Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami: UN underestimates time for Asia to recover

It's been a week. But that's enough time for the world to embrace fairy tales. If you want to compare the "time to recover" post-1998 to post-2004, someone needs to come up with some very good stories. Anin says it will take 10 years. Try longer.

How long will it take? Don't ask me, but alot longer than it has taken post 1998. Think Post-WWII Germany. Recall the post-war-Iraq-estimates: No credibility. [More on that later]

What is to be done? Maybe the world community might turn to another nation that has experienced years of hardship under difficult conditions. A nation whose people were able to improvise and solve complex problems despite massive shortages: Cuba.

How the Cubans faired might be a good proxy for estimates; if the world communiy's ultimate support is "no better" than what we saw in Cuba, the comparisons are relevant.

  • Critical assets

    First, in 2005, we're still in the post 1998-Asian crisis. Yet, nothing actually was destroyed. In 2004, entire infrastructures literally vanished.

    Post 1998, all they lost were dollars. Things didn't actually disappear off the map. In 2004, tens of thousands of people died. They are no longer around to do work, raise families, or ensure things go right.

  • Records management

    In 1998, even though the financial market was imploding, they still had the paperwork. That is, if they didn't shred it. In 2005, forget the paperwork, they don't even have food.

  • Law enforcement

    In 2004 three-quarters of a city's police officers disappeared. In 1998, the problem wasn't a lack of enforcement, but too many officials turning a blind eye to corruption. If only they had in 2005 an infrastructure to corrupt.

    Asia was already slowing down

    It's been almost 10 years since the 1996-1998 Asian bubble. Things are just starting to turn around. But then there was that nasty slowdown in OPEC oil demand in 2004. Something was already crumbling. To remove all doubt, the Tsunami arrived.

  • Lowballing estimates

    Regional governments proving not reliable. India has reportedly rebuffed outside aid at the very time that Indian citizens claim their government is misleading the world on the scope of the devastation. There are some credible reports that roads and bridges are wiped out, but the Indian government is downplaying the devastation.

    UN and US are not reliable as forecasters

    Neither the US nor the UN is in a position to get this done. The people, as always have been the ones to figure things out.

    If you're looking for a "credible break even point" in Asia post 2004-Tsunami, don't rely on the UN or US for estimates. They were the ones who failed to plan and get things going right in the other portions of the world.

    Also, consider it's been 2 years in Iraq, and things are still not up to snuff. Iraq didn't have the problem of a labor force being wiped out. Iraq, is simply a smaller-scale version of Asia. US can't get it right in Iraq; don't expect miracles in Asia.