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March 1, 2010

THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE EARTHQUAKE IN CHILE -- The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile Saturday was many times more powerful than the one that struck Haiti two months ago, but Wake Forest University Professor of Political Science Peter Siavelis says Chile has many advantages as it begins its recovery efforts. The overlooked lesson coming out of Chile is what a powerful regulatory state means for the difference in the death toll and recovery strategy when compared to Haiti, he says.  “Strict building codes, good planning, and a strong national government will make response to the disaster easier in Chile. People want to make comparisons to Haiti, but the response in Chile is more like what we would expect in California or Japan. Chile is a well-developed country with the highest per-capita GNP in Latin America. The infrastructure, both human and physical, will aid the rebuilding process. The national government has the capacity to respond.” Siavelis lived in Santiago for two years and returns to the country two or three times each year. He is the author of the book, “The President and Congress in Post-Authoritarian Chile,” and he has written articles about President Michele Bachelet.

BUSINESS PROFESSOR EXPECTS A QUICK RECOVERY FOR CHILE -- Daniel S. Fogel, Executive Professor of Strategy at the Wake Forest Schools of Business, says the earthquake in Chile should not dampen the country’s economy. “Chile has the most innovative and stable market economies in Latin America.It is not clear that this event, while tragic, will have major implications on the economy.The tremor did shut several copper mines and will hurt that part of the economy temporarily.Copper prices will be slightly higher but nothing major will happen to the economy.  Chile knows about earthquakes, and their buildings and response teams and infrastructure are relatively sophisticated. Had this quake occurred in Santiago it would be another story.Chile can receive aid efficiently and effectively, and we will see a quick recovery.” Professor Fogel has consulted with businesses in Chile for years, and he has taught at universities in the country and helped establish MBA programs in Santiago and Valparaiso.

THE TOYOTA RECALLS:  A FAILURE TO LEARN FROM THE PAST -- On November 23, 1986, "60 Minutes" aired a segment on unintended acceleration and the Audi 5000S. What followed were several years of claims and counter-claims, installation of shift locks and, ultimately, no finding of mechanical/electronic issues, but rather a judgment that the problems came from "pedal misapplication," essentially placing blame on the drivers themselves. “In the hubbub about the current Toyota situation, I have been amazed and saddened by the media's myopia to the history of the issue,” says Wake Forest University professor John Llewellyn. “The parallels to the current issue seem abundantly clear to me. Scholarly books and articles have been written on this issue. Why are no media outlets reviewing this slice of history in their efforts to understand the current case and to predict its future?” Llewellyn is an associate professor of communication and an expert on corporate social responsibility and the media.

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Kerry King
(336) 758-6084


Ellen Sterner Sedeno
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