Success of social inequality measures in predicting critical or failure points in some models of physical systems

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in Physics


Statistical physicists and social scientists both extensively study some characteristic features of the unequal distributions of energy, cluster, or avalanche sizes and of income, wealth, etc., among the particles (or sites) and population, respectively. While physicists concentrate on the self-similar (fractal) structure (and the characteristic exponents) of the largest (percolating) cluster or avalanche, social scientists study the inequality indices such as Gini and Kolkata, given by the non-linearity of the Lorenz function representing the cumulative fraction of the wealth possessed by different fractions of the population. Here, using results from earlier publications and some new numerical and analytical results, we reviewed how the above-mentioned social inequality indices, when extracted from the unequal distributions of energy (in kinetic exchange models), cluster sizes (in percolation models), or avalanche sizes (in self-organized critical or fiber bundle models) can help in a major way in providing precursor signals for an approaching critical point or imminent failure point. Extensive numerical and some analytical results have been discussed.



Publication Date



Open Access, Gold, Green

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