Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tragedies and Trade-Offs

Earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks and other calamities are almost unpredictable. Yet, much recent commentary addresses how we must do better to predict, detect, inform in the future.

Of course. But in a world of scarcity, the trade-off between anticipation (harm prevention) and resilience (coping after the event) policies must be carefully evaluated. Lynn Scarlett examined the trade-offs re eathquakes recently.

We may be bad at both but if the odds of making better forecasts are low, then we should tilt towards more in the way of investments in coping mechanisms.