Re: Communitas: Rethinking Scarcity (Glenn Loury & Sendhil Mullainathan)
A person can get into a situation where body heat is a critically scarce resource. Once you are cold enough, you may behave in a way that makes the problem worse. Understanding this pattern may change an outsider's opinion from "What an idiot" to "That person is dangerously hypothermic." After the immediate crisis passes, whether by rescue or death, now what? The nearest 14er, Long's Peak, has a little rock shelter to which people can retreat if they are caught in nasty conditions. But putting shelters throughout the backcountry would diminish the wildness of so many places, and at great expense. Instead, most people who go there learn what to wear and how to behave so they don't get into that dangerous situation. So much of the modern response to poverty has tried to keep people warm without telling them to stay out of the snowbank. Over time, longstanding cultural pressures have been eased, resulting in large increases in the nivean population.