Introduction: The underpinning thesis of this Essay is that practically useful knowledge concerning economic governance, and governance more generally for that matter, can be acquired by study of the structure and functioning of the human brain. The arguments have some resonances with, inter alia: the ancient microcosm-macrocosm analogy in philosophy, the brain being the microcosm and the governance system (‘Leviathan’s brain’) being the macrocosm; the Apollo/Cassandra story in Greek mythology; and much more recent mathematical analysis of self-similar systems, most notably in relation to fractals. They lead us to call for a new and better ‘Gestalt’ when thinking about the organisation of the structure and conduct of economic policy. The arguments follow a path already beaten in the development of AI, in the course of which major advances have been made via the study of neural networks and their use as analogies and sources of insight. No similar path has been trod in thinking about governance: as the 2nd President of the United States put it in his own time, the science of government has been “at a stand”.
Hutchinson and G. Yarrow, “To ‘see’, or not to ‘see’: that is the question. Moving on from a half-brained system of economic governance”, Essays in Regulation NS13.1, Regulatory Policy Institute, Oxford, 6 July 2023.