Share

Government Economists for New Economics and Systems Science

It is now widely recognised that reductionist, sectoral, ad hoc and short-term policies are inadequate to face the systemic structural issues which threaten the future. New analytical and systems-oriented approaches are required both to understand and to manage the connected systemic issues of the modern world.

As governments are forced by reality to move towards more integrated systems-based approaches to the formulation and implementation of policy, it will become increasingly necessary to build new analytical capabilities within government departments. New economic thinking and systems-based approaches offer enormous potential and Government Economists for New Economics and Systems Science (GENESYS) offers a platform for debating, experimenting and discussing policy alternatives and the analytical approaches which underpin them.

Objectives

New economic thinking and systems-based approaches offer enormous potential and GENESYS will offer a platform for debating, experimenting and discussing policy alternatives and the analytical approaches, which underpin them.

GENESYS could be an informal network of country-based delegates, principally but not limited to Finance Ministries and Central Banks, meeting virtually with an agenda and work programme established by the Members. This is a shadow programme of the regular economic policy structures and Committees and responds to a long-running concern of Members to bring NAEC closer to Member countries.

It will facilitate a discussion on more radical alternatives to policy challenges embracing new economic thinking drawn from a range of disciplines – Integrative Economics. The NAEC Initiative will provide the substance for the discussions. The Network could also contribute to the NAEC Innovation LAB Policy Hubs on Agent-based modelling and Machine Learning and Big Data.  

Governance

The Network’s work will be produced by the Members of the Network with review and oversight offered by the Deputy Secretary General, Chief of Staff, Chief Economist and Chief Statistician. Ambassadors and Economic Counsellors will be welcome to attend the meetings. The agenda will be Member-driven. As a virtual network, the budgetary cost is limited.

Since 2012, the New Approaches to Economic Challenges (NAEC) Initiative has provided a space at the OECD for questioning traditional analytical approaches and paradigms and reflecting on policy alternatives. NAEC has catalysed a debate across the OECD and led the way globally on how using a broader inter-disciplinary framework and new computational tools will help us to revise, update and improve our policy thinking and action. The Initiative involves OECD Committees, Directorates and Member Governments in developing a systemic perspective on interconnected challenges with strategic partners; identifies the analytical and policy tools needed to understand them; and crafts the narratives best able to convey them to citizens and policymakers.

In its first phase, OECD Members agreed that NAEC should analyse the root causes of crises, draw lessons from it and, as appropriate, adjust the OECD’s economic analysis and policy recommendations. NAEC Reports (2014, 2015) suggested that metrics such as gross domestic product (GDP) framed the policy debate too rigidly and disregarded the multi-dimensional nature of well-being. NAEC incorporated issues such as uncertainty, spill-overs, systemic risks and network effects (OECD, 2014; 2015). It has questioned traditional ideas and methods, challenging group-think and compartmentalised approaches. It has led to the mainstreaming of multi-dimensional objectives in OECD analysis and publications, which has led to the partial adoption of a new economic paradigm (OECD, 2016; Hynes and Cerna, 2018; Jacobs and Langborn-Langton, 2017).

A second phase of NAEC launched in 2017 looked to develop a new growth narrative based on behavioural and institutional realism through systems thinking, anticipation and resilience. This preceded the emergence of the biggest systemic crisis of our times. NAEC had highlighted the interconnectedness, complexity and fragility of human-made systems and developed resilience frameworks to manage major upheavals as part of policies and strategies for Averting Systemic Collapse

Phase three will be launched as part of the recovery from Covid-19, building on Confronting Planetary Emergencies and A Systemic Recovery and will focus on moving from analysis and diagnoses of systemic challenges to policy answers. This involves tightening the links between NAEC and Committees, Directorates and Members. This includes the establishment of the Government Economists for New Economics and Systems (GENESYS).