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So I'm waaaay late on this, but a quick thought on Katrina. It seems… - jacob's corner [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Oct. 13th, 2005|05:37 pm]
[mood |evening]
[music |the goon show]

So I'm waaaay late on this, but a quick thought on Katrina. It seems like the biggest danger now is that people will start to think that every storm will do that kind of damage. We've already seen small-scale evidence of why that's a bad thing - all of the deaths from Rita were people attempting to evacuate. On a larger scale, money and effort spent preparing for the next Katrina will necessarily take lives, almost certainly more than the expected human cost of another storm. I think the best writing I've seen on this subject in general is Cass Sunstein's, although I don't know if he's written anything about Katrina. The gist is that if that preparation money is being spent to save lives, there are many better ways to achieve that goal - ways that will save more lives more efficiently. I really wish I had more time to spend on this and availability cascades and such, but I don't. If anybody's read anything about it in the Katrina context, let me know.

Another thing I'm late on: Thomas Schelling won the Nobel Prize this week. Because he's one of my favorite economists (although he's sooo much more), his name has been on my livejournal interests list since I started this a couple years ago. Oddly enough, I'm apparently the only one. He won the fucking Nobel Prize, so surely someone else will show some interest now.

[User Picture]From: poogus
2005-10-14 03:09 pm (UTC)
What did he do to win the Nobel prize?

You must explain the reasons for the hurricane stuff in talking.
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[User Picture]From: thepowerbroker
2005-10-16 06:16 pm (UTC)
Against the backdrop of the nuclear arms race in the late 1950s, Thomas Schelling's book The Strategy of Conflict set forth his vision of game theory as a unifying framework for the social sciences. Schelling showed that a party can strengthen its position by overtly worsening its own options, that the capability to retaliate can be more useful than the ability to resist an attack, and that uncertain retaliation is more credible and more efficient than certain retaliation. These insights have proven to be of great relevance for conflict resolution and efforts to avoid war.

Schelling's work prompted new developments in game theory and accelerated its use and application throughout the social sciences. Notably, his analysis of strategic commitments has explained a wide range of phenomena, from the competitive strategies of firms to the delegation of political decision power.
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