Cadmus

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Networks: Innovation, growth and sustainable development

Abstract

The emergence of the Internet as a measureable manifestation of our social and economic relationships changed the domination of networks in our lives. From about 2000, the internet has allowed us to study and understand the type of networks in which we live, and to model their behaviour. The Internet has fundamentally changed the distribution of wealth. The rich became richer simply because of the larger scale of the trading network and stretched national wealth distributions. Network effects are therefore likely to be responsible for much of the perceived increases in inequalities in the last 20-30 years, and policies to tackle poverty must therefore address the extent to which the poor can engage with society’s networks of wealth creation. The greatest challenge to continued growth and prosperity, and therefore to peace and justice, is climate change. The potential cost of inaction on climate change could be as high. Our self-organising social networks have structured our societies and economies, and are now reflected in our technology networks. We can now replicate their evolution in computer simulations and can therefore better assess how to deal with the greatest challenges facing us in the next few decades. Read More