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Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows

This was recommended by Gemma Scire who discovered it on her MSc reading list. If you can get past the systems zoo which is hard going, there are some gems. For example Herman Daly, an economist with the World Bank coined the term “invisible foot” to represent the phenomenon of people making reasonable decisions based on the information they have except they do not have information about the more distant parts of the system eg how many fish there are or how many people are fishing them. We don’t foresee the impacts of our actions on the whole system. This f course challenges 200 years of economics based on Adam Smith, which assumes that homo economicus acts with perfect optimality on complete information and when many do that it adds up to the best outcome for everyone.

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