Thursday, November 01, 2012

Blog About Japan -- Deployment

Deployment -- combo of deflation and high levels of employment.  Opposite of stagflation.  That's the ongoing "disaster" in Japan.

UPDATE:  Here's a sobering article:
Has Chinese Currency Manipulation Succeeded in Breaking Japanese Manufacturers?

My takeaway is that the conventional wisdom, as represented to some extent by the Economist, remains far removed from reality.  We may be on the verge of a deflationary trap, and the serious people are worrying about big government and deficit.  See Japan:
Meanwhile, the brutal deflation that accompanied the bust persists. Falling prices have translated into massive wealth destruction. Stop-and-go monetary and fiscal stimulus accomplished little. Consumer prices have declined for seven of the past 10 years. 
There is no clear path out of the deflationary trap. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, then a professor at Princeton, counseled the Japanese in 1999 to open the monetary floodgates. “Japanese monetary policy,” he wrote, “seems paralyzed, with a paralysis that is largely self-induced. Most striking is the apparent unwillingness of the monetary authorities to experiment, to try anything that isn’t absolutely guaranteed to work.”
Japanese officials counter that they’ve tried monetary stimulus, including zero interest rates and quantitative easing, but had meager results.
Richard Koo, chief economist at Nomura Research in Tokyo, argues that because Japan is stuck in a balance-sheet recession in which companies and households are retrenching, low interest rates are not stimulative because neither businesses nor households wish to borrow. He advocates massive fiscal stimulus, saying government spending is the only way to put a floor under sagging aggregate demand. Critics say past fiscal stimulus has ballooned the national debt to 200% of GDP.
Actually, Japan has low unemployment and zero inflation, with universal health care and good infrastructure.  Japan just totally fucks with the conventional wisdom in a number of respects.  The ration of GDP to national debt is totally irrelevant to the economic welfare of the country, while the universal and affordable national health care is something I wish we had here in the U.S.
Some lessons from Japan:

- monetary policy, using low interest rates and QE, can't always generate inflation
- national debt as a percent of GDP is irrelevant
- there is more to economic well-being than fast GDP growth


  • Great blog. I'm from Detroit too - MSU economics graduate, full on Keynesian MMT devotee. Cheers.

    By Blogger Edmund Kar, at 8:35 AM  

  • Thanks Edmund. Good to hear from a fellow Detroiter!

    By Blogger Detroit Dan, at 6:57 AM  

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