The complexity challenge: Systemist thinking, computational modeling, and pluralism in economics
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Verleihung des WIWA Nachwuchspreises für Plurale Ökonomik
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Most modern sciences face complex systems. Economics is no exception: social systems are complex. For economists this implies the need for change: if they want to contribute solutions to pressing challenges of our time, new theories and methods must complement existing ones, as it has happened in e.g. physics and biology.
I believe that there are two general ingredients to the much-needed new economic thinking:
On the theoretical level, systemist thinking not only captures the essence of complexity, it also helps to productively relate contributions from various schools of economic though. I therefore propose the meta-theoretical framework of systemism as a useful foundation for economics.
On the methodological level, computational (or algorithmic) modeling techniques are a promising way to capture the complexity of social systems. Thanks to their generality, they are also useful for bringing together different approaches and schools of thought.
Finally I conclude that theoretical and methodological pluralism is a prerequisite for a better understanding of complex social systems. But pluralism, necessary for scientific progress as it may be, is not a natural outcome of our scientific institutions. It has to be actively developed and sustained.