In this public lecture, Professor Jonathan B.
The ‘tragedy of the commons’ is a classic type of problem, involving multiple actors who face individual incentives to deplete shared resources and thereby impose harms on others. Such tragedies can be overcome if societies learn through experience to mobilize collective action.
Although the problem of rare and global catastrophic risk has been much discussed, its sources and solutions need to be better understood. Descriptively, one identifies psychological heuristics and political forces that underlie neglect of rare catastrophic ‘uncommons’ risks, notably the unavailability heuristic, mass numbing, and
Professor Wiener suggests a twist on conventional debates: in contrast to salient experienced risks spurring greater public concern than expert concern, rare
The Q&A session was chaired by Dr Julius Weitzdorfer.
About the Speaker
Jonathan B. Wiener is the William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law at Duke Law School, Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, at Duke University. Before coming to Duke, he worked on U.S. and international environmental policy at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and at the US Department of Justice, serving in both the first Bush and Clinton administrations (read more).
This lecture was part of the Blavatnik Public Lecture Series at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk.