Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on Japan and the Economic Fall-Out

For the last week, the first thing I read is news from Japan. I also catch updates as they're posted throughout the day. Frankly, I can't begin to describe my feelings about it. There is the obvious shock regarding what is happening. But most importantly, as I watch the rescue efforts -- especially those over the last few days -- I am deeply troubled by the lack of sophistication in the efforts. Last night I watched as helicopters dropped water on the reactor facility and all I could think is, "is this all they've got?" Frankly, the experience is almost surreal.

But more importantly, I am deeply concerned about the long-term psychological impact this disaster has on the world's economy. Last year, we watched oil bleed into the gulf of Mexico for the better part of a few months; this period dovetailed with a time of decreasing economic activity in the U.S. and the world, and also led to concern about a possible double dip recession. That particular disaster appeared to have a life all its own; the rescue efforts never seemed to end. At this point with Japan, I am beginning to have the same sense of, "when will this end?" and not having a good answer. Most troubling is the sense that this will not end well; that is perhaps what bothers me the most.

Basically, the longer this drags on, the more and more concerned I become that the damage to psychology will be larger and larger.