Disasters Happen in a Political Space

While there are those who would disagree, natural disasters are probably not politically motivated, but neither are they politically untouched. far from it. Actions taken by human actors undoubtedly affect the prevention, mitigation and damage of natural disasters and their outcome.

The ‘tremor’ refers to a natural act such as an earthquake. ‘Aftershock’ comes later. Following the 2010–2012 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Earthquake Commission, Canterbury Earthquake Authority, Christchurch City Council, and the government of the day equated the net effect of the ‘aftershock’ on the population – the physical ‘disaster’ being far from complete. It is also made up of those shocking post-disaster events, such as delayed insurance payments, authoritarian decisions from top to bottom, disqualification of professional bodies, evidence of corruption in the post-earthquake city – and the list goes on…

Although governments care about the social welfare of their citizens, they are also interested in maximizing government income, and although governments spend on both preventive and palliative measures to reduce the effects of potential natural shocks, they are less likely to respond to natural disasters. also use. The redistribution of power through political influence, for example by favoring disaster spending in areas that are politically aligned with the party in power. The dire circumstances give greedy governments a strong ability to increase the level of their piracy and hide it. Disasters can be used as a blunt policy instrument to target or reward the population and enrich the government and ‘corporate classes’.

It is also interesting that times of crisis can significantly increase the amount of information the population has about current or current politicians and their governance styles and outcomes. This is because the disaster creates a highly informative environment where voters are constantly debating and experiencing the performance and qualities of operators in power – be it the prime minister or the city council. It is in these high information environments that voters learn enough so that they can consider making a decision to change political office.

For example, some functionaries in Christchurch are currently responsible for rebuilding a city’s infrastructure and restoring the lives of affected communities to some semblance of order. During normal times there is usually little information about how well the incumbent has done or is doing, but during an earthquake or storm, voters quickly learn a lot about whether the incumbent has done well. have worked and who are these people really. When there is so much information floating around, information about performance can be informative enough to overcome an initial tendency to support a voter. So there is a possibility of people in the affected area ‘taking a hammer’ in their chances of being re-elected. And the truth is that as voters we often understand little beyond the pain and joy of ourselves or our local community… Governments also rely on the indifference (or control) of the national media to ensure that populations outside the affected area are less likely to hear about their manipulations within the region.

Educated voters are perfectly rational, and research shows that re-election rates are lower for those in power after natural disasters. The system is informative. A rational voter votes retrospectively – that is, based on what they believe to be the incumbent’s past performance – but does so only because past performance is informative about expected future performance.

Confidence in a country’s disaster preparedness depends on confidence in its government’s ability and willingness to mandate and monitor levels of decency and fairness along with its efficiency in reconstruction. The dilemmas faced by the city of Christchurch require a constant balance between faster rebuilding, cheaper rebuilding, safer rebuilding, and better rebuilding. Achieving the right goals will require the government to deal with multiple elements of local and private enterprises, including the all-important interaction with insurance providers – before and still delivering benefits to community interests. and addressing questionable procedures employed to prevent the settlement of their claims and reduce the cost of legitimate claims. All of these are examples of possible failures of the central government to assume responsibility and control of regulation and enforcement in the long-term planning process, which is certainly fueled by a deep culture of corporatism that supports corrupt practices and the pursuit of secret agendas. does. Markets have no inherent moral character so it is the role of the government to decide how to manage them.

Declaring a disaster as a ‘National Emergency’ has deep political implications. In the follow-up to emergency management and rescue efforts, it is practically inevitable that a further politicization of the incident increases as the affected community progresses from emergency response through recovery and reconstruction phases. An immediate emergency response by any government is quite predictable, as it should be, but, from a political point of view, the result has proved to be uncharted territory, susceptible to circumstances of opportunity and political values ​​and agendas. Day. The way a government perceives its political mandate, or is given the opportunity to define it, has never been more important than in the recovery phase.

Markets have no inherent moral character and therefore it is arguable that it is the role of the government to decide how to manage them. In particular, markets should be regulated ‘under emergency’ after a major disaster to ensure that they operate to the benefit of the majority of citizens recovering. The non-interventionist political system only serves to amplify the voice of the wealthy corporates and fails to protect the common citizen against corporate abuse. Money speaks in politics as it speaks in the market. Any system of recovery must have rules and regulations governed within the legal framework. In a modern economy, the government has the responsibility to market and enforce the rules of the game on behalf of its population. This is especially true in the case of a major disaster where the government decides to engage in the recovery process. In the absence of real government support, the extent to which the population can recover after a disaster is likely to be seriously challenged. Reforms in Christchurch are characterized by the fact that political decision-making has been favored by corporate and government stakeholders – the insurance industry and the construction industry. The policy of non-interference in the market has been the reason for a slow, painful recovery. The consequences of this approach have been seriously and clearly felt by the affected population.

Source by Sarah-Alice Miles

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