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10/09/2005

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Glen Raphael

There's nothing obviously preventing states and cities from helping one another in the absence of a federal role. If we tell cities they'll get no help from the feds, they can cover immediate needs with local resources and expect to get help from nearby states in the case of extraordinary need. A network of informal agreements ought to be able to replace a formal federal role.

Most industries rely on this principle. In times of major emergency, airlines accept one another's customers in order to get everyone home safely. Fire companies help stop fires in neighboring cities and counties. Ski patrollers call for help from neigboring resorts to do a big search-and-rescue or lift evacuation. Every player builds in /some/ extra safety margin, but also allows for the possibility of outside help from nearby counterparts.

Since allowing for a flexible distributed response to disaster does not mean every locality has to be 100% self-sufficient, that 20-1 inefficiency metric is nonsense. Sure, there will be a little duplication of effort, but some redundancy is a good thing where safety is concerned.

Glen Raphael

Doing the math: given the same support ratio - an average disaster costs 1 and a cataclysm takes 20 - suppose the country has 20 cities, each of which are willing to help each other out in extreme situations. With no federal role, the total cost is 20 (1+1+1+1+...) whereas with a federal role the total cost is 40 and vast excess resources available at the state or local level go unused because everybody is waiting around for the feds to decide what must be done. The federal response becomes both a waste of resources and a single point of failure.

Frankly, having it be a federal responsibility only makes sense given a "bureaucrat-god" model. If you assume the feds will (a) spend exactly the right amount on advance preparation, and (b) do a good job using those resources in a hurry when needed, you've assumed away the interesting part of the problem, which is getting the incentives right such that (a) and (b) actually happen.

Redmund Sum

I find Judge Posner?s analysis on government responses to catastrophes borders on being academic. By dishing out a simple equation of economics to illustrate that the Federal Government should be prepared to deal with such large scale emergencies, Judge Posner did not address the real cause of failure. First, on one has argued that the Federal Government should look the other way! The disagreement is whether the state and local governments had done its part. The fact that the scale of the catastrophe is large enough for the Fed to step in does not mean the local authorities should reduce their own to that of a mere critic. Even if the Fed responds immediately without prior request from the local authorities, the local network of relief workers and law enforcement personnel has to play an active frontline role for the effort to be at all effective.

In reality, in emergency relief, time is of the essence. It is local authorities who have local knowledge and resources that must act as a first responder. It they fail to do that, the relief effort will inevitably be too late.

Becker's analysis, in comparison, is much more cogent. In particular, Becker points out that a large factor of the tragedy is that of the 'dependency culture.' This is so true. Years ago, Friedrich von Hayek, in his answer to critics of The Road to Serfdom, said that one of the worst things a paternalistic welfare state regime could do over time is to alter the character of a people; that the people lost their initiative to act independently, but instead relied on the authorities to take care of their everything. We have witnessed an extreme form of that very result to a class of our citizens.

AJlemon

Judge Posner,

Have you considered how having a larger federal role in disaster relief will affect the response by individual citizens, corporations, churches, and other charitable organizations? The federal programs in fighting poverty have largely pushed aside charitable care in this area - and have made things worse. No one can credibly argue that the federal government can do a better job than churces and local organizations in tending to the needs of the poor - figuring out their problems, individualizing care, tough love and so forth. We've spent billions and billions of dollars in welfare and similar programs, but the percentage of population living in poverty is the same or worse since the 1960's.

Companies like Walmart, Home Depot, Fed Ex out-performed the feds in reaching the needy during Katrina. They got their first. The churches did their part too - as they always do. The federal government doesn't do anything right. Yet, you seem to have too much faith in government. And what if they screw up again? How do we vote an federal agency head out of office or are we supposed to move to another country? And do you want more taxes to support a larger federal role in disaster relief? We're overtaxed to begin with. That's another thing Judge Posner, you're too eager to raise taxes.

Jack Sprat

As I understand Posner's post, local governments comprised of one's neighbors are more representative than a centralized bureaucracy in Washington. If one's local government is non-responsive, then one can vote with his feet, taking up residence in another state. The irony of this principle is that national emergencies require a national solution. And if every adjacent state has been adversely affected by the national emergency, one cannot escape the adverse consequences of a national emergency by moving to an adjacent state. For this reason, Posner appears to believe that the federal government should have been responsible for responding to Hurricane Katrina.

