Chris Van Es

La vie antifragile de l’économie

PARIS – Biologie et économie font face aux mêmes difficultés : ces deux champs de connaissance cherchent à expliquer les phénomènes de survie et d'innovation dans un monde imprévisible. Célèbre pour son analyse clairvoyante d’évènements rares de type « cygnes noirs » corrélés aux catastrophes économiques, Nassim Taleb a ainsi proposé récemment la notion « d’antifragilité » comme méthode de conceptualisation de la reproductibilité des marchés et des économies devant de tels évènements. En fait, les structures et processus antifragiles sont omniprésents, imprégnant la vie elle-même.

Pour définir l’antifragilité, Taleb se questionne sur ce que serait le véritable antonyme de « fragile ». À l’épée de Damoclès, il choisit d’opposer non pas la résilience du Phénix qui renait de ses cendres, mais l’inventivité de l’Hydre, dont la tête repousse en se dédoublant chaque fois qu'elle se fait couper. Pouvons-nous concevoir des entités qui non seulement résistent aux ravages du temps, mais, qui, par la création et la recombinaison de nouveaux éléments, parviennent à composer avec un avenir incertain ?

L’inévitabilité de la mort pourrait nous laisser croire que la vie n’est pas conçue pour être antifragile. Examinons cependant le cas du roi Mithridate VI, roi du Pont-Euxin, qui, pour se protéger d’un empoisonnement par ces ennemis, ingérait d’infimes doses de poison. L’idée qu’un système se renforce en présence d’une attaque toxique mineure ou d’autres agents dangereux est au cœur d’un débat intense sur les avantages que pourraient avoir sur les humains de faibles niveaux de radiation, au lieu des effets néfastes présumés.

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