Meltdowns and Fallouts

BRUSSELS – The metaphors used during the financial crisis of 2008-2009 – earthquake, tsunami, meltdown, black swan, and fallout – are back with a vengeance, but now they are being recycled literally. In fact, the financial crisis and the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima nuclear-power plant in Japan share at least four similarities:

·        The “black swan” metaphor suggests that these events reflect difficulty in correctly assessing risks in complex systems.

·        Regulators proved unable to forecast and prevent the crisis.

·        The “fallout” is potentially cross-border in nature.