Gonzalo gives his view on the Japan earthquake. He lives in Chile and experienced their big earthquake in 2010. He predicts a surge in Japan GDP based on the experience in Chile. It rejuvenated people. I think he is missing the demograpic piece. Only 3.5% of Chileans are over 65 years old. In Japan, 22.7% of the population is over 65 years old. In Chile, 25% of the population is under 30 years old. In Japan, the percentage under 30 years old is less than 18%. Youth is what drives an economy. Japan does not have youth.
Living in Chile, I experienced the February 2010 earthquake. That puppy measured 8.8 on the Richter scale at its epicenter. In Santiago, the earthquake registered about an 8.2—and I was on a 15th floor when it happened. Believe me, it was quite the experience. I wrote a first person account of the earthquake here.
Friday, March 11, 2011.
I bring this up in relation to the Sendai earthquake that rocked Japan this past Friday: It was an 8.9 (Richter), and wrought tremendous devastation. As I write, there is as yet no clear accounting as to lives lost, though it is likely in the tens of thousands. At least two nuclear reactor sites have been severely damaged; the Fukushima reactor #1 is close to melting down, and #3 isn’t in much better shape. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from the area, and further tens of thousands of people are homeless, following the tsunami. And millions of people are without electricity or running water.
This is a tragedy for the Japanese people—the worst crisis since the end of the Second World War.
To those of us untouched by the direct effects of this tragedy, we should thank our lucky stars. But rather than gawk at the lurid images coming through the media, it would be smart for us at this time to analyze the likely effects of this disaster on the rest of the world’s economy.