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Uncertainty and the Dangers of Monocultures in Regulation, Analysis and Practice

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Bronk, R. (2016). Uncertainty and the Dangers of Monocultures in Regulation, Analysis and Practice. Talk presented at Öffentlicher Vortrag am MPIfG. Köln. 2016-02-10.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-04FB-B
Uncertainty is endemic to innovative economies and complex societies, but policymakers (like economists) underestimate how damaging this is for many of their guiding assumptions. In particular, the discourse of best practice, global solutions for global problems, and regulatory harmonization is questionable when uncertainty about the future is prevalent: for then, it’s impossible to know what best practice will be, and the danger of highly correlated errors and shared analytical blind spots is considerable. The transnational harmonization of regulation – despite well-known advantages – creates vulnerability to unexpected challenges, because it constrains how we think as well as homogenizing how we act. Policymakers should be wary of monocultures in regulation, analysis, and practice, and instead seek to manage policy diversity. The lecture will focus primarily on grounding its argument theoretically in relevant concepts from philosophy, biology, and the history of ideas; but it will also discuss empirical examples and consider implications for political theory and policymaking. Richard Bronk is a Visiting Fellow at the European Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with expertise in philosophy of economics, history of ideas and European political economy. Before joining LSE in 2000, he spent seventeen years in financial markets as an investment manager, an equity market strategist, and then an adviser on European capital markets and EMU at the Bank of England.