It’s curious how the concept of currencies in complex systems mirrors one of the main theoretical propositions in XX c. sociology. Namely, the idea that social space is made up of fields, each with a specific form of capital and capital and specific conversion rates across fields. Further, the idea of dominant currencies is reflected in the notion of a field of power—often the State in developed countries—that determines the rates of conversion between fields in terms of a single form of capital whose accumulation it can regulate.
In field theory, the conversion of capital across fields is often described as a form of symbolic violence. Stability is the outcome of successful domination. System-wide adaptation is achieved via more or less coordinated exercises of power. Instability is not sufficient for system-wide change, it’s necessary to have structural opportunities to challenge power as well, and these are few and infrequent.