Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Blowing In The Wind

After a few years with a limited number of hurricanes there was talk among some experts that perhaps the future would see fewer of them. Now, suddenly, we have four close together. Harvey did major damage to Texas including devastating one of the USA's major economic locations, Houston.

Irma is on track to cause extreme damage to parts of the Caribbean and Florida, where The Keys are being evacuated. Jose follows Irma but is estimated to turn north to the area of Bermuda but could do further damage on its flanks to areas hit by Irma. And now Katia has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and estimated to follow Harvey.

A few years back, we visited the Caribbean and Miami having family out there timing it for after the end of the hurricane season. So it was not long after a big bad one had been through and we saw the scale of the damage it did, let alone the misery it had caused for the poorer populations.

Clearly the first consideration was the immediate rescue and repair needs and how to help the many and various people badly affected. For some it was ironic, notably those who had been persuaded by a property boom to buy into this sector to make their fortunes.

But more to the point was the overall economic effects and other matters. There is little doubt that the hurricanes had caused major economic problems that would take years to grasp and sort out. A side effect coupled with population movements was that criminal gangs increased their power and authority in many districts.

If the present series of hurricanes present anything like these challenges in the USA and other parts of the Caribbean it will be not simply matters of governance but a good many sectors of the economies will suffer setbacks, perhaps permanent and in some cases catastrophic.

That these events come at a time when governance, economic management and international finance are under major stress in a world where the great powers are no longer great, unions are not unified and the trade and finance impossible to control means we could be facing more crises than dealing with weather damage.

None of our present political leaders, nor their governments and nor the international organisations are capable of dealing with any of it.


  1. Hurricanes do at least remind us of the potential for serious disruption caused by natural events. Puts our political posturing into some kind of context, although not for long. We are good at forgetting.

  2. Damned nature, Demetrius - we need to ban it.

  3. Are not such catastrophes a great political boon. New jobs for rebuilding. Outranking other claimant on the public purse.
    Might even shut up the snowflakes et al.