Be Resilient, Part I: How to Measure Resilienceon September 1, 2006 at 12:00 am
“Factors of Production,” Wikipedia, 14 August 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factors_of_production.
“Resilience,” Wikipedia, 29 August 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resilience.
With Steve’s original post on Singaporean resilience continuing to gain traction (SG Entrepreneurs and China Law Blog have written things not mentioned in my first update), I thought it was time to take a stab at determining what, measurably, is resilience.
First, some definitions, from Wikipedia
the capacity of a material to absorb energy when it is deformed elastically and then, upon unloading to have this energy recovered
the magnitude of disturbance that can be absorbed before the system changes its structure by changing the variables and processes that control behavior
Resilience thus measures system-perturbation energy. To measure resilience, then, we need to determine what factors into the production of energy in system-perturbations. More generally, this means determining what are the factors of production, and here the answer is easy:
- includes Land, which means
- Physical Territory
- Natural Resources
- Human Effort
includes Labor, which means
includes Capital, which means
These can be trivially operationalized — subjected to measurement — and we can answer the question of whether Singapore is resilient by measuring its resiliency in these factors. Working from what seems reasonable, we can say that Singapore is
- not resilience in Physical Territory, as a small loss of Physical Territory would greatly impact the state
- resilient in Natural Resources, as Singapore could use other factors (especially cash) to acquire more
- resilient in human effort, as Singapore has a record of attracting more labor when the State is dissatisfied with her own
- resilient in Machinery, as Singapore can buy more
- resilient in Tools, as Singapore can buy more
- resilient in Buildings, as Singapore can buy more
- resilient in Cash, as Singapore has enough to cushion most shocks.
Of course, one can have resilience but not resiliency, though that is a post for another time…