Is there any terminology or wording to describe the type of fundamental change of a system that is not the result of a single cause, but rather caused by many influences at interplay pushing from several directions that jointly make the status quo unsustainable, reaching a tipping point to force change?

So in a way, the opposite of a simple cause and effect relationship in say physics, and more the sort of causation in society or politics.

  • Economists use the 'multi factor model' in determining asset prices, and the term should transfer smoothly to other domains. Feb 25, 2014 at 20:42
  • Multi-factorial is the term I would use. Similar to Edwin's.
    – David M
    Feb 25, 2014 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


As Edwin points out above "multi-factor model" is frequently used by economists.

In medicine (and other sciences), we call this multi-factorial. For example:

The link between diabetes and heart disease is multi-factorial. It is not merely a simple cause-and-effect relationship.

You can also describe this situation as a convergence of causal factors.

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