I agree with the underlying facts: Hurricane Katrina affected many contiguous states; local governments lacked the resources to deal with a natural disaster of such magnitude. However, those facts do not necessarily entail that the federal government must be responsible for the clean-up. A collection of self-interested states could easily band together to craft an efficient regional solution funded by their pooled resources and regulated by a uniform law passed in each state's legislature. Just weeks ago, Governor Pataki touted such a proposal concerning nuclear power in the Northeast. Given that this efficient solution is on the table, I do not see why it is necessarily the case that the federal government must be responsible.

N.E.Hatfield

Given the scale of the storm and its destructiveness, the only possible response was at the Federal Level. So now the question becomes, why did it take the Fed. so long to respond. It became a simple matter of Logistics and communications. Simply the communication system had been flattened. Nothing worked.

In order to get what's needed (logistics)certain questions need to be answered. Such as, what's needed, where is it needed, how much is needed, etc.. But, given the reality of a non-existent or non-operational communications system, none of these questions could be asked or given. So a general reconnisance of the extent of the damage and necessary actions had to be worked out. Given that, the week and half to two week response time seems remarkable given the breadth and depth of the destruction.

There is a joke making the rounds in the delta which is, "Where was the Mayor? He was in Tennessee. How about the Governor? She was in Arkansas." Oh! that explains it, they headed to the high ground!

Al

Posner's logic only holds if the risk of catastophe is equal between the two cities, which is not the case in reality. People in a high-risk area, like the San Andreas fault, are more likely to collect the government aid than people in a low risk area, like Ohio. Over time, therefore, federal government intervention acts as a subsidy to risk-takers, paid for by risk-avoiders. This will cause more people to live in the high-risk area, which will make distasters more costly, which will require greater subsidies from the risk-avoiders. And so on.

Wes

Everyone develops their own different assumptions as to what the framers of the US constitution were trying to achieve. It was not my assumption that the purpose of federalism was to limit the federal government's responsibility to provide assistance in the event of a major natural disaster.My assumption was that the purpose of federalism was part of the US constitution's broader objective of preventing the US government from having to much control over the people. Since governments are human institutions, more broadly that translates to preventing one group of people from having too much control over everyone else.As an aside, in that analysis a "strict" interpretation of the constitution is troubling because it means that the federal government can control people in anyway it wants as long as it is not explicitly prohibited by a narrow literal interpretation of the constitution.Anyway, what should have happened with New Orleans is that years ago the federal government should have gone to the governor of Louisiana and said "Our analysis indicates that the levies in New Orleans are going to break at some time in the future. We'd like a plan that specifies which federal, state and local government organizations are responsible for providing which assistance when that happens."Now, if the Louisiana governor said "We'd like the federal government to provide gold plated helicopters piloted by movie stars on continuous standby for everyone living in New Orleans.", then the federal government would say "Sorry. We are responsible to all the people of the United States and that is more than they are willing to provide."On the other hand, if the governor of Louisiana said "We want the federal government to stay out completely!" then the federal government would rent a couple billboards in New Orleans that said "At the request of the Louisiana governor, the federal government will not provide any assistance when your levies break."Most likely, there would be a negotiation where representatives of each level of government committed to provide a level of assistance that their constituents were comfortable with. The details of the plan are not what is important. What is important is that the plan is specific and that the public is informed of the plan both explicitly and implicitly.It would be totally fine if the federal government under Bush refused to provide any assistance for national emergencies as long as he was clear about it in both general speeches and in specific government documents. For example, when Bush gave a speech in Los Angeles rather than talking about Keeping America Safe he would need to say "OK people of Los Angeles, under my leadership the federal government has decided that it will not provide you with any assistance when you get hit by that major earthquake that's coming. You are on your own."Although I agree with Posner that the federal government should, from the point of view of economic efficiency, provide assistance in major disasters, what really bothers me is that the Bush administration made Keeping America Safe their central campaign promise but then, when it actually comes to a situation where the federal government could do something to Keep America Safe (providing assistance in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster), they say that such things are not actually the role of the federal government.

