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Nick in the Financial Times
Volterra associate Nick Bosanquet
has been very vocal in the Financial Times of late. In a recent article Aging Taxpayers owe the iPod Generation
, Nick calls for tax reform to redress the balance between the ‘privileged’ ‘benefit rich’ old and the struggling young. FT subscribers can read the article in full here
. Nick was also asked to be a member of the paper’s select group of policymakers, academics and commentators that take part in an annual survey in order to gauge views on some important questions for the economy for the coming year. Read Nick’s responses to their 2013 questions here
Paul Ormerod: Linking the past and the future
Volterra Partner Paul Ormerod recently addressed the Trinity College, Cambridge Student Economics Society. A welcome guest was Professor Emeritus Robert Neild, himself a Fellow of Trinity who, at the very start of his distinguished career, actually met Keynes himself! Paul spoke on the topic ‘Networks: the Missing Link in Macroeconomics’. He argued that Keynes’ great work, the General Theory of Employment, can be formalised in the context of modern advances in network theory. Keynes’ key concept of ‘animal spirits’, the optimism/pessimism of companies, is perfectly suited to a network interpretation. The presentation he gave is available here
Paul on the speaker’s podium
Last month, Paul spoke at a conference on Resilience chaired by the ex-Home Secretary John Reid, and organised by the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at UCL. Other speakers included ex-CEO of BP, Lord John Browne, and Andy Haldane from the Bank of England. Paul’s topic was ‘Resilience and lessons from the banking crisis’. His message was simple: better fewer but better; think smart; embrace failure; innovate. November also saw Paul on a North American Tour. He was the keynote speaker at a complex systems conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His presentation is here
. En route, he was a guest of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, where he was invited to speak about his latest book, Positive Linking. Whilst there, he also gave a seminar at the Fields Institute for Mathematics on the economics of recessions, a copy of the slides are here
‘What is the Use of Economics?’
This is a new book just out, edited by Diane Coyle
, which has the contributions to a one day conference organised by the Bank of England and the Government Economic Service. Paul wrote a chapter with Dirk Helbing, research director of the 1 billion Euro project FuturICT, on ‘Back to the Drawing Board with Macroeconomics’, available here
. Bridget reflects on what does it mean to be an economist, and what economics can learn from other disciplines (here
Bridget talks airports on Radio 4
Bridget recently featured on Radio 4’s You and Yours Programme giving her views on the feasibility of a Thames Estuary Airport. The special feature compares these recent plans with the proposal for a similar airport in Maplin Sands, Essex that were proposed and then pulled by the conservative government back in 1973. Listen to the programme here
(the feature starts at 26:30).
Bridget Rosewell and Paul Ormerod on Complex Systems
The European Complex Systems Society conference is the major event in its area, with hundreds of researchers and scientists attending. This year, Bridget explained what complex systems science has to do in order to be of value to decision makers in the public and private sectors. The write up of her talk is here
. Paul addressed the real world issue of how much does quality of the offer count in an increasingly networked world. A technical paper is here
Positive Linking: the reviews are in…
Volterra partner Paul Ormerod’s latest book ‘Positive Linking’ – an examination of how the power of networks can revolutionise the world – hit the bookshelves last month and has received a glowing reception from both the printed and online press. Brian Appleyard’s review in the Sunday Times says “network theorists have all seized the opportunity to fill the vacuum left by rationalism. In this book Ormerod brilliantly brings it all together… this book is more than stimulating, it is fun.” (read the full review here
). Claire Jones (Financial Times) describes the book as “Part a critique of policy makers, part a history of economic thought, this will do much to popularise network economics.” Read more about the book here
, or order your own copy here
Paul in the media
It wasn’t just the response to his book that kept Paul in the news this month. He has recently become a regular columnist for CityAM
with his ‘Against the Grain’ column that will feature in the paper every Wednesday. Read his latest article here
- and keep an eye on our blog
where we’ll be re-posting all his musings. He also recently participated in a lively debate on Stephanie Flanders’ Radio 4 programme Stephanomics
. He joined a group of distinguished economists to discuss whether the economic future belongs to China or America – a subject that he has also written about in a forthcoming article in The Spectator (published Friday 10th August). Listen to Paul on the air here
Paul’s New Book is Published
Paul Ormerod, Volterra Partner and co-founder, and author of the bestselling Butterfly Economics
and Why Most Things Fail
, has completed a fourth book that hits the book shelves in July. ‘Positive Linking: How Networks Revolutionise the World’
shows us the limits of conventional economics and why it needs to embrace the power of networks – through the ’positive linking’ of the book’s title.
Our social and economic worlds have been revolutionised. The Internet has transformed communications and for the first time in human history, more than half of us live in cities. We are increasingly aware of the choices, decisions, behaviours and opinions of other people. Network effects – the fact that a person can and often does decide to change his or her behaviour simply on the basis of copying what others do – pervade the modern world.
The financial crisis has shown us that conventional economics is drastically limited by its failure to comprehend networks. Paul Ormerod, argues that as our societies become ever more dynamic and intertwined, network effects on every level are increasingly profound. ‘Nudge theory’ is popular, but only part of the answer. To grapple successfully with the current financial crisis, businesses and politicians need to grasp the perils and possibilities of ‘positive linking’.
As Ormerod shows, network effects make conventional approaches to policy, whether in the public or corporate sectors, much more likely to fail. But they open up the possibility of truly ‘positive linking’ – of more subtle, effective and successful policies, ones which harness our knowledge of network effects and how they work in practice.
The book is based on Paul’s Royal Society of Arts pamphlet ‘N squared: public policy and the power of networks’. A podcast of Paul’s talk on this at the RSA in November 2010 is here
. There is a Financial Times op-ed piece here
An finally, of course, order your copy of Paul’s new book here