This seminar will explore the history and causes of various social and economic catastrophes. Lack of government and private sector preparation can lead to devastating economic and social costs. The initial source of the catastrophe can be varied: a pandemic, a major earthquake, flood, forest fire, a tsunami, the collapse of a housing boom, a war, etc. But the economic and social consequences and government policy responses have common elements.

Almost all catastrophes are plausible and foreseeable, although their timing and likelihood cannot be forecast with any precision. They are low probability high cost events.

We will explore some policy frameworks that can help prepare a society for catastrophes, reducing the social, economic and financial costs. This is a fascinating policy topic that is evolving fast.