Ein systemischer Ansatz zur Bewältigung von Covid-19 und zukünftigen Schocks

Unsere Partner in der OECD sehen die Corona-Krise als Anlass, die Widerstandsfähigkeit unseres Wirtschafts- und Sozialsystems systematisch zu stärken.




23. MÄRZ 2020



This is an excerpt from a new paper from our partner institution NAEC at the OECD. 

Dealing with the Covid-19 shock and other epidemics through Resilience Strategies and Policies

So, how should we deal with the considerable shock that Covid-19 places upon international markets, public health, social activity, and governance? How can we address the cognitive effects of fear that trigger substantial slowdowns in economic activity, as well as the systemic effects that strain various sectors of international trade and governance?

Two overarching philosophies and methodologies are available for stakeholders to draw upon. Until recently, the consensus would have insisted upon preventing a threat from happening in the first place or substantially mitigating its consequences after the event if absolute prevention or avoidance is impossible. As the basis of conventional risk management (i.e., to prepare for and absorb threats), this option is politically appealing at the onset, as it offers the illusion that unacceptable risks may be bought down before they cause serious problems. In a world of rapid feedback loops and increasingly nested systems where cascading failures are inevitable, however, such options might be ineffective at protecting economic and social systems and calming perturbations, or would be ruinously expensive to implement to the extent needed to assure policymakers and other stakeholders of adequate protection.

The second approach is one that accepts the inherently uncertain, unpredictable, and even stochastic nature of systemic threats and addresses them through building system resilience. Rather than rely solely upon the ability of system operators to prevent, avoid, withstand, and absorb any and all threats, resilience emphasises the importance of recovery and adaptation in the aftermath of disruption. Such a mindset acknowledges that the infinite universe of future threats cannot be adequately predicted and measured, nor can their effects be fully understood. Resilience acknowledges that massive disruptions can and will happen, and it is essential that core systems have the capacity for recovery and adaptation to ensure their survival into the future, and even take advantage of new or revealed opportunities following the crises to improve the system through broader systemic changes. This is sometimes characterised as not just bouncing back, but “bouncing forward”.


Covid-19 is simply the latest, albeit concerning, manifestation of an unpredictable shock to various interconnected systems, where international recovery will have vast implications for future economic, social, and governmental activity. Resilience must become a core philosophy within system management and operation to ensure we are able to continue to function despite disruptions like Covid-19, and are able not only to adapt and improve in its aftermath, but to seize upon new or revealed opportunities.

Interconnectivity between systems is one of the structuring and determining features of our modern world, which is becoming ever more complex and dynamic. This is a product of economic opportunity as well as global political interconnectedness, and has brought considerable benefits to much of the global population. An instinctive reaction to the Covid-19 outbreak would be to limit or reduce such interconnectedness, yet such sweeping policy changes would not better protect countries or international markets against future systemic threats. Instead, an emphasis upon developing resilience within the international economic system is a necessary evolution for a post-Covid-19 world, where systems are designed to facilitate recovery and adaptation in the aftermath of disruption.

A shift from risk-based towards resilience-based approaches for management of epidemics, as well as for other systemic threats, is a necessity. The resilience we are talking about here, however, is not resilience in the traditional sense the OECD tended to use, meaning the capacity to resist downturns and get back to the same situation as before. There is an awareness that the systemic threats modern societies face are increasingly difficult to model, and are often too complex to be solved for the “optimal response” using traditional approaches of risk assessment that focus primarily upon system hardness and ability to absorb threats before breaking. The new approach to resilience will focus on the ability of a system to anticipate, absorb, recover from, and adapt to a wide array of systemic threats (see figure below).



Die aktuelle Corona Krise ist mitunter die schwerste Wirtschaftskrise der Nachkriegszeit. ÖkonomInnen arbeiten intensiv an einer Milderung der wirtschaftlichen Folgen durch COVID-19. Es gilt eine zweite große Depression, den Zusammenbruch der Eurozone und das Ende der Globalisierung zu verhindern. Wir sammeln die wichtigsten Beiträge.