We’re waiting. Waiting for the leadership that will allow us to live our lives again.

We have been living with COVID for so long, it often feels like we have forgotten how to live without it. Imagine hugging friends again, traveling freely, starting large bar tabs, dancing, going to the theatre and to concerts. Imagine all schools, universities, family events, and sports games happening without restrictions.

Despite the fact that most of the world’s best scientists today are working in America, despite the fact that America has produced most of the vaccines for COVID-19 so far, despite that, a long…


by Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute, endcoronavirus.org, covidzero.us, covidactiongroup.net

My fellow Americans

There is nothing we can’t do together. Today I am presenting to you a science-based plan to eliminate the coronavirus from the United States. We can meet this challenge as we have met challenges before.

We are not only facing the original coronavirus, we are facing new faster transmitting and potentially vaccination evading mutants. Some of them are already here, some may be here soon, or start here. We have to stop accepting defeat and get ahead of the virus and stop it.

We have talked…


John W. Crawford, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK and Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute, 277 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA

The way we start out thinking about a problem shapes the solutions that we end up with. This is as true in physics as it is in biology and so it is with political challenges like Brexit. There are cognitive and technological limitations on how we are able to think when complexity is high. This has meant that for most of the last 300 years, science has only succeeded in solving problems where complexity can be…


Different types of exercise tradeoff scale and complexity. A very rough indication is shown of larger scale and higher complexity.

Exercise is a different strokes for different folks kind of thing.

Here is a view from complexity science: There are two quantities that trade off against each other, complexity and scale. We can do things that are large scale and things that are more complex. Exercise is commonly divided into endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. All of these can be about scale. Walking for endurance and lifting weights for strength are both about scale. Scale shows up in the repetition of steps in walking or having every one of the fibers of your muscle contracting at once to lift a…


In our explorations of the world we have often discovered that the natural world may be described in terms of underlying simple objects, concepts, and laws of behavior (mechanics) and interactions. When we look still closer we see that these simple objects are composite objects whose internal structure may be complex and have a wealth of possible behavior. Somehow, the wealth of behavior is not relevant at the larger scale. …


Logic is the most fundamental framework of our understanding of the world in a formal language. The ability to say that a statement is true or false is basic to everything we know as mathematics. Despite its fundamental nature it is also difficult to understand fully.

Formal logic is often considered to be about how we infer the truth or falsehood of statements from other true or false statements. Given a set of assumed true and false statements, the question is what can we say about other statements. …


FIG. 1: True and false by generalization: Convergence in dynamics of experience identifies truth by association.

Is formal logic a valid description of the world? I argue that it can’t be. Let’s start from an example.

The statement: “Green traffic lights mean go,” is a simple statement that seems true. There are many ways it might not be true, such as when traffic lights are broken, or a car is stopped in the intersection.

There is a much more basic problem with the idea of such a truth that I want to focus on. When we see a green traffic light, we also see many other things about the existing conditions. We can imagine the entire…


Fig. 1: X-ray of my son’s leg after exploring the space of possibilities in climbing a building.

Consider the different places you can be in a house. Living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom. More specifically, consider each location to stand, sit or lie down. If there are several floors, then you can be in many different places on each floor. To get from one place to another, however, teleporting is not possible. We have to walk from one place to another through a set of intermediate places. To get from one place on one floor to a place on another floor, we have to walk up stairs, or take an elevator. …


By Alan L. Feld, Boston University School of Law, 765 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, and Yaneer Bar-Yam, New England Complex Systems Institute, 277 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02458.

For several decades, the idea that economic growth results from promoting investing that creates jobs has motivated changes in tax policies that give incentives for investment. A recent analysis shows that more rapid economic growth would actually occur if there is an increase in demand [1]. This means that those who are likely to spend their money on consumption should have more money to spend to increase economic activity—particularly low to middle…


The past decades have seen a series of economic recessions, the financial crisis, weak recoveries and increasing household debt. According to the New England Complex Systems Institute’s recent analysis of the US economy [1], policies for rapid and consistent economic growth, with widespread prosperity, are possible.

We separated the savings/debt of households to that of two groups: consumers and investors. Lower income workers spend most or all of what they earn and dominate consumer households. This group had net savings until 1980 and subsequently fell into increasing debt. By contrast, investors were in debt until 1980 and then increasingly accumulated…

Yaneer Bar-Yam

Complex systems scientist studying social and economic systems, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute. Author of Making Things Work

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store