Latest Issue

System failure

It was not just Bush's failure. Decentralised, free market democracy is myopic

By Alasdair Roberts   October 2005

Modern American politics is a kind of media-saturated, accelerated populism. This has led naturally to a nationalisation of crisis response. At the time of the Galveston hurricane of 1900, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the Mississippi flood of 1927, America’s federal government bore little responsibility. But today, the public watches disasters on realtime television, sees bodies in the streets, and expects the federal government to act.

The administration of George Bush Snr was criticised for its failure to respond quickly to Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and other major disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), created only a…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect