Archive for January, 2011

Japan: country profile

In an intriguing article entitled “Reconsidering Japan and Reconsidering Paul Krugman,” Steve Hill reports that Japan’s economy is far more successful than that of the US. Japan has indeed failed to meet the money criteria of Western economists such as the New York Times’ Paul Krugman, but it “survived” a supposedly sluggish and lackluster decade in the 1990’s. Its performance, broadly understood, has statistics that defy criticism and, in fact, significantly exceed the United States. Such statistics include a 3% unemployment rate (about half of the United States’’ unemployment rate at the time), availability of health care, highest life expectancy, high literacy rate, and low rates of carbon emissions, infant mortality, incarceration, crime, mental illness, and drug abuse. Hill makes the case that the economies should not be measured just by money-growth but should use more important criteria. The “growth-machine” ideology of the United States has had its proverbial bubble popped and has struggled to re-inflate it. Some of Japan’s numbers do not match up to the expectations of Western economists, but the country performs better even during hard times.