006 The iterative process of model development

1. Introduction and acknowledgements

The so-called soft-variables have been gaining increasing importance in the discussion of the future. The importance of the question of values, motivations and ways of acting has indeed been emphasized by all — even by those who develop mathematical models on the basis of hard-variables and who dispense with soft-variables only because they are hard to quantify. This chapter is to be understood as an attempt to carry out hard-observations of soft-variables, using a comparison by countries of variables which are understood as indicators for these soft-variables.


3. On the question of the method of investigation

The figure is self-explanatory: starting from a first observation or hypothesis on the basis of a ‚pragmatic decision‘ on the intention of the model, a first preliminary model is developed. The assertions (prognoses) of this first model, going beyond the original observation, are checked empirically; this examination yields additional information which is followed by a third step, etc., until a comparison of the model with reality shows no necessity or possibility of a correction or improvement of the model. A peculiarity of the method used in this work is the understanding of certain variables as indicators for more global variables hidden behind them […].