Charles Perrow is famous worldwide for his ideas about normal accidents, the notion that multiple and unexpected failures--catastrophes waiting to happen--are built into our society's complex systems. In The Next Catastrophe, he offers crucial insights into how to make us safer, proposing a bold new way of thinking about disaster preparedness.
Perrow argues that rather than laying exclusive emphasis on protecting targets, we should reduce their size to minimize damage and diminish their attractiveness to terrorists. He focuses on three causes of disaster--natural, organizational, and deliberate--and shows that our best hope lies in the deconcentration of high-risk populations, corporate power, and critical infrastructures such as electric energy, computer systems, and the chemical and food industries. Perrow reveals how the threat of catastrophe is on the rise, whether from terrorism, natural disasters, or industrial accidents. Along the way, he gives us the first comprehensive history of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security and examines why these agencies are so ill equipped to protect us.
The Next Catastrophe is a penetrating reassessment of the very real dangers we face today and what we must do to confront them. Written in a highly accessible style by a renowned systems-behavior expert, this book is essential reading for the twenty-first century. The events of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina--and the devastating human toll they wrought--were only the beginning. When the next big disaster comes, will we be ready?
"This book proposes a bold new way of thinking about disaster preparedness...Focusing on three causes of disaster--natural, organizational, and deliberate--he shows that our best hope lies in the deconcentration of high-risk populations, corporate power, and critical infrastructures. He also provides the first comprehensive history of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and examines why these agencies are so ill equipped to protect U.S. citizens."--Natural Hazards Observer
"Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks have exposed the U.S.'s vulnerabilities to natural and unnatural disasters. What should be done to prevent such catastrophes in the future? Acclaimed sociologist and systems analyst Perrow, addresses this question...The book is written in a highly readable prose that is accessible to general audiences. Indispensable for undergraduate/graduate collections in disaster management studies and risk assessment studies, and extremely useful for environmental studies and environmental sociology."--T. Niazi, Choice
"The Next Catastrophe is an important and far-reaching book that, in arguing for the reduction of vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure to natural, industrial, and terrorist disasters, tackles issues of high significance to us all. It must be hoped that the readership of this book includes not only researchers and industrial safety practitioners but also executives along with politicians at all levels and that its message is acted upon."--David M. Clarke, Risk Analysis
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Charles Perrow: