Regulatory Economics: Cybersecurity—Who Cares? Threat and Apathy Worldwide, Outlook Uncertain


  • Richard A. Barclay

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    • Richard A. Barclay is the principal at Cogent Policy Research LLC. Formerly he was the director of research and policy development at an electric utility trade association in Michigan and has worked as a policy advisor for the Michigan legislature. He has a PhD in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. The opinions are his and not those of Cogent Policy Research.


American Blackout debuted in October on the National Geographic Channel. It is a pseudo-documentary that chronicles the 10-day aftermath of a cyber attack that brings down the nation's entire electricity grid. Experts contend that no cyber attack could bring down the entire national grid, but the program is a gentle reminder that electricity is essential to our basic way of life. The 2003 blackout reminds us multistate disruptions of the grid are not very hard to imagine. Thus, it is critical that our electricity generation and supply system is protected from crippling attacks—attacks of a magnitude beyond the ones in Arkansas that knocked out power to a mere 10,000 people over several days.