On Earthquakes And Infrastructure
The earthquake in central Italy sounds terrible. And it's worth understanding the importance, in this context, of infrastructure. Similar-sized earthquakes in Iran or Pakistan killed thousands. Even in Italy, the death toll has reached 92 and will probably rise, because a lot of the areas affected are villages with less stringent building standards. Buildings that are not constructed to withstand earthquakes will simply split in two or collapse.
We have lots of earthquake-prone areas in the United States, but still plenty of buildings and bridges and pieces of infrastructure that have not been retrofit. The cost in lives, to say nothing of the fiscal cost in rebuilding, far outweighs the cost of retrofitting. And the retrofit creates construction jobs, making there no better time to engage in such a program other than right now when jobs are scarce.
Obviously we have a far better infrastructure than in the developing world. But there are compelling reasons to make it better.