The overhead due to imports is dependent on the number of pathways originating outside the system, and on the magnitude of the material transferred along those pathways. If all sustenance is equally distributed among all import pathways, then the contribution to the overhead will be maximal. It will decrease when some pathways import more and others less. It will also decrease if the overall magnitudes of the imports decrease. If there is only one import path, then the overhead due to imports is minimal and equals zero. From a systems point of view it is regarded as counterproductive to minimize the magnitude of the import, or to import only via one pathway. The insurance lies in being able to receive imports via several pathways in case one is lost. In the case of increased recycling within the system, the imports will occupy a smaller and smaller part of the TST. In this case, the development capacity will rise faster than the overhead on imports.

If the imports enter the system via fewer pathways or compartments, then the ascendency will increase at the expense of the overhead. Systems are expected to progress toward fewer import pathways. The number of such or pathways can be changed should those links be disrupted and others become necessary. Overall it is expected that systems in a more stable environment rely on fewer import pathways compared to perturbed systems.

The formula for the overhead on imports is as follows:

where imports are assumed to originate in the fictitious compartment 0.


Similar to the overhead on imports, the overhead on exports depends on the amount of exporting pathways leaving the system and the amount transferred along those pathways. The overhead due to export diminishes whenever there are fewer export pathways, lower magnitude of transfers, or an uneven distribution of amounts transferred along the pathways. An increase in exports becomes beneficial to the system whenever there is positive feedback via another system. The overhead on exports is denoted by

where exports are assumed to flow into a fictitious compartment n + 1.


Again, the overhead regarding the dissipations depends on the magnitude lost to the environment, on the number of pathways, and the distribution of the magnitude transferred. Losses through dissipation are required by the second law ofthermodynamics and are necessary to maintain metabolisms. The overhead on dissipation is n / t2 \

where respiration is assumed to flow into a fictitious compartment n + 2.

An obvious advantage ofparallel pathways is the insurance of having more than one route of transfer in case of disturbances of other routes. Redundancy is denoted by

2J2JTj log

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