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Unprecedented Politics.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Unprecedented Politics-mitigating risk in an uncertain world Kopstein 3/26/2012 9:13:00 AM SARS! National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health Mandate: Draw lessons from SARS outbreak, and explore longer-term approaches on how best to enhance Canada’s response to future public health challenges Learning from Learning from SARS  Political leadership matters (inter alia, Clement, Chretien, McLellan, Martin, Bennett)…  Government machinery matters…  We did learn something! Cf. H1N1 2009-10 The Ghost Map “[William] Farr was a man of science, and shared Snow’s belief in the power of statistics…But he also shared many assumptions with the miasma camp, and he used the number crunching of the Weekly Returns to reinforce those beliefs. Farr thought that the single most reliable predictor of environmental contamination was elevation: the population living in the putrid fog that hung along the riverbanks were more likely to be seized by the cholera than those living in the rarefied air of, say, Hampstead.” Steven Johnson, p.101 Global Finance  Value at Risk (VAR) model  Risk analysis: VAR of $100 million with 99% confidence  Measurement of market confidence  Systemic equilibrium  What about the 1%? Politics and Futurity (and uncertainty) “The climate is nearing tipping points. If we do not change course, we’ll hand our children a situation that is out of their control.” James Hansen, NASA,
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