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Resilience

Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli
Making derivatives trades more transparent in turn makes the underlying investment strategies of some investment firms more visible, and many of those strategies have previously depended for their success on being kept private. And Wall Street traders dislike exchange-based trading for another, simpler reason: When nobody knew what anyone else was paying for derivative contracts, they could charge whatever they wanted. The pricing transparency that comes with selling such contracts via exchanges naturally erodes their profits.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 912-16 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:14 AM
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Andrew Haldane, the executive director of financial stability for the Bank of England. Like Levin and Sugihara, Haldane attributes the problems with the precrash financial order to the complexity of the system?the hornet?s nest of interconnections between institutions?and the homogeneity of those institutions? business strategies. And his recipe for improving the resilience of the financial network bears striking resemblance to ecologists? prescriptions for ecosystems.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 873-76 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:10 AM
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the collapse of Lehman introduced a virus of unprecedented lethality and speed that decimated the financial system?s most critical resource: trust. When that happened, the system?s shock absorbers were hijacked and turned into shock amplifiers?spreading the contagion of uncertainty rather than the perception of safety.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 859-61 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:09 AM
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Just before such destabilization occurs, a system paradoxically may experience synchrony, as agents within it briefly behave in lockstep just before being thrown into chaos. Synchrony can be seen in the brain cells of epileptics, for example, minutes before the onset of a seizure, and it was evident in the financial markets prior to the crash.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 848-51 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:08 AM
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According to Sugihara, in a complex system, there are telltale warning signs of a critical transition, or system flip, and they were visible in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 843-44 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:07 AM
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After the crash, figuring out who owed what to whom wasn?t just hard, it was impossible. It?s unsurprising that the institutions that vaporized amid the destruction?Lehman, Bear Stearns, and AIG Financial Products?had among the largest counterparty exposure. They were attached to an anchor of unknowable size.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 833-35 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:06 AM
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counterparty risk?not the risk that you?ll become a deadbeat, or the risk that your partners will become deadbeats, but the risk that some of your partners? partners will become deadbeats.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 819-21 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:05 AM
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In theory, CDOs and CDSs were originally designed to allow the market to do two things that are quite beneficial: first, to distribute risks to those who were most capable and willing to take them, and second, to allow banks to diversify their portfolios by mixing and matching some of their own activities with one another?s. A typical big bank might find itself originating its own mortgages, buying them from others, selling mortgage-backed securities that blended the two, and insuring those of another bank against default. All of this looked, superficially at least, like diversification?a wise strategy for balancing efficiency and robustness.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 808-13 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 12:04 AM
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Complementing this physical reorganization was an outreach and social networking effort that is widely regarded as yielding the greatest tactical success of the war: nurturing the Sunni Awakening movement, a coalition of Sunni tribes that were induced to stop fighting the Americans and start fighting al-Qaeda?s local branch instead. ?The combination of the physical network and the social network?that?s really what turned the campaign around on the ground. And we couldn?t have gotten that to happen without effectively engaging in a battle for the story, with our own counternarrative.?
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1238-43 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:56 PM
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A modest 2-centimeter granuloma alone can contain 100 million active bacteria. As the granuloma grows, it irritates the lining of the lungs, eventually bursting and spraying the inside of the lungs with the bacteriological equivalent of a swarm attack, hitting many targets at once. ?TB depends for its survival on inducing this tactical error on the part of the immune system,? says Fortune. ?The effort to contain the infection serves only to concentrate and then amplify it.?
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1216-20 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:54 PM
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during the latent phase of the disease, TB bacteria constantly probe the immune system for weaknesses, much like the AQAP terror cell probing the global security system. ?Our reasoned assumption is that during the latent phase, some TB is active, much is inert, and then, some critical threshold is passed, often in an immune system compromised by other illness such as HIV, alcoholism, or diabetes, and the illness enters its active phase,?
