Natural Disasters and Government Response  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

I've been holding onto this for a little while, not sure what to do with it. This quote comes from Dan Rothschild of George Mason University.

The lesson of Katrina that matters the most is that the promise of federal assistance that will likely never materialize can be as destructive as the initial disaster...

What residents need in this maw of confusion is certainty. They need to know which roads will be rebuilt, and when the power and water will come back online. They need to know that the rule of law will be enforced. In short, they need to know what economists call the "rules of the game" for rebuilding.

These rules are critical to the myriad private-sector decisions that follow and signal whether and how a community will rebuild. Decisions about insurance coverage, when and where grocery stores, banks and numerous other businesses will reopen, and where children will play are vital private-sector decisions that require clear, credible commitments from the public sector to be made efficiently...

What residents of disaster-stricken areas don't need are vague promises from officials that add to the confusion and force residents to delay the millions of decisions, small and large, they need to make to re-create a viable community. And they don't need government leaders to make promises that are unlikely to be kept.

The dirty secret of government disaster response is that what's promised immediately after a disaster seldom comes to fruition.
Emphasis is mine. I think this is very much true; the market will provide for people, but not if the government promises that they will do it. If the federal government wants to help, post hoc subsidization of particularly useful acts seems more helpful to me.


Your blog is very creative, when people read this it widens our imaginations.

Post a Comment

Recent Comments