Recovering from the Superstorm Sandy Crisis

The Independent Institute
The Independent Institute

Washington, DC –-( I hope this post finds you and your family safe and well.

If you were in an area affected by Superstorm Sandy and we wanted to send along our best regards for a speedy recovery, as well as our sincere hopes for your secure delivery from the expected upcoming bad weather.

Many of our friends, family, and colleagues live in Sandy’s wake. Our first concern is for your safety and security, as well as theirs, and our thoughts are with you as you deal with the current challenges.

My wife, Mary Theroux, also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army, and we have been receiving updated reports of the tireless service they and other volunteers are providing. Once again, the American tradition of neighbors coming together in times of need demonstrates the best that a free society provides, as Mary recounted in the aftermath of Katrina.

We hope you know that the Independent Institute’s programs are dedicated to strengthening an appreciation of, and continued support for, the strong tradition of private, cooperative efforts such as those we hope you will be witnessing. This is a fundamental component of a free society grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity.

Over the past week we have been building on our 26 years of educating the media and public, in working to refute the fallacy that Big Government is the best means of assisting those in need. As Senior Fellow Robert Higgs, author of Crisis and Leviathan, explained last week in Bloomberg:

“It’s important . . . to remember that the only reason voters or politicians place so much faith in Washington is that they can scarcely remember a time when the federal government wasn’t the rescuer.”

Also pointing out the destructiveness of big government intervention during disasters, our Research Fellow Benjamin Powell explained Monday in The Huffington Post:

“For thousands of years governments have imposed maximum price laws and the results have always been the sameshortages that leave consumers worse off. It’s all the more cruel when this policy disaster comes after a natural one. It’s time politicians learned from economics and history and let prices coordinate our use of scarce resources.”

And Research Fellow Art Carden argued in Forbes that federal prohibitions against prices reflecting true supply and demand values in times of disasters only removes incentive for producers to provide needed goods and services:

“Outrage is always cheap, disaster or no disaster, but a storm victim can’t rebuild a house with your anger. That requires labor, and it requires resources—labor and resources that don’t materialize when the price isn’t allowed to rise.”

Picking up the story, John Stossel then featured Dr. Carden on his weekly television program on Fox Business News, Stossel.

For more of our work on the urgent need for private over government response to disasters, please visit our archive on the subject. We also have a very timely, forthcoming book, Risky Business, that discusses the benefits of free market-based insurance and disaster relief services in such serious natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy.

We’d appreciate knowing how you are doing. Please also share any stories you may have of responses you have seen. We will continue working to help strengthen the institutions and traditions that best provide the brighter future we all want for our ourselves, our children and our communities.


David J. Theroux
Founder and President
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621
(510) 632-1366 Phone
(510) 568-6040 Fax
[email protected]

About The Independent Institute
The Independent Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, scholarly research and educational organization that sponsors in-depth studies of critical social and economic issues. The mission of the Independent Institute is to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. Visit: