CH8 network mutualism

This property is a qualitative extension of the previous one (Patten, 1991, 1992). Every compartment pair in a transactive network experiences positive (+), negative (—), or neutral relations derived from the transactions that directly and indirectly connect them. Ordered pairs of these three signs are nine in number and each pair reflects a qualitative interaction type. For example, the most common types of ecological interactions are (+, —) = predation, (—, —) = competition, (+, +) = mutualism, and (0, 0) = neutralism. Since the signs of benefits and costs in network synergism are + and —, respectively, the shift to |benefit/cost| ratios > 1 in CH-7 carries with it a shift to positive interaction types. This is network mutualism, and it indicates the benefits that automatically accrue to living organisms by their being coupled into transactive networks. Network synergism and mutualism together make nature a beneficial place conducive to life. This is quite different from seeing life only as a Darwinian "struggle for existence"; it is true locally, but not globally. There are built-in, openness-given properties of networks that, on balance, operate to reduce the struggle.

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