urbancow, istockphoto.com

In an online video interview, SFI Distinguished Professor Geoffrey West explains how a whale is merely a scaled-up version of a giraffe, why Boston is essentially a larger version of Santa Fe, and how a mom-and-pop grocery is, mathematically speaking, just a small multinational corporation like Wal Mart. Watch the 12-minute video on eWeek.

West describes research that is revealing remarkable, quantifiable similarities between biological systems and human institutions. He cites mathematical patterns that suggest companies inevitably grow their ways to failure. And he compares people – who age, become vulnerable, and often die when something upsets their health – to failing companies, which likewise become vulnerable and succumb to financial upset.

Watch the 12-minute video on eWeek.

More about SFI's research of cities and companies.

Article in Nature about cities.