Economics and the revolution in the field – LA Times.com


Might this explain the renewed interest in my previous blog “Complexity Economics”!?

modern economics has buried its head in detail but ignored the systematic character of capital flow, he claims, and it is time for a restore an understanding of how capital works

I hope so because, of late I keep coming back to the words of Dave Snowden: “Practice without sound theory does not scale”. Think about the implications for global commerce and the huge number of over-remunerated “experts” that populate, such as, the Financial Sector and you may begin to understand the reason for institutional intransigence in the face of well-founded criticism of theory, practice and culture.

Obviously, the global financial crisis brought the failures of the economics profession into stark relief. But there still hasn’t been a significant public movement of established professional economists away from orthodox theories. However, as the pernicious effects of instability and inequality become part of daily life, frustration with stale economic ideas is starting to turn into action — at least on the part of some.

So this is where economics finds itself today, stuck between failed methodologies and whispered realities. It can continue to produce elegant theorems that work only by ignoring obvious real-world situations and conditions. Or it can break free of its restrictions and apply its rigor to addressing society’s most intractable problems.

The choice is up to the economics establishment. But the revolution has begun.

via Economics and the revolution in the field – latimes.com.

This extract dates back to an article I wrote in 2010:

It is easy to challenge “conventional wisdom” based upon the facts but, as history shows us, change can be vehemently resisted when it comes up against entrenched “belief systems”…particularly when such change presents itself as a threat to those for whom power and wealth (individually and collectively) has derived from their “mastery” of the civilized world as we have come to recognise it.

Even when the DNA is similar “we can’t fix today’s problems with yesterday’s tools”:: Part 2


INFORMATION – INTELLIGENCE – INNOVATION have transformed our INVENTIONS, theories and practices to such an extent that we need to be aware of the limitations of our knowledge: we MUST question what we “know”…not so much a case of familiarity breeding contempt but leading to “ignorance” and increasing risk.

The complexity of some man-made systems has so outstripped our ability to manage them that, increasingly, we need to draw upon our observations of the complex systems found in nature 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Practice without sound theory will not scale…but it WILL expose and “amplify”, wrong assumptions, errors & omissions

The irreversible complexity of man-made systems* e.g. communications, IT, transport, economic, financial, business, logistics, business, etc. have outstripped our ability to understand, maintain, manage or repair flaws without the tools and techniques that enable us to examine the relevant system components and relationships at a variety of scales [micro – macro – holistic]: Law of Requisite Variety (refer Part 1). Read more of this post

Dave Snowden:: anticipatory awareness – seizing opportunity avoiding threats


At Ontonix we talk about “crisis anticipation” but, I suppose, anticipatory awareness has a certain ring to it AND reflects the potential to identify both THREATS and OPPORTUNITIES…developing an informational advantage into a competitive advantage!

Moving from “fail-safe” systems to multiple sub-systems that are safe-to-fail

However, the most important thing is to recognise organisations for the, dynamic, COMPLEX SYSTEMS they have become. Attempts to manage performance and risk with tools and techniques that may have facilitated construction of “complicated machines” are dangerously inadequate…hence the increased need for an early warning mechanism.