Mike

As a previous commenter noted, the 20+1+1 model only works for cities with similar, low-risk profiles. The problem with New Orleans, it seems to me, is that the probability of cataclysm was much closer to 1 than it was to zero. Accordingly, the city's leadership would be wise to spend 20 in preparation for a disaster. Having the federal government spend 20 preparing for the nearly certain New Orleans disaster merely shifts the cost of living below sea level to persons who don't get the benefit of New Orleans's "let the good times roll" lifestyle. (There may be good reason to subsidize the continued existence of New Orleans--its proximity to oil/gas fields; its importance to Mississippi River commerce; its unique cultural contributions--but, barring such considerations, a blanket federal guarantee regarding large-scale natural disasters is rather like including a pack-a-day smoker in the same insurance pool with 20 marathoners.) Perhaps we could tweak Judge Posner's analysis by requiring that residents of high-risk cities/states either pay a higher rate of income tax to account for this subsidy.

Jack Sprat

N.E. HATFIELD: Given the scale of the storm and its destructiveness, the only possible response was at the Federal Level.

This is a presumption. You have NO PROOF WHATSOEVER that this is true. Instead of being contrarian, get an argument.

Ben M

The terms of the economic debate are clear enough; if the Feds take on responsibility, then the locals underprepare; if the feds decline, the locals may take on more responsibility. But these incentives break down if they're not laid out clearly---that seems to be FEMA's failure on Katrina. FEMA indeed seemed to have decided to delegate, but: a) no one made this clear to Lousiana b) no one made this clear to the low-level FEMA officials who nominally "took charge" on the ground without actually marshalling any federal resources, and c) no one paid any attention to *transitioning* from a federal model to a local one.

Analyzing the incentive-structures of the Katrina response is sort of like applying Mutual Assured Destruction to Slim Pickens vs. the Doomsday Device. "The whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you keep it a secret!"

In terms of future disasters, three vital aspects of Judge Posner's program are *clear expectations* between Federal and state disaster agencies, a managed transition, and---this may be tricky---making it responsive to local politics. After all, people have to vote on preparedness, and interpret failures and successes in the right terms. One Federal election cycle spans several hurricane seasons, wildfire seasons, etc., so a FEMA over- or under-investment can reveal itself to the voters in a reasonable amount of time. In a given state, though, several elections might go by before a particular disaster plan gets used at all---is there really an incentive for local officials to allocate properly? I can imagine that voters will reward local officials for a good disaster response, and punish failures, but in the common "uneventful" cycles, will local voters actually reward officials for good risk management? It sounds like a recipe for decadal post-disaster spending blitzes, followed by inattention.

Sage_1776

The primary problems I perceived from the Katrina crisis was the lack of responsibility of any one authority for the failures (lots of finger pointing), the lack of communications, and the authority in the wrong hands. For Hurricanes the U.S. Coast Guard (which is under the Department of Homeland Defense, not the Department of Defense) is the best organization to be in charge as they are a full-time organization with expertise in search and rescue, law enforcement, and defense operations. Putting the highest ranking Coast Guard officer in the region in charge of all federal, state, and local government efforts and thus authority and responsibility would be in one set of experienced hands (who could than delegate some authority and let state and local governments act alone, but then he can?t blame them later). Having a central command and communications hub would also minimize different authorities issuing conflicting orders. It is also interesting to note that about 80% of New Orleans was under water which may have made it temporally part of the coast and under the Coast Guard?s jurisdiction anyway. A Coast Guard Vice-Admiral was eventually given command of federal efforts.

Sage_1776

For Federalism, the Governors could sign a legal document stating that unless they actively say otherwise, the federal government will be in charge of state and local government relief efforts for x number of hours if their state is hit by a Hurricane of level three or greater.

N.E.Hatfield

Jack, Where were you when the storm hit? Probably ensconced safely far away. I've got friends and associates who live in the Delta and Bayous. Ever heard of Thibodeaux? My info is by word of mouth from actual participants.
Where's your's from? The latest report from a corrupt and agenda blind media?

Jack Sprat

Nice try, N.E. Hatfield.

No reasonable person, including me, disputes the horrific devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Indeed, I said: "I agree with the underlying facts: Hurricane Katrina affected many contiguous states; local governments lacked the resources to deal with a natural disaster of such magnitude."

