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tsuomela : concentration   5

UnderstandingSociety: Thinking about disaster
"[Charles Perrow's] current book is truly scary. In The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters he carefully surveys the conjunction of factors that make 21st-century America almost uniquely vulnerable to major disasters -- actual and possible. Hurricane Katrina is one place to start -- a concentration of habitation, dangerous infrastructure, vulnerable toxic storage, and wholly inadequate policies of water and land use led to a horrific loss of life and a permanent crippling of a great American city. The disaster was foreseeable and foreseen, and yet few effective steps were taken to protect the city and river system from catastrophic flooding. And even more alarming -- government and the private sector have taken almost none of the prudent steps after the disaster that would mitigate future flooding."
risk  catastrophe  disaster  regulation  government  centralization  concentration  failure  institutions  technology 
march 2011 by tsuomela
FT.com / Columnists / GillianTett - Good idea that turned bad
Far from promoting “dispersion” or “diversification”, innovation has ended up producing concentrations of risk, plagued with deadly correlations, too. Hence AIG’s inability to honour its insurance deals to the rest of the financial system, until it was bailed out by US taxpayers.
economics  crisis  risk  banking  insurance  finance  complexity  concentration 
march 2009 by tsuomela

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