Saturday, September 10, 2005
A dysfunctional state
Everyone in the USA from the President downwards seems to agree that the response to the Katrina disaster was, at best, inadequate. Disagreement is about the "why" and the "who", and that debate seems to be taking a predictably partisan course. Needless to say, the White House and Fox TV are leading the smear campaigns.
For a more intelligent analysis, read this Actually Existing posting. Phil Edwards argues we are seeing a combination of big government incompetence reminiscent of the Soviet system, and the worst of the 'free market', being forced into areas where it is not appropriate. The whole mess is capped by a "consultant culture".
A system doesn't work if the people running it don't believe in it.
PS: In all the excitement about Hurricane Katrina, it may have escaped your attention that parts of southern France suffered severe flooding last week. The worst-hit area was around the city of Nîmes (full details - in French - in a special report in the regional daily Midi Libre; the only English-language news report I can find online is in, of all places, Pravda). There are local arguments going on about the system of flood alerts and whether the evacuation could have been better organised. But there are no bodies floating down the streets - indeed, no reports of casualties at all - so not a word in the British media.
Some of us have a living to make, when all's said and done.
Hmmm. Just to clarify, that was big government incompetence reminiscent of the last days of the Soviet system, and incompetence caused by inappropriate free market 'reforms'. I haven't got an anti-'big government' axe to grind (not in that piece, anyway!).
Thanks for the plugs - I'm afraid I haven't read TLD for a while but it's going back on the list - you're clearly a man of taste and discernment. And yes, that Gray quote is... striking, isn't it?