This snippet aims to convey a general notion of why it is worth while to ask What is a CANS?
For solving Complex Problems, we need cross-disciplinary cooperation. The statement is a no-brainer. Its realization is not. We promote CANS-thinking because it is our aim to identify quality mechanisms that help comprehend what the scope and limits are of the law’s efficacies for solving Complex Problems (mainstream jurisprutential results included) .
Our motivating perspective is that CANS thinking in legal scholarship will be an important step forward, especially when considering the regulation of behavior embedded in dense, complex networks, where links represent communication channels that transfer varying attractor and repulsion forces between diverse and at least partly autonomous agents.
Under such conditions, we expect, it is difficult to `inoculate’ the network with (regulatory) forces that not only address the individual nodes, but that also will result in sufficient redirection of the behavior of the CANS as a whole, towards improved compliance with the goals of the regulatory intervention at hand.
This description is abstract, yet gains meaning when we instantiate the CANS concept with real-world situations. An example would be the attempt to introduce competition (with its price-mechanism) into a previously developed publicly managed complex service, as health care in the Netherlands) with the aim to make the whole of the service both more effective and more efficient. Another example would be the attempts to the reverse regulatory process known as Obamacare in the USA.
Moreover, there are public/private hybrids of considerable complexity that require legal support — like the design of legitimate command & control institutions to ensure and enforce legitimate use of personal data shared between, for instance, Facebook Inc. and the NSA/CSS.
We can bring similar stories to mind for regulating the behavior of the combined public, industrial and individual networks that result in global warming, in economic/educational/cultural/religeous divides, etc., etc. All these issues do translate into questions about regulation of CANS behavior by regulating individual behaviors.
So it makes sense to ask a few questions. What is a CANS? And what are the perspectives that CANS theory offers to regulate CANS behaviors through regulating individual behaviors?