Monday, September 05, 2005

Water and Risk

Continuing on the theme of reality-based urban planning in flood zones, here's an excellent post comparing the Dutch approach to flood control and land reclamation with the American variety.

This line:

A society accepting much greater risks is built upon the expectation of quicker returns on investment. To those without a penny to invest it means risk without returns.

leaped out at me because it directly links to another article I read recently and wish I had time to reply to in detail: Paul Graham's latest piece, Inequality and Risk, which (to oversimplify) argues for more risk and economic inequality as the only way to spur economic growth. This article is more nuanced and better argued than the usual libertarian blige, but still pushes my buttons. I'm usually an admirer of Graham but sometimes he goes horribly wrong and I think this is one of those times. But what do I know, I haven't made a fortune yet. Aside from the merits of his argument (later on that), it's a pretty disingenuous move to argue in favor of risk when you personally have already moved to a risk-free economic level.

Keywords: katrina, risk, libertarianism

1 comment:

Emily Santiago said...
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