What is a Global Polycrisis? And how is it Different from a Systemic Risk?

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This discussion paper proposes that “A global polycrisis occurs when crises in multiple systems become causally entangled in ways that significantly reduce humanity’s prospects. These interacting crises produce harms greater than the sum of those the crises would produce in isolation, were their host systems not so deeply intertwined” (p. 2). The authors then elaborate several important features of this definition, compare it to others’ use of the polycrisis term, and distinguish polycrisis from the related concept of systemic risk.


Michael Lawrence, Scott Janzwood, and Thomas Homer-Dixon

Publication Date

16 September 2022


The Cascade Institute


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Resource Type

Think Tank (or University) Report

Resource Theme

Systemic Risk

Uses the term polycrisis

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