L’antifragilità non è un sogno

Pubblicato il 15-01-2024

di Sandro Calvani

La lezione dell'Asia per imparare a essere più resilienti

The Asian continent has been a champion of antifragility for centuries, before Nassim Nicholas Taleb popularized the concept itself in 2012. The principle of antifragility refers to systems or entities that not only resist shocks and crises, but actually thrive and improve in the face of adversity. A classic example is a plane crash. Every air disaster, in addition to causing many victims, contributes to making air flights safer. In Asia, the applications of this “continuously evolving robustness” are countless in various sectors; some examples of antifragility make it clear that it is truly an extra step on the path to justice, peace and sustainable development.

1. Resilience in the economy: the severe economic crisis in 1997-98 meant that many economies learned to prevent and adapt to crises. South Korea, for example, implemented radical economic reforms and emerged stronger from the crisis. Singapore has strategically diversified its economy to reduce dependence on a single sector. Thanks to continuous adaptation and innovation, a small trading port has become a global financial hub and a center for technology and innovation, making it one of the richest countries in the world, despite having no natural resources.

2. Adaptability in technology: Several Asian states have been world leaders in technology innovation. Companies like Samsung, LG, Sony and China's BYD have demonstrated antifragility, evolving and thriving in the face of competition. BYD, which stands for Build Your Dream, has become the world's leading electric vehicle manufacturer, with nearly 2 million vehicles sold in 2022.

3. Cultural and social adaptations: Many Asian cultures have a long history of adapting to changes and external influences while maintaining their core values. For example, the coexistence of traditional practices with modernity in countries such as Japan, Thailand, India and China shows a form of cultural antifragility not found in other parts of the world.

4. Disaster Response and Recovery: Several Asian countries, especially those in Southeast Asia, often face natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and typhoons. Japan's experience dealing with earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as Philippine communities' response to typhoons, highlight cases of learning and improving resilience after each disaster.

5. Investments in education: many Asian countries have recognized the importance of continuous innovation in education and have invested heavily in the development of human capital at all levels, without discrimination based on gender or social class. The strong collaboration between schools and employers has allowed several contexts to eliminate unemployment.

Antifragility is a dynamic concept and its application requires an open and nuanced understanding of specific contexts and systems.

Sandro Calvani

NP Dicembre 2023

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