A systemic resilience approach to dealing with Covid-19 and future shocks

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A systemic resilience approach to dealing with Covid-19 and future shocks

OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A systemic resilience approach to dealing with Covid-19 and future shocks

Open PDF  28 April 2020

New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC)

Policymakers often have a linear view of the world, where pulling the right levers will get the economy and society back on track after shocks and crises. This paper argues that such an approach ignores how systems interact and how their systemic properties shape this interaction, leading to an over-emphasis on a limited set of characteristics, notably efficiency. The emphasis on efficiency in the operation, management and outcomes of various economic and social systems was not a conscious collective choice, but rather the response of the whole system to the incentives that individual components face. This has brought much of the world to rely upon complex, nested, and interconnected systems to deliver goods and services around the globe. While this approach has many benefits, the Covid-19 crisis shows how it has also reduced the resilience of key systems to shocks, and allowed failures to cascade from one system to others. A systems approach based on resilience is proposed to prepare socioeconomic systems for future shocks.

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A systemic resilience approach to dealing with Covid-19 and future shocks