Models and Narratives (1)

Steven Bishop, David Tuckett, Peter Baudains, David Chavalarias, Wanglin Yan, Gertjan Storm, Diana Mangalagiu, Jason Greenlaw, Ilan Chabay, Armin Haas, Ricardo Herranz, Jon Reades, Kurt Dobfer, Paul Ormerod, Andrzej Nowak, Nils Ferrand, Achim Maas, Armin Leopold, Sarah Wolf, Hannes Kutza, Heinz Gutscher, Laszlo Pinter

– The context under which financial managers make decisions have extremely high levels of uncertainty. They construct a narrative to convince themselves to take a certain action. This story needs attractors and anti-repellors (defined as something in the narrative to manage repellors which cause anxiety and doubt).
– Can we look for the shift or sudden transition in narratives e.g. ‘dot com’?
– Narrative of neo-classical economics is dominant in policy-making.
– Construction of narratives as a scientific process. Bayesian: observe and then update your views.
– Narratives as a starting point for the construction of a model. We need to be aware of limitations of that model.
– Narratives link with social dynamics – there is a feedback loop between narratives and psychological factors that lead to behaviour change.
– GSS needs to be aware it is constructing a narrative. What is it?
– An ‘ecosystem of narratives’: there is competition, which ones win? Why are some counter-factual narratives successful? E.g. finding someone to blame. E.g. Eurozone has two competing narratives: stability versus collapse. The situation won’t be resolved until one of these gets global traction.
– As soon as it is recognised that a narrative has some social impact, the status of the narrative changes.
– A tendency in science to respond to negative narratives (negative in terms of what we believe) by throwing more data and analysis at it. In terms of people, this has no impact. ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’. How are narratives connected to objective reality?
– It is likely that we need different narratives for different cultures. Perhaps this is the role of art.
– Self-fulfilling narratives? Three possible ways in which this can happen: 1. A very good prediction of the future, 2. Accepted globally, so people begin to act on narrative (e.g. economics), 3. An institution (e.g. state) pursues a narrative with force.
– Science and policy reinforcing themselves through a narrative.
– ICT tools to track narratives and their social dynamics automatically. How can we use this to enhance our narratives for policy-makers? How are some narratives very powerful and others are not? Can we move to ‘narrative engineering’?
– Narratives attached to models versus narratives as models.

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