Lessons from Hurricane Katrina



in my research I look at how various actors politicians scientists the public think about the future and in particular future risks and try to understand what their assumptions are about the likelihood of certain kinds of disasters occurring rather than others how their style of reasoning their way of calculating the future shapes the kind of recommendations they make in the present in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Katrina most of the public discussion was around preparedness and that leads to certain kinds of policy directives but it doesn't lead to prevention efforts the really tougher problems are what you might call the hidden underbelly of disaster the systemic vulnerabilities that make us more prone to catastrophic failure so for example to what extent was inequality one of the causes to what extent was inattention to technical systems like our levees one of the causes of failure so your style of reasoning about the future shapes what you do in the present to prevent a future disaster from occurring

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