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Palgrave Macmillan

Simple Solutions to Complex Catastrophes

Dialectics of Peace, Climate, Finance, and Health

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  • Open Access
  • © 2024

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  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access
  • Argues for the importance of simple, stable institutions and regulatory bodies to contain complex catastrophes
  • Presents a positive 'politics of hope'
  • Explores contemporary global issues

Part of the book series: Sustainable Development Goals Series (SDGS)

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About this book

This open access book sets out simple solutions to managing complex catastrophes. It focusses on four kinds of crises – climate change, crime-war cascades, epidemics and financial crises. These catastrophes are conceived as complex and prone to cascade effects. This book is optimistic in explaining that there are identifiable simple institutions that international society can strengthen and some simple principles that can help humankind to control the expanding gamut of complex catastrophes that confront the planet including simple, stable institutions and regulatory bodies. It draws on a wide range of current and past crises and challenges, from the Cold War to COVID-19, and from Weapons of Mass Destruction to restorative diplomacy with States like China, to provide an urgent and timely path forward.

Braithwaite argues that improved peacemaking, and step by step progress toward abolition of Weapons of Mass Destruction helps prevent environmental, pandemic, and financial catastrophes. His method across four kinds of crises is first to prioritize simple principles and simple institutions that prevent coupled catastrophes from cascading one to the other. The next step is to pursue requisite variety in responses by diagnosing dialectically when additional interventions will and will not add value for crisis control. Braithwaite argues that minimal sufficiency of deterrence, responsive regulation of risks, and restorative diplomacy offer superior theoretical foundations than relations in international relations theory in organizational crime control. It speaks to those interested in criminology, public policy and international relations, political science, sociology, public health and economics.


Table of contents (11 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • The Australian National University, Acton, Australia

    John Braithwaite

About the author

John Braithwaite is an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of the Australian National University, and an interdisciplinary scholar of peacebuilding, war crime, business crime, criminological theory, and regulation and governance. He founded and was the first Director of the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at ANU Many of his previous works can be downloaded from

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