Dynamics Among Nations book coverDYNAMICS AMONG NATIONS employs insights from the study of complex systems to examine the interdependent, networked environment of today’s global power transitions – as well as the rise and fall of empires in Europe and Asia.

For too long, policymakers and economists have tackled problems of institution building, governance, and economic policy reform by asking, “What is the best solution” or “What should we address first”? When the problems they face are complex – not just complicated – these are the wrong questions.

Complex problems arise from complex systems made up of networks of interacting agents – families, ruling coalitions, governmental bureaucracies, markets, unions – that influence each other within the larger system. The behavior of one agent affects the behavior of another, and the resulting dynamics produce novel and powerful self-organizing behaviors in other agents sharing the system, and create a spiral of feedback loops and linked responses.

When does a component recognize that it is a contributing agent? Do the parts know they are a wave? The study of complexity helps us recognize the significance of individual change in terms of the larger pattern or system of which it is a part.


We must learn to view the entire landscape of interacting units as a complex system – and learn to identify feedbacks and interdependencies that affect different actions. Only then can we build a strategy that is sufficiently dynamic and adaptive to attain desired outcomes in a constantly changing environment.

To follow the author’s odyssey

Recording of the book launch at King’s College, London

Hilton Root in the News

The Wilson Center Science and Technology Innovation Program presented “Dynamics Among Nations: A Conversation with Hilton Root” on February 25, 2015.

Hilton Root discusses diversities in global development

Review on the Public Intelligence Blog: Dynamics Among Nations – The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States

Review in Economic Affairs by Paul Graham, University of Buckingham: Dynamics Among Nations – The Evolution of Legitimacy and Development in Modern States

Review by David Hales – Dynamics among Nations: The evolution of legitimacy and development in modern states

World Financial Review March/April 2014 edition, “After Liberalism: Complexity in the Governance of a Networked Global Society”

London School of Economics Book Review Forum, review by Peter Trubowitz, response by Hilton Root

Hilton L. Root interview on The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs

Hilton L. Root interview with MIT Press

Review by Daniel Little

Ten Minutes with Hilton Root

Amazon Reviews