It sounds paradoxical, but today it appears that we understand more about the universe than our society. We have created systems that have outgrown our capacity to genuinely understand and control them. Just think about the ongoing financial crisis. But recent advancements in the study of complex systems are able to offer new insights into the workings of many real-world systems.
While our traditional ways of thinking and problem solving have been strongly shaped by the success of the reductionist approach taken in science, the new science of complexity focuses on interconnection and co-dependence. It is a paradigmatic shift away from analyzing the nature of “things” to uncovering and understanding the network of interdependence lying behind and influencing the “things” themselves.
As a prominent example, the first global economic network analysis is discussed, offering a new perspective on some relevant issues. For instance, how unequal and unstable is our economy really? And is this the result of a few puppet masters orchestrating the developments behind the scenes?
James B. Glattfelder
James B. Glattfelder grew up in the Swiss mountains and his interests include the philosophy of science next to societal and environmental issues. In 2011 he co-authored the study “The Network of Global Corporate Control” which was widely covered in the international media and sparked controversial discussions. He is co-head of quantitative research at Olsen Ltd in Zurich, an FX investment manager focusing on market-stabilizing algorithms. James holds an M.Sc. in theoretical physics and a Ph.D. in the study of complex systems, both from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and turned 40 this year.
His favourite TED Talk