Now, The Financial Aftershocks

Financial Aftershocks The cleanup may top $10 billion, and the whole U.S. will pay

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One way or another, and at whatever cost, the earthquake damage will be repaired. The bigger question is whether the Bay Area's prosperity will be affected over the long term. Though the region's economy is still growing, at least since 1983 it has fallen behind that of the Los Angeles area, and the Bay Area has lost relative importance as a financial, insurance and manufacturing center. It is too early to tell whether the earthquake will affect that trend, especially since the Los Angeles area is equally, if not more, vulnerable to the fearsome Big One.

The Bay Area quake, officially known as the Loma Prieta Quake after a mountain perched almost atop the epicenter, was retrospectively upgraded last week to 7.1 on the Richter scale, vs. an original 6.9. Big all right, but still not the Big One.

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