Now, more than at any other time in our history, the world is faced with a series of vicious and apparently insurmountable difficulties, chief among them unstable financial markets, rapidly diminishing resources and an eco-system that is becoming dangerously volatile. In The Price of Fish Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris examine in a unique way the world's most abiding and wicked problems – sustainability, global warming, over-fishing, overpopulation, the pensions crisis; all of which are characterized by a set of messy, circular, aggressive and peculiarly long-term problems – and go on to suggest that it is not the circumstances that are too complex, but our way of reading them that is too simple. Too simple and often wrong.
The Price of Fish goes beyond economics alone to look at real commerce, and the ways complex interactions adapt and change over time: the price of fish, for instance, cannot be right when we have over-fishing, hunger and ruined seas. Mainelli and Harris are taking steps towards understanding the knotty world we live in, not a simple exercise in chess-players' logic but an approach which addresses the complex, the cyclical, the hostile and the protracted. If we're ever going to solve the unsolvable, the first steps start here.
Michael Mainelli is Commerce Professor Emeritus and Fellow at Gresham College (founding home of the Royal Society and former home to Christopher Wren). He is also Visiting Professor at LSE and was responsible for creating the London Accord the world's leading research cooperative into environmental, social and governance investment. He is the co-founder of Z/Yen, the City of London's leading commercial think-tank established in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. Over the course of his career, he has worked in economics, political science, seismology, cartography, energy information, research and development, in defense and at the highest level of accountancy.
Ian Harris is a co-founder of Z/Yen, having previously conceived and launched the award-winning joint venture Charity Share and guided the Marine Stewardship Council towards a Best Practice award for its strategic planning and governance, as well as working to solve other problems of long-term thinking in charities and other non-governmental organizations.