Tuesday 6
Resilience & industry Part 2
Timothy Smith
› 15:40 - 16:40 (1h)
Diversity and Resilience in Industrial Systems – An Automotive Case Study
Paul Nieuwenhuis  1@  
1 : Cardiff University  -  Website
Aberconway Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff CF10 3EU, Wales -  Royaume-Uni

The distinction between ‘natural' and ‘man-made' is an artificial construct devised to cope with our inability to understand the complexity of the world. A number of people have in recent years edged towards the notion that human and natural systems are in fact the same. Among these are Challenger (2011) and French (2012). While Morton (2010) and especially Bogost (2012) have taken a perspective that is quite novel, but also highly relevant in this respect, by looking at the world from the point of view of objects. Bejan and Zane (2012) have shown how ‘natural' and ‘man-made' creations and the animate and inanimate world are interconnected by the Constructal Law. ‘Nature' therefore does not make a distinction between natural and man-made, animate and inanimate; they are a human artifact. Walker and Salt (2006) explain how change happens in natural systems, not gradually, but by moving from one state to another by means of sudden, dramatic change after a tipping point has been reached. This applies to all systems on this planet (and possibly beyond), so therefore also to human systems. I attempt to show that understanding these natural processes can provide lessons for how a transformation of an industrial system – in this case the car industry – might work. Although a number of authors have addressed this notion at a general level, it has not usually been applied to a specific sector, nor has it been suggested – to the best of my knowledge – how this might inform the actual change process and trajectory within a specific sector.

In the context of this industrial focus, one significant point is that smaller automotive firms, often dismissed as of no importance within the present automotive industry ‘ecosystem', may not only be essential in adding diversity and thereby resilience to the current system, but they may in fact become key players in any future automotive industry ecosystem. This mix of small and large firms is therefore crucially important for the resilience of the system as a whole; or according to Perrings (1998, 514): 'The importance of the mix or diversity of species for the resilience of ecosystems lies in the fact that species which are passengers under one set of environmental conditions may have a key role to play under other environmental conditions'. For a sustainable future for personal motorised mobility, we need to bring product and production system together in the context of sustainable consumption and production. This contribution is an attempt to combine the very complex science of ecology with the latest philosophical thinking about our place in relation to the rest of creation and then linking this with our most complex consumer durable – the car. 

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