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Playing against Nature: Integrating Science and Economics to Mitigate Natural Hazards in an Uncertain World by Seth Seth Stein Stein, Jerome Jerome Stein Stein

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13Doing Better

If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler1

13.1    Final Thoughts

This book started with experiences from around the turn of the century which show that, in its high-stakes game against nature, society is often not doing well. As we have seen, sometimes nature surprises us, when an earthquake, hurricane, or flood is bigger or has greater effects than expected from detailed natural hazard assessments. In other cases, nature outsmarts us, doing great damage despite expensive mitigation measures or causing us to divert limited resources to mitigate hazards that are overestimated.

We then explored what causes these problems and examined two approaches to doing better. First, scientists ...

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