Thursday, February 19, 2009

Efficiency vs. Resiliency

I've written about Thomas Princen's critique of efficiency-thinking in the name of self-restraint or sufficiency.  Sufficiency involves not pushing systems to their economic or ecological limits, and limiting patterns of exploitation and consumption to within moderate, sustainable ranges.

Here's another perspective on alternatives to efficiency: resiliency, redundancy, and diversification.  Chip Ward argues that efficiency-measurements are the conceptual armature of monoculture--the logic of specialization that allows for controlled-variable parameters.  Ideas about resiliency (e.g. crop rotation that allows time for soil renewal) assume longer-term planning horizons, figure on the occurrence of catastrophic events, and consider ways to ensure sufficient slack in the system to allow it to bounce back. 

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