Argues that the inept response to Hurricane Katrina was largely due to the policy of privatizing risk which makes individuals bear the brunt of predictable hardships. The lack of mechanisms to reduce risk or share the burden is pointed out. Hurricane Katrina is discussed in relation to proposals to replace the public provision of services with private purchase regimes. The shortage of flu vaccine & the collapse of private pension schemes are also examples of the results of privatizing risk. The history of the marketization of social institutions is traced to point out how it affects the distribution of both wealth & risk. Managing risks is one of the fundamental reasons for the development of social institutions & the privatization of risk results from reductions in programs designed to share risk & provide public goods. Americans responded to Hurricane Katrina with enormous acts of private charity; however, the public must respond with equal passion to the need to change the structural inequalities produced by the privatization of risk.