As radiation and body counts continue to rise, one could be forgiven for predicting a gloomy future for Japan’s economy. With thousands of people dead and billions of dollars worth of property lost, it is difficult to see how Japan’s catastrophic earthquake could do anything but harm it. Yet, history suggests it could actually help. In 1995, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck near the city of Kobe, southwest of Tokyo. While substantially less cataclysmic than this year’s disaster, it and the tsunami it produced still killed about 6,500 people and caused $100 billion in damage.Last month’s earthquake, in contrast, may have killed up to 27,000 people and caused up to $309 billion in damage. While it is clearly much larger than its 1995 counterpart, the two earthquakes have much in common, including their timings. Both occurred during times of economic contraction or stagnation, and the Kobe earthquake’s impact on the Japanese economy 16 years ago is probably a good indicator of what the Sendai earthquake’s effects will be.The 1980s were good years for Japan’s economy. Its annual growth for the decade averaged 4.5 percent. Yet, much of that growth was driven by unsustainable financial practices. In 1991, the bubble burst, and economic growth shrank to a trickle. In 1992, economic growth totalled 3.32 percent. By 1993, it had fallen to 0.08 percent, and a year later was down to 0.02 percent. Had things continued along the same path, Japan’s economy would have shrunk in 1995. Instead, tragedy struck. The Kobe earthquake caused damages equivalent to 2.1 percent of Japan’s annual GDP, yet triggered an economic rally that more than made up for it (though, of course, there is no way to make up for the lives lost and broken).The economy grew 0.86 percent that year, 1.88 percent the next, and 2.64 percent in 1997. The disaster seemed to have reversed the fall. Unfortunately for the country, it fell victim to the 1997 Asian financial crisis the next year. A series of economic calamities throughout East Asia hit other countries, such as Indonesia and South Korea, harder than they did Japan, but its neighbors’ devalued currencies reduced its companies’ ability to compete, causing the economy to again contract, growing only 1.56 percent in 1998 and actually shrinking 2.05 percent the following year. But while the economy could not survive a second crisis, the 1995 earthquake seems to have reversed the first. Economic growth during the three years preceding the disaster averaged 0.5 percent, while growth for the five years after it averaged 1.78 percent. Moreover, the economy expanded 7.1 percent during those years, more than making up for the 2.1 percent in damages.As in 1995, Japan’s economy, and the world’s, is in crisis. Though it is, this time, exiting rather than entering a recovery, this one, like ours, has been slow. It seems likely, however, that this year’s earthquake will do what its predecessor did, and trigger an economic expansion, if not boom.Assuming that a second economic crisis does not strike, Japan’s economy could likely grow substantially in the coming years, fueled by consumer demand for replacement goods, employment provided by reconstruction efforts, and the Bank of Japan’s injection of $183 billion into the banking system.The disaster, in fact, may be exactly what Japan needs to push its economy firmly out of recession. Should it do so, the United States would do well to heed the lesson that economies can be saved using government spending and economic intervention. We do not need to wait on a disaster to put our own into practice.]]>
Head Coach Alan Rotatori introduced the program during preseason, after using it to coach an independent soccer team to the Division II Central Massachusetts Championship game.
“Most of the players in the program noticed a big difference in their conditioning levels, he said. “They felt stronger and faster and had more endurance and confidence while playing.
In the past three seasons, South’s wrestlers have used a wide variety of exercise programs. The team lifted weights, performed a series of workouts with resistance bands, and utilized the home exercise program P90X.
According to senior and captain Tamir Zinger, the P90X program boosted the team to the Division I Central Sectional Finals last season.
“The kids saw the benefits of the program both individually and as a team, Rotatori said.
The wrestling team earned runner-up last season and hopes to take the Sectional Championship with the more physically demanding CrossFit.
“CrossFit makes P90X look easy, Zinger said.]]>
The Flag Football Club, a new addition to the extensive list of the school’s clubs, will begin play on October 19.
Between its school wide advertising campaign and the club fair, flag football has gathered over 50 members.
Senior and club founder Josh Podrid ensures that flag football will compete with the Varsity Football team for players or fields.
“[The club was created] for anyone who enjoys football, but only wants to play in an intramural, less competitive fashion, he said. “We don’t intend for people who have any plans to play ‘Ëœreal’ football to switch to flag football. We created flag football for people, like me, who cannot play or cannot commit to playing ‘Ëœreal’ football.
The flag football team will play throughout the entire year. Podrid hopes to use the new turf by November 26, which is the conclusion of Varsity Football team’s season.
“Until then, we will scout out any open grass to use, put down turf line markers and play there, he said. “If this doesn’t work, we may move to the football field on Needham Street.
South’s Flag Football Club will modify today’s traditional rules to better suit the club. Teams usually have anywhere from four to nine players. The club, however, will have teams that vary in size.
Though flag football is often played with no punting, kicking, or conversions after a touchdown, the club will play with all three.
Although flag football normally involves some contact, the club will not be doing so. Consequently, there will not be offensive linemen, but defenses can blitz the quarterback.
Podrid’s club will use fields they can gain access to until football season ends, at which point they will use the school’s new 100-yard turf field.
The Flag Football Club is an intramural team, meaning that it will not be playing other schools on a regular basis, but instead will break up into opposing teams. Therefore, it is less serious than the tackle football team, and there will be no practices.
Podrid does have plans to form a “travel team to compete with the teams from other high schools, namely Brookline High School, in the area.
There are also several leagues not affiliated with high schools around South. The Lions may also join the Boston Metro Flag Football League.
Podrid anticipates tryouts would be necessary to field a team that can both compete at this high level and meet the maximum of 12 players.
Games will take place on Monday after school, and will probably end after 10 minutes elapse or after a team scores three touchdowns.
Flag football and tackle football have one fundamental difference. Rather than tackling the ball carrier to end a play, the defense must remove a flag attached to a belt on the ball carrier’s waist to conclude a down.
Flag football became popular via its use on military bases during the 1940s.
Soldiers used flags as an alternative to tackle football in order to prevent injuries.
The first recorded game took place on Fort Meade in Maryland. Soldiers established recreational leagues once they returned home.
The first nation-wide organization, the National Touch Football League, did not play the game is today the same way it is today.
Until the 1980s, flag football was a full-contact sport.
In 1999, the first professional flag football season was held, with teams from Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, and Toledo.
Currently, over 20 million people play flag football nationwide.
Several other cities and towns in Massachusetts have flag football leagues, as well.
Areas such as Springfield, Nantucket, Boston, and Westfield contain flag football players.]]>
Athletes Serving the Community (ASC) is designed to interfere minimally with a student-athlete’s busy schedule, and the club pledges not to conflict with sports and academics.
“ASC was formed by four fathers who had athletic children interested in volunteering, but [who] had no easy way to do it, John Westman, the vice president of ASC, said.
Each of the roughly 180 high school students, half from Newton North and half from Newton South, typically volunteer in four to six hour increments. ASC hopes that each athlete will participate in a minimum of four volunteer days per school year. The events are usually scheduled on weekends.
The Newton-wide organization offers more than just a medium for athletes to do community service for college.
“ASC is important because it helps students integrate community service into their lives at an early age. My older kids did it, and both have continued volunteering through their college years, Westman said. “ASC made them feel comfortable in volunteering situations and got them to understand the benefits [of volunteering].
“I have learned leadership, selflessness, and cooperation, senior and student co-president of ASC Cora Visnick said. Visnick is a runner and a gymnast.
According to Mary Cross, parent president of ASC, the organization was founded six years ago and is active both in and out of Newton.
Members do not have to be Newton residents or even athletes, though the group is geared towards athletes. Anyone who has busy schedules may find the group helpful.
ASC members have logged more than 100 events and 1500 hours over the last six years. The spectrum of events is very wide and includes Christmas in the City, Red Cross Blood Drives, and the Walk for Hunger. Many projects ASC is involved with are affiliated with the Special Olympics and other community efforts.
The community service benefits the people the athletes work with, as well as the students involved in the organization.
“On behalf of all the athletes, coaches and Special Olympics staff, we thank you. Despite the freezing cold courts and hectic day, your group truly did help us in a major way, Sara Ortins of Special Olympics Massachusetts said.
“The general feeling you get after attending an event is always incredibly rewarding and memorable, senior and co-president Jenn Mountain said.
ASC will be at the Club Fair and will be holding a J-Block meeting for those interested on October 15 in the Student Center.]]>