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Who's to blame for all the heartache? A response to anti‐capitalistic mentalities after Katrina

Daniel J. D'Amico (George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




The wake of a natural disaster is a tumultuous setting. Resources are scarce, actions are quick, and emotions are high. Social commentators have often brought complaints against capitalism for promoting greed and selfishness during and after natural catastrophes. Most recently academics have introduced a unique perspective in addition to the more traditional criticisms. They claim that free‐market advocates have imposed capitalist theories and policies in the wake of crises to the detriment of traditional policies, preferred cultures, and democratically selected institutions. This paper aims to investigate these claims.


The paper is a discursive analysis.


It is argued that the left overlooks the case that capitalism and corporate businesses may be a natural part of local cultures and recovery processes. If such a claim is true, then the normative case against capitalist responses to natural disasters is weaker than has been presented. The two perspectives are speaking past one another.


The paper illustrates that claims against capitalism and market processes in the wake of natural disasters can be overstated and that it should be recognised that markets are an integral part of people's cultures and local identities.



D'Amico, D.J. (2008), "Who's to blame for all the heartache? A response to anti‐capitalistic mentalities after Katrina", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 35 No. 8, pp. 590-602.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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