Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, January 06, 2013

"Risks Are Changing"

Chris Hayes sounded an alarm today about the profound disconnect between the assessments of risk private insurers are making versus the assumptions about risk that seem to drive public policy concerning flooding and storm damage. Given the concentration of capital on the coasts, precisely where the highest and ever-increasing likelihood of damage from climate change is happening, clearly zoning, coverage, infrastructure, a host of policy priorities must adapt enormously to new realities, the sooner the better. Obviously, adverse selection implies that the private provision of storm and flood insurance will not provide adequate coverage and at once remain profitable in a world of concentrated ever more catastrophic greenhouse storms. And hence, like healthcare (both in the sense that single payer seems at once logically necessary and practically impossible in the US), the mitigation of risks and support of victims of heavy weather clearly must be federalized. Too bad there are more than enough Republicans who are climate change denialists, either from idiot conviction or craven opportunism, to make even this discussion impossible, let alone allow any practical policy to happen here. As with so many issues of urgent concern -- eg, long-term rising healthcare costs, financial fraud and too big to fail and hence too big too exist private enterprises, the ongoing racist war on some drugs, eroding women's access to healthcare, ongoing refusal of citizenship and rights to immigrant Americans, eroding collective bargaining in the workplace, inadequate funding and access to good public education, resisting equality for lgbtq citizens, the safety threat of gun violence -- only with the marginalization of the GOP into comparative harmlessness will there be a chance for a collective address of the reality of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change equal to its rising challenges.


jollyspaniard said...

I'm undecided on this one. We have the same issue in the UK where there are two hundred thousand homes that insurance companies don't want to insure for flood damage. This is a story that isn't getting much press and it deserves to be.

Should we simply rebuild these houses every time they get destroyed knowing that they'll eventually have to be abandonded. These people need support but rebuilding a house in a location where you know it won't last long. Given the scale of the problem should we be subsidising denial?

The same thing goes for crop insurance. Some of these farmers need to adapt to a new reality and they should be supported in doing so not paid to go through the motions. A lot of them are reluctant to change because they are in denial and think god controls the weather. Agriculture in a lot of the midwest will either have to change or alter radicaly and I don't see current policy facilitating that.

Dale Carrico said...

That's why I mentioned zoning -- more flood zones that cannot be infrastructurally hardened are going to have to be zoned non-residential, in addition to nationalizing flood/storm coverage in the face of climate change. There actually are real uncertainties and real tradeoffs that could use grownup discussions and rich stakeholder feedback, but the fact remains whether we are talking zoning, infrastructure investment, universalizing coverage, ALL of this means socializing, means "bigger" gov, mean right-wing anti-governementality coupled to right-wing climate change denialism provides no real partner for real-world problem solving, but just more problems.

Barkeron said...

Sorry, couldn't find an article with the diagram in English, but it's still relevant.

One of the world's biggest reinsurance companies, Munich Re, released a report which shows that natural disasters caused economic damage of $160 billion globally in 2012, 67% of it alone in the US due to Sandy and the Midwestern droughts. That's about 90% of all damages covered by insurance!

Experts estimate the sum necessary to secure New York against future storm tides is a bit less than the sum of what property damage Sandy wreaked.

Time that the public, politico-puppets and their corporate overlords wake up and smell the fucking coffee. What's the use of mountains of green paper if there are only empty swamps around?

jollyspaniard said...

Aw crap, we agree. I was hoping to beat you in an argument.

Dale Carrico said...

Reasonable people always win every argument -- because either their own view prevails as the best available one or because their own view changes from a worse to a better one. That's the teacher of rhetoric talking.

Anonymous said...

It is very easy to "win" when you silence all dissent and never address it.

Dale Carrico said...

Everybody loses when dissent is silenced, because there are few things more useful to those who are reasonable than a clear view of what the unreasonable are thinking and why they do.

But if you are the same "Anonymous" some of whose comments I have deleted recently, I want to point out that keeping a discussion from getting derailed by a loudmouth who wants to shout down any other participants or pre-emptively empty a discussion space of alternative voices by endlessly screaming at the top of his lungs or who won't follow the polite suggestion of a moderator who says he has already made his point several times and it might be a good idea to wait and see if anybody wants to take him up on it before making the same point yet again, none of these practices can properly be characterized as "silenc[ing] all dissent and never address[ing] it."

You are free to post whatever you want to your heart's content on your own blog, but when you are here you have to play by my rules. Contrary to your assertion, I value dissent and I engage with frankly idiotic views with a seriousness they scarcely warrant all the time (I am doing so right this very minute). No doubt this is the teacher in me making itself felt.

