Simply complex

In response to Gemma Godfrey [The EU’s decision process: It’s not rocket science, on Monday], I think we’ve outlived a time where the world economy worked mostly in a linear fashion that’s easy to grasp and extrapolate (e.g. if exports grow by X per cent, and unemployment falls by Y per cent, GDP will rise by Z percent). Instead, thanks to globalisation and an ever faster pace, the world economy has grown into an incredibly complex and complicated system where non-linear effects dominate.

We could spend years building complex and expensive models for the world economy, mimicking weather forecasting and always lagging the fast pace of the economy itself. Or we could use physicists, economists and psychologists to scrutinise regulation and make sure that it addresses root causes, rather than symptoms, thus reducing the complexity of the entire system.

Gemma’s quote of Einstein saying “we can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used to create them” is a very valuable reminder. All politicians (and other decision-makers) should have to recite this quote every morning before being allowed into their office. In that spirit, physicists, meteorologists, economists and psychologists unite and educate decision-makers.

Tony Scott