Top Down vs. Bottom Up

Government bureaucrats tend to resist bottom-up solutions to problems -- after all,their jobs depend on the primacy of central planning and solving problems top-down.  It is interesting to read this email posted at Vodka Pundit in this light:

Fed is dropping the ball on basic necessities such as water, portolets, you
name it. Woefully unprepared and nobody seems to be in charge or have the
gumption to get it done.

Louisiana politicians should be absolutely raising hell right now. Lots of
people including yours truly have volunteered to bring (including food,
generators, food, etc., to be self sufficient for a week or so) the most
important thing which is a boat but have been told NO under no uncertain terms.
"My" town is under water, people are in critical condition, and I have skill
sets and assets - including a boat which will come out of the hole in 14 incles
of water - and we are being denied the opportunity to help. And quite frankly,
that REALLY PISSES ME OFF.

Military is stepping up and bringing considerable skills and assets to the
table. Had they been listened to earlier, lots of logistical issues would have
been resolved. IOW's, the bureaucrats are getting moved to the sidelines but
"turf issues" are not going quietly into the night.

You can see the bureaucratic mindset at work hear:  An emphasis on being in control vs. solving the damn problem.  Don't want a lot of citizens running around on their own bringing in supplies of helping people, do we?

If we are going to insist on a 100% top-down approach, then its good the military is coming in to take over.   Only the military has the large-scale logistical experience and resources to take-on something of this scope top-down  (and even they have struggled with what may be a smaller rebuilding task in Iraq).  The US military did more good than any single organization during the Asian Tsunami, so I hope for the same here.  I would hope there are a few aircraft carriers heading to the area.

Postscript:  I know everyone is having fun blaming the feds, but what about the locals here?  If my town was below sea level with only a single dike between me and being 30 feet under a lake, I might insist that my local politicians have a contingency plan for breaches.  I have wondered why a few ships couldn't have been scuttled in the breach early in the crisis.

Update:  Much more on top-down vs. bottom-up response to Katrina here.

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