Monday, May 23, 2022

The Standard Vs The Complexity Frame

As in Simple vs Wicked problems in Design Thinking … and when to user which frame….

In a complexity frame, it is much harder to have a single objective rationality, putting any “proof” or certainty of the effectiveness of s policy beyond reach. 

Complex Science Theory

 In analyzing complex systems you have to consider the interconnectedness of the parts together with the parts themselves, which implies that in a complex system, the whole is not necessarily equal to the sum of the parts. In technical jargon, that means that dynamics and statics become blended, and the math becomes wickedly difficult. That’s why most economists and social science policy makers have shied away from formal complexity models, and instead used non complex models in which the dynamics are tractable. 

The Complexity Policy Narrative

The central narrative of complexity science involves viewing the social system as a complex evolving system - beyond control of government or anyone. It is more a living entity than a mechanical entity.

Its fundamental nature does not allow for the type of government control that unsophisticated liberals are seen to be advocating. Likewise, seeing the social system as a complex evolutionary system is quite different from seeing it as a self-steering system requiring the government to play no role, as seems suggested by the unsophisticated market advocates. Instead, it sees the social system as complex and adaptive, developing multiple endogenous control mechanisms that make it work, and which are continually evolving over time. Government is just one component of those endogenously evolved control mechanisms,

Sophisticated liberals and sophisticated market advocates have always recognized this, and political theory has heuristically explored this interconnection in depth. But when discussion of economic policy is placed within the standard policy frame, that sophistication is often lost, and the debate is pushed into a fruitless standoff about unsophisticated positions, leading to name-calling and miscommunication. That is where complexity science comes in. It explores highly connected systems mathematically and develops models that shed light on how such interconnected systems work. In doing so, it it attempts to provide models that capture the sophisticated views of both pro government liberals and market fundamentalists.