Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Eamon Fingleton discusses "The myth of Japan's 'lost decades'" over at The Atlantic. Interesting piece - think the South Park episode where the Japanese claim they have small penises to deflect attention from their plans of world domination. I was talking about it with a friend and we didn't think it quite passed the smell test. Our conversation is after the jump.

Decoy さんの発言:

My tack lately has been "you know, the US doesn't really even offer great opportunity anymore. i think maybe i'll go somewhere that does." 

people should be responsive to that, because supposedly the whole point of the exercise is to make america "great" or something 

Rubi さんの発言: 

great for whom? 

Decoy さんの発言: 

and if we're losing Ph.D. scientists, that's not a good plan. 

yeah well that's a good point 

they don't like things like science and facts 

one of my favorite lines is "creating a new industry is not like opening up a franchise." 

but the way i see it 

Rubi さんの発言: 

it takes real infrastructure, regulation etc 

Decoy さんの発言: 

that's what they want…everybody to open up a burger king 

it's like 

fuck dude, you guys have no fucking clue what you're talking about when it comes to "innovation" you supposedly value, do you? 

Rubi さんの発言: 

Check out James Fallows' blog over at the Atlantic, real interesting article arguing that the Japanese have done exactly this and are taking advantage of Chinese growth to drink America's milkshake 

Decoy さんの発言: 


"the myth of japan's lost decades"? 

Rubi さんの発言: 

that's it 

Decoy さんの発言: 


from the title i'm thinking i might not agree with this piece entirely 

Rubi さんの発言: 

I think he elides the growth in working poor due to casualised work 

the NEETs 

The fact the Japanese haven't tackled aging combined with loss of working population 

Decoy さんの発言: 


i'm reading this and hearing only "dude, japan is better now than it was in the 80s" 


i hate to mention this, but the city of hakodate cannot afford to mow the grass in its public parks 

and hasn't been able to for five years. 

the trade numbers are great but 

debt-to-GDP is 2:1 and showing no signs of going anywhere but up 

Rubi さんの発言: 


Decoy さんの発言: 

the workforce is in shambles 

Rubi さんの発言: 

and the Japanese can't borrow on the cheap forever 

Decoy さんの発言: 

education is fucked up 

like, seriously, fucked up 

and he spent this whole piece talking about the export economy 

which is like 10% of the japanese economy 

and which is, admittedly, awesome 

but it has to be, to prop up the other 90% 

Rubi さんの発言: 


It would be interesting to see one of those economists debate him then 

Do you think he's trying to make a name for himself by picking a fight with the big dogs? 
Decoy さんの発言: 

as long as they're not fucking idiots and they've been in the 'pan long enough that he can't pull the "have you even ever been to japan?" card. yeah i think it's possible 

i wonder if the "debate" will just turn into him trying to ridicule them 

Rubi さんの発言: 

cos he's been living there since 85 and understands the nuances of Japanese culture 

Decoy さんの発言: 

"oh you just look at numbers but you have no idea what they mean because you've never been there" blah blah blah 

that's right 


he's the one who has the japan story right 

and by god, he got it right in the 80s too 

Rubi さんの発言: 


Decoy さんの発言: 

and they've been ignoring him ever since 


i dunno man 

even the yen strength 

has exactly dick to do with the long-term prospects of the japanese economy 

which are fucking bleak 

Rubi さんの発言: 

is that because Japan was doing well, or because America was doing badly?

Decoy さんの発言: 

i tend to think it's more the latter 

Rubi さんの発言: 

and didn't the strong yen hurt exports? 

Decoy さんの発言: 


that's why when it was around 100 to the USD the BOJ was freaking out 

and trying to keep it above 100 

i mean, when i look at it, i think 

okay, what's the main reason someone would want to buy yen? 

well, other than to buy japanese products (okay, there's some of that going on), it's buying japanese assets 

japanese stocks (nobody wants to own them because they're not worth the paper they're printed on) 

japanese real estate (yeah, right) 

japanese bonds (don't make me laugh) 


Rubi さんの発言: 

Well the Japanese are trying to get the population to buy bonds 

Decoy さんの発言: 

yeah and it's working 

which is why their debt situation is fundamentally different from, say, the US 


Rubi さんの発言: 

because they owe the money to the people 

Decoy さんの発言: 

yes, rather than to, say, china. 


that only works as long as people don't have to sell their bonds 

to generate cash 

Rubi さんの発言: 

say, for retirement? 

Decoy さんの発言: 

there's a thought, isn't there? 

Rubi さんの発言: 

Not like there's any danger of large numbers of retirees any time soon, eh?

Decoy さんの発言: 

and of course 

since nobody wants to buy them 

at like 1% interest for a 30-year term 

eventually something's got to give, i figure 

but i'm no japan expert 

and i didn't call the crash in the 80s 
i'm just not as sanguine on japan's future

No comments:

Post a Comment