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NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

NUMBER 1 JANUARY 20, 2012

NESS Newsletter NUMBER

WELCOME TO NONEQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE by Paul Ormerod Welcome to this first edition of the newsletter published by the NonEquilibrium Social Science (NESS) research group. NESS is supported by the European Commission with

a three year funding programme which began in November 2011. The purpose of NESS (http://www.nessnet.eu/) is to try to ensure that ...

FIRST NESS ROAD MAP MEETING The first NESS Road Map Meeting took place in Ovronnaz, Switzerland, on 8-10 December 2011. The meeting was, in general, about planning the project directions for its... (read more page 4)

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(read more page 2)

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The number 1 of the NESS Newsletter is dedicated to presenting the new coordination project. It includes an editorial by Paul Ormerod, an interview with Yi-Cheng Zhang, a small report of the first NESS Road Map Meeting occurred last December, the note “What am I reading” by Bruce Edmonds, conference announcements and other news concerning the non-equilibrium social science. All these contents can also be accessed at www.nessnet.eu We hope you will enjoy! - the NESS team

INTERVIEW WITH YI-CHENG ZHANG NESS - Why do you think it is important to start this project now? YCZ - Ten years ago, in this same room, eight schoolars... (read more page 3) PAGE 1


NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE by Paul Ormerod * Welcome to this first edition of the newsletter published by the NonEquilibrium Social Science (NESS) research group. NESS is supported by the European Commission with a three year funding programme which began in November 2011. The purpose of NESS (http:// www.nessnet.eu/) is to try to ensure that the social sciences are put on a proper footing for the 21st century. A key focus of the group is economics, where the equilibrium approach (though dominant) struggles to capture the economic realities we observe in the world today. But we are interested in all the social sciences. NESS is a genuine trans-disciplinary venture. The main deliverable required of the NESS project is a road map to WWW.NESSNET.EU

NUMBER 1 JANUARY 20, 2012

inform the EU’s funding strategy on social science research in Horizon 2020, the successor to the current European funding framework, FP7. Modern computer techniques have made possible both the integration of larger information sets and the

Luncheon of the Boating Party (1881), by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

exploration of disequilibrium behaviour. However, we are still in the infancy of making the best use of simulation and multidisciplinary analysis.

advances to make real progress in understanding complex social and economic systems. NESS is oriented towards more formal modelling approaches in the context of data and observation, but ones in which process and time are of fundamental importance. Most real world social and economic behaviour takes place out of equilibrium. We will be holding a series of workshops and events over the next three years, and would be delighted to hear from like-minded social scientists from anywhere in the world.

* Paul Ormerod is economist. He is a partner of Volterra Partners, London. He is NESS aims to establish a author of three best-selling network of leading scholars books on economics for the general public, the Death of and practitioners from all Economics, Butterfly social science disciplines to Economics and Why Most apply and focus these Things Fail.

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NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

NUMBER 1 JANUARY 20, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH YI-CHENG ZHANG Yi-Cheng Zhang heads the Interdisciplinary Physics Group at Fribourg University. He is a leading member of Econophysics community. His primary research focus is the interface between economy and information technology. He is the core partner leader of NESS.

thinking. Economics is not only for economists. A broad society has interest and even the right to study economic issues.   

and even entrepreneurs. We are hoping to offer independent, complementary views to the grand challenges that our societies are currently facing.  NESS - Who do you think might be interested by this complementary point of view?

The NESS newsletter Yi-Cheng Zhang at the NESS interviewed Yi-Cheng Roadmap Meeting, December 2011 Zhang at the NESS Road Map Meeting, in Ovronnaz, Switzerland on the 10th NESS - Wasn’t this search December, 2011. for a new way of thinking the object of other recent NESS - Why do you think it efforts in economy? is important to start this project now? YCZ - Ten years ago, in this same room, eight schoolars including Giovanni Dosi, Paul Hormerod, and myself, initiated these discussions. I am so happy to see that now several types of schoolars decided to support the new non-equilibrium social sciences community, and that this became an European coordination project. This is a project for innovating the way of

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YCZ - As we all know, economic issues are not just pure academic issues. Today, even for persons who have never studied economics, the financial crisis is very relevant, so the general public also has the right to know what’s going on. Why, YCZ - Well, two years ago, for so many years, we ear George Soros founded the about success stories of Institute for New Economic academic economists, with Thinking. However, we nobel prizes, yet such have seen that the New theories frequently proved Economic Thinking wrong. Economics movement, with so much departments at universities, money, only managed to and business schools, are attract very established still teaching text books mainstream economists. similar to Samuelson’s, this Our is a much smaller fondamental knowledge is project, yet free from any still unchanged. For us it established fixed thinking, represents such a big with the participation of paradox, that in the practice social scientists - network (read more page 4) scientists, psychologists,

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NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

