Keywords for the Age of Austerity 19: Resilience

Keywords: The New Language of Capitalism

Resilience, n., “Elasticity; the power of resuming an original shape or position after compression, bending, etc.”

“The quality or fact of being able to recover quickly or easily from, or resist being affected by, a misfortune, shock, illness, etc.; robustness; adaptability.”

“Resilience” is everywhere, its popularity rising proportionally with the dangers, or perceptions of dangers, facing the planet: climate change, food shortages, financial crisis, or for the Wall Street journal crowd, strikes (also fire and hurricanes). The definitions of the currently voguish term differ, but most trace its origin to C.S. Holling, an environmental scientist who defined it as “a measure of the persistence of systems and of their ability to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations.” The field Holling pioneered, “ecological economics,” applied this concept to the management of natural resources, especially in the third world, which…

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