Saturday, March 31, 2012

Joplin: If All Else Fails, Try the Market

To anyone around here, when you mention the name, "Joplin," they think of that day of wrath when tornadoes ripped through the midwest and one, seemingly released from hell, devastated Joplin, Missouri.   One doesn't have to reach far among one's neighbors and friends to learn of someone who was touched by the disaster.  I heard of one mother who, lacking a tornado shelter, hid with her two children in a clothes closet.  When the Angel of Death had past over, she opened the door to find the closet the only thing left standing.

Many in Kansas, no stranger to tornadoes, helped as the community worked to rebuild itself. They "did and maybe asked permission later!" with typical midwestern get-it-doneness. The speed with which churches and religious organizations mobilized would put the Pentagon to shame! To rephrase Archbishop Dolan, they did not help because those in need were Christian, they helped because they were Christian.

An economics professor at Troy University, Daniel J. Smith, studied how this spontaneous action accomplished wonders. The story is the more poignant as we watch the Japanese bureaucracies in government and "private" utilities obscure reality and stand in the way of recovering from Fukushima Daichi.  Fortunately for Joplin, it was blessed with lax regulation and not plagued with crony capitalism.

Here is what professor Smith found:

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