For Clue to How U.S. Would Respond to Its Own Fukushima, Look at Financial Crisis

At the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hugh Gusterson writes, “As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. . . . what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?”

More to the point, what will be the United States’s “takeaway” from this crisis? Gusterson:

A good way to think through this question is to look at how the United States responded to its last meltdown — the meltdown of its banking system in 2008. To prevent a future recurrence of this disaster, the US government should have broken up banks that were “too big to fail,” restored the Glass-Steagall Act’s prohibitions on the commingling of investment and depository banks, and moved aggressively to regulate credit default swaps and financial derivatives. It did none of these things because the banks did not want it to, and the banks now run the show. . . . Our democracy and our regulatory agencies are husks of what they once were.