Many of the grand challenges that confront humanity—problems as diverse as climate change, the stability of markets, the availability of energy and resources, poverty and conflict—often seem to entail impenetrable webs of cause and effect.But these problems are not necessarily impenetrable. Powerful new tools have given scientists a better understanding of complexity. Instead of looking […]

This is the text of an article in the Washington Post by Dominic Basulto about last week’s events in the financial markets. Great stuff. When news first broke Thursday that JPMorgan’s credit derivatives portfolio had sustained a loss of $2 billion, and potentially as much as $5 billion, on trades gone awry, there was an […]

A continuing theme on this blog has been the issue of leadership. Many reports and studies call for it, reforms are seen as impossible without it, critical challenges will not be met without it, and we are all ready to point out the lack of it (in others, at least). Despite the fact that leadership […]

The eurozone, like the rest of the world economy, is a complex networked system. That gives it properties economists rarely consider but which could help us understand the current crisis. This New Scientist ‘Science in Society’ Briefing examines the issues. What is a complex network? Complex networks have many interconnected components which influence each other’s […]

Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard and Cesar Hidalgo of MIT (whose work I have blogged about previously here) have just published the deeply impressive Atlas of Economic Complexity. It is built around an innovative, network-based methodology for understanding economies and their potential for  growth. It represents perhaps the most systematic and in-depth application of the ideas […]

A piece in yesterday’s New Scientist titled ‘Can Complexity Theory Explain Egypt’s Crisis?’ explores ideas of complexity in the context of the ongoing events in Egypt. It draws on the insights of two noted complexity thinkers – Yaneer Bar-Yam and Thomas Homer-Dixon. Excerpts are reproduced below with permission: Egyptians are the world’s biggest wheat importers and consumers, and […]