Does Capitalism Help Us Recover From Storms Better?

A house slides into the Atlantic Ocean in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (Gary Lloyd McCullough/The Florida Times-Union via AP)

As I write this, I’m listening to the wind from Irma blowing against the trees and the outside of my home. Friends of mine are posting about having no power. Others are talking about trees down in their yards.


This morning, I read something over at RedState that made me think, but not for long because it made too much sense to need a lot of contemplation.

As Irma brushed-by Cuba on Saturday evening, the then-category 5 storm caused catastrophic wind and wave damage, which flooded many seaside towns. Given the dismal state of the Cuban economy, after decades of Castro dictatorship, structures were poorly prepared for such an onslaught and the island’s inhabitants scarcely have the resources to start-over after the storm. The lack of political and economic freedom has turned Cuba from an island of opportunity to an enclave of deprivation.

Fast forward to Florida, where Irma’s wrath continued unabated Sunday afternoon. Ironically, in a state known as a refuge for people fleeing Cuba for freedom will almost certainly weather this storm better than its southern neighbor. Private property rights and free-market economics have supported Florida’s continual efforts to hurricane-proof itself. The very fact that people have the ability in America to own their own property has incentivized individuals and companies to invest funds into continual improvements to protect their assets. This contributes not only to the preservation of property, but to the saving of many lives.

It’s a short post, but it makes its point clearly.

Capitalism makes it far, far easier to recover from a disaster than communism. Period.


To offer my own perspective, since I’m inside of Irma at the moment (yes, I’m aware of how wrong that sounds…which is kind of why I phrased it that way), let me tell you about the last few days at my house. We did the obligatory shopping excursion to stock up on a few last-minute items because we didn’t count on anyone to feed us.

I came home and made sure my home was as secure as possible. I secured my lawn furniture as best I could so it wouldn’t fly off into the hereafter as Irma decided to play soccer with my lawn chairs.

My sense of ownership is why I made ready to batten down the hatches ahead of the storm. I bought this stuff. I don’t want to lose it.

Update: Now, Irma wasn’t the threat we expected, which is good. After the January my community dealt with, we could use the break. However, it was still strong enough to cause plenty of problems — especially had we not felt the need to make sure our property didn’t resemble one of the best-known pieces of Georgia fiction and go Gone With the Wind.

If we didn’t have a stake in this? Frankly, it’s likely we wouldn’t even bother.

God bless capitalism.



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