According to Stuart Alan Kauffman, American theoretical biologist and complex systems researcher, a fundamental problem with the standard economic description of the world is that it tries to account for growth and development as a very low dimensional process in which few elements increase in quantity, such as output and physical and human capital. In reality, these aspects are in constant co-evolution and it is the rising complexity of the system that leads to growth and development. As we cannot foresee how growth and development will occur, we must revise standard economic and governmental policy planning such that policies co-evolve with capabilities and production. An effective co-evolutionary process requires platforms for the interaction of economic agents, society in general and government to reveal the constraints on and possibilities for long-term development. (Full text here.)
The central focus of this blog is on the various processes of co-evolution that take place between and among individuals, firms, governments and the institutions of civil society for the sake of industrial development. In an increasingly global and complex system, individual agents and their emergent organizations must not only recognize the feedbacks around them, but actively seize opportunities to incorporate new information and adapt accordingly.
The title of this blog, “Social Mathematician,” reflects my studies in applied mathematics and political science at MIT, continued studies in international business at The Fletcher School, and professional experiences in industrial development strategy consulting. My background aside, the title also reflects the two most important lessons that I learned in graduate school: 1.) there is no substitute for hard numbers and a convincing narrative, and 2.) that complex problems require surfacing a diversity of perspectives.
Regarding the latter, F. Scott Fitzgerald may have said it best: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”