Recent hurricanes, dust storms, and wild fires have presented great learning opportunities that have largely been missed, yet still may stimulate improvements in currently dominant policies driving settlement of large numbers of Americans into places exposed to fire, dust, and flood. Equivalent opportunities led to large and beneficial alterations in policy during the administrations of Presidents Hayes, Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Franklin Roosevelt, and Eisenhower, when changes sprang from recognition that federal subsidy programs and land allocations channel settlement. Induced by public policies acting like magnets under the tables of their lives, millions of Americans, like iron filings, have been migrating into increasing peril of fire and flood; it is not only possible to slow this down, but even to encourage settlement away from areas recurrently subject to natural disaster. Tax-payer subsidies, systematically contrived in the Cold War period to disperse the older industrial centers lest they be readily obliterated by Soviet nuclear weapons, are still in place, though the Cold War has thawed, and the world now presents challenges toward which Cold War policy is not only inept but making matters worse.
Kennedy, R. (2007), "Chapter 2 Forest Fire History: Learning from Disaster", Troy, A. and Kennedy, R. (Ed.) Living on the Edge (Advances in the Economics of Environmental Resources, Vol. 6), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 15-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1569-3740(06)06002-0Download as .RIS
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