Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Economics and shifting stability states

The BBC News has an interesting collection of economic graphs from 2001 put together by top economists. My personal favorite is shown below, along with its caption.

"For a long time the perception was that the creation of the euro meant sovereign risk was effectively the same across all countries. That of course proved to be wrong. The Lehman's crisis and financial meltdown that followed affected the deficits and debt levels of different countries in different ways. Interestingly it is much the same countries now with very high yields as it was pre-euro, suggesting little has changed fundamentally in a decade." VICKY PRYCE, SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR FTI

Seems like a classic example of shifting stability states with interesting implications for managing socio-ecological systems if you think of the adoption of the euro as the creation of a meso-level institutional structure (larger than the individual participating states, but not encompassing the entire global economy). Conceived that way, the new institutional structure temporarily managed to equalize risk, but a distant disturbance in the larger system (the Lehman bankruptcy) undid it and shifted system control back to the higher (global) level.


  1. Economy and a tossing coin can never be predicted...

  2. If the economy can't be predicted, why then do governments keep trying?