Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina on Looting

It's odd that the major news networks are so concerned with looting in New Orleans. If you are stuck in New Orleans with no food or dry clothing, it seems like a real Pareto improvement to go ahead and loot food and clothing stores. Appliances are another story, but why would you steal a plasma TV anyway if you can't use it? Perhaps for the thrill...but with regards to necessities it's not so bad. Most of the food and clothing will be ruined before business can resume anyway. In situations like this it's probably better to break some eggs now and clean up the mess later.

Also weird was that in the initial evacuation of New Orleans, police were actually dispatched to ensure that no one pumped gas from closed gas stations. But why? The station is probably now flattened and the gas is probably either trapped underground or mixing with floodwaters to create a toxic soup.

It's not often that there are definite real Pareto improvements (not potential Pareto improvements, like free trade).


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