James Glattfelder studies complexity: how an interconnected system — say, a swarm of birds — is more than the sum of its parts. And complexity theory, it turns out, can reveal a lot about how the economy works. Glattfelder shares a groundbreaking study of how control flows through the global economy, and how concentration of power in the hands of a shockingly small number leaves us all vulnerable.
James B. Glattfelder aims to give us a richer, data-driven understanding of the people and interactions that control our global economy. He does this not to push an ideology — but with the hopes of making the world a better place.
Glattfelder reveals that the impetus of the study wasn’t at all to validate global protesters. Instead, the study was conducted out of a desire to understand the laws that govern our economy, in the same way that we understand the laws that govern the physical world around us. Glattfelder and his co-authors Stefania Vitali and Stefano Battiston are complex systems theorists, meaning that they study a whole — for example, an ant colony or the human brain — as more than just the sum of its part. Complexity theory examines interactions between parts, looking for the simple rules that emerge when viewed en masse.