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Posted: 8/9/2011 4:54:03 PM EDT
Book review: Disaster Utopias and Elite Panics by John Robb.  The book is: A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit.

Ms Solnit wrote the book following her experience with a California earth quake.  She saw that most people behaved fairly calmly and practically, as opposed to the general expectation of mayhem.  So she began to study where that expectation of mayhem come from.  It turns out that the people who DO panic are generally the elites and the government higher-ups, who have something to lose, and who face a situation they cannot control whereas they're used to be in control.  So they project their fear onto their expectations of an emergency, and plan to retain control in such situations.  Their plans, in turn, can foster exactly the type of mayhem they were trying to avoid.

There are some other gems in the review and the book.  Check it out!
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 6:44:47 PM EDT
What I saw in Katrina, Hati, and the typical Caribbean hurricane is the opposite.  The elites bug out, or are somewhat prepared, the poor panic, and the brass tries to do a good job, which beyond a certain threshold, begins to fail due to lack of coordination and communications.  I can't speak for senior political positions, but I never saw panic in state EMA, senor agency leadership, Military officers, or local public works or law enforcement "brass"

It's the people living on the edge that are the closest to loosing it.
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 6:49:50 PM EDT
I agree. In 2008 the elites were panicking over the economic crash in part because they suddenly looked into the abyss and realized how far it could have dropped and how fast civilization could have collapsed - and they didn't yet have a year's supply of food, guns and ammo in pre-stocked getaways in the Poconos. Now they do. and how.

And so do the rest of us.

So if the DOW drops 4000 points the people who'll be panicked won't be the financial, business, or certain COG elites, or most of us either but the sheeple who have never paid much attention to anything beyond the fluff of pop culture where they need to be told who to love, who to hate and when to applause or riot. They'll panic, but civilization won't fall apart so long as the elites of business etc. feel confident and the suburbs feel confident.
Link Posted: 8/9/2011 7:13:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/10/2011 3:54:41 PM EDT
Country_Boy, the book agrees that the 1st-line supervisors and first responders, the ones who work the emergency, generally are very practical and level-headed.  It's the "brass" who have the time and energy to "posture", pose for the cameras, and think up ways to screw up the situation.  [They're supposed to use that time to strategize, and some do, but we're not worried about the good ones.]

Are there looters and anarchists?  Yes, but they are not in charge most of the time. [Otherwise we wouldn't have a society in the first place.]

Many riots escalate from a "crisis" because the brass and the elites do not think the public could "handle" the information. [Sometimes the info is embarrassing or expensive to the elites, too.]  In America, crisis managers have learned, over the years, that you need to "get in front of the news cycle", ie, full-disclosure ASAP.  If you're too slow to respond, you could get a Rodney King on your hands.  People get angry, and the anarchists fanned the flames.

In a Katrina type situation, the problem was magnified because they built a concentration camp (SuperDome) to control the population, as opposed to the Distributed Assistance model that spring up in a disaster (such as the Red Cross mobile kitchens).  Because they did not trust that people would behave if left at their houses, the brass and elites went with a centralized point of assistance/evacuation.  It backfired on them, as we saw.

On the issue of looting, I would say that it's the brass who are afraid of business owners defending their own businesses, and therefore create a condition ripe for rioting.  But I haven't read the book, so I don't know.

Originally Posted By Country_Boy:
What I saw in Katrina, Hati, and the typical Caribbean hurricane is the opposite.  The elites bug out, or are somewhat prepared, the poor panic, and the brass tries to do a good job, which beyond a certain threshold, begins to fail due to lack of coordination and communications.  I can't speak for senior political positions, but I never saw panic in state EMA, senor agency leadership, Military officers, or local public works or law enforcement "brass"

It's the people living on the edge that are the closest to loosing it.


Link Posted: 8/10/2011 4:46:02 PM EDT
Pretty much right, the rich will have the preperations to flee the lunatic hordes of serfs, they will be protected by their elite security force until they turn on them and split their stuff and run off with the cook and maids. The mid  level bureacrats will strive to contain the situation until the world collapses and they shit themselves....at that point the farmers will survive.
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