Magic Strategies

This paper proposes that "magic strategies" involving multiple scales and multiple systems will be effective in managing complex health and social problems.


AUTHORS: Rodrick Wallace; Deborah Wallace.


PUBLISHED: PeerJ, 2013.

A survey of the cultural psychology and related literatures suggests that Western biomedicine’s fascination with atomistic, individual-oriented, interventions is a cultural artifact that may have little consonance with complex, subtle, multiscale, multilevel, social, ecological, or biological realities. Other cultural traditions may, in fact, view atomistic strategies as inherently unreal. A contrary perspective – similar to that of health promotion – implies that the most effective medical or public health interventions must be analogously patterned across scale and level of organization: ‘magic strategies’ will almost always be synergistically, and often emergently, more effective than ‘magic bullets’. The result can be formally derived in a relatively straightforward manner using an adaptation of the Black-Scholes econometric model applied to the metabolic cost of bioregulation under uncertainty. Multifactorial interventions focused at the human ‘keystone’ ecosystem level of mesoscale social and geographic groupings may be particularly effective.



Wallace Magic Strategies
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