The benefit of a public private response during an emergency

A BloombergBusinessweek article (Sept 5, 2011) describes how private businesses provided faster and cheaper response compared to the government. Local restaurants provided meals at half the $ 8 price per meal of FEMA rations.  Emergencies in Louisiana now routinely involve industry representatives from food and transportation to orchestrate a fast and cheaper response because industry seems capable of a faster response than government channels alone. Data from retail stores (such as Target) provide a faster read of weather emergency impact than routine channels.  Can private business respond faster and cheaper because their rules of operation are more flexible ? Do businesses have more slack to take advantage of opportunities than the government ? Do businesses subsidize their prices during an emergency to gain customer goodwill and associated marketing benefits ?  Will public private blended solutions be the best approach going forward, and if so, what risks have to be managed for them to continue to succeed ?

About aviyer2010

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