Thailand floods disrupt global supply chains
People living in increasingly worsening flood regions, like Thailand, will have to adapt out of self-interest
People are well aware of the Thailand floods. The WSJ is reporting that a consequence of such floods is that global supply chains are being disrupted. For profit firms have strong incentives to sign contracts with intermediate input suppliers who are not risky in terms of delivering promised products.Skip to next paragraph
Mathew is an economics professor at UCLA and has written three books: Green Cities (Brookings Institution Press); Heroes and Cowards (Princeton University Press, jointly with Dora L. Costa); and in fall 2010, Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter World (Basic Books).
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Why does this matter? Suppose that you are a political leader of Thailand and you gain if your nation's firms sign more international agreements to participate in global supply chains. If you know that damage from natural disasters endangers these contracts (as Multinational Western corporations seek out safer locations to purchase inputs from), then you have strong incentives to adapt to natural disasters.
This is the logic of Climatopolis! Self interest, not green ideology, guides the urge to adapt. I predict that Thailand's firms and governments will make a series of self protective investments to reduce flood risk exposure. What will be the net effect of these investments? How much flood risk can be offset? We will see.
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