Interventions for Rapid Global Change

A Glacier

Interventions for Rapid Global Change

The Cascade Institute is a Canadian research center addressing the full range of humanity’s converging environmental, economic, political, technological, and health crises. Using advanced methods for mapping and modeling complex global systems, Institute researchers identify and help implement high-leverage interventions that could rapidly shift humanity’s course towards fair and sustainable prosperity.


Network dynamics of the pandemic shock: Three network shifts and why they matter

Jinelle Piereder
January 11, 2021 • This Brief analyzes three major shifts in humanity’s networks that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered or accelerated: (1) network centralization, (2) network fragmentation and reconfiguration, and (3) network formation. It then examines the impact of these shifts across economic, food, information, and governance systems.

Pension funds and the post-pandemic economy: A shift to bold climate leadership

Scott Janzwood
December 14, 2020 • This Brief analyzes the impact of the pandemic on pension funds and presents strategies for organizations, activists, and researchers to accelerate pension fund leadership on climate change.

The Roubini Cascade: Are we heading for a Greater Depression?

Michael Lawrence & Thomas Homer-Dixon
December 4, 2020 • This Brief develops a system map of Nouriel Roubini’s argument that the world is heading into a Greater Depression. It uses this visualization to highlight crucial features of his prediction.

Pension funds at a crossroads: Incremental greening or bold climate leadership?

Scott Janzwood
December 7, 2020 • This paper investigates the forces constraining pension funds from going beyond incremental steps and taking a much bolder leadership role in the net-zero carbon energy transition. It presents strategies for organizations, activists, and researchers to accelerate pension fund leadership on a timescale that is commensurate with the urgency of the climate crisis.

Max – a thought experiment: Could AI run the economy better than markets?

Edward A. (Ted) Parson
October 29, 2020 • This paper explores how recent advances in AI have re-opened questions around the feasibility and desirability of central economic planning. It presents a thought experiment about how an AI-directed economy might work, based on a powerful AI agent (whimsically named “Max”).

The social distancing norm cascade

Scott Janzwood
April 27, 2020 • This paper analyzes the rapid and widespread changes in attitudes and behaviours toward social distancing practices during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights how incentives and social network dynamics interact with belief systems to determine whether or not people act consistently with their underlying beliefs.

Learning Salon Series: Our world’s cascading crises. What is driving them, are they going to get worse, and can they be stopped?

VIDEO  |  Presentation on the underlying mechanisms of cascading crises and how these mechanisms could converge to trigger a global economic collapse, as argued by economist Nouriel Roubini.

Review of Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril, a new book by Thomas Homer-Dixon, Director of the Cascade Institute

BOOK REVIEW  |  There May Yet Be Hope: The future is not set in stone by Arno Kopecky for the Literary Review of Canada

However the pandemic unfolds, it’s time for oil use to peak—and society to prepare for the fallout

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists article by Yonatan Strauch, Angela Carter, and Thomas Homer-Dixon