This book t only explores the ways in which the ecomic crisis and associated austerity policies have adversely impacted the physical and human infrastructure and conduct of scientific research, but also considers how science can help us to understand the crisis and provide original solutions. Starting with a detailed but accessible analysis of the scientific method and the nature of scientific prediction, the book proceeds to address the failure to forecast the ecomic crisis and the origins of the continuing inertia in ecomic policy and theory. Attention is drawn in particular to the shortcomings of neoclassical ecomics in terms of its description of the ecomic system as being mechanical in nature and characterized by equilibrium. This perspective mirrors the limitations and outdated ideas of nineteenth century physics, which the book contrasts with the insights offered by modern physics. The impact of neoliberal ideologies on scientific research is also discussed in detail, highlighting their stifling effect on invation and diversification. In closing, the book emphasizes the need for state intervention to guide and support scientific research as the core engine of ecomic development that will deliver a sustainable future.
Francesco Sylos Labini is a theoretical physicist who obtained his PhD from the University of Bologna and worked for eight years in Switzerland and France before becoming a staff researcher at the Enrico Fermi Center in 2010. He currently works at the Institute for Complex Systems of the Italian National Research Council in Rome. Dr. Labini is specialized in cosmology, astrophysics, and complex systems and his research activity includes subjects that are at the interface between complex systems, cosmology, and gravitational dynamics. Besides physics he is interested in science policy and epistemology. Dr. Labini has published almost one hundred scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals. He is also the co-author of I ricercatori non crescono sugli alberi (Laterza, 2010) and has a blog on the website of the Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano. He is current president of the association Roars.it (Roars: Return on Academic Research).