The question is whether the federal government is the only possible authority to charge with responding to such a massive hurricane. You believe that no other solution is possible. Thus, you wrote: "Given the scale of the storm and its destructiveness, the only possible response was at the Federal Level." Yet you have not proven that no responses at any other level were possible.

Many people already have made the argument that leaving localities to fend for themselves does not work. I agree. I suggested, however, that there is an alternative to a federal response or merely leaving localities to fend for themselves, by saying, "A collection of self-interested states could easily band together to craft an efficient regional solution funded by their pooled resources and regulated by a uniform law passed in each state's legislature." I then provided a real-life example of such a model: "Just weeks ago, Governor Pataki touted such a proposal concerning nuclear power in the Northeast." In other words, there are solutions other than merely leaving localities to fend for themselves and other than federal ones that could work. Namely, regional solutions.

Your reply is completely off-topic: "My info is by word of mouth from actual participants.
Where's your's from? The latest report from a corrupt and agenda blind media?" Your claim that news media is corrupt or reference to sympathetic anecdotes of those affected by Hurrican Katrina fails to negate the possibility that a regional authority tasked with emergency planning could have spared thousands of displaced citizens from their suffering, or at least ameliorated it significantly. In fact, such rhetorical tactics have nothing to do with my conclusion: "Given that this efficient solution is on the table, I do not see why it is necessarily the case that the federal government must be responsible."

If you do not believe that regional solutions, such as that proposed by Governor Pataki to confront nuclear power in the Northeast, are efficient, and thus it is categorically impossible for such a regional solution to have worked in the Hurricane Katrina situation, please explain why. Otherwise, your statement -- "Given the scale of the storm and its destructiveness, the only possible response was at the Federal Level." -- is wholly unjustified, and should not be regarded as a "given" by any reasonable person.

Jeffrey C. Marty

Some of the greatest distinguishing factors between hurricane Katrina and many other natural disasters were the presence of advance notice and the irrational response that followed receipt of that notice. The desparate situations of residents trapped inside the New Orleans Superdome and atop roofs in residential neighborhoods would not have been a reality had these same residents been evacuated before the hurricane arrived. Unfortunately, both practical realities, such as no mode of available transport, and self-imposed difficulties, such as refusing to leave despite a mandatory evacuation order, coalesced to cause the result that followed: hundreds dead or injured, rampant looting, and general societal breakdown.

For a government force to be effective it must be credible. Unfortunately, the local and state governments were not credible because they were not prepared to prevent the preventable. Had the Mayor of New Orleans been prepared to offer transport out of the city for anyone who asked, thousands of poor residents could have joined their richer counterparts up north before Katrina hit. Had the Governor of Louisiana been prepared to aggressively enforce the mandatory evacuation order by employing National Guard troops before the disaster, thousands more may have left the city. Neither of these possibilities were outside the economic potential of either the local or state governments. However, neither of these possible actions were undertaken.

In economic theory, the dynamic at work that produced the Katrina disaster cannot be explained by the traditional "rational person" analysis. Nor can it be explained by resorting to state v. federal distinctions and least-cost-avoider theories. In reality, most of the residents trapped in New Orleans simply didn't believe that the hurricane would hit them; and in the event that it did, they did not believe it would cause them significant harm. Some people genuinely didn't have access to a vehicle and/or gas and could not flee, but probably only a small minority. The only way to remedy these deficits would be to either force people to leave or convince them to do so, while providing transportation for those who can't afford it. Otherwise, there is nothing any government can do, as some people will die due to their own poverty or incompetence, or both.

But as the government actors involved knew before the disaster, the voters hate being told to flee, spend huge sums of money (both in tax dollars and personal capital), and then later discover that the hurricane petered out at the last minute. That is why Mayor Nagin didn't issue a mandatory evacuation order until the last minute; he wanted to avoid the enmity of the voters. Similarly, Blanco's irrational fear of the National Guard--of making a true emergency out of the situation--prevented her from ordering that body into New Orleans until 48 hours after disaster struck.

To "federalize" this situation would do little except allow local governments to pass the buck when deciding whether to take action prior to the commencement of a potential disaster. Given the wasteful, inefficient federal response in other areas--retirement planning, road building, communications, and even the Katrina aftermath--it is difficult to believe that the federal executive branch could more aptly provide an imminent response to disasters than its local counterpart. All that will usually be needed is competent local representation. But that is usually too much to ask.

