Economic Recovery in the Aftermath
Nations have scrambled like mad to rebuild in the aftermath of Apocalypse’s attack. Not only were buildings crushed and pavement completely obliterated, but lakes turned to blood devastated fish, fowl, and livestock. The CDC is working overtime to fight off the infection found in many bodies of water all over the country as well as fighting off infestations of insects that have completely consumed entire towns.
“This is wrath of God stuff right here,” said CDC response agent Fields. “It’s insane. I never knew mutants could do things on this large of a scale. No one should be able to do things like this.”
Aside from unusable roads, devastated telecommunications networks, and entire sections of large cities being uninhabitable for the time being, the attacks have completely ruined the American economy. As if times weren’t hard before Apocalypse, we now have to face the an economic future with entire businesses completely gone while heavily crippled ones have to make due without some of the things they have come to rely on. Meanwhile, many of the airlines have managed to recover, providing limited service for public and private use.
I managed to sit down with John Stebbins with Goldman Sachs
Thank you for seeing me on such short notice.
Well, its busy at Goldman Sachs, but since the SEC still hasn't restarted trading, I've had a lot of time.I guess the question on the American people's mind is how long will it be before you're back in business. In other words, when can we expect things to even begin to resemble what they used to before the devastation?
Well, that's a slightly misleading question. I mean, the electricity networks, the internet, that's back for like nine out of ten Americans. I mean, soon enough, in a few weeks, I imagine, going into your office, you'll be able to do office-y type things. I totally expect that the U.S and Western Europe to recover the attack better than the Kashmir region, which, my god, its going to be a nightmare.
But, looking at the larger picture, we were already in a pretty steep recession before this thing hit. Right now, I'm thinking that our annual GDP's been hacked into pieces, but the Unemployment rate's gonna plummet. A lot of the job losses in America were in the construction sector, and right now, Halliburton and Naze is looking for every able-bodied construction worker they can.
But the words on every economist's lips these days is the fallacy of the broken windows. We don't want to ignore the damages done to the nation. I've been thinking back to the post-war situation of Western Europe... Broken windows? I'm sorry, you'll have to clarify what you mean to our readers. And what kind of parallel do you see in Western Europe?
Well, its a textbook thing of economics, when analyzing the state of the economy. A little boy breaks the window of the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper now has to pay the window maker for a new window. The Window maker now can buy shoes and bread, enriching the cobbler and the baker. So, the townspeople decide that the little boy wasn't being a vandal, he was being a beneficial economic agent.
Except that's not the case at all! Its counting only the benefit and none of the cost. Now the shopkeeper has to spend the money on the window instead of bread and shoes. The boy didn't add to the economy, he subtracted the value of one window from the economy. So, rebuilding, there's certainly some distributive gain for construction workers but, we're not actually building the economy.
As for Western Europe, at the end of World War II, the United States was able to become the economic powerhouse it is by basically threading the needle through the Broken Windows Fallacy. We had the economic beneficial effects of war, that is building capitol (In terms of factories and airplanes, and in terms of human capitol, since now a lot of young men had a bunch of new applicable skills for the job market), while incurring almost none of the cost. We weren't bombed and blown to pieces like Germany or France was.
Now, in this crisis, we're in the same situation of Post-War France. We had huge strikes against our capitol. We lost people and usable land and buildings. Now, from what I heard, Reed Richards is working on something to reseed Iowa, or something, but even that, how many billions of dollars did we lose in the attack on New York?So despite the sudden increase in a need for manpower in the rebuilding efforts and all the contracts and the bidding, it's not doing anything for our economy? You're saying that we have to completely rebuild before we can see any real economic improvement?
Well, that's not entirely the case. If, when we rebuild a building, we make a better building, with better wiring and plumbing, that there is real tangible economic improvement. So, when we finish rebuilding, if we're smart, we very well might be in a better spot than we were before the attack. Uh, for example, we need to update the electrical grid in this country, and we've needed to do that for about twenty years. I can't think of a better time to do that than now. I shouldn't undersell this. There are going to be distributive benefits to the rebuilding. The average plumber is probably going to see his wages rise, and the average investment banker is probably going to be making less. That's not an entirely bad thing.
On a country-wide scale, though, I think this may be the last nail in American economic hegemony. I think the next superpower might surprise us, though. Everyone was saying India, China and China and India, and I don't think that's the case. The plagues may have started in Pakistan, but I've heard its spread to Mumbai and as far away as Kaifeng.
I'm mean, everyone was certain that the next superpower was going to be a 'Bricl' but I think the front runners have changed.Well that's definitely not going to sit well with many of our readers. We've all grown up with the comforting thought that at the end of the day, we have the final say because we're the one with the biggest stick. But speaking of other powers, will international trading suffer and benefit in the same manner?
Oh, militarily, I think we're still going to be the big dog in the neighborhood, so speaking strictly 'stick'-wise. One of the proposals I've seen has included drafting every able-bodied man and woman into the Army and using them to rebuild the country, and there's merit to that. I just think our 'carrot' to go with the stick is going to be a bit smaller.
As for trade, I think we'll see dips in the countries that were relatively hard hit. The U.S, the U.K, France, Pakistan, Japan, India, China. But as I was saying, the BRICL countries...well, I guess its only the BRL countries now, are practically salivating at this developments. Brazil, Russia and Latveria, maybe even South Korea, will definitely try to use this to start their own little trade empires. Brazil's political class is full of devoted free-traders. Any economic development, to them, is a signal to start trading. Russia might try some monetarist policies, but even with the weakened position of the US and UK, I think the WTO will keep them in line. Latveria, I think, the leader just wants to show off.
I've seen some academic papers suggesting that international trade is cyclical in nature, it just has a long cycle, and that we were due for a trade contraction. I'm not sure I buy into that. Still, I think it'd be appropriate for another Bretton Woods, to make sure we don't lose too much ground on the trade front. I couldn't agree more. So bottom-line this for us. You don't think this is the end of the American Dream or the way of life?
Hey, if we could survive Carter, we can survive anything.
Despite these incredibly hard economic times, there is hope. If we continue to stick to the principals this country was founded upon, we will survive this. We will continue to prosper and hand down the torch to our children. Apocalypse might have killed many Americans, but he will never kill America. Remember that as you celebrate this Independence Day.Interview done by Matt and Will