An unusual reaction to the tragedy in Japan
The Economist (www.economist.com) sent out this message from the editor (Editor Highlights 17 Mar 2011) titled "The fallout" about the tsunami in Japan and warned governments against giving in to the popular backlash against nuclear power.
"Some natural disasters change history; Japan's tsunami could be one. For the moment, the country is still coming to terms with the scale of the calamity, trying to contain the accident at the damaged nuclear plant and restore normality to suffering people. But in the longer run, it is just possible that some good may come of this catastrophe. Past natural disasters in Japan have been followed by big changes of direction, and the country is sorely in need of change. For the rest of the world, the biggest question Japan's tsunami throws up concerns nuclear power. The accident at the Fukushima plant will only increase its unpopularity, and thus the reluctance of politicians to support it and bankers to finance it. We urge the world not to turn its back on a technology that has so far been much safer than coal, and offers a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels that is cheaper than most renewables."
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> But in the longer run, it is just possible that some good may come of this catastrophe
This is facetious, at best, for anything will have "some" good come out of it, in the "longer" run. For good measure, the editorial adds the word "possible". It can be argued that one of the surviors would have gone to poison a water reservoir, thereby has the tsunami saved many lives, which might otherwise have been lost, by killing this horrible (possible) perpertrator.
At worst, however, it dismisses the human element of the very current and developing tragedy of Japan. Why? Because of the distance from the Headquarters of the Economist? Because the readership of the Economist is, generally, non Japanese?
> For the rest of the world, the biggest question Japan's tsunami throws up concerns nuclear power.
Really? Again, notice how swiftly the dead, dying and homeless victims are brushed aside. The rest of the world needs to focus on energy policy - and ignore people dying. Because Japan is so far away?
Would the Economist have shown the same detachment if this tragedy had occured in London, or in New York? Or are we to care only about western-christian civilization?