An urgent call to get better prepared for unexpected events

Ocassional Studies volume 16-2

This paper is an urgent call to get better prepared for unexpected events. The increasing spread of information technology in society leads to more complexity and non-linear behavior in the economic and financial system, and to more unpredictable, sudden events. This paper examines how people deal with non-linear behavior of systems, by looking at how we prepare for disruptive events in the economy and wider society, and it shows why we have a hard time dealing with non-linearities. The paper provides suggestions to improve our handling of non-linear system behavior for both better preparedness for disruptive events and better design of more resilient systems.

A different approach to economic modelling is needed, away from equilibria thinking toward the realm of evolutionary complex adaptive systems. The paper is relevant to policymakers and decision makers who deal with long-term risk and uncertainty, and to those who want to improve their understanding of disruptive events. The ideas brought together in this paper come from various disciplines and mostly do not reflect mainstream economic thinking.

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