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Helicopter money talk takes flight as BOJ runs out of runway

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By Stanley White

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Idiots........if hyperinflation sets in, and things get out of hand price wise, this could be the straw that breaks the people's backs and sets them off!

Responsible fiscal policy and some serious belt tightening are called for, Japan's hangover from the bubble days should be long over, but it continues to linger on with politicians/leaders (Abe) sticking to tactics that will continue to drag this country down!

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revived expectations it could adopt some form of “helicopter money”, printing money for government spending to spur inflation.

Still stuck with the First Arrow.

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Japanese government rule of thumb: if they say they aren't going to do it, it means within a month they will.

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Well, this is what happens when you elect--if you can call it that---spoiled blue-blooded boys who have never done a day's work in their lives. Children budget their milk money better than these fools and the mere discussion of helicopter money is an excellent example of why the hatred for government and the desire to topple it is becoming a world-wide phenomenon.

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The only way to make people spend is to put fear into them to think their Yen under the mattress will become worthless very very fast. This means lots and lots of helicopter money, not a timid amount. But then, Zimbabwe like hyperinflation looms and can be hard to control!

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The government could issue 50-year bonds, and if the BOJ makes a commitment to hold them for a very long time, that would be like helicopter money.

I would argue that the BOJ buying and holding 50-year government bonds is "like helicopter money" only with respect to the strategy involving "permanent" (irreversible) creation of money (which differs from QE which is not "permanent" creation of money). But the similarity ends there.

Calling BOJ "permanent" purchases of (near) perpetual government bonds "helicopter money" is merely the BOJ trying to sugar coat the notion of the central bank monetizing government debt.

Metaphorically speaking, true "helicopter money" would entail the BOJ creating money and dropping it out of the sky directly to citizens/residents of Japan (not handing it to the government, nor going through the government). With true helicopter money , the BOJ would hand money directly to citizens/residents (thereby leaving the government out of the equation). Consumers would then spend the money which would help boost confidence in the economy and cause prices to rise, thereby overcoming deflation.

The problem with QE is that it has been merely feathering the nests of the 1% and widening the disparity between the rich and the lower/middle classes. QE has been providing the 1% with near-interest-free loans in hopes that benefits of their cheap borrowing will "trickle down" and reverse deflation — it's not working.

True helicopter money would circumvent the "trickle down" part, and give people low on the ladder money to spend, and help narrow the disparity between the 1% and the lower/middle class.

Here is a good explanation of "helicopter money" from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/helicopter-money

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The only way to make people spend is to put fear into them to think their Yen under the mattress will become worthless very very fast.

Wrong. The only way to make people spend money is to have a strong economy, and a positive economic future. People aren't spending because, first, there are fewer people in Japan, and fewer people means fewer spenders, and less money being spent. Second, because people worry about their future prospects, the obvious fact that the national pension plan and even private pension plans are not likely to remain solvent in a country in economic decline, and with many fewer new contributors adding their money to the pension schemes.

The only way for people to spend their money in fear if it becoming worthless is if it indeed starts to become worthless. And if that happens, economic collapse is in full swing, and increased consumer spending will not make any difference.

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This economic mess is getting beyond a joke now. Hands up fellow foreigners on JT: do any of you regret personally and professionally investing in this basket-case country considering the huge crash that's coming?

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Ridiculous. They should just stop with all this nonsense and let the economy settle where it will. I am surprised there isn't already some catchy Japanese version of "hericopteru okane"

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dharmadanAug. 01, 2016 - 09:56AM JST

This economic mess is getting beyond a joke now. Hands up fellow foreigners on JT: do any of you regret personally and professionally investing in this basket-case country considering the huge crash that's coming?

Nahh,

I've enjoyed Japan and the Japanese are OK, although they have a dysfunctional society over the long term.

I've made loads of money here and off Japanese economic policy, which is probably one of the least complex economic systems in the developed world to understand, if you're prepared to learn the language and get out of your gaikokujin bubble of Roppongi/Hiroo.

