Creative Destruction

September 1, 2006

Market Forces at Work in New Orleans

Filed under: Current Events,Economics — Brutus @ 1:05 pm

Michael Parenti has an interesting perspective in his article on market forces at work in the years prior to and in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The article was published on Sept. 3, 2005, so the full effect of Katrina and the complete ineffectiveness of our government’s response to it was not yet known.

Parenti’s remarks are sometimes snide, and there is no lack of attitude about the brand of Republicanism practices by Bush and Reagan before him. While I don’t especially appreciate that approach, it nonetheless makes its point abundantly clear. For instance, I was curious to read Parenti’s ironic observation that the U.S. government refused offers of foreign aid from France, Germany, Russia (huh?), and Cuba (what?).

It’s now just over a year since Katrina struck the Gulf Coast — not just New Orleans. Much of the region is bouncing back, but apparently New Orleans has not yet. About half of its population has returned. Those who have left, with intention of returning, has been called by some the American diaspora. The Washington Post reports on the desolation that is currently New Orleans, a full year after Katrina. Whether the city will eventually be rebuilt and repopulated remains to be seen. Some are calling for its abandonment, anticipating that another catastrophe is only inevitable. If Parenti’s perspective is the controlling one — that the free market determines the optimal outcome over time — it may well take a decade or more for people to trickle back to New Orleans. I suspect it will eventually happen, as the prospect of abandoning the city wholesale is simply too unpalatable for us in our hubris that we can defy nature.

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