Friday, March 31, 2006

Government responsibility?

The aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami was a scandal in Sweden because of the government's slow and insufficient response. Tragedy could have been somewhat mitigated with timely intervention by the Swedish government. But was it clear (or is it clear) where responsibility starts and ends?

If a Swede runs out of money abroad, should the government help? How about if a storm causes a family to lose their money; what is the government's responsibility? Even if we say - "It is only money, not life" what if during processing time, without money, the unfortunate Swedes or their children suffer another accident, or violence?

I'm not sure that consensus exists on how much the State is responsible for people's welfare outside the country. Are consular people and ministers on call constantly? Should all taxpayers be charged with getting travelers out of trouble?

What of responsibility by innkeepers, travel agents, and the traveler's themselves?

Having said that, governments should be somewhat prepared, and have planned for various accidents and changing circumstances; then implementing policies, plans and limits: risk management procedures, emergency mitigation and relief.