The new service from West Palm Beach-based Galaxy Aviation guarantees its well-heeled members a seat on a chartered jet out of the hurricane zone, reserves five-star hotel rooms and limousine transfers and rolls out a red carpet — literally.Naomi Klein points out the flip side:
“We call it evacuation in style,” said Brian Rems, who came up with the HelpJet concept.
— Hurricane Victims Can Evacuate in Style, By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer Saturday, September 16, 2006
For the people left behind, there is a different kind of privatized solution. In 2006, the Red Cross signed a new disaster-reponse partnership with Wal-Mart. “It’s all going to be private enterprise before it’s over,” said Billy Wagner, chief of emergency management for the Florida Keys. “They’ve got the expertise. They’ve got the resources.” He was speaking at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida, a fast-growing annual trade show for the companies selling everything that might come in handy during the next disaster.So what are we looking at here? Clever entrepeneurs seeing a market need and filling it? Or the calculated privatization of every government function (Klein)? More to the point, is it good risk management?
— Disaster Capitalism: The new economy of catastrophe, By Naomi Klein, Harper’s Magazine, September 8, 2007
Oh, and is there really money in it? www.HelpJet.us currently is all about Galaxy Aviation, and doesn’t say Help Jet anywhere, nor does it mention the kinds of services Help Jet was selling. (I’m pretty sure that’s the right URL, since Google still shows old initial text for about.html as “Not any more with Help Jet, the world’s first hurricane escape plan that turns a hurricane evacuation into a jet-setter vacation. Here’s how Help Jet works. …”) Meanwhile, AIG has been known to start a line of insurance just to see if it will sell.