Social Order and Governance

The Polycrisis: Behind The Buzzword

This article discusses the emergence of the word ‘polycrisis’ in 2023, noting its rise to prominence at the 53rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, and seeks to underscore the gravity behind it. Larchman provides a primer, in which she defines polycrisis, in part, as “a cluster of interconnected crises in which ‘the overall impact exceeds […]

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Prospects for the World Economy in the Polycrisis with Martin Wolf

In this video, Michael Hainsworth, host of the C.D. Howe Institute podcast, interviews Martin Wolf, Chief Economic Commentator at the Financial Times and host of the podcast “Saving Democratic Capitalism”, in advance of a talk that Wolf gave to the Institute. Hainsworth and Wolf discuss ongoing crises that factor into the ongoing Polycrisis—defined as “a

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Global Tipping Points Report 2023

Global Tipping Points is a report, led by the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute and funded by the Bezos Earth Fund, that identifies negative and positive tipping points with regards to ongoing global crises. According to the report, the existence of negative tipping points shows that the threats posed by the current crises we

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Economic Globalization’s Polycrisis

Eric Helleiner defines polycrisis as “a cluster of distinct crises that interact in ways that they and/or their effects tend to reinforce each other” and argues that economic globalization is experiencing a polycrisis made up of five constituent crises: the deepening trade war between the United States and China; the move towards national self-sufficiency in

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All Crises are Unhappy in their Own Way: The role of societal instability in shaping the past

The authors argue that the current body of research into societal crises—defined here as “periods of turmoil and destabilization in socio-cultural, political, economic, and other systems, often accompanied by varying amounts of violence and sometimes significant changes in social structure”—concentrates on a narrow selection of historical examples. Addressing this, the authors compile a database of

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Global Polycrisis: The Causal Mechanisms of Crisis Entanglement

The authors translate polycrisis from a loose concept into a research agenda by providing the concept with a substantive definition, highlighting its value-added in comparison to related concepts, and developing a theoretical framework to explain the causal mechanisms currently entangling many of the world’s crises. In this framework, a global crisis arises when one or

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Global Risks Report 2024

This 19th edition of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Risk Report is based on a risk perception survey conducted with nearly 1500 experts from academia, government, business, and civil society. Chapter 1 focuses on three risks that have grown of increasing concern over the next two years: false information, interstate violent conflict, and economic

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A Year in Crises

Tim Sahay surveys the many crises covered in The Polycrisis newsletter over the last year and identifies four key shifts: northern countries are increasingly concerned with their own economic resilience but have not reformed the international financial system, so the global south remains increasingly vulnerable and disadvantaged; the past two years have witnessed more violent

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Evolution of the polycrisis: Anthropocene traps that challenge global sustainability

Using expert solicitation, the authors identify 14 “evolutionary traps” (global, technological, and structural) that risk locking humanity into unfavorable (maladaptive) trajectories that seriously restrict its ability to adapt to the Anthropocene. These traps develop over four phases: initiation, scaling, masking (of harmful interactions), and trapping. The fourth phase involves one of five trapping mechanisms: constraints,

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