Jack Sprat

Jeffrey: "All that will usually be needed is competent local representation. But that is usually too much to ask."

While your above post is quite substantive, I think the quote here is telling. There is a difference between having competent staff to react to an event as it happens (at Time 2) and building the managerial architecture to ensure that the staff is competent (at Time 1). My point is that such regional structures can be built before disasters strike, e.g., Governor Pataki's plan for the Northeast concerning nuclear power.

It is not an answer to say that the regional structure was not in place at the time the disaster struck. The point is that if the structure had been in place, the response could have been substantively different. It is a quite modest point: why presume that only a federal solution could have produced a substantive change in a counterfactual world where Hurricane Katrina strikes? There is also the regional option.

Babak Zaker

Did anyone see the series on Katrina featured on Nightline? The communications of the city were completely knocked out. The deputy mayor described his success at reclaiming internet access - scavenging a looted electronics store for spare parts - a 'real Macgyver moment.' That was 4 days after the first levee had broken.


In the meantime, the local government was down on the count. The state government had probably invested much of its disaster-relief resources in New Orleans, the biggest city, meaning that those resources were either destroyed or out of reach. This, coupled with (I'm sorry to add) the half of Louisiana's national guard in Iraq, left its response force woefully short of adequate.


What was needed was transportation for the city's poor (before the storm hit), decent accomodation for the unforunates who remained (during), and the capability to redouble our efforts when more was known to be needed (after). Would the federal government to a better job at this? Yes, not only on the basis of efficiency as argued by Judge Posner, but also because nature retains the power to wreck the governing structure of any one city, and leave a gaping hole in that of any one state, particularly a small and poor one such as Louisiana. What's more, the federal government is already expert at operations requiring accurate forecasting, vast logistics, and real flexibility. It is evident in the superlatively effective armed forces, which we hear are getting smarter, more focused, and more agile every day. If President Bush were as interested in protecting the poor at home as he seems to be in projecting power abroad, the number of preventable deaths prevented on his watch would be greater.

Babak Zaker

Addressing Mr. Sprat, Sir,

No such regional association of self-interested states exists in America to deal with anything. I can think of two reasons, one historical, one logical. Historically, attempts at regional cooperation have been frowned upon because of the Confederation of the South and the Aaron Burr's proposed Confederation of New England before it. Logically, an organisation of states for disaster relief would have to be permanent or ad hoc. If it were ad hoc, it could hardly be expected to provide the timely response required. If it were permanent, it could either be an independent, well-constituted agency, or a liason committee to coordinate the efforts of the various states. In the latter case, there would be squabbling over who should do what and who ultimately pays for it, a problem that federal agencies, with their specified mandates and budgets, were designed to solve. On the other hand, if it were a potent, well-constituted agency, there would simply be one more layer of 'bloated bureaucracy' for small-government supporters such as yourself to lament.

Jeffrey C. Marty

Jack: While I do not disagree that there is much room for improvement in the preparation and response stages of a natural disaster, and that a regional response could be the most appropriate measure, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that any sort of planned-in-advance government respone is likely to produce the desired results: minimal injuries and deaths, as well as protection of property to the greatest degree possible. The reasons for my scepticism rest on the economics of information, not on the economics of lateral or vertical response structuring.

In the recent book "Freakonomics," the author discusses the economics of information as applied to emergency scenarios. He concluded that the response to current or potential dangers is not based on the degree of harm times the probability of harm, which the theoretical "rational person" would consider before undertaking a course of action. For example, if the potential for death (degree of harm) were higher when riding a motorcycle than driving a car, yet the likelihood of a motor vehicle accident were the same for both vehicles (probability of harm), the "rational person" would calculate these facts and drive a car instead of ride a motorcycle. However, as the author points out, this is not how people address potential disasters with potentially harmful consequences.

Instead, the applicable economic formula boils down to the degree of "outrage" times the degree of potential harm. For instance, if the media hypes a particular occurrence, such as physical harm caused by a rare disease, the response of persons to this information will depend on the above formula. Adding a few facts, that the disease only targets infants and is carried by mosquitos, will substantially increase the "outrage" segment of the formula. If the disease instantly caused a tortuous death in every case, the "degree of harm" segment of the formula would also substantially increase. Let's say that the above scenario has a 1 in 10,000,000 chance of occurring, yet the potential for an infant being killed in an auto accident on any particular trip is only 1 in 7,000,000. So long as media attention makes the mosquito-borne disease appear more likely to occur than the auto accident, people will likely take irrational actions, such as driving the infant to the store to pick up mosquito repellent, because they incorrectly weigh the competing potential results of actions that could potentially cause physical harm.

