Beyond any one company, Sandy hasn’t done much to disrupt the normal flow of commerce nationally and internationally because the world doesn’t rely on New York and New Jersey for exports, Cohen says. For example, she says, compare the current disaster to the massive flooding last year in Thailand, a hub of the world’s hard drive industry. Because the supply is so concentrated there, the flooding caused hard drive shortages and sent prices rising. Similarly, a big earthquake in one of China’s major manufacturing centers would probably mean more empty shelves in the U.S. than nearly any disaster here.

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