‘Resilience’ shifts the burden

Talking about improving resilience is a rational step in addressing the increasing changes we see in our world. But the idea of ‘resilience’ may hide some less noticed, and possibly less desirable, implications.

Not only is resilience sensible, in theory; it’s also a politically comfortable concept for  government looking to cut costs. The actual practice of resilience often means improving buildings, offices, things owned by people or companies. In talking about resilience, governments shift the (financial) responsibility of resilience onto private individuals or groups, many of whom may not be able – or willing – to take on this responsibility. Resilience is a flexible, somewhat murky term, and while the principle makes sense, the practice or reality of this is one in which the government bears less of the burden, having shifted it to others.

This is not to say that we should not talk about resilience, but that we must ask ‘by whom?’, and consider that aspects of this ‘resilience’ constitute a shift of the burden away from something national governments perhaps should be held accountable for helping with.