Economist Peter Lewin argues that we generate more uncertainty because we can handle it.
In keynote remarks at the recent Charles Street Symposium, University of Texas professor Peter Lewin explored what it really means to know that we don’t know something and discussed the implications.
“Uncertainty is necessary, desirable and empowering. Without it life would be dull and it would be static. There would be no entrepreneur and there would be no profit, there would be no novelty, no need to figure out how to cooperate, so no Sesame Street moments, no mystery and, of course, no conferences like this. It would be a world completely different from our own.”
"There would be no entrepreneur and there would be no profit (...). It would be a world completely different from our own.”
“One of the thematic outcomes of my own work is the conviction that the world is becoming more uncertain all the time, even while our ability to deal with this uncertainty is improving dramatically. We generate and experience a greater degree of complexity and uncertainty precisely because we can handle it. In many ways that is the story of the information age.”
Peter Lewin is a professor of economics at the University of Texas at Dallas. Lewin’s talk was part of the Charles Street Symposium, the Legatum Institute’s new annual forum for the world’s leading young economists. The inaugural symposium focussed on issues of economic risk and uncertainty.