Disaster ethics

Flooding in New Orleans the day after hurricane Katrina struck the area.
Flooding in New Orleans the day after hurricane Katrina struck the area.
  • What principles should guide the state’s role in disaster response and rebuilding?
  • Should the state subsidize rebuilding in high-risk areas?
  • How should the persistent association of socioeconomic and racial inequality with disaster vulnerability guide disaster policy?
  • How should the state balance civil liberties with protecting life and property?
  • Is profiting from disaster wrong – when it brings supplies which would otherwise be unavailable?

I’ve been thinking recently about these and other questions which fall under the heading “disaster ethics.”  Here’s a short blog post on the What’s Wrong blog summarizing some of these thoughts:

Why Not Privatize Disaster Response?: The Political Significance of Unnatural Disasters

I’ll be giving a talk on the topic at the Center for Values and Social Policy in the University of Colorado at Boulder Philosophy department on September 29, 2017 as well as participating in a public forum on Disaster and Vulnerability hosted by the Center on September 19.  The latter event will be a public panel with Emmanuel David and Lori Peek, both of U Colorado Boulder.