Thursday, November 1, 2012

Commodification of Disaster

A prediction: the commodification of the disaster. It might be tshirts, it might be disaster sites becoming tourist attractions, it might be subcontractors getting the deals on city clean-up, but I'll bet someone will be making money from Sandy. I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for the "anthill effect," and whether that's harmful or helpful. Needless to say, based on what we've learned saying disasters are worse for the poor, I'm not expecting any hurricane-inspired money-making schemes to help those in need. Also, in response to an earlier question that was posed about whether what emerges will be reports of strangers helping each other in a great social-leveling process or reports of disorder, looting, and distrust: the looting reports are already beginning to circulate. See here, for example. 

1 comment:

  1. A footnote on "anthill economics": Natalie's referring to an article in the Wall Street Journal about rebuilding efforts in Mississippi after Hurricane Georges. The piece quotes the owner of an auto dealership in Pascagoula as saying, "Somebody steps on our anthill, and we immediately start rebuilding it." The idea of the article is that after disasters, "the stress is awesome...[b]ut so is business."

    Robert Tomsho, " 'Anthill' Economics: How Natural Disasters Can Change the Course of a Region's Growth" (October 5, 1999).


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