Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jared Diamond Makes a Useful Analogy

Professor Diamond's essay in the NY Times compares the stupidity of corporations who refuse to spend short-term money on long-term sustainability to the federal government's negligent treatment of New Orleans over many years:
Economic reasons furnish the strongest motives for sustainability, because in the long run (and often in the short run as well) it is much more expensive and difficult to try to fix problems, environmental or otherwise, than to avoid them at the outset.

Americans learned that lesson from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when, as a result of government agencies balking for a decade at spending several hundred million dollars to fix New Orleans’s defenses, we suffered hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — not to mention thousands of dead Americans.
It's a small point in a longer article, but the casual way he drops this is a testament to how ordinary this point ought to be.

1 comment:

Leigh C. said...

A similar point was made about what 8-29-05 showed in terms of our crumbling infrastructure in this entire country in Time magazine. It's taken these people over four years to see what we saw in a few days. Ugh.