by a late frozen or for a tree to observe its neighbour tree that grew up too much on a side to look for light without having an appropriate root system and felt down on the first big storm to “learn” and change its response function to the environment.
I think it is this learning capability of humans and some animals that make very difficult to model social systems.