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Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters by Mark Manion, William M. Evan

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Chapter 2. Natural and Human-Made Disasters

 

“Acts of God or Acts of Man?”

 
 --Wijkman & Timberlake

Natural disasters, or “Acts of God,” according to conventional wisdom, are unpredictable and unpreventable, whereas human-made disasters, or “Acts of Man,” are thought to be both predictable and preventable. Furthermore, “Acts of God” are perceived to be more catastrophic and destructive than “Acts of Man.” These commonly accepted perceptions, along with our understanding of the relationship between “natural” and “human-made” disasters, deserve a critical reevaluation. Many disasters, although triggered by natural events such as floods and earthquakes, are increasingly human-made, and hence are both predictable and preventable. As for human-made disasters, ...

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