NUMBER 1 JANUARY 20, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH YI-CHENG ZHANG (continuation %om page 3)

schoolars, business direction. Actually what we practitioners, and try to might achieve might be the mainstream thesis find a way to a qualitative much more ambitious than failed. This is our description of phenomena what we see in the project interpretation, and we are not alone, as you can read in in the socio-economical life. programme. Time will tell if three years will be short or a everyday news. However, long time. Personally I’m what seems to happen is NESS - What are your very confident, based on the that right now there is no expectations regarding the last ten years experience, on credible alternative to the project? some informal exchanges mainstream establishment. and on published writings. We don’t want exclusively to criticize the mainstream YCZ - Our common point We have something is that non-equilibrium and interesting in stock to show. established views and the non-mechanic points of This will be presented in standart textbooks. Ever view lead to different the next few months. Thank since Ricardo, ever since methodologies. We do have you. Samuelson, criticism without alternative was not the ambition that constructive. We would like something will come out. Interview: Jorge Louçã Our project will be a to interest a broader Edition: Françoise Bourchenin concrete step towards this spectrum of intellectuals, Ovronnaz, December 10, 2011

FIRST NESS ROAD MAP MEETING The first NESS Road Map Meeting took place in Ovronnaz, Switzerland, on 8-10 December 2011. The meeting was, in general, about planning the project directions for its three years of duration and road map drafting. Erik Reinert, invited speaker at the meeting, discussed the history of economic thought and policy, in a talk that will soon be available at the NESS video library. Stay attentive to the next newsletters and also to the NESS blog! NESS Roadmap discussion at Ovronnaz, December 2011

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NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

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WHAT I AM READING by Bruce Edmonds *

examples. In this book he seems to echo some of my thoughts in my recent paper "complexity and contextdependency" (hopefully forthcoming!) but also have some different and parallel strands.  He (like me) attacks foundationalism, where people (in this case philosophers rather than economists!) put too much emphasis on idealisations, especially ones which seem to offer wide generality as the expense of knowledge that actually helps us understand anything.   His starting point is Simon's attack on ideal economic rationality, but then turns his fire on the philosophical assumption concerning the need for strict consistency.

I am working my way slowly through Wimsatt, W.C. (2007). Re-Engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality. Harvard University Press. Wimsatt has always been a favourite philosopher of mine, partly because he is also a biologist and thus relates any abstract thought to real

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* Bruce Edmonds is director of the Centre for Policy Modelling at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. He has applied agent-based modelling to address non-equilibrium systems in economic and other contexts. His web page can be found at: http:// cfpm.org/~bruce/

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NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

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W.E.H.I.A. 2012 - 17TH ANNUAL WORKSHOP ON ECONOMIC HETEROGENEOUS INTERACTING AGENTS

satisfactory approaches to (macro) econometrics and (macro) economic theory. The 17th Workshop on Economics and Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, that will be held at the University of PantheonAssas, Paris II, in June 21-23, 2012, offers an opportunity to present the latest research on various aspects of the economy as a complex system made up of multiple heterogeneous interacting agents. Research from different domains, at the crossing of various disciplines – economics, psychology, sociology, computer sciences, physics - are useful for developing more

These approaches have already brought some improvement in the understanding of problems facing the world economy, such as the financial crisis, segregation, unemployment and poverty, and the need for sustainable development. The workshop aims to make progress in understanding and solving them. Web: http://ermes.u-paris2.fr/Wehia_2012/ home.html

ARTIFICIAL ECONOMICS 2012

Artificial Economics 2012 will be held at Castellon, Spain, in September 2012. The main aim of the Symposium is to facilitate the meeting of people working on different topics in different fields (mainly Economics, Finance and Computer Science) in order to encourage a structured multi-disciplinary approach to social sciences. Presentations and keynote sessions center around multi-agent modelling, from the viewpoint of both applications and computer-based tools. The event is also open to methodological surveys. Web: http://www.lee.uji.es/ae2012/

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NON-EQUILIBRIUM SOCIAL SCIENCE

NUMBER 1 JANUARY 20, 2012

NESS IN CHINA Collaboration between NESS and the complex systems community in China was strengthened further in early January. NESS members Yi-Cheng Zhang, Yougui Wang, Jeff Johnson, Paul Ormerod and Bridget Rosewell gave papers at a China-EU Complex Systems Conference held in the southern city of Sanya. After the conference, Paul Ormerod visited Yougui Wang’s complex systems group at Beijing Normal University and a number of research ideas were discussed.  

THE NEW NESS WEBSITE AND BLOG IS ON-LINE The new NESS website will be, from January 2012, the meeting point for the Non-Equilibrium Social Science community (see the About NESS page for a description of the history, nature and organization of NESS). Our website will include a diversity of features, such as • news; • a blog allowing posting opinions and discussing through comments;

• links to the actual and past newsletters; • a library displaying videos with interviews; • an arXiv scientific repository; • a calendar announcing events, that will hopefully contribute to build this new community. You are welcome to visit the NESS website and participate creating this new community!

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS EDITION Bruce Edmonds, Bruno Gaminha, David Hales, Françoise Bourchenin, Jorge Louçã, YiCheng Zhang, Paul Ormerod

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NESS Newsletter Number 1 - Jan 2012  

NESS Newsletter Number 1 - Jan 2012

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