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The Next Catastrophe by Charles Perrow

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3 The Government ResponseThe First FEMA

The federal response to disasters has been predictably late, reactive rather than proactive, accommodating to the special interests of business and Congress, and unable to enforce penalties for failing to take obvious precautions. This is predictable for at least two reasons. One is that there is no unified constituency for the variety of disasters that can occur that would demand planning over a long time horizon; consequently, the government is often reacting to rather than anticipating disasters. As federal involvement increased in the second half of the twentieth century, each major event fostered new laws and the creation of new organizations, sometimes to be folded into the next reorganization, or ...

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