Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Notes on bad weather and good government

This excellent Harper's essay discusses some of the sociology of disasters. It contrasts the Hobbesian image of mob and riot with the actual tendency of disasters to bring out the best in people:
Many of the stories we hear about sudden natural disasters are about the brutally selfish human nature of the survivors, predicated on the notion that survival is, like the marketplace, a matter of competition, not cooperation. Cooperation flourishes anyway.

This timely piece was written before Hurricane Katrina, but there is a postscript added about the disaster. A great read.

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