Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Best Policy Advice I’ve Heard Recently

Bill Polley links to this opinion piece from the editors of Notices of the American Mathematical Society. It’s general advice for people using mathematics to design policies for complex adaptive systems (like macroeconomies full of decision-makers):

i) Complete control … is impossible … decisions should instead be guidelines. Detailed plans should be left to those executing them.

ii) Expect some failures. Hence continuous revision and updating are required.

iii) There is no single solution …

iv) [Solution] Diversity should be preserved and encouraged.

v) Transparency and trust have to exist.

vi) Decisions can result only after serious consultations with those executing them and those affected by them (bottom-up approach).

vii) Deserved decentralization should be encouraged.

Read the whole thing: it’s short, and they “get it” in ways a lot of policy authorities don’t.

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