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1200-1203 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:52 PM
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Paradoxically, TB?s long latency is also one of the things that make it so deadly. It allows TB?s human hosts to grow up and reproduce, creating a new generation of people for the disease to spread to. ?TB is like a symbiont that occasionally kills you,? says Fortune.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1196-98 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:51 PM
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When the TB bacteria arrive in the lung, they are met by macrophages (literally ?big eaters?), the white blood cells at the front lines of the human immune system that are normally responsible for consuming and destroying invading pathogens. In certain cases, macrophages find this task difficult to do, so in a last, kamikaze-like move, they will engulf an unknown invader, coat it in the cellular equivalent of Saran Wrap, and then, on cue, promptly die, taking the pathogen with them. However, in TB, occasionally just the opposite occurs: TB takes over some macrophages, preventing them from dying, and turns them into zombie-like incubators for producing more TB bacteria, which slowly replicate inside until they burst their cellular hosts open and spread to others.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1184-89 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:50 PM
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Every day, about 4,700 people, mostly poor Africans and Asians, die from the disease. After HIV, it remains the most common infectious cause of death in adults worldwide. New infections occur at the rate of about one per second?two
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1178-80 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:49 PM
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In their ability to rapidly scale up and down, terror networks bear surprising similarities to another highly resilient but altogether different phenomenon: the pathology of tuberculosis infection in the human body.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1173-74 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:48 PM
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But resilience takes more than just the right structure?it takes the right kinds of processes and practices:
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1045-46 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:35 PM
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an essential strategy of many resilient systems: They are embedded countercyclical structures that can respond proportionally, and in the same time signature, to disruptions as they emerge.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1035-36 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:33 PM
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there has been a boom, business in national currency has boomed, and activity in the unofficial currency has dropped proportionally again. In the past, people have attributed the success of the Swiss economy to a national character of pragmatism and thrift. Stodder?s study offered unexpected proof that the secret behind the country?s legendary stability and economic resilience is the spontaneous countercyclical behavior of this small alternative currency system.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1024-28 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:31 PM
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In the midst of all this, sixteen businessmen decided to create a solution for themselves. All of them, along with their clients, had been informed by their banks that their credit lines were no longer open to them; without credit, their businesses were positioned on the brink of bankruptcy. Rather than fail, they decided to set up a complementary form of currency. Their result, the WIR, is a mutual credit system. A debt in WIR is either reimbursed by bartering in sales with someone else in the network or paid in full in the national currency.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1016-20 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:29 PM
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WIR?Wirtschafstring, or ?circle? in German?began in the depths of the Great Depression. In the wake of the stock market crash of 1929, total world trade plummeted?by 20 percent in 1930, another 29 percent in 1931, and another 32 percent in 1932. Unemployment reached 30 million. Wealth that was once all but assured disappeared into thin air, and banks that seemed certain to stand suddenly collapsed, as stocks lost nearly 90 percent of their value. Switzerland was pulled into the crisis more slowly than some of the other European countries, and it was slower to recover. By 1934, when the United States and Germany were showing faint signs of recovery, Switzerland remained in a malaise.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 1007-14 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:28 PM
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Bellwood?s research suggests that while the parrotfish act as lawnmowers for the reef, they can do so only when the reef is in the healthy, coral-dominated state. When the system has flipped and algae have taken over, they?re no longer able to provide this function. And that?s when the batfish?which normally doesn?t eat algae?is ?deployed? on the reef to correct the imbalance. One prevents a flip, the other reverses
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 983-86 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:26 PM
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it change gender?female parrotfish can transform themselves into males when their dominant male leader dies?but certain species of parrotfish have developed the ability to envelop themselves in a transparent cocoon, made from a viscous substance that comes out of an organ in their heads. This homemade sleeping bag disguises the scent of the parrotfish at night, leaving it safely hidden from nocturnal predators.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 950-53 | Added on Friday, August 10, 2012, 01:23 PM
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The market?s densely connected configuration, much like the Internet?s, ensured that randomly shutting down one of the innumerable banks in the global system would not be likely to cause systemic problems, because, statistically, the vast majority of banks in the network are at the end of spokes connected to a very limited number of hubs. But flip one of those central hubs (a rare and dangerous occurrence), and you might not only take down the thousands of banks directly connected to it, but the other hubs as well, along with thousands of institutions connected to them.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 750-55 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:58 PM
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At the core of the network, just sixty-six banks accounted for 75 percent of the daily value of transfers. Even more telling, the network topology revealed that twenty-five of the biggest banks were completely connected?so intertwined that a failure among any strongly suggested a failure for all, the very definition of ?too big to fail.?
