There is no doubt that super storm Sandy has been one of the most destructive storms in the past century. Just in property damage alone it is estimated that the cost will run north of 20 billion dollars. The storm has also claimed dozens of lives and impacted millions who will struggle in dealing with the effects of the devastation on their lives as rebuilding carries on for years. During times of tragedy it is easy to become depressed as cable news bombards the airways with stories of despair and hopelessness. That is why it is so refreshing when stories that are truly inspiring claim some air time.
Most Americans endorse the thought process that without assistance from the federal government food, shelter, water, and power would never make it to those in need. Sometimes a simple act of kindness can go a long way towards supplying a community with a service that meets demand. A great example is provided by a 11 year old girl in Hoboken New Jersey that had the innovative idea to open up an internet café after she realized that her family was one of the few in the area lucky enough to have power. Genuine acts of charity, like this one by Lucy Walkowiak, should be enough to make the most dedicated statist notice the benefits the free market supplies during disaster relief.
The Philly Post reports:
Lucy Walkowiak established a pop-up Internet café on one of the only blocks with power. With the help of her father, Steve, Lucy has helped dozens of people get back on the grid, if only for a hot second. People are donating money to the Red Cross and coffee to the impromptu baristas working the portable tables. Steve says that he’s only heard of one or two other instances of people having power in Hoboken and was quick to give his daughter credit for the café.
As a society we have been conditioned to look to authorities to supply direction after an area is stricken with a natural disaster. All too often, people forget that we live in the most charitable country in the world, because we have been lucky enough to enjoy more freedom than most countries. The power of our free market is not limited to innovation in the fields of manufacturing, medicine, or technology. If unleashed, the free market is the greatest, most efficient means of recovery and rebuilding after disaster strikes.
It is interesting that the center figure in this feel good story is a young person. Our youth have not yet been indoctrinated with the false messages that only with assistance from government can disaster stricken areas recover. Lucy saw a demand and was cognizant that her family was one of the few that could supply. Hopefully, the state of New Jersey does not shut her stand down for lack of proper licensing. If they did it would not be the least bit surprising. On the other hand, the spontaneity and versatility of the free market and the charitable nature individuals does not surprise me at all.
Cheers to the free market, in good times and bad!