Kenneth Boulding

  • Magnus Ramage
  • Karen Shipp

Kenneth Boulding was an economist and one of the founders of general systems theory. He led a long and varied life, being involved in the founding of peace studies as well as general systems, writing volumes of poetry as well as many academic books, and making a significant contribution to ecology and social theory as well as his original field of economics. He was a broad-minded and diverse thinker who did much both to embody a systems approach across his many disciplines, and to influence systems thinking through his work. Elise Boulding (1995, p. 259), his wife, wrote that: Kenneth delighted in life. Nothing was too small to escape his absorbed attention. He always carried a tiny but powerful magnifying glass in his pocket so he could absorb details invisible to the naked eye of any object. By the same token, nothing was too large or too far away to escape his interest. At night he would mount his trusty telescope on the porch and lose himself in the stars. … Ironically, his way of seeing things was so unique that what people remember best about Kenneth was the unexpectedness of his observations, the unusual connections his mind was always making. Kenneth's mind at work was a mind at play.


General System General System Theory Empirical World Phenomenological Perspective System Hierarchy 
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Copyright information

© The Open University 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magnus Ramage
    • 1
  • Karen Shipp
    • 1
  1. 1.The Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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