Your temper tantrum at not being able to rule my discussion forum is truly pathetic. Look in the mirror, do you really want to be a troll? You will find little satisfaction on that road here, though I will of course occasionally publish you since you insist (like a coward) on anonymity and since I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt until they make conspicuous nuisances of themselves. Live it up.

Anonymous said...

I really, seriously hope you and your loved ones are viciously stalked and harassed like my family has been. Then I hope someone calls you a 'coward'. But you wouldn't learn anything from it, you would remain a shrill and nasty person.

Dale Carrico said...

Thanks for sharing -- plonk!

jimf said...

> I really, seriously hope you and your loved ones are
> viciously stalked and harassed like my family has been.

Is this another reference to the recent Rachel Haywire allegations?

If you have been stalked (if you are related to the 82-year-old
woman who was allegedly put into the hospital as a result of
receiving a fraudulent telephone call), then that's a terrible
thing to have happened to you, and to your elderly relative.
I hope you have at least informed the police (however little they
may be able to do), and suggested to the rest of your family
that they be skeptical of any similar telephone calls.

You have our sympathy, **assuming** what you are saying is
true, and is not itself a species of stalking, or a symptom
of a propaganda war resulting from some internecine
squabble among the kookier outliers of >Hism. (And how the
hell is anybody supposed to judge **that** with any certainty,

But what can you hope to accomplish by plastering off-topic,
quasi-coherent diatribes throughout comment threads on this
particular blog?

Dale is not the police or the FBI -- there is nothing he can
do to obtain justice for you if you have been the victim of
outright criminal harassment.

If your intent is to air the injustice you have
suffered at the hands of the >Hists, or of a particular group
of >Hists or a particular individual, then you have already
contributed just about all you can reasonably expect to be
tolerated, even on a sympathetic blog, by publishing here what
you (or the other anonymous posters) have already published.
You can't expect to be allowed to install a permanent flashing
neon sign on anybody's blog announcing to the world "BEWARE OF _____ _____!
S/HE'S A CROOK AND A STALKER AND A NAZI!" (or for that matter,
an opposing sign announcing "I AM A FRIEND OF _____ ______.

Similarly, you are not going to get any traction or sympathy
among the >Hists themselves by posting tales of your mistreatment
by, or personal attacks against, members of their community here,
of all places. You must be aware that Dale is an unstinting
critic of >Hism in its various forms, and as a result has become
quite frankly persona non grata throughout the entire >Hist archipelago
of organizations and believers.

As far as I know, Dale was entirely unaware of the existence of
"Rachel Haywire" until he received an e-mail from somebody claiming
to be her, alleging that she had been fired from her job as
editor of h+ magazine for publishing an article written by Dale.
Given Dale's reputation and level of popularity among the >Hists (and given
his "unpersoning" at IEET a few years ago), this is a perfectly
plausible allegation. Then a little later we had anonymous
claims of Ms. Haywire's alleged misbehavior (including allegations
of petty financial fraud, involvement -- along with other >Hists --
in the occult, involvement in a far-right-wing Web site, and
stalking). There is some circumstantial corroboration for
some of this on the public Web, enough to make at least plausible the
(anonymous) claims here that Haywire might have been fired
as editor of h+ for more substantial reasons than just having
let through a piece by Dale.

But whatever the truth of any of this, what does it have
to do with Amor Mundi (except in the most general possible way
as a symptom of deranged thought among the >Hists? -- though sordid
squabbles of this kind are hardly unique to >Hists). Is Dale
supposed to vociferously take sides either with or against
Haywire or her supporters or enemies? That really isn't the
purpose of this blog. Apart from some occasional sniping (on
both sides), the arguments presented here are general ones,
presented against a background of reasoned political and
rhetorical positions.

Convicting particular people of crimes (however serious, and
however much they might deserve it) cannot (and **should** not)
happen here, whether they're >Hists or not.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what you are talking about _at all_, you always name names, when I DON'T. Nothing has been "incoherent" unless English is your 2nd language. And everything posted has been meticulously documented as to facts. Why is this any of your business? Why don't you just try _shutting the hell up_? Your rambling screeds are irrelevant and difficult to read.

Dale Carrico said...

See what I mean about this guy, Jim? I hate deleting comments (I even let His High Holy Pontifex of the Order of Cosmic Engineers and Fact Guy back in after a cooling period after particularly egregious and exhausting episodes, by my lights not theirs), but no collegial space can survive this kind of highly-energized self-oblivious foolishness. Certainly anonymity complicates things, he can sneak back in under its cover on most topics, but soon enough the trollosity reveals itself. And so, again, of course, he walks the plonk.