Is it time for global Marshall plan?
One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, hit Japan overnight, and here on the East Coast, it was breaking headline news, that we all woke up.
My late-night friends on the West Coast, reported and posted, that they were beginning to see the first videos from Japan.
The social networks have been taxed with the spiked increase in usage.
The 24-hour news channels have been showing videos all day long.
It is just amazing to watch the Tsunami waters rolling over the landscapes of Japan, and people caught on the highways and bridges looking at the water heading towards them with no place to go.
It is still far too early to know what the final death toll and financial cost of this earthquake will be, but it is easy to guess that is going to cost billions.
While witnessing the reporting, it occurred to me, that there is going to be a need for a great deal of human power to resurrect what is left in Japan.
I have already read reports indicating that Japan has activated their lobbyists to get money from the United States.
As a human I know we need to give them the money to help them, that is not a question, but are we going to put any constraints on these funds?
Maybe, we should require them to buy US goods, thereby helping to rebuild our manufacturing base and our economy.
Maybe, we should revisit the Marshall plan of World War II, that helped rebuild Europe, updated, and apply it to Japan.
We could also use unemployed Americans, which were willing to travel to Japan, a decent wage to help rebuild the Japanese country, or offer them tax breaks.
The problem that I see with restarting our manufacturing base is that it has been so gutted over the past few years, that it may take time to start producing materials, but this maybe a possible kick start is needed for our economy and may be the world’s.
It would definitely take a massive amount of money to do this, but why not pay Americans?
Local resources in Asia, will most likely get inundated by the immediate needs of such a large scale recovery, but here again, American factories may be able to contribute in some fashion.
Another thing that should be looked at, is making a concerted effort to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar power. The Japanese culture in general, is far more open to earth friendly designs then we are here in the United States. This could also spur a growth in research and development within our own borders.
Initially there is going to be a great deal of need for just people power to clean up all the debris that this event has beset upon Japan.
We should also explore the possibility, of reusing as much of the debris as possible in some recycled fashion or another. Plastic and the such gathered and re-manufactured into new items.
This may also be a perfect time to revisit the ideas of apprenticeships in a more hands-on fashion.
There are many experienced people available that could be used as teachers and mentors, to introduce a whole new generation interested in a new potential career. During this crisis we do not have the time for formal classroom training, but needed knowledge can be absorbed by doing the tasks in the field.
If the Marshall plan is going to be used as a framework for this endeavor, we should also look at it as a framework for the potential rebuilding of the Middle East.
Who should run such an operation?
From the beginning of this effort it needs to be realized that this is an international effort, but at the same time there are local customs and considerations that need to be taken into account.
The United Nations would be a likely candidate, but at the same time, tends to be too political in a time where efficiency and urgency is needed.
Maybe we consider, combining two different organizations for this effort.
Because of the large amount of material that needs to be moved in a timely fashion, the military could be used for getting supplies from here to there, which they are ready do as part of their daily routines. They also have the benefit of having the infrastructure to already do this.
But once the supplies are on site, who would run the efforts from there?
The organization that runs this part of the operation needs to be very much aware of the local environment. Obvious issues include language and cultural barriers.
There also needs to be concern for the potential corruption of local efforts that have been witnessed in the past. Record-keeping and accountability need to be monitored for any possible anomalies that could occur, and if any rules or regulations are broken, there needs to be swift remediation. If too much politics gets involved, there will be needless losses.
These are just some quick thoughts…