by Rachel Nuwer | The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society would begin to teeter.
by Thomas Homer-Dixon et al. | Recent global crises reveal an emerging pattern of causation that could increasingly characterize the birth and progress of future global crises. A conceptual framework identifies this pattern’s deep causes, intermediate processes, and ultimate outcomes.
Amid reports of sex scandals, lone-wolf terrorists and Middle East beheadings, it’s easy to miss small events. But they sometimes carry messages far larger than those in the headlines.
World leaders finally seem to be waking up to the gravity of the Ebola threat. Like the rest of us, they’ve been distracted by the Islamic State’s rampage in Syria and Iraq, the Ukrainian crisis, and even the mini-drama of the Scottish independence referendum.
Complexity science isn’t a fad. I will offer a brief survey of some core concepts and ideas, and I will make a strong case that . . . they can help us develop new strategies for generating solutions and prospering in this world.
We need to start thinking about the world in a new way, because in some fundamental and essential respects our world has changed its character. We need to shift from seeing the world as composed largely of simple machines to seeing it as composed mainly of complex systems.
But perhaps the most important factor contributing to our continuing vulnerability is something that we rarely recognize and that’s even harder to change: a belief that greater connectivity and speed in all aspects of society are always good things.