Can we make better decisions by acknowledging radical uncertainty? Mervyn King and John Kay build a powerful case.
Uncertainty pervades the big decisions we all make in our lives. How much should we pay into our pensions each month? Should we take regular exercise? Expand the business? Change our strategy? Enter a trade agreement? Take an expensive holiday?
We do not know what the future will hold. But we must make decisions anyway. So we crave certainties which cannot exist and invent knowledge we cannot have. But humans are successful because they have adapted to an environment that they understand only imperfectly. Throughout history we have developed a variety of ways of coping with the radical uncertainty that defines our lives.
Mervyn King and John Kay know about the pressures of decision-making in the highest echelons of power. They’ve spent their lives and careers making decisions that reverberate across British society — and beyond. As Governor of the Bank of England, King was responsible for the financial stability of the nation. And as a company director, FT columnist and Oxford Said Professor in the country, Kay’s decisions and opinions have been felt across the business world and wider economy for decades.
In this eye-opening podcast interview with economist Linda Yueh, they draw on biography, history, mathematics, economics and philosophy to highlight the most successful – and the most short-sighted – methods of dealing with an unknowable future. They will show how the prevalent methods of our age fall short, giving us a false understanding of our power to make predictions and leading to many of the problems we experience today.