Why Catastrophe is Inevitable

Friday October 25, 2013 – 7:30 p.m. at the Almonte United Church Social Hall

Speaker: Bryne B. Purchase 

Topic: Why Catastrophe is Inevitable

The lecture promises to be a very exciting discussion of our governments’ actions (and inactions) in forestalling such calamities as climate change, rising oil prices and others. We hope to see you all on Friday!


Bryne will argue that the dominant decision-making institutions in our society, including governments, make our society extremely dynamic. But, in doing so, they allow societal risk, even existential risk, to accumulate. Our most important public and private institutions cannot act, except in response to a “clear and present danger”. Accordingly, they open our society to the potential, and perhaps the inevitability, of catastrophe. At the core of this failure in governance is “moral hazard”.

Speaker’s Profile:

Bryne Purchase is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University, a Fellow (and the founding Director) of the Queen’s University Institute of Energy and Environmental Policy and a regular columnist for the Torstar publication, QP Briefing. He is a former Chief Economist and Deputy Minister of Finance, of Revenue and of Energy Science and Technology of Ontario. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Toronto and is the author and editor of a number of publications relating to economics, governance and competitiveness. His most recent book is Navigating on the Titanic: Economic Growth, Energy and the Failure of Governance, 2013, McGill-Queen’s University Press.

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