Catastrophic Risks and Vital Networks: New Vulnerability

Special Report: Networks, Risks, and Crises
By Erwann Michel-Kerjan

Terrorism, major natural or industrial disasters… such events were until very recently viewed as impossible; today they require serious consideration. In this article, it is argued that these risks share common characteristics. It is therefore possible to prepare managers of public as well as private organisations to face them. At a national scale, it is urgent to develop collective forms of learning with regard to the complex issues at stake. Failing to do so would, shortly, lead to more frequent, more costly and more dramatic events than the ones we have already witnessed. Such collective approaches are little developed in France, but more so in other countries such as the United States, which provide examples to follow or to improve upon.

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