Why most disasters are avoidable (and why you still don't avoid them)

Lessons from Enron, Barings Bank and Chernobyl.

by Jeremy Hazlehurst

Just outside the tiny Japanese village of Aneyoshi, high on a mountainside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, stands an ancient stone, a weather-smoothed oval three feet tall engraved with rune-like markings in an archaic script.

It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that this strange monument had long ago risen spontaneously out of the surrounding woodland, because the words written on it read like an exhortation from nature itself: “Do not build your homes beneath this point”.

It is one of hundreds of so-called tsunami stones dotted through the region, strange, semi-mythical folk memories of the great tidal waves that devastated the region in 869, 1896 and 1933 -- and undoubtedly many other times stretching into pre-history -- killing thousands, flattening homes and devastating lives. 

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