How well do countries handle natural disasters?

This interesting posting suggests that democratic countries – like Japan or the USA – handle disasters better than totalitarian regimes – such as North Korea – since a free media makes information more available to citizens and elections provide politicians with an incentive to act effectively. This is probably true as a general rule but, on the other hand, some totalitarian regimes like China have greater resources, such as a massive army, and more freedom over how to use them.

The posting makes the point though that democratic countries have more incentive to devote resources to disaster alleviation than to disaster prevention. This is why a country like the United States did not spend enough on the levies in New Orleans and why British politicians do not spend enough on flood prevention measures.


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