Economies as dynamical systems

My colleague and friend Tyler Cowen, highlighted this paper in Nature Physics by Tacchella et al. I’m familiar with this approach in thinking about neural dynamics (e.g. thinking about something like an epileptic seizure as a physical attractor on a landscape of neural states). But in the context of predicting GDP, the approach strikes me as novel and quite interesting.

Interestingly, one of the key state variables used by the authors, economic fitness, is calculated from individual commodity trade data between national counter-parties. This strikes me as intriguingly close to the way the current Administration views global trade. Might the results of this paper then be used as ammunition to support the Administration’s trade wars?