Volume 3, Number 2 (July 2006)
(Emeritus Professor, École Spéciale d‟Architecture, Paris, France).
Translated by Chris Turner
A society which rashly privileges the present
to the detriment of both the past and the future, also privileges the accident.Since, at every moment and most often unexpectedly, everything happens, a civilizationthat sets immediacy, ubiquity and instantaneity to work brings accidents and catastrophes on tothe scene. The confirmation of this state of affairs is provided for us by insurance companies, and particularly by the recent Sigma study, carried out for the world's second-largest reinsurancecompany Swiss Re. This recently published study, which each year lists man-made disasters(explosions, fires, terrorism etc.) and natural catastrophes (floods, earthquakes, storms etc.),
takes into account only those disasters causing losses in excess of 35 million dollars. “For thefirst time”, the Swiss analysts observe, “since the 1990‟s, a p
eriod when damage due to naturalcatastrophes predominated over man-made damage, the trend has reversed, with man-made
damage standing at 70 percent”.
2 Proof, if proof were needed, that far from promoting quietude, our industrializedsocieties throughout the twentieth century have essentially developed disquiet and the major risk,