17-18 Sept 2019

 NAEC - New approaches to economic challenges

Partners for a New Economy logo


Averting Systemic Collapse

OECD Conference Centre

The New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) Initiative, established to distill the lessons from the Global Financial Crisis has suggested that a new crisis could emerge suddenly, from many different sources, and with potentially harmful effects. OECD Member and Partner countries are confronting multiple challenges that can only be addressed through effective analytical, governance and policy approaches. This Conference discussed these approaches to better understand and respond to the interconnections between financial, economic, environmental and societal systems. While policymakers generally focus on how to harden components of these systems affected by specific threats, such approaches do not often address cascading effects. Notably, this includes systemic risks, which result from the threat that individual failures, accidents, or disruptions present to a system through the process of contagion.   

Systemic threats are a particular challenge to governments due to their stochastic and relatively low frequency nature. This leads to the likelihood of systemic or cascading effects that are difficult to model and analyse with traditional tools of economic analysis. Such cascades, if not mitigated or checked, have the capability of triggering systematic degradation or collapse from which it is difficult or impossible to fully recover. When they emerge, systemic threats have the potential to completely and irreversibly disrupt the original configuration of a given system – replacing it with something altogether new, albeit significantly degraded.

This conference explored the latest scientific findings and policies on the extent to which stressed and strained complex systems could be placed on a sounder footing through strengthened buffers, safeguards and systemic resilience. Discussion centred on new approaches to economic theory and policy, new tools and techniques to understand systems and strategies to address systemic threats. A variety of new approaches to environmental, social and economic issues were explored. The debates were enriched by the contributions of experts from a range of disciplines, including economics, political science, engineering, physics, and biology.

> For external participants : [email protected]


> For OECD staff: Register


> Watch the webcast:
Conference (17 Sept) am / pm
Conference (18 Sept) am / pm


> Agenda (pdf) / Ordre du jour (pdf)

> Summary (pdf)


> Speaker biographies (pdf)


> Logistical note (pdf)

17 September 2019


 Opening remarks


Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa

Laurence Boone, OECD Chief Economist

Martine Durand, OECD Chief Statistician

 Session 1: Beyond Growth: Towards a New Economic Approach

Moderator: Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa


  • Michael Jacobs, Professorial Research Fellow, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI)
  • Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL) and Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose
  • Dennis J. Snower, Founder and President, Global Solutions Initiative
  • Rachel Griffith, President of the Royal Economics Society, Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester and Research Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) in London


  • Konrad Pesendorfer, Chair of the Committee on Statistics and Statistical Policy (CSSP)
  • Manfred Schekulin, Chair of the Investment Committee (INV)

Publication: Report of the Secretary General’s Advisory Group on a New Growth Narrative:
Beyond Growth: Towards a New Economic Approach 
ιι Au-delà de la croissance : vers une nouvelle approche économique

 Session 2: New Analytical Tools and Techniques

Moderator: Laurence Boone, OECD Chief Economist


New Analytical Tools and Techniques to Better Understand Systems ιι De nouveaux outils et techniques d’analyse pour mieux comprendre les systèmes

Session 3: Systems Thinking, Anticipation and Resilience:
Averting Systemic Collapse


Chair: Martin Lees, Chair of the OECD-IIASA Task Force on Systems Thinking, Anticipation and Resilience

Keynote speaker: Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General
Systems Thinking, Anticipation and Resilience: Averting Sytemic Collapse

  • Doug Erwin, Senior Scientist and Curator of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, and Santa Fé Institute



Systemic Thinking for Policy Making - The Potential of Systems Analysis for Addressing Global Policy Challenges in the 21st Century

La pensée systémique au service de l’élaboration des politiques publiques - Le potentiel de l’analyse systémique  face aux enjeux mondiaux du XXIe siècle

NAEC Report on
Resilience Strategies and Approaches to Contain Systemic Threats

Face aux menaces systémiques, des stratégies et des approches fondées sur la résilience

Session 4: Remarks from Committee Chairs and Ambassadors
Noam Chomsky Address on Systemic Collapse at the Conference Dinner

Transcript of recording (pdf)

18 September 2019


Keynote speaker: Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General
New Approaches to Environmental, Social and Economic Challenges

 Session 5: New Approaches to Environmental Challenges

Chair: Leslie Harroun, Director, Partners for a New Economy



 Session 6: New Approaches to Social Challenges

Moderator: Kenneth Swinnerton, Chair of the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee (ELSAC)



  • Michael Jacobs, Professorial Research Fellow in the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) and principal author of the report of the Secretary-General’s Advisory Group
Session 7: Understanding the New Economy

Moderator: Megan Greene, Senior Fellow at Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School



  • Andràs Hlàcs, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Digital Economy Policy (CDEP)
  • Thierry Lange, Chair of the Committee on Industry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE)
Closing remarks

Irena Sodin, Ambassador to the OECD, Permanent Representative of Slovenia

Erdem Basci, Ambassador to the OECD, Permanent Representative of Turkey

Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa