Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Earthquake

Disasters like this frequently bring follow-up stories that hint that there is an economic upside to the catastrophe - that the new building and new investment is going to somehow be "better".  While I've not heard this yet. (I suspect the event is still too close.) I have no doubt that someone, somewhere will mention it.  This, of course, is the broken window fallacy.

Unfortunately, some people will forget that the assets used to rebuild may have had other uses.  And many of the assets that were destroyed (both human and capital) are irreplaceable.  To help us remember that, here are a number of links to videos, slideshows and news stories to help us remember.

Courtesy of CNBC.

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal - Warning, some photos are disturbing.
Courtesy of the BBC - Warning, some photos are disturbing.


Gene Hayward said...

The first assignment my AP Macro and Micro have is to read two VERY short passages from Frederic Bastiat, "Seen and Unseen", and "The Broken Window". It is a total of 1 1/2 pages of reading and it immediately changes the way many students think about the world. I believe it is one of the most powerful things they read in high school...

Gene Hayward

Tim Schilling said...

Thanks for the link and the idea. They are powerful works.

Julie said...

Tim, the FTE piloted a course last spring titled: Economics of Disasters. First assignment? Answer the question, Are disasters good for the economy? It's a great course and among many others things, great insight on how to give aid to those in disaster areas. Answer: CASH to lead organizations such as the Red Cross. Often the second disaster is all the used clothing we send. Out of our need to "do something" we clean out our closets and collect clothing. But the mounds of clothing become the second disaster to clean up.
Oh, and you would get an A for your answer to "are disasters good for the economy."!