Hobbes and Natural Disasters


Back in 2010, I wrote a short blog post on the role of Hobbessian assumptions in the response to the massive Haitian earthquake. Since this issue came up in class, I’m linking to the post here.


One Response to “Hobbes and Natural Disasters”

  1. skylifesw Says:

    I would say most human-beings are still inherently selfish. There is almost no doubt about this. There might be people who are not so selfish, but once they are hurt and cheated by the selfish people, they will start to defend themselves and fight back. The other way round, where people get influenced by other’s altruism and become less selfish, is possible but rarer. This explains why we always have conflict in our world. Everyone seems to want to pursue his/her own interest.
    The thing people do in the aftermath of a catastrophe, including searching for survivors, caring for the wounded etc. can also be interpreted as one doing something to secure him/herself. It is just that this action also involves and requires helping people to recover. In other words, people do not want to see the total breakdown of everything after the disaster. They realize that they themselves will not be able to live properly in a disastrous community. They could not simply let everybody else die, because human is a social animal. They want their normal life back. Ultimately, people want these things for their own good.
    Speaking of securitization, I think there is a certain intensity level of it. I do not really see how requesting people to line up to get the aid will atomize people and lead to violence. Of course too much force will cause resentment, but if there is no force demanding people to line up, people will literally loot. There has to be some force monitoring people. The intensity of the force is something that matters, which should be at the appropriate level.

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