The world’s greatest challenges—climate change, social conflict, species extinction, human trafficking, homelessness—are caused by what scientists call complex systems, where a large number of interacting components (social groups, emotions, technologies, beliefs, money, natural resources, etc.) make it very difficult to find lasting solutions. But even when people take that complexity seriously enough to identify promising…

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Opportunity Zones, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, are touted as a win-win: in return for generous tax breaks, investors finance community-development projects in neighborhoods facing economic challenges. There is already some concern, however, that wealthy investors will end up with convenient tax havens without actually improving the lives of lower- and middle- income…

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