Law and Complexity.

Tom Faunce's talk on nanotechnology was an interesting case-study of a wicked problem, however, like the maths I think I can quietly appreciate it rather than deeply engage. Apart from this I think the Faunce's points about the ways in which laws are formulated interesting and his ways to deal with problem solving were very helpful.

I think the point that laws are often the culmination of a developed sense of ethics and codes of practice of a society underpin the value of education and activism as having a very real role in helping to address problems. I believe that through collective action and the taking on of more personal responsibility we can address problems like climate change and indigenous rights.

Faunce's final reflections on problem solving and the value of looking for the completely ridiculous reminded me of a quote by surrealist André Breton:

"The man who cannot visualise a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot"

I think that there is a responsibility of those in policy making positions to inspire others outside the academic and institutional arenas with a sense of the possibilities of the seemingly impossible.

Mathew Zagor's talk on refugee law reminded me of the frustration I had way back at the beginning of the course with the tendency to redefine complex problems to shift responsibility. I was horrified to hear of countries deterring people in foreign waters and foreign airports so that they could side step around the parameters of international refugee conventions. These sorts of complicated legal issues and treaties are an example of something that alienates the greater public from the reality of a situation. Thanks to media spin-doctoring and hype, refugee politics is something that nearly everyone has an opinion on. An opinion which is unfortunately often far removed from the facts.

Thinking about what Zagor said about the Australian government investing money into scare-tactic videos of crocodiles and sharks to deter refugees reminded me of a similar idea from the other side of the problem. Médecins Sans Frontiers attempted to replicate experience to educate ordinary people about the realities of being a refugee with the Refugee Camp in Your City program. These two examples show that the provocation of emotion can be used both positively and negatively in complex situations. Rather than investing money in such nonsensical ways Zagor urged investing in preventative and appropriate development, such as was mentioned in the Sustainable Development forum

Zagor's point about academic knowledge being influential in the making of laws was heartening. It is good to be reminded that academic pursuits can have real world implications.

Question: How easy/possible is to undo laws which add to complexity?