Rethinking Economics for an Uncertain World: Challenges for Development

By Ian Scoones

Uncertainties are everywhere, whether emerging through climate change, financial volatility, conflict or war. All too often we don’t know what the future will hold. This presents a big challenge for conventional styles of economic development where predictive models, blueprint plans and standardised policies hold sway. What would an economics for development look like if uncertainties – where we don’t know the likelihood of future outcomes – are taken seriously? This is the focus of a new paper in World Development, where we argue for a major recasting of economic thinking and practice,  reclaiming older approaches that put uncertainty centre-stage.

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