The terrible quake in Japan should remind us to prioritize the actual threats civilization faces. In 1923 a smaller earthquake in Japan killed over 100,000 people. The safety standards that prosperity and wealth have enabled has made a stronger earthquake in a land with more than double the population kill less than 1/10 as many people. The additional wealth and prosperity that innovation and industrialization bring may mean that one day major quakes and tsunamis will take no lives. Curtailing industrialization in the name of trivial threats (like global warming) puts all of us at much greater risk to the real threats that have killed millions of people.
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