- We are now on the brink of the mother of all meltdowns
in more ways than one.
- Last weekend, The Times quoted Alan Hansen,
a nuclear engineer and executive vice president of Areva NC, a unit of
Areva, a French group that supplied reactor fuel to the Fukushima Daiichi
nuclear power plan, who spoke before a private gathering at Stanford University.
"Clearly," he summarized, "we're witnessing one of the greatest
disasters in modern time."
- What the on-going release of cancer-causing radioactive
fragments means in terms of human health and the environment is only beginning
to come to light.
- It's certainly not my expertise. What I do know is that,
on top of the terrible calamities brought on by the tsunami and the scary
portents of the radiation spewing into the air, the ocean, and into the
ground surrounding Fukushima and beyond, we are facing an economic juggernaut
that is likely to shatter the world's fragile recovery. You don't take
out the world's third biggest economy until recently, the second
-- with no impact, despite the recent assurance by that reliable sage Timothy
Geithner that the crisis in Japan would not hinder the U.S. recovery.
(Meanwhile, Tim's banking buddies are busy reviewing their clients' exposure.)
- Up until the last few days, media and stock market pundits
continue to drool over the prospect of some $310 billion worth of new business
anticipated to rebuild earthquake and tsunami-ravaged Japan. Newsweek featured
an article by Bill Emmott, a former editor of The Economist, stating:
- "Typically, if economic effects are measured simply
by gross domestic product, natural disasters cause a short-term loss in
output, thanks to the destruction of offices and factories and the disruption
to transport links, but after just a few months they actually act like
an economic stimulus package."
- Needless to say, these are far from typical times, and
this is no typical disaster. Faced with the loss of a critical supply partner,
many companies around the world are confronting a quite different reality.
Japan is suffering huge shortages as production capacity shrivels and logistical
issues mount--particularly in the are of transportation. The
Financial Times reports that Japanese manufacturing activity plummeted
to a two-year low in March, according to the Markit/JMMA purchasing managers'
index, which hit its worst low since its inception in 2001.
- We're not just talking about the now infamous Japan-made
five components that go into the iPad 2 or the wafer material needed to
manufacture semiconductor chips or the metallic paint needed to produce
shiny red and black cars.
- For the rest of this article in ThisCantBeHappening!,
the new independent alternative online newspaper, by contributor BETSY
ROSS, please go to:www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/550