Complexity: A new approach to economic challenges

William Hynes, OECD New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) initiative The OECD launched its “New Approaches to Economic Challenges” (NAEC) initiative in 2012 to reflect on the lessons for economic analysis and policymaking from the financial crisis and Great Recession. European Central Bank Governor Jean-Claude Trichet said that: “as a policy-maker during the crisis, I […]

Out of complexity, a third way?

Bill Below, OECD Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development (GOV) The perennial curmudgeon H.L. Mencken is famously misquoted as saying: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” The ability to simplify is of course one of our strengths as humans. As a species, we might just as […]

The Future of Economics: From Complexity to Commons

Paul B. Hartzog, Futurist This article looks at three crucial insights for the future of economics: Complex adaptive systems; how technologies of cooperation enable commons-based peer-to-peer networks; and why we need complex adaptive systems to understand new economies COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS The Edge of Chaos Complex adaptive systems has enjoyed considerable attention in recent decades. Chaos […]

A Pragmatic Holist: Herbert Simon, Economics and “The Architecture of Complexity”

Vela Velupillai, Madras School of Economics “Herb had it all put together at least 40 years ago – and I’ve known him only for 35.” Alan Newell, 1989. And so it was, with Hierarchy in 1950, Near-Decomposability from about 1949, and Causality, underpinning the reasonably rapid evolution of dynamical systems into a series of stable […]

Ants, algorithms and complexity without management

Deborah M. Gordon, Department of Biology, Stanford University Systems without central control are ubiquitous in nature. The activities of brains, such as thinking, remembering and speaking, are the outcome of countless electrical interactions among cells. Nothing in the brain tells the rest of it to think or remember. I study ants because I am interested […]

Innovation and complexity

Andrew Wyckoff, Director, OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation Since its creation in 1961, the OECD has influenced how governments approach science, technology and innovation, and how economics as a discipline tries to understand these phenomena. The OECD Working Party of National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (NESTI) was created in 1962, and […]

Sing for our time too, or what Homer can teach us about complexity

Last week’s Workshop on Complexity and Policy organised by the OECD New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) team along with the European Commission and the Institute for new Economic Thinking (INET) included a discussion about how you build a narrative around complexity. As one participant pointed out, “complexity economics” isn’t the most thrilling of titles, […]