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To Save Lives, We Need More Conflicts. And a Strong Economy Needs More Failure.

To Save Lives, We Need More Conflicts. And a Strong Economy Needs More Failure.

How could more conflicts be a good thing?

Well, imagine 50 wars among city-states that each kill 30,000. That is a staggering 1.5 million deaths.

Or one war among nation-states, say World War II, which killed an estimated 60 million people.

Call me crazy, but I’ll take more conflicts if it means fewer deaths overall.

And according to Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile, smaller governments resembling city-states produce overall more peaceful results for society. Even when there are more conflicts, they claim fewer total lives than years of buildup to explosive large wars.

Or consider that the Soviet Union post-World War II was relatively peaceful towards other nation-states… while Stalin murdered millions and millions of Soviet citizens.

“Stalin could not have existed in a municipality.”

Small is beautiful in so many other ways. Take for now that the small–in the aggregate that is, a collection of small units–is more antifragile than the large.

This means that the overall group is more likely to survive if it is made up of smaller units. And the units which survive will be better for withstanding the tests.

Even in the Soviet Union, this proved true. For instance, under centralized control, Stalin stole the food of the entire nation of Ukraine, orchestrating a famine which starved somewhere around 6 million people.

But most of the Soviet Union did not starve, because food production remained relatively decentralized. Each village produced much of the food it needed, so they were less affected by the horribly inefficient food distribution of the Soviet centralized state. And cities which did not produce their own food fared much worse.

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