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The world economy is astonishingly complex, relying on more than 300 million companies interconnected with about 13 billion supply chain links. SFI’s Doyne Farmer and Stefan Thurner, with other colleagues, highlighted in a recent paper in Science the need for a comprehensive global map of these supply connections. Such a map would guide policymaking at the national and international levels, and inform economic decisions to resolve critical business and societal challenges.

At present, there are various national and supranational efforts to chart specific parts of the global supply network. Drawing a complete, trusted picture of international linkages would require integrating multiple datasets, developing analytical tools, and establishing secure infrastructure for storing and processing sensitive information. The only way to succeed would be for international organizations, individual nations, their public institutions, and the private and technical sectors to come together in an alliance to collaborate closely on such an overwhelmingly complicated enterprise.

Read the study “Building an alliance to map global supply networks” in Science (October 19, 2023). doi/10.1126/science.adi752