However so many of the so-called Japanese economic experts, such as Kathy Matsui and Jesper Olson, that you see on TV don't.

The Japanese ones are blinded by an historical inferiority complex (Noriko Hama is the exception) and are always talking up Japan and its similarities to the liberal democratic economic models of the West.

Japan is simply a collection of groups who try and coexist without breaking each others rice bowls with a hammer. there is no ideal, such as the American dream or closer European economic and political union, behind domestic government policy here. It's keeping the power groups happy and not threatening each other.

However if you don't have a hammer to threaten someone else's rice bowl in this society, you soon won't have a rice bowl, such is the dilemma of 40% of the Japanese who live substandard lives in the world's third biggest economy

Forget all the Abenomic BS, nothings going to change no matter what Olsen and Matsui tell you. This has led to this economic culture of inertia and things won't change until all the groups' rice bowls are threatened. They'll be more LDP governments, more government spending, very little structural reform and more government debt.

It's that debt that will th

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@sangetsu03

I forgot to add, the other reason is physical limitation. Nobody want to buy stuff when they cannot find a place to keep them. Japan is a crowded place and small living space make it impossible to buy more as there is no place to keep the stuff.

The hyperinflation danger from massive Yen printing will force a rush in panic spending (use it or lose it) but it will only be a temporary high. The trick is to 'train consumers' to spend with the Fear Factor of useless Yen always in their mind to encourage them to spend. During the Carter/Volcker years in 1980, inflation was about 12%. That may be a magic number, not 2% which don't bite.Higher inflation, higher interest rate, a little upheaval may be needed to reset Japan's economy to a new normal. But only if J Bond interest rate can be tamed or it will kill the Treasury.

http://www.federalreservehistory.org/Events/DetailView/41

Good economy don't just come by itself. It cannot be willed to happen. What is at work here is automation, competition from cheaper foreign sources that reduce the purchasing power of average Japanese. Same problem I might add with other developed countries like US. The masses who could be doing most of the spending simply do not have the extra money to spend, especially with corporations cutting hours and hiring more contract temporary workers. This is the evil of corporate Japan or US and elsewhere. Workers all over the world are getting less and less benefits and this kill spending power. No amount of helicopter money can fix this problem unless more workers are hired full time with sufficient benefits but then, it will become harder for Japan to compete with cheaper labor countries. It is just a no win situation! Plus of course older salarymen don't make way for younger generation, so where is the spending power?

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I've been saying the Govt should do this quite often. Print money, use that money to buy up foreign assets, stocks, bonds, hotels, land, buildings, you name it. Take those assets in put them in the National Govt Pension Account. Before you start buying..... announce that Y150 to the Dollar is your goal.... after that no more asset purchases. The Yen will move to Y150 pretty quickly and inflation will soon be on its heels.

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Jgov & BOJ must have taken a lesson from:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wz-PtEJEaqY

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Helicopter money means longer term:

$/Yen move from 100 to 200 to 300. A few exporters will become very rich. Almost all importers will go bankrupt. Consumers/citizens standard of living will drop by more than 50%, cost of living up by more than 50%. Generally, Japanese will become a lot poorer.
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Although Japan is sliding inexorably downward I still find it interesting to watch it happen! However, I got my money out of Japan 12 years ago as it was obvious what would occur.

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so jp needs to get these 50 year bonds in place for all outstanding debt just before inflation takes off raising interest rates on any new money the government may need to borrow... is that about right?

seems like the average joe should buy land or gold or just enjoy your money while hookers are still 20,000 yen a pop.

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Whatever name they want to call it; Helicopter money, Fiscal Stimulus, etc., it is all addressing the same issue, which can't be fixed with tricks and tactics. The issue is far deeper; it is structural and cultural, and the Japanese are far too stubborn to admit this about themselves, and are certainly not going to