The same dynamic works with hurricanes. I live in the gulf coast, and each time a hurricane or tropical storm occurs, the media correctly points out the potential danger involved and advises people to take preventative measures. So far this year, we have been advised about 3 or 4 times to buy bread, water, and gas in preparation for a potential hurricane, including hurricane Katrina. The reality is that very few people believe that the worst possible results will occur, especially when it seems like none of the hurricanes actually reach us. Each time the media hypes up what results in a tropical storm, and the requisite purchases are made, it seems less and less likely that a hurricane will actually reach us.

But there is a good possiblity that a hurricane will reach us someday, as occurred in New Orleans recently. Even with the hurricane at their doorstep, many residents of New Orleans incorrectly weighed the potential degree of harm that could result. This is largely because the "outrage" caused by the average hurricane was at its low ebb. Many people (and even politicians) were conditioned to believe that hurricanes usually aren't as serious as portrayed by the media, which appears to cry wolf every time a hurricane occurs. Consequently, many people remained at home and refused to leave, despite a hastily announced mandatory evacuation order to the contrary.

A very different scenario occurred leading up to hurricane Rita. This time, the "outrage" was substantially increased due to the horrible results of hurricane Rita. Everyone, from the federal government to local officials to the residents themselves, made a concerted effort to get people out of harm's way and into temporary housing. This response was probably somewhat ad hoc because it is doubtful that a substantially different plan was enacted after Katrina than the one that preceded that disaster. The main difference between these two responses was based solely upon "outrage"--an actual belief that harm was imminent and avoidable, and worth the cost of avoidance.

What is most needed in the face of disaster is a belief that a disaster will in fact result. That is why nuclear plant meltdowns are planned for. But I'm willing to guess that these disasters, like the hurricanes of today, were not particularly well planned for until after three-mile island and Chernobyl occurred. At that point, the "outrage" was perhaps permanently increased. Hopefully, the same will occur with our response to hurricanes.

N.E.Hatfield

Jack, The "argument" bears directly on the credibility of the evidence. Mine's real, in real time. How about yours? Once again it's a question of reality vs. theoretical speculation. As for Pataki's solution to evacuation in a nuclear event, if and when it comes down, all the best laid plans of mice and men will vaporize. The reality will be "duck and cover and Kiss your "a" goodbye". The theoretical never takes into account "FUBAR", "SNAFU" and Murphy's Law.

As for response, I've already sent clothes and money to friends in the bayou. And that wasn't even a State or Local response, just one friend helping out another. How many millions of others are in the same boat (no pun intended), that the State and Local "officials" can't deal with. As for the displaced, a lot aren't sure they want to go back and deal with the State and Local response actions, the Fed. at least can handle the numbers.

R

"No such regional association of self-interested states exists in America to deal with anything."

It's actually called the federal government, and I think Sprat has demonstrated fairly well why the federal government ought to be responsible for ameliorating large scale disasters.

Jack Sprat

As for Pataki's solution to evacuation in a nuclear event, if and when it comes down, all the best laid plans of mice and men will vaporize.

I can see that you did not actually research his proposal, which is substantially complete and was on the front page of the New York Times! You are totally ignorant of the topic.

Jack Sprat

No such regional association of self-interested states exists in America to deal with anything.

Actually, one does. I would suggest you read up on Governor Pataki's proposal, which as I noted, is substantially complete, and was detailed in the New York Times.

Jack Sprat

Jack: While I do not disagree that there is much room for improvement in the preparation and response stages of a natural disaster, and that a regional response could be the most appropriate measure, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that any sort of planned-in-advance government respone is likely to produce the desired results: minimal injuries and deaths, as well as protection of property to the greatest degree possible. The reasons for my scepticism rest on the economics of information,

Then I suggest you read up on Governor Pataki's plan to deal with nuclear power in the Northeast, which is substantially complete and deals in great part with the economics of information.

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