by Joakim Book
The American Institute for Economic Research
Professor Niall Ferguson, the celebrated British historian and now Milbank Family Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, has written a long and dense book. It doesn’t feel like it, partly because the pages are Bible-thin and the prose is mostly in Ferguson’s engaging and pacy style. In Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe, Ferguson asks a central question that us sensible environmentalists ponder from time to time: if a record hurricane is unleashed on a barren and uninhabited island – is it still a natural disaster?
Even the most out-and-out environmentalist is forced to answer ‘no.’ Perhaps, goes a qualification, the next one might hit South Florida and so be a preview of terrible futures to come. Narrowly speaking, our hypothetical hurricane is not a natural disaster, despite its unprecedented force.