Oh, for the Want of a Lost Decade (or Two!)

January 17, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

The Japanese Lost Decades have become a parable to all countries who fail to effectively deal with financial crises. Yet as The New York Timesreports, countries around the world would do pretty well to emulate the characteristics of Japan’s previous two decades. The report notes that despite the crash in the stock market and property values, Japan has:

  • Increased life expectancy by 4.2 years to 83. This is despite the rising popularity of the American diet. Key advances in health care have made this possible
  • 38 of the 50 cities with the best internet are located in Japan. In contrast only 3 are located in the United States
  • Japan has built 81 skyscrapers since their financial crash. Over the same time period New York built 64, Chicago built 48 and Los Angeles built 7 despite their prosperity in this time. (Although perhaps this is the reason for Japan’s misery.)

The author of the articles goes on to argue that, in fact, Japan has done significantly better than the United States since 1989 and the reason why most Americans don’t realize this is because of a combination of flaws in methodology and a western mind-set that discounts the successes that the Japanese have had. Moreover the writer suggests that the perception of a weak economy has given a significant boost to Japan.

Source: The New York Times