While the tragedy in Japan has yet to completely unfold, many economists are already thinking about what Japan and other manufacturing economies like China, South Korea, and Taiwan should be doing in the near future. Several manufacturers have already had to alter their production plans due to the disaster, but the long-term impact is unclear. Many manufacturers can shift production to other countries in the long run helping to avert shortages. At the same time, Japan has been struggling to begin its own economic recovery from the financial crisis of 2007-2009. The crisis itself threatens to derail the recovery in Japan with a lower energy supply, manufacturing moving offshore, and domestic (Japanese) manufacturers shutting down production. On the flipside, rebuilding will likely lead to a boost in GDP since new production counts as current GDP. The impact of the Japanese crisis will be felt in the US, as upstream supply gets cut off, production of many manufactured and consumed goods here will need to be curtailed. A couple of NPR podcasts by Tell Me More, and On Point discuss the economic issues in more detail and get some in depth conversation with callers and economists.
Questions you might want to answer (There is no need to answer all of these, in fact I dislike it when you try to answer all the questions.)
- Do you believe Japan will quickly recover, or take a long time to recover from this crisis? What long run impacts do you foresee?
- How will the triple crisis in Japan impact the U.S. and our fledgling recovery?
- What future do you see for nuclear power in solving global energy demands? As this crisis unfolds, is nuclear energy becoming less important moving forward?
- Compare the triple-crisis of the last two weeks with the Kobe earthquake of 1995. How did Japan respond?