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Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 01:36 am
Capitalism: doesn't it make you (mentally) sick?

92CommentReplyFlag


imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)

The situation in Japan, from what I've been reading, is that they have much to teach us about how to cope with recession, having had much more recession (and zero interest rates, and a banking crisis) than we have lately. Their consumerism is very stop-go; it can be excessive, and then can strip back to basics (as it is now doing; basics house Uniqlo is virtually the only clothes company selling clothes right now).

The Japanese (like the Germans) are savers, not overspenders. They don't use credit cards much at all. This means they spend when they have money, and don't when they don't (revolutionary concept we could learn from!). Short-term loans are, however, becoming more popular in Japan.

Gini levels in Japan (ie levels of inequality) are significantly lower than those in the Anglosphere, which reduces envy, depression and relative deprivation.

On the question of TV, Japanese watch huge amounts of TV, which often seems like a kind of semi-chemical pick-me-up; endless comedy talents laughing and eating tasty food. Although artistically null and void, this is probably better for your mental health than Western TV.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)

Japanese aren't savers any more. Salary levels have been low for so long they've had nothing to save.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 10:49 am (UTC)

See, this is incremental thinking -- you pay attention to small changes, not the big picture. Sure, the Japanese may be saving slightly less than they did when their economy was doing better. They still -- the big picture -- have massive savings: an estimated ¥780 trillion, or $6.5 trillion, all kept in bank accounts earning no interest.


ReplyThread Parent
akabe
akabe
alin huma
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)

you're obviously unaware of the lending system in japan. banks are the tip of the iceberg.

also you're always unfair on your fellow anglo-saxons - if somehow they suffer more from wide-screen tv-ism and stuff that simply means that their immune system must be more sensitive to it and if anything they deserve more sympathy and understanding. the whole world is on the same trip.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)

I'm aware of the lending system in Japan -- I say above "Short-term loans are, however, becoming more popular in Japan." Those, as you know, started as non-banking and even yakuza-owned outfits. But more recently they've been bought by mainstream banks and given much more official legitimacy. For instance, Acom was bought by UFJ bank in 2004. Acom stands for "Affection, Confidence, Moderation", which I think is a lovely name for a loans company!


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)

I'm afraid what you say above and your earlier observation about how the declining savings rate doesn't matter because Japan has a big pool of savings are strong indications that you don't have a good grasp on how the credit markets work in Japan.


ReplyThread Parent
pulled-up.blogspot.com
pulled-up.blogspot.com
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)

Mike Mills recently made a film about the concept of depression in Japan. It went to a few film festivals but I don't think it ever saw a release...

http://www.mikemillsweb.com/filmandvideo_soulcold.html


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)

Well, Hisae tells me the thesis in that trailer is simply wrong -- before 2000 many Japanese spoke of "utsu", and there was quite a bit of "dark" advertising in the 1960s for antidepressants etc in Japan. Locally-produced drugs, not imported.


ReplyThread Parent
pulled-up.blogspot.com
pulled-up.blogspot.com
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)

Maybe that's why the film didn't get picked up for distribution! I like Mike Mills but he can't be very good at research...


ReplyThread Parent