There is a definite part of me that is a bit of a policy wonk. This part is diametrically opposed to the part of me that despises needless bureaucracy. However, I just want to point out a little observation regarding recent events.
Haiti had no policies in place to guard against earthquakes. If they did, they went largely unobserved.
Chile has been drilling earthquake preparedness into the public sphere for 40+ years. This morning they were hit with an earthquake roughly 1000 times the strength of the one that hit Haiti.
Estimated dead in Haiti: in excess of 230,000.
Estimated dead in Chile: currently around 120.
I don't really think that the two situations are directly comparable. Economics, culture, government, etc all play parts in how things unfold, however, I do think it is worth noting these results are due almost solely to government public policy.
Obviously, I don't think that the government is the solution to everything or even most thing. And please, don't think I am in any way suggesting or placing blame for either of these disasters at anyone's feet. However, anyone who tells me that public policy isn't effective can go suck an egg.