Sunday, June 15, 2008

Floods in Iowa

Lots of flooding in Iowa, and it looks like a mess. But it is most notable for its lack of mayhem and looting, in contrast with Katrina, which was like the second floor of a frathouse party, people operating without a super-ego. I think this is what Steve Levitt would call, a natural experiment. What is the difference? Population density? Poverty rates? FEMA's response? The state's response?

The standard narrative on the Left is that Bush's incompetence and indifference was a primary cause of the social meltdown observed in Katrina's aftermath. I think that gives the President way to much blame. A comparison with these other disasters would be a good Master's thesis.


Anonymous said...

How quickly did people get help in Iowa? Were 30,000 left to starve and poop in a giant dome while the government ignored them? And another group they weren't even aware of at the convention center?

How many people are trapped in the Iowa towns because of the geography? How many can't just walk away from the flood to assistance.

Previous post was very racist. And retarded. There are so many differences between the two situations in terms of geography, logistics, scale, and government response. Why go first to pointing out the racial statistics? Only one reason: you're a racist and looking for a way to put down the race you don't like.

Anonymous said...

A big difference is the feeling of isolation and abandonement in New Orleans after the storm versus the situation in Iowa. There's a lot of property damage in Iowa, but there isn't the humanitarian crisis. In Iowa:
1) They can get the sick out of the hospitals
2) they can get food to the hungry
3) there's relative stability just outside the afflicted areas
4) there wasn't a need for a massive evacuation of the region (millions of people) beforehand, 5) only a very small percentage of the police in the region have to evacuate and move their families to safety. The police, EMT and fire forces remains intact.
6) in the few cases where needed, they can get the eldery out of the nursing home (but most aren't effected)
7) Doctors aren't coping with powerless hospitals
8) All of the effected were quickly helped to shelter and relief and didn't need to fend for themselves.

Or ... we can just blame it on the black people, as an earlier commenter did.

Anonymous said...

instead of looking for shady social science causes, why not just look at the obvious? these two disasters are at nowhere near the same scale. katrina was much more damaging and dangerous:

iowa flood deaths: 5

katrina deaths: over 1400 in louisiana alone
others died in missisippi, but i don't have time to look for good numbers on this.

iowa flood costs: $2 billion

katrina costs: $125 billion

thousands of people in new orleans were trapped and starving. no such thing is happening now.

anyway, i don't see any mystery that needs explaining here. it makes perfect sense that there is much more chaos during a much more serious disaster.