Japan

Follow-Up: Beyond Our Means

December 14, 2011
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On December 13, 2011 the Asset Building Program hosted Professor Sheldon Garon, author of Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. While economists often claim people save according to universally rational calculations — saving the most in their middle years as they plan for retirement and saving the least in welfare states — there are substantial differences in savings rates across high income countries. For example, Europeans save at relatively high rates despite generous welfare programs, while Americans save little, despite weaker social safety nets. The assumption that generous social benefits will provide a disincentive to save doesn’t hold up.

There's an Even Greater Nuke Threat

  • By
  • William D. Hartung,
  • New America Foundation
April 7, 2011 |

The continuing crisis in Japan from the near-meltdown of the Fukushima reactor is terrifying in its own right. But it also raises the question of another, even deadlier nuclear threat.

The evacuations now going on in Japan would pale in comparison to what would be necessary if just one 100-kiloton nuclear bomb were to go off near a major city - not to mention the immediate deaths caused by the bomb, which could reach into the hundreds of thousands. And a 100-kiloton bomb is among the smallest in the U.S. or Russian arsenals.

Atomic Snowflakes

  • By
  • Brian Till,
  • New America Foundation
April 1, 2011 |

On an ironically clear and placid day in August 2007, a three story tall cooling tower at the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant collapsed, goring a massive hole in the center of the structure and spewing asbestos, rotting wood, plastic panels, and thousands of gallons of water onto the bank of the Connecticut river. It later emerged that several employees had expressed concerns about the tower, and that, in the days before the collapse, others heard odd noises from within the structure.

Getting the Upper Hand on Nature

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
March 21, 2011 |

Maybe John Muir was a fool.

Muir, the godfather of contemporary environmentalism, was among the first activists to proclaim the "oneness" of humans and the natural world and to insist that we seek to live in harmony with our surroundings. So convinced was he of nature's essential goodness that once during a temblor, he ran out of his cabin at midnight crying "a noble earthquake! A noble earthquake!"

But after the events of the last week in Japan, it's hard to see his point.

The Quake, the Economy, and the Markets

March 22, 2011
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-- This is a guest post by Jay Pelosky, Principal, J2Z Advisory, LLC --  Japan’s massive earthquake, follow on tsunami and subsequent nuclear power plant upheaval have reinforced uncertainty regarding the strength of global economic activity and the appropriate financial assets prices to reflect that activity. The Arab Spring and EU debt crisis meant such uncertainty was already in the air in the weeks preceding the March 11th earthquake.

Seismic Inequality

  • By
  • Charles Kenny,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2011 |

The death and destruction in Japan may be horrifying, but the record earthquake that struck March 11 off the east coast of Honshu island still suggests one important lesson: Building codes and land use regulations can save lives. Japan's strict guidelines have been widely credited for keeping the death toll down to a fraction of the casualties in Haiti's quake last year.

Japan Quake: How to Avoid the Next Disaster

  • By
  • Romesh Ratnesar,
  • New America Foundation
March 14, 2011 |

It is too soon to know just how much devastation the Japanese earthquake and tsunami have caused, in human or economic terms. The death toll may climb into five digits. Damage to Japan's nuclear power plants could result in sickness and dislocation for hundreds of thousands more. The country's economy, which has already endured two decades of stagnant growth, is now threatened by a stock-market collapse and a massive increase in national debt.

U.S. Needs a Path to Safe, Clean Electricity

  • By
  • Patrick C. Doherty,
  • New America Foundation
March 15, 2011 |

In Japan's earthquake-triggered nuclear emergency, at least 200,000 people who live within 21 kilometers of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station outside Tokyo have been removed from their homes -- residents who are already victims of the worst earthquake to hit Japan since records were kept.

Obama’s November Loss Weakens U.S. Abroad

  • By
  • Steven Clemons,
  • New America Foundation
December 10, 2010 |

President Barack Obama's political fortunes suffered a dramatic blow on Nov. 2. Since then, whether in domestic policy or the international arena, nations, as well as U.S. politicians, have raised their price for cooperating with him.

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