Catastrophe: Risk and Response / Edition 1

Catastrophe: Risk and Response / Edition 1

by Richard A. Posner
     
 

Catastrophic risks are much greater than is commonly appreciated. Collision with an asteroid, runaway global warming, voraciously replicating nanomachines, a pandemic of gene-spliced smallpox launched by bioterrorists, and a world-ending accident in a high-energy particle accelerator, are among the possible extinction events that are sufficiently likely to warrant

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Overview

Catastrophic risks are much greater than is commonly appreciated. Collision with an asteroid, runaway global warming, voraciously replicating nanomachines, a pandemic of gene-spliced smallpox launched by bioterrorists, and a world-ending accident in a high-energy particle accelerator, are among the possible extinction events that are sufficiently likely to warrant careful study. How should we respond to events that, for a variety of psychological and cultural reasons, we find it hard to wrap our minds around? Posner argues that realism about science and scientists, innovative applications of cost-benefit analysis, a scientifically literate legal profession, unprecedented international cooperation, and a pragmatic attitude toward civil liberties are among the keys to coping effectively with the catastrophic risks.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195306477
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/25/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
What is catastrophe?
The organization of this book
Some useful disctinctions
1. What are the catastrohpic risks, and how catastrophic are they?
Natural catastrophes
Scientific accidents
Other unintended man-made catastrophes
Intentional catastrophes
Catastrophic synergies and lesser-included catastrophes
2. Why so little is being done about the catastrophic risks
Cultural factors
Psychological factors
Economic factors
3. How to evaluate the catastrophic risks and the possible responses to them
The difference cost-benefit analysis can make: the case of RHIC
A modest version of the precautionary principle
Discounting to present value
Taxes, subsidies, and options: the case of global warming
Valuing human lives
Risk versus uncertainty
Coping with uncertainty
Politics, expertise, and neutrality: RHIC revisited
Summary
4. How to reduce the catastrophic risks
Institutional reforms
Fiscal tools: a recap
Some hypothetical regulatory policies
Conclusion
Notes
Index

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