Disasters, Leadership and Rebuilding – Lessons from Japan and the U.S.

Mack_Plaza at Wharton School of the University...

From the Wharton School, a special report titled Disasters, Leadership and Rebuilding – Tough Lessosn from Japan and the U.S. (20 pp.)

Personally, I found the information on pages 14 and following the most interesting.  We talk a lot about resilience these days, but many of the problems identified and discussed in this article are longstanding ones. And many are intractable or “wicked problems,” in the parlance of  public administration.

Thanks to Jane Kushma for calling this article to my attention.


2 thoughts on “Disasters, Leadership and Rebuilding – Lessons from Japan and the U.S.

  1. Claire:-

    Two comments…

    1. Japan has little choice but to rebuild its nuclear capability. Until we develop reliable large-scale electric storage technologies, solar and wind will remain niche technologies. That leaves them with the choice of coal (which they’d have to import), natural gas (which they’d have to import) or nuclear to provide their baseload power. And while they will have to import uranium fuel rods, their cost is a fraction of a per cent of what they would have to pay for fossil fuels.

    2. That provocative question at the end of the Wharton piece also deserves a comment. Ten years ago, I would have answered with a resounding “NO – don’t let them rebuild in dangerous places.” But the phrasing of the question raises the issue – if they don’t rebuild there, do they lose the sense of community? In a very real sense, does saying NO set people adrift? I’ve come to believe that it’s really none of my business whether or not people rebuild in risky places as long as they know the risks and don’t expect taxpayers to bail them out. An important piece of this is that this implies there should be a disaster risk premium in loans as well as in insurance.

    • Re your second point, I have a posting pending on a new report from the Urban Land Institute that touches on the same topic. I will upload it in a day or so and then perhaps we can continue the discussion.


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