Optimisation and “Thoughtful Conjecturing” as Principles of Analytical Guidance in Social Decision Making

  • Sergio Bruno
Part of the New Economic Windows book series (NEW)


The XXth can be considered the Century of the culture of optimisation, that has been outstandingly improved and applied. There is a difference, however, between applying it to complicate technical problems, such as the war logistics, or to complex social choices, where the identification of measurable objectives and their relative weights cannot be objective and stable through time. Ex ante evaluation of actions cannot be considered as a task having an objective or scientific nature, since a part of it depends on forecasting future events, the effectiveness of which depends only on elements of systemic inertia. Despite its non-scientific basis, the use of evaluation criteria may improve, in a probabilistic sense, the quality of decisions, since, as a procedure, it contributes to confer order to the imagination of the decision makers, to reflect in qualitative terms about possible futures, to communicate, to reach consensus. Its wide use tends to produce routines, that on the one side contribute to stabilise the environment and to make it forecastable but, on the other side, tend to hinder innovative projects. Still it remains basically an art, while often it disguises itself as being objective. The associated risks are analysed in detail.


Multiple Goal Shadow Prex Innovative Project Uncertain Event Innovative Organisation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergio Bruno
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economic Sciences, “La Sapienza”University of RomeRomeItaly

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