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The Next Catastrophe by Charles Perrow

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1 Shrink the Targets

Disasters from natural sources, from industrial and technological sources, and from deliberate sources such as terrorism have all increased in the United States in recent decades, and no diminution is in sight.1 Weather disturbances are predicted to increase; low-level industrial accidents continue but threaten to intensify and the threat of cyber attacks on our “critical infrastructure” becomes ever more credible; foreign terrorists have not relaxed and we anxiously await another attack. Cataclysmic fantasies proliferate on movie screens and DVDs, and scholars write books with “collapse,” “catastrophe,” “our final hour,” and “worst cases” in their titles.

But we have neglected a fundamental response to the trio of disaster ...

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