Monthly Archives: September 2014

Take a look at Nassim’s Small is Beautiful: Risk, Scale and Concentration.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL: RISK, SCALE AND CONCENTRATION

Chapter Summary 17: We extract the effect of size on the degradation of the expectation of a random variable, from nonlinear response. The method is general and allows to show the “small is beautiful” or “decentralized is effective” or “a diverse ecology is safer” effect from a response to a stochastic stressor and prove stochastic diseconomies of scale and concentration (with as example the Irish potato famine and GMOs). We apply the methodology to environmental harm using standard sigmoid dose-response to show the need to split sources of pollution across independent (nonsynergetic) pollutants.

Nassim recently posted a document called “Skepticism” on Facebook.

He had this to say about it:

Something people don’t get: more skepticism about climate models should lead to more “green” ecological conservationist policies not more lax pro-pollution ones. Why? Simply, uncertainty about the models increases fragility (and thickens the left tail), no matter what the benefits can be in the right tail.
Added the section to the precautionary principle. Please discuss but stick to rigor and avoid buzzwords. (Also do not think that the idea is falling from the sky: it is a mere application of the fragility theorems).