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 741-44 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:57 PM
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just as in marine ecosystems, the nonlinear nature of the financial network is multiplicative: Certain failures multiply the risks of other failures.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 719-20 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:55 PM
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the decision to let Lehman fail, which we explore in greater detail later in this book, brought about an epidemic of fear and uncertainty that ground the world?s entire capital markets to a halt.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 703-5 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:54 PM
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A new generation of economists and finance experts are beginning to unearth important lessons in ecology for improving the resilience of the global financial economy. These insights are fueling the birth of an entirely new field, called ecofinance.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 697-99 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:53 PM
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then the critical threshold is breached, often by a stimulus that is itself rather modest, and all hell breaks loose. When such failures arrive, many people are shocked to discover that these vastly consequential systems have no fallback mechanisms, say, for resolving the bankruptcy of a major financial institution or for the capping of a deep-sea spill. And in the wake of these catastrophes, we end up resorting to simplified, moralistic narratives, featuring cartoon-like villains, to explain why they happened. In reality, such failures are more often the result of the almost imperceptible accretion of a thousand small, highly distributed decisions?each so narrow in scope as to seem innocuous?that slowly erode a system?s buffer zones and adaptive capacity.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 567-73 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:42 PM
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robust-yet-fragile (or RYF), a term coined by California Institute of Technology research scientist John Doyle to describe complex systems that are resilient in the face of anticipated dangers (in this case forest fires) but highly susceptible to unanticipated threats (in this case exotic beetles).
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 496-99 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:35 PM
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Broadly speaking, the contemporary sustainability movement has been (rightfully) preoccupied with risk mitigation for some time. Yet as irrevocable global changes of all sorts edge closer, a shift toward adaption?and with it, an increasing focus on resilience?is under way. And not just in sustainability, but in many areas of significant future risk?from global economics to public health, poverty alleviation to corporate strategy.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 450-54 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:31 PM
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More seriously, sustainability suffers in two respects: First, the entire notion that the goal should be to find a single equilibrium point runs counter to the way many natural systems actually work?the goal ought to be healthy dynamism, not a dipped-in-amber stasis. Second, sustainability offers few practical prescriptions for contending with disruptions precisely at the moment we?re experiencing more and more of them.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 431-34 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:29 PM
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it?s the tendency of most coupled systems to become brittle over time?to lose rather than gain in their ability to adapt.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 398-99 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:26 PM
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Living systems are also profoundly cyclical, rooted in what ecologist C. S. ?Buzz? Holling, one of the founding figures of resilience research, termed the ?adaptive cycle.? This is marked by four discrete, looping phases, starting with a rapid growth phase in which underlying resources come together, begin to interact, and build on top of one another, like an early-stage forest. This is followed by a conservation phase, in which, like a more mature forest, the system becomes increasingly efficient at locking up and utilizing resources, but also becomes increasingly less resilient as it does so. This is followed by a release phase, in which resources are dispersed, often in response to a disruption or collapse, and then finally a reorganization, when the cycle begins anew.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 372-81 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:24 PM
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The deeper lesson is that to improve resilience we often need to work in more than one mode, one domain, and one scale at a time?we have to think about the aspects of a system that move both more slowly and more quickly than the one we are interested in, or examine aspects that are, at once, more granular and more global.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 352-55 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:22 PM
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resilience-thinking does not simply call us into a defensive crouch against uncertainty and risk. Instead, by encouraging adaptation, agility, cooperation, connectivity, and diversity, resilience-thinking can bring us to a different way of being in the world, and to a deeper engagement with it.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 344-46 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:21 PM
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These elements?beliefs, values, and habits of mind; trust and cooperation; cognitive diversity; strong communities, translational leadership, and adaptive governance?make up the rich soil in which social resilience grows.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 330-32 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:20 PM
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wherever we found strong social resilience, we also found strong communities. And here we don?t mean wealthy.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 321-22 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:19 PM
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resilience is rooted not only in our beliefs and values, in our character, experiences, values, and genes, but critically in our habits of mind?habits we can cultivate and change.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 310-12 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:18 PM
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Moderate forest fires, for example, redistribute nutrients and create opportunities for new growth without destroying the system as a whole. (Paradoxically, they do so by ensuring that fire-resistant species are not crowded out by nonresistant ones as a healthy forest reaches its peak.) When human beings intervene in this cyclical process and prevent these necessary smaller fires from happening, a forest can build up so much kindling that a small accidental fire can become catastrophic.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 298-301 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:17 PM
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resilience also does not always equate with the recovery of a system to its initial state. While some resilient systems may indeed return to a baseline state after a breach or a radical shift in their environment, they need not necessarily ever do so. In their purest expression, resilient systems may have no baseline to return to?they may reconfigure themselves continuously and fluidly to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, while continuing to fulfill their purpose.
Resilience - Ann Marie Healy and Andrew Zolli - Highlight Loc. 291-95 | Added on Thursday, August 09, 2012, 11:16 PM
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