[ copied over from QuakerQuaker, September 2016 ]
When I stumbled onto the scene, General Systems Theory appeared to be languishing or at least not going anywhere, having gotten off to a promising start.
My branding instincts, honed in Rome, suggested competing with some other discipline, creating a horse race, might add more life to this picture.
I set about branding GST as an alternative to Economics. Economics itself preaches the dangers of complacent monopolies, so of all disciplines it deserves some competition, makes perfect sense. We’ll talk about “guns vs butter” same as they do, but without all the same cultural baggage.
Instead of “economies” we just have “ecosystems” in GST, i.e. human designs and trading practices mesh seamlessly with their non-human surroundings, or “biosphere” as some call it.  I grabbed the ball and ran with it, maybe advancing a few yards.  I felt part of a team.
By sometime in the 1990s, I had the gist of GST boiled it down to three pages:
http://grunch.net/synergetics/gst1.html -> gst2.html -> gst3.html
In building bridges back to Economics, I’ve found the most traction with the Henry George School, one of the many econ branches.
Unless the presentation has a thermodynamic flavor and acknowledges the sun as the fusion powerhouse it is (as in the above Motherboard Earth manifesto), an econ blend is likely closer to that University of Chicago stuff you mention, embraced by neocons more than most. I’d consider such thinking insufficiently cosmic, too ignorant of real science. 
 “Biosphere” is a far more intelligent concept than mere “climate” (confused with weather, temperature especially). http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2014/10/biosphere-is-better.html
 Another discipline I’ve worked to rescue from the junk heap of history was “lambda calculus”, which is still taught, but could fizzle if not given more to chew on, or with. I set it up opposite “delta calculus”, the obstacle course already laid out. Once up to Algebra, you may opt to pursue the Lambda track and get more programming mixed with your XYZ vectors and group theory.
 see The Power of Nightmares for more insights into the Chicago University origins of these overlapping Bush Era ideologies