Post-Sandy Boomtime

After a major disaster like Sandy, there’s always a post-disaster effect.  And it’s already started, sort of. From Reuters:

U.S. lumber futures soared on Wednesday on expectations for demand to increase in the aftermath of monster storm Sandy that caused massive flooding in the northea…

  1. Valiuth

    Headline! “Paul Krugman calls for more Hurricanes to destroy East Coast to drive economic recovery.” 

  2. Percival

    Frédéric Bastiat, call your office.

  3. kesbar

    When the plague hits town, only the undertaker gets rich.

  4. Mr. Dart
    Percival: Frédéric Bastiat, call your office. · 4 minutes ago

    You beat me to it, Percival.

  5. DutchTex

    Perhaps Romney can open swathes of federal land to timber harvesting again.  This will be dual purpose:  cut back fuel available for forest fires and add sous to the government coffers.

  6. Copperfield

    You’re right, Brian.  To your point, business people are not economists and tend not to think that way.  As an economist who works for a corporation (a company I love, by the way), I get the strange looks from time to time when trying to put our strategic options into a broader or longer term economic context.  Business people (brilliant as some of them are) think about the world of business and what is good for business.  That (to GM’s dismay) is not always synonymous with what is good for the country or the citizenry.  Arguments like “here’s how that subsidy will limit your options later” or “probably shouldn’t fund that green group because you’re subsidising your own eventual destruction” don’t go over all that well… so I mostly just don’t make them anymore.  I mostly stick to the smaller stuff (statistical models, some industrial organization theory) and a little macro analysis of employment & GDP reports.  Not a bad way to make a living, really. 

    Brian Clendinen

    I try quoting the Broken window fallecy at work and mangers who actually are  well versed in project and company, accounting and financials mock me.

  7. Gus Marvinson

    Rob? You do know better, right?

  8. Amy Schley
    Rob Long: 

    The Romney recovery starts today.   · · 2 hours ago

    Dude, the Romney recovery started after the first debate.  Have you noticed that gas prices have fallen ~$.40-.50 in the last few weeks?  

    Now why would they do that? Demand hasn’t significantly fallen; supply hasn’t significantly increased.  Oil producing countries haven’t gotten significantly more stable.  The only change is that Romney suddenly looked like he would win, and the international oil market is responding accordingly.

  9. David Williamson
    Rob Long: After a major disaster like Sandy, there’s always a post-disaster effect.  

    The bigger disaster has been Mr Obama’s reign… err, I mean, rule – I anticipate a huge post-disaster effect.

  10. Robert Dammers

    The trigger was no so much the end of WW2, but the death of FDR.  Truman stopped some of that “bold experimentation” so beloved of Mr Obama, and the economy took off like a drag racer.

    Pig Man: Why did it  take World War 2 to get the world  out of the Great Depression hangover?   Seems like there were a lot of broken windows after that.    · 5 hours ago

  11. Rob Long
    C
    Gus Marvinson: Rob? You do know better, right? · 3 hours ago

    Edited 3 hours ago

    Well, yes, in the sense that the allocation of resources to one thing takes from another thing.  But you could also make the argument that insurance claims payments free capital from “safe” investments (ie, treasuries and corporate bonds) and re-allocates it to capital investments, like rebuilding houses.  I’m not sure that, in a slow-to-stagnant economy, that isn’t a good thing, Bastiat notwithstanding.  I mean, spending isn’t spending, is it?  A dollar spent by the private sector is a lot better than a dollar spent by the public, all in, is it not?

  12. Rob Long
    C
    Copperfield: You’re right, Brian.  To your point, business people are not economists and tend not to think that way.  As an economist who works for a corporation (a company I love, by the way), I get the strange looks from time to time when trying to put our strategic options into a broader or longer term economic context.  

    Brian Clendinen

     

    I try quoting the Broken window fallecy at work and mangers who actually are  well versed in project and company, accounting and financials mock me.

    4 hours ago

    On the other hand, getting into particle board and construction timber is probably a good way to make some money right now.  Or do I have that wrong?

  13. Pilli

    Note to self:  At approach of next hurricane, buy lots of Lowe’s and Home Depot stock.  Sell high no more than 3 weeks after disaster.

  14. Percival
    Rob Long

    Copperfield: You’re right, Brian.  To your point, business people are not economists and tend not to think that way.  As an economist who works for a corporation (a company I love, by the way), I get the strange looks from time to time when trying to put our strategic options into a broader or longer term economic context.  

    Brian Clendinen

     

    I try quoting the Broken window fallecy at work and mangers who actually are  well versed in project and company, accounting and financials mock me.

    4 hours ago

    On the other hand, getting into particle board and construction timber is probably a good way to make some money right now.  Or do I have that wrong? · 1 hour ago

    You’re right on that.  The need for construction materials and equipment should see a bump.  But we are left in the dark as to what might have been if Sandy had missed.  Someone somewhere was planning to open a second doughnut shop, or buy a new car, or send his kid to school, but that is on hold now because his beachfront home is somewhere in Long Island Sound tonight.

  15. flownover
    Rob Long

     

    On the other hand, getting into particle board and construction timber is probably a good way to make some money right now.  Or do I have that wrong? · 1 hour ago

    The money is usually made before us kulaks find out. I would suggest something a bit more pedestrian like drydock rentals, sail repair, and bring in dredging equipment from other countries. The largescale projects will take longer to assess and get “shovel ready” . Commodity plays are the realm of the insider. Imagine the margin call on a couple million board ft ? 

    Construction crews are already heading there from across the country.

    …psst hey meester, you wanna buy some chinese sheetrock cheeap?….

  16. MJBubba

    I happened to be at a conference yesterday, where a university economist prefaced his remarks with a comment that it looks like Hurricane Sandy is going to stir up a lot of rebuilding activity and stimulate the economic recovery.   All I could think of was ‘that’s a lot of broken windows; I bet those folk could have thought of better uses for their money.’

  17. Gus Marvinson
    Rob Long

    Gus Marvinson: Rob? You do know better, right? · 3 hours ago

    Edited 3 hours ago

    Well, yes, in the sense that the allocation of resources to one thing takes from another thing.  But you could also make the argument that insurance claims payments free capital from “safe” investments (ie, treasuries and corporate bonds) and re-allocates it to capital investments, like rebuilding houses.  I’m not sure that, in a slow-to-stagnant economy, that isn’t a good thing, Bastiat notwithstanding.  I mean, spending isn’t spending, is it?  A dollar spent by the private sector is a lot better than a dollar spent by the public, all in, is it not? · 14 hours ago

    Forgive me for being simplistic, but what is lost is lost and when it is recovered it is only what was, and at a greater expense than when originally created. On the whole, there is no new wealth to be created from this storm even if all recovery spending is private sector spending.

  18. Tommy De Seno
    C

    First time on a computer since the storm hit, and that’s only because I finally had to uproot the family and leave the house (we ran out of water to operate the toilets).

    There may be money in lumber futures, but there is definitely money in ice right now.

    My brother owns an ice business.  He is so busy he has recruited half the family  who otherwise can’t get to work to work for him right now.  Me included.

  19. Pig Man

    Why did it  take World War 2 to get the world  out of the Great Depression hangover?   Seems like there were a lot of broken windows after that.   

  20. Ned Walton
    kesbar: When the plague hits town, only the undertaker gets rich. · 9 hours ago

    Assuming someone lives to pay.

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