Our Paper of the Year Award goes to:
Michael Harder of the Office of Interdisciplinary Sciences (Germany) who argued the case for using the developing science of complex systems to help understand the interactions now occurring in the financial system. In a most thought-provoking presentation he showed how the new science can explain the inter-connectedness of the current crises of debt, inflation, population movements, and poverty and suggested the need for massive changes in the way we work, our currencies, production methods and Eurozone politics. Along the way, the following points were notable:
· Modern physics suggests the world comprises logical “islands” in an ocean of chaos and probability. We prefer the logical and believe in causality, which leads to specialization.
· Specialists don’t recognize the wider reality. They feel their island is the only correct one, whereas many correct islands must be connected to perceive reality. This requires more complex thinking than we’re used to.
· Order and Chaos are the key “attractors” with entropy leading to chaos and action leading to order.
· Ordered systems tend to deteriorate into chaotic systems and the chaotic tends to order. The result is a natural balance best described by Darwinism.
· “Darwinism is essential for any company management.”
However, reward of the fittest eventually leads to a growing population hitting system boundaries where the favoured species runs into the limits of its environment and risks crashing if it fails to correct its growth and adapt. (“Don’t try to work against nature”)
The global economy hit its system boundary about 25 years ago when we started consuming more resources than the planet could sustainably provide.