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Disaster and the Politics of Intervention

Edited by Andrew Lakoff

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Paper, 160 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-14697-5
$18.00 / £12.50

May, 2010
Cloth, 160 pages,
ISBN: 978-0-231-14696-8
$55.00 / £38.00

Government plays a critical role in mitigating individual and collective vulnerability to disaster. Through measures such as disaster relief, infrastructure development, and environmental regulation, public policy is central to making societies more resilient. However, the recent drive to replace public institutions with market mechanisms has challenged governmental efforts to manage collective risk. The contributors to this volume analyze the respective roles of the public and private sectors in the management of catastrophic risk, addressing questions such as: How should homeland security officials evaluate the risk posed by terrorist attacks and natural disasters? Are market-based interventions likely to mitigate our vulnerability to the effects of climate change? What is the appropriate relationship between non-governmental organizations and private security firms in responding to humanitarian emergencies? And how can philanthropic efforts to combat the AIDS crisis ensure ongoing access to life-saving drugs in the developing world? More generally, these essays point to the way thoughtful policy intervention can improve our capacity to withstand catastrophic events.

Additional Columbia / SSRC books on the Privatization of Risk and its Implications for Americans

Bailouts: Public Money, Private Profit
Edited by Robert E. Wright

Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System-and How to Heal It
Edited by Jacob S. Hacker

Laid Off, Laid Low: Political and Economic Consequences of Employment Insecurity
Edited by Katherine S. Newman

Pensions, Social Security, and the Privatization of Risk
Edited by Mitchell A. Orenstein

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About the Author

Andrew Lakoff is associate professor of anthropology, sociology and communication at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Pharmaceutical Reason: Knowledge and Value in Global Psychiatry, and coeditor, with Stephen J. Collier, of Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question. His current research concerns the intersection between global health and national security in the development of approaches to new biological and environmental threats.

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