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Governing Complex SystemsSocial Capital for the Anthropocene$
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Oran R. Young

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035934

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035934.001.0001

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Conclusion: Science, Policy, and the Governance of Complex Systems

Conclusion: Science, Policy, and the Governance of Complex Systems

(p.211) Conclusion: Science, Policy, and the Governance of Complex Systems
Governing Complex Systems

Oran R. Young

The MIT Press

Success in efforts to achieve sustainability in the Anthropocene requires overcoming the influence of business as usual in thinking about governance strategies and guarding against path dependence as a barrier to creating and implementing innovative governance systems to deal with the challenges of complex systems. Research opportunities in this setting involve an examination of ways to transcend the regulatory paradigm, to improve understanding of the relationships between institutions and organizations, to devise strategies for combining nimbleness and durability, to think about methods for making choices under uncertainty, and to develop a methodological toolkit including both qualitative and quantitative modes of analysis. Lessons for policymakers center on the need to rethink orthodox preferences regarding governance systems, expand the repertoire of practices, make maximum use of decision support tools, and take advantage of new technologies allowing for dramatic improvements in the ability to monitor complex systems. Some observers have pointed to the need for fundamental changes required to address the challenges of the Anthropocene and stressed the danger that analysts who seek to engage with the policy community will suffer from cooptation. While this is a legitimate concern, there is a strong case for strengthening the science/policy collaboration in building social capital for the Anthropocene. Both the science community and the policy community have comparative advantages that can be harnessed to achieve success in addressing the novel challenges of governing complex systems in the Anthropocene.

Keywords:   business as usual, path dependence, policy community, regulatory paradigm, science community, science/policy interface, social capital

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