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« The Best Article You will Read on The Bivalent Logic of Economic Analysis | Main | Off To UFM »


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Nice! I have to remind my children that the "selfless" politician, policeman, social worker and charity all survive on the backs of entrepreneurs and commerce. The former couldn't exist without the latter.

A couple additions to your Walmart piece:

1) Walmart offered workers around the country double and triple time with added vacation, to go to New Orleans and help clean up their stores, deliver goods and restock shelves. The government stopped them from going because it would take local jobs away. So Walmart's response was slower than it could have been.

2) FEMA's stockpiling is silly and a waste of capital. There is no other fit description. As you illustrate, they would be better off purchasing supplies on the open market if they want to get involved. No private firm would act in the manner FEMA does, not just because they demand ROI on inventory, but because logistically it is a silly and inappropriate strategy that does not meet effectively meet its goals; it turns them into an inventory speculator without logistical expertise. It is a waste of money.

Private distribution and supply channels could easily reallocate inventory to high demand areas while production catches up. It is what they are built for and do every day.

So the lesson learned is not just whether private levees would have failed in the first place. But if they had failed, they would have been fixed in less than half the time, and heads would have rolled for the failure. Bureaucracy does not work in any way like that.

Sorry for being long winded, but therein lies a crucial question for big government advocates. For despite one's political views, it seems to me the failure of bureaucracy at almost every turn must be obvious to anyone, and a 'killer concern" in building huge national institutions.

Cone's quote nails it re: the sense of normalcy. I do wish Lowe's hadn't been charging over $100 for a large tarp when I was in Tuscaloosa immediately after their twister, however. High-velocity trees + roofs = holes that need covering NOW.

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