Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Bottom of the Barrel

(Unrelated update, from here : "The United Nations estimates that by 2050, 42 percent of all people in Italy and Japan will be aged 60 or older. ")

From TCS: Tech Central Station - Tokyo Tax Trouble:
By issuing tens of trillions of yen of new debt each year, the central government allowed the outstanding burden to balloon to over 600 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2004. When the IOUs issued by central and local governments are combined, total national debt is about 160 percent of GDP, making Japan the most heavily indebted industrialized country.

It's nice to think that "phew, someone is worse than us!" But this leads to a complacent attitude one usually gets from a lack of competition. This turns into a race to the bottom of the barrel to discover who sucks worse. It would be better if there was competition among the industrialized nations to improve their governmental and economic situations rather than the other way around.

I recall during the eighties when the U.S. was all worried about Japan overtaking us. In what fashion they were to overtake us, I have no idea. My family owned way too many crappy American cars for me to have any sympathy for the spoiled, upper middle class brats that paraded around on TV, complaining that they might actually have to make a decent product at a decent price.

But for whatever 'threat' Japan ever posed (at least since WW2!), their current bout of economic malaise has been quite a bit more harmful to the American economy. We'd all be better off with improving economies for all, and larger more healthy markets to sell to.

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