Thinking Complexity

Chapters 1 › Unit 1: Using the iceberg to change perspective View instructions Hide instructions

Using the iceberg to change perspective

This exercise will help you practice distinguishing between an event and a pattern over time. It involves drawing an iceberg diagram to distinguish between an event at a point in time and a pattern of behaviour over time.

This online news article is about the growing gap between the rich and the poor in OECD countries. Your task is to draw an iceberg diagram with the event and the pattern of behavior of the main variable over time. You don't need to draw the systemic structure.

Hint: You can use the iceberg template that is available in the additional materials.

A suggested solution is provided in the references section.

The gap between rich and poor - Using the iceberg to change perspective


Event: the gap between rich and poor keeps growing - The richest 10% earns 9.6 times the poorest 10%

Pattern of behavior over time

  • The gap slowed growing during the financial crisis, but it's growing again.
  • CEOs earn 300 times the salary of ordinary workers.
  • Since the mid 1990's more than half of job creation are non-standard work.

Structure of the system of variables
- People with non-standard work are poorer than others.
- Poor people invest less in improving education and job skills.

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