Monday, April 21, 2014
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面临风险的系统

日内瓦—无法适应气候变化、持续的极端天气和金融业重大系统失灵是一年一度的世界经济论坛《全球风险报告》(Global Risks Report)所提出的50大风险中的三个。自然地,这三者之间存在联系,特别是在去年十月让重创华尔街的“超级风暴”之后。事实上,报告提醒我们,在这个相互联系的世界中,系统间相互影响的方式多如牛毛。

更重要的是,报告警告我们面临诸多系统失灵的风险。比如,世界两大最根本的系统是经济和环境;它们之间的互动构成了今年报告中三大案例研究的第一个。

1 000名专家参与了世界经济论坛风险报告的基础——全球风险前景调查,他们认为适应气候变化是未来十年的首要环境问题。这反映出关于气候问题的思维发生了较大变化,越来越多的人承认我们已经陷入一定程度的全球温度变迁过程,必须根据当地情况适应这一变化——比如通过改善关键性基础设施系统以增强抵抗极端天气事件的能力。

但我们是在经济持续低迷的时候遇上这些环境挑战的。全球增长依然缓慢,货币和财政政策对经济复苏影响有限,政府要么缺乏资源,要么缺少勇气推动大工程。毫不奇怪,在我们的调查中,长期财政失衡名列未来十年将趋于严重的50大全球风险第二名。

坚挺的经济能提供投资气候适应项目的空间,同时环境稳定也能保证解决经济问题的空间。同时面临两大系统的压力就好比是飞机在飞行途中遭遇两大引擎同时熄火。

这第二个案例研究采取了不同的视角看待系统。显然是“次要”的系统——比如社交媒体——对“主要”地缘政治危机大呼小叫怎么办?社交网络已是无处不在,信息可以在一瞬间传播到世界每个角落。

社交媒体的好处已是众人皆知,但假消息的风险鲜有人提及。我们可以用现实世界中的例子打比方,好比有人在拥挤的戏院大喊“着火啦!”数字世界中会发生类似的事件吗?假消息会在真相暴露前点燃恐慌之火吗?

报告的第三个案例研究是关于我们对某个关键系统沾沾自喜的后果的。比如,在过去100年中,医学不断地产生着创新,这让我们感觉卫生系统永远不会退步。但专家们越来越担忧细菌性流行病终有一日会所有现有抗生素产生抗药性,而我们的知识产权系统无法产生足够的激励对劲新药的研发。世界卫生组织总干事警告说,如果世界退回前抗生素时代,那么抓伤或喉部感染将再次成为致命伤害。

这三个例子均凸显出让系统更具韧性的必要性,这意味着不能孤立地看待系统。它们既是更大的系统的一部分,同时又由更小的系统组成。尽管从理想上说,全球风险应该由全球应对措施来对付,但现实是这些风险主要在国家层面演进,各国必须自力更生面临挑战。因此我们需要通过定期评估国家内部的关键次级系统来确认国家的抗灾力。

如今,世界经济组织正在研究用五大韧性因素与基于感知的数据和统计数据相结合的评估国家次级系统。这五大因素是充足性(redundancy)、稳健性(robustness)、智能性(resourcefulness)、响应(response)和复苏(recovery)。世界经济论坛所收集的首批基于感知的数据包括领导层能力、透明度、效率以及公私利益相关部门之间的良好关系等。

这些指标的开发还处在初级阶段,但其最终目标是开发实用的诊断工具,作为“MRI”供国家决策者评估国家全球风险抵抗力之用。通过揭示传统风险评估方法所不能揭示的弱点,我们可以让结构性改革、行为改变和增加韧性要求的战略投资更精确。

结果将不仅有利于愿意参与其中的各个国家,也将间接地加速全球治理创新,为了维持最关键系统的完整性,我们急切地需要全球治理创新。

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  1. CommentedTimothy Williamson

    I would like to assist you in this area - particularly from the complex adaptive systems perspective. tim@williamsoncontracting.biz

    www.strategicglobalpolicyforum.com

    www.williamsoncontracting.biz

  2. CommentedProcyon Mukherjee

    I was particularly attracted to the ‘Digital Wildfires’ section of the WEF Risk Report, which talks of certain risks spreading viraly through the digital network and raises the likelihood of digital misinformation that would eventually lead to gaming and fraud; ‘every minute 48 hours of viewing content gets uploaded into You Tube’, has two implications, one that we have only a fraction of our ‘fast thinking’ mind to act with an irrational attention to the trivia while our ‘slow thinking’ side would be entrenched in a rational inattention to the fundamentals. Either way we have a breeding ground for digital misinformation to multiply.

    The second item which caught attention in the WEF Risk Report is the rising dangers of chronic fiscal imbalance that perhaps is intertwined to the severe income disparity as well. These two together would wreak havoc if not tamed with a global attention it deserves.

    Procyon Mukherjee

  3. Portrait of Pingfan Hong

    CommentedPingfan Hong

    The simultaneous stresses both in the need for investing in climate adaptation and in the chronic fiscal imbalances are an indication of misallocation of resources by the governments: they fail to put the resources in where needed the most. On the other hand, we should not forget the role of private sector in investing in climate adaptation.

  4. CommentedZsolt Hermann

    There is a much deeper problem here.
    Humanity exists in a vast natural system, and under the term "nature" we should not immediately associate ourselves with the usual natural environment, the inanimate, vegetative, animate and human level of nature humanity is a part of, but more importantly we should think about a very intricate, totally interconnected system of laws and forces that expresses itself into the visible natural environment.
    The overall law of this system is the maintenance of general balance and homeostasis without which life and development would not be able to exist.
    Despite this information, which is already known to us from classical sciences, humanity, a race that is part of the system with every molecule and particle of our body, tries to pretend to be above the system, inventing unnatural, human made laws and sub-systems, completely ignoring the laws surrounding us.
    And this is more than just the prevalent socio-economic system, or how we relate to the environment, basically every movement, every plan and action we make is against the laws and principles of balance and homeostasis as we only operate based on self calculation, self profit and the exploitation of everything around us. This is where our inherent selfish, egoistic nature drives us.
    We can call this behavior a "human mutation" which by now, with the full maturity of the global, interconnected world system has reached a critical point.
    Today humanity is a cancerous foreign body within the infinitely larger system it exist in, and it is only a matter of time until we exterminate ourselves either directly, or the system rejects us.
    We urgently need a cure for this cancer, a completely new human paradigm, attitude, lifestyle, which can only be achieved by the honest, objective research of the natural laws around us, and the adaptation of the whole of humanity to those laws as soon as possible through a global, integral education program.
    Any of the present offered and implemented local, partial, superficial "solutions" are futile without changing the operating software of the human being.

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