T. BAUMGARTNER et al. oppose multi-level to multivariate complexity "& which simply adds more variables to the system at the same level" (1976, p.38).
According to these authors, a variable or process at a higher level within the system and over some period of time "& maintains or is likely to change the relationships among the variables already considered to be descriptive of the system" (Ibid).
While the distinction between higher and lower hierarchic levels is important and admittedly, in general asymmetric in favor of the higher ones, it seems quite possible that, in some cases, a variable's erratic behavior at a lower level may have general effects on the system as a whole. This seems specially true in the social systems researched by the authors ("For the want of a horseshoe, the battle was lost").
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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