and learned to Love Volatility:
Several years before the financial crisis descended on us, I put forward the concept of "black swans": large events that are both unexpected and highly consequential...
The article goes on to present five rules for creating resilient systems. Not surprisingly, these rules are essentially the antithesis of the existing federal government bureaucracy:To deal with black swans, we instead need things that gain from volatility, variability, stress and disorder. My (admittedly inelegant) term for this crucial quality is "antifragile." The only existing expression remotely close to the concept of antifragility is what we derivatives traders call "long gamma," to describe financial packages that benefit from market volatility. Crucially, both fragility and antifragility are measurable.As a practical matter, emphasizing antifragility means that our private and public sectors should be able to thrive and improve in the face of disorder. By grasping the mechanisms of antifragility, we can make better decisions without the illusion of being able to predict the next big thing. We can navigate situations in which the unknown predominates and our understanding is limited.
Rule 1: Think of the economy as being more like a cat than a washing machine.
Rule 2: Favor businesses that benefit from their own mistakes, not those whose mistakes percolate into the system.
Rule 3: Small is beautiful, but it is also efficient.
Rule 4: Trial and error beats academic knowledge.
Rule 5: Decision makers must have skin in the game.