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tomas cunik

nuclear plants are built on shores because of the geological bedrock - since japan is likely to have earthquakes, plants need to be built on relatively static soil, which can be found only on shores..thus they cannot be moved inlands

Pepe Fanjul

One possibility is that the probability of an earthquake within several hundred miles of Japan that would be as violent as the earthquake that triggered the tsunami turned out to be violent.

Marcus Gadson

I think Japan will prove resilient. The country recovered from the Kobe earthquakes in the 1990s. Th bigger concern for the Japanese should anemic recovery from the Great Recession, as well as high amount of government debt. To the extent, the disaster causes a further drop-off in consumer demand or requires more debt, I could see the economy being hurt

air jordans

At some point it all becomes an embarrassment to the professional status of those economists who tell us that Krugman is a good economists .


It is wonderful that seniors are reluctant to reduce their living standards in favor of a better life for their kids. I have chosen to be childfree, and I'll be damned if I'll support any policy that reduces my living standard in favor of the children of the breeders.

Breeders need to be forced to pay all the expenses of their brood, including risk insurance and education. Nobody subsidizes my nights out on the town.

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Jimbino: Ha! Posner's wild zinger caught my attention too.

"In principle, it is true, politicians would take a long view if their constituents did out of concern for their children and grandchildren. But considering how the elderly cling to their social benefits, paid for by the young including their own young,...."

........... Has anyone done an (honest) accounting of "intergenerational transfer?" Assuming wise investment, policy that is as good as (often flawed) humans can devise, and a generally rising std of living, it seems the question of who owes who and what is hardly simple.

For example most of us of middle age or so today are the great beneficiaries of what was invested and the sacrifices made during WWII and after. To be sure we or our parents were "saddled" with post-war debt equal to a year's GDP, but on the other side of the balance sheet inherited the most productive economy in the world replete with Ike's vision of a national highway system.

Do many regret "having" to pay for a dab of SS, Medical Care, VA care etc for their parents in their declining years? Most of us HAD parents and caring for them individually at about the same time as our own kids are facing soaring college costs would be a crushing burden for most.

Today? We're passing on a plantation several fold richer than we received, albeit with a large mortgage not the result of war but that of poor policies and massive corruption. Admittedly the "field hands" are taking a vigorous shellacking from the "owner" "class" but the wealthy plantation is there and it's a matter for the inheritors to (relearn?) collective bargaining and other "outmoded" policies to claw back what's been stolen from the efforts of their parents and themselves.

"I doubt the strength of that factor, although I do not know enough about Japanese politics to venture a guess on whether politicians’ truncated policy horizons was indeed a factor in Japan’s surprising lack of preparations for responding promptly and effectively to the kind of disaster that has occurred."

............ Ha! I wonder if it's like here! When a politician begins pontificating on the effect of policy on "his children and grandchildren" it's a warning for "here comes a pile" or to quickly zip one's wallet pocket.

stan wright

One could always do more to prepare for a 9.0 earthquake, but it is far from the truth to say that Japan did little. I can't think of another society on earth which was more prepared for a major earthquake than the Japanese were. We'd all have come off much worse than they did.

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Ethan D

Isn't the broader implication that anyone in a a management position has limited time horizons - i.e. bank managers - and will therefore systematically take on tail risks and therefore reap massive benefits with fingers crossed that the problem does not explode on their watch? Seems a little bit unfair to politicians so state their problem as if it is unique to them.


Ethan -- you're reminding me of Andrew Jackson's distrust and objection to the corporate entity. While the corporation has served many useful purposes, it is interesting to consider 'managers' having at risk what most sole proprietors and partnerships have.

With CEO's of the SP 500 averaging $14,000,000 per year with the downside being only that of being ushered out with golden parachute in hand, one does wonder about the hard road of entrepreneurship.

Alfonso Fanjul

The catastrophic effects of a major tsunami cannot be prevented by building seawalls; nor, in all likelihood, could the vulnerability of nuclear reactors to catastrophic damage from an earthquake or tsunami be reduced by moving the reactors inland, because they require access to large bodies of water for their normal operation.

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r had also worried that too much will not be sold, and now may be transported more winter stock to Hainan, to meet the demand.

Alfonso Fanjul

Admittedly the "field hands" are taking a vigorous shellacking from the "owner" "class" but the wealthy plantation is there and it's a matter for the inheritors.

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