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Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe (Hardback)

By Ferguson, Niall

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Disasters are by their very nature hard to predict. Pandemics, like earthquakes, wildfires, financial crises and wars, are not normally distributed; there is no cycle of history to help us anticipate the next catastrophe. But when disaster strikes, we ought to be better prepared ...than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all. Yet the responses of a number of devloped countries to a new pathogen from China were badly bungled. Why? The facile answer is to blame poor leadership. While populist rulers have certainly performed poorly in the face of the pandemic, more profund problems have been exposed by COVID-19. Only when we understand the central challenge posed by disaster in history can we see that this was also a failure of an administrative state and of economic elites that had grown myopic over much longer than just a few years. Why were so many Cassandras for so long ignored? Why did only some countries learn the right lessons from SARS and MERS? Why do appeals to 'the science' often turn out to be mere magical thinking? Drawing from multiple disciplines, including history, economics, public health and network science, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe is a global post mortem for a plague year. Drawing on preoccupations that have shaped his books for some twenty years, Niall Ferguson describes the pathologies that have done us so much damage: from imperial hubris to bureaucratic sclerosis and online schism. COVID-19 was a test failed by countries who must learn some serious lessons from history if they are to avoid the doom of irreversible decline.
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ISBN 9780241488447
Released NZ 6 May 2021
Publisher Penguin
Format Hardback
Alternate Format(s) View All (2 other possible title(s) available)
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Indent title (internationally sourced), allow 8-12 weeks

Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780241488447
Stock Available
Status Indent title (internationally sourced), allow 8-12 weeks
Publisher Penguin
Imprint Allen Lane
Released 6 May 2021
Publication Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Format Hardback
 › 2 other possible formats available
Author(s) By Ferguson, Niall
Category World History
Social Impact Of Disasters
Political Science & Theory
Constitution: Government & The State
Political Economy
Epidemiology & Medical Statistics
Number of Pages 496
Dimensions Width: 162mm
Height: 240mm
Spine: 43mm
Dewey Code 303.485
Weight 742g
Interest Age 16+ years
Reading Age 16+ years
Library of Congress Disasters, Disasters - Political aspects, Crisis management, COVID-19 Disease - Political aspects
NBS Text Government & Constitution
ONIX Text College/higher education;Professional and scholarly;General/trade

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