Japan quake: Does capitalism hasten recovery?

Despite the magnitude of the disaster, research suggests that the nation's recovery time will be short. Here's why

Edward Morrissey

Growing up in Southern California means always knowing that "The Big One" could come any minute. I spent most of the first 34 years of my life in earthquake country, and that means having both a heightened awareness of — and an insouciance about — large earthquakes. California amended its building and fire codes on several occasions in order to make large quakes survivable, the last of the major quake revisions enacted during Ronald Reagan's governorship. Californians often profess an equanimity about temblors, but the significant quakes rattle even the most fatalistic — and serve as a reminder about that Big One that awaits the Golden State.

If we needed an example of what this could mean outside of a bad Hollywood film, we have the tragic dimensions of the catastrophe in Japan. At a magnitude of 8.9 on the seismic scale, the quake that hit Northeastern Japan is more than 100 times more powerful than the 1994 Northridge, Calif., quake that killed 65 people and did billions of dollars in damage. Japan will spend years and a significant part of its wealth recovering and rebuilding from this catastrophe. We cannot even conceive of the scale of that effort at this point; the devastation has been so widespread that even Japan’s laudably rapid response has not yet catalogued the deaths and destruction. It may take months to know what needs to be rebuilt, and years to do so — all while their nation mourns the thousands upon thousands lost in the quake and the tsunamis that followed.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.