Abstract for: A Fireside Chat with Jay Forrester
Industrial Dynamics, the seminal work in the field remains a truly great book to read even today. In that work Jay Forrester laid the foundations, and provided many of the tools, for understanding a broad array of social and economic systems. When Jay moved from businesses to cities, with the work of Urban Dynamics, he demonstrated the same unexpected outcomes from policies that created the problems they sought to solve. The next step, after businesses and cities, was World Dynamics, which showed the way in which fundamental elements of human endeavor come together to generate surprising, and not necessarily happy, outcomes. Beyond the coherence of relating structure to behavior, these books also have a common theme around the behavior of people looking for outcomes, whether selfishly or altruistically, and generating unexpected results. In the Fireside Chat, in a question and answer format, Jay talks about these books, what they meant to him, and how he thinks they fit together in aiding our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.