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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Stiglitz: Gambling with the Planet

Joseph Stiglitz says we aren't the awesome risk managers we think we are:

Gambling with the Planet, by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Commentary, Project Syndicate: The consequences of the Japanese earthquake – especially the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant – resonate grimly for observers of the American financial crash that precipitated the Great Recession. Both events provide stark lessons about risks, and about how badly markets and societies can manage them. ...
Experts in both the nuclear and finance industries assured us that new technology had all but eliminated the risk of catastrophe. Events proved them wrong: not only did the risks exist, but their consequences were so enormous that they easily erased all the supposed benefits of the systems that industry leaders promoted. ...
For the planet, there is one more risk...: global warming and climate change. ... The costs of reducing emissions pale in comparison to the possible risks the world faces. ...
In the end, those gambling in Las Vegas lose more than they gain. As a society, we are gambling – with our big banks, with our nuclear power facilities, with our planet. As in Las Vegas, the lucky few – the bankers that put our economy at risk and the owners of energy companies that put our planet at risk – may walk off with a mint. But on average and almost certainly, we as a society, like all gamblers, will lose. ...

    Posted by on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 03:24 PM in Economics, Environment | Permalink  Comments (71)


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