• Virgil Henry Storr
  • Stefanie Haeffele-Balch
  • Laura E. Grube
Part of the Perspectives from Social Economics book series (PSE)


Hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, tornadoes, and fires can shatter lives, destroy property, and cause severe emotional trauma. Consider, for instance, some of the worst disasters of the past few decades. The 2004 Great Sumatra earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Indian Ocean affected almost a dozen countries, resulted in over 230,000 deaths, and displaced over 1.5 million people. It was the third largest and also the deadliest earthquake recorded in history, and destroyed over 300,000 homes, and resulted in over ten billion US dollars in damage. It is not hyperbole to state that many victims of this disaster lost everything; their homes, their loved ones, and their worldly possessions were swallowed up by the sea. The scale and scope of the devastation caused by this disaster was, in a word, overwhelming.


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  1. 1.
    See Fothergill and Peek (“Poverty and Disasters in the United States: A Review of Recent Sociological Findings,” Natural Hazards 32, no. 1 (2004): 89–110) for a survey on the adverse effects of disasters related to wealth, income, and poverty in the United States.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 4.
    As Chamlee-Wright (The Cultural and Political Economy of Recovery: Social Learning in a Post-Disaster Environment (London: Routledge, 2010): 1–2) similarly describes, A successful return required residents to solve simultaneously several problems, many of which were out of their immediate control. A returning resident needed a place to stay, a job, financial resources for rebuilding, schools for their children, transportation, and services of utilities, area businesses, and local government. Businesses additionally needed clients and employees. Absent some orchestrated effort, the residents and business owners that moved back first took on disproportionate risk. But if everyone waited for everyone else to move back first, the community would fail to rebound. In short, the post-Katrina context presented a collective action problem of significant proportion.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Key entrepreneurship studies scholars have also recommended this inclusive conception of entrepreneurship. Drucker (“Entrepreneurial Strategies,” California Management Review 27, no. 2 (1985): 28), for instance, has described the entrepreneur as someone who “ always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” As he explains, changes in demographics, technological changes, and public perceptions create opportunities for entrepreneurial innovation. Although Drucker focuses primarily on commercial entrepreneurship, he acknowledges that entrepreneurship can occur in noncommercial spheres. As Drucker (1985: 27) writes, “entrepreneurship is by no means limited to the economic sphere … the entrepreneur in education and the entrepreneur in health care … do very much the same things, use very much the same tools, and encounter very much the same problems as the entrepreneur in a business or a labor union.”CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 6.
    Aberbach et al. (Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981)) have described this as a “determined centrism.” As they (ibid.: 166) describe, “it might be tempting to conclude that bureaucrats are ‘nonideological,’ immune to the ideological imperative. But our evidence speaks against this view. The very consistency and coherence of the bureaucrat’s centrism suggests that it is an ideology. The bureaucrats we interviewed are not randomly centrist, flip-flopping from issue to issue. They are determinedly centrist.”Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See, for instance, Birch and Wachter (eds., Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons From Hurricane Katrina (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006)); Schneider (“Who’s to Blame? (Mis)perceptions of the Intergovernmental Response to Disasters,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 38, no. 4 (2008): 715–738); Thaler and Sunstein (Nudge Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness (New York: Penguin Press, 2008)); Cigler (“Post-Katrina Hazard Mitigation on the Gulf Coast,” Public Organization Review 9, no. 4 (2009): 325–341); Springer (“Emergency Managers as Change Agents,” Ideas from an Emerging Field: Teaching Emergency Management in Higher Education 12, no. 1 (2009): 197–211; “Achieving Community Preparedness Post-Katrina,” UNLV Institute for Security Studies Faculty Publications (2011)).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See, for instance, Boettke and Prychitko (“Is an Independent Nonprofit Sector Prone to Failure?” The Philanthropic Enterprise 1, no. 1 (2004): 1–63); Boettke and Coyne (Context Matters: Institutions and Entrepreneurship (Hanover: Now Publishers Inc., 2009a)); Coyne (“The Importance of Expectations in Economic Development,” The Wealth and Well-Being of Nations 1 (2009): 63–82; Doing Bad by Doing Good (California: Stanford University Press, 2013)).Google Scholar

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© Virgil Henry Storr, Stefanie Haeffele-Balch and Laura E. Grube 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virgil Henry Storr
  • Stefanie Haeffele-Balch
  • Laura E. Grube

There are no affiliations available

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