Third Annual Science of Laws Institute Conference

November 2016


Jim Gottfried

Based on over 30 years of experience in managing and executing technical projects, the author provides a perspective on how risk management principles can and should be applied to laws of government.




Peter Wallis, JD

There is no generally agreed upon purpose of "law." Law-making by legislators, unguided by a general purpose, can lead to laws which are contradictory, confusing, and sometimes harmful. Executive action and judicial rulings interpreting this legislation unguided by scientific purpose, methods, or measures may compound these harmful effects. Man-made laws are void when in conflict with natural law, facts, scientific purposes, or methods. A verifiable purpose for law can be scientifically deduced based upon observation of biology and human history. A proposed short "symbiotic code" may form a nucleus for the basic scientific purpose, methods, and measurements to improve laws. A reasonable hypothesis is that the purpose of law is salient communication in mutual decisions regarding reallocation of resources rewarding those causing mutual benefit and detracting those causing mutual risk or damage in the acquiring, preserving, and efficiently utilizing resources to aid in the perpetuation of symbiotic lives.


The problem here addressed is that the Anglo-American system of law has built an incomprehensible mass of legislative, executive, administrative, and judicial decisions which are often contradictory, confusing, and harmful to society. This problem exists largely because there is no generally accepted purpose for law, the law often is not restrained to act through proven scientific methods, nor are the results of laws designed to be objectively measurable in relation to their general purposes.


Raymond Madachy, PhD

Modeling and simulation can help improve lawmaking processes. System dynamics is a simulation methodology for modeling continuous systems that provides a rich and integrative framework for investigating lawmaking process phenomena and inter-relationships from a holistic perspective. Structures for modeling these processes are provided as reusable building blocks. These structures and their behaviors are process patterns that frequently occur. Examples are shown assembling these recurring structures into larger models demonstrating behavior patterns of lawmaking processes including feedback loops. The behaviors are visualized as process trends over time.


This paper overviews: 1) basic system dynamics elements and their applied instances in lawmaking, 2) generic flow processes which are small microstructures comprised of a few elements serving as modeling molecules with characteristic behaviors, 3) infrastructures composed of several microstructures producing more complex behaviors, 4) flow chains which are infrastructures consisting of a sequence of levels and rates (stocks and flows) that are model portion backbones, and 5) introductory examples of lawmaking process structures.


Even small system dynamics models have been shown useful for understanding complex public policy issues, and thus well suited to assess specific laws and/or aspects of local, national and international lawmaking processes. The structures and applied examples are provided as open source models for the community to incorporate, adapt and apply for lawmaking.