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Become antifragile, or die... (22.15)

Taylor: It is unfortunate, offensive actually, to even be talking about this, and that people have to live in near-poverty. But in many ways, a town is like a business. And when a business operates beyond its means, when numbers don't add up, and the people in charge continue on, heedless of that fact, sure that some sugar daddy, usually in the form of the Federal Government, will come along and scoop them up and cover the shortfalls, well, that truly offends me. People might say you hurt this town. But in my opinion, the town put the hurt on itself. Corrections are in order. There's a way to make this work, and that way is hard, but necessary. As Taleb says, become antifragile, or die. Once we do this, the town will face that challenge and come out stronger. Or it will cease being. Either result absolutely natural, as in, of nature itself.

Antifragility is a property of systems that increase in capability, resilience, or robustness as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures. It is a concept developed by Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book, Antifragile, and in technical papers. As Taleb explains in his book, antifragility is fundamentally different from the concepts of resiliency (i.e. the ability to recover from failure) and robustness (that is, the ability to resist failure). The concept has been applied in risk analysis, physics, molecular biology, transportation planning, engineering, Aerospace (NASA), and computer science.

Taleb defines it as follows in a letter to Nature responding to an earlier review of his book in that journal: Simply, antifragility is defined as a convex response to a stressor or source of harm (for some range of variation), leading to a positive sensitivity to increase in volatility (or variability, stress, dispersion of outcomes, or uncertainty, what is grouped under the designation "disorder cluster"). Likewise fragility is defined as a concave sensitivity to stressors, leading to a negative sensitivity to increase in volatility. The relation between fragility, convexity, and sensitivity to disorder is mathematical, obtained by theorem, not derived from empirical data mining or some historical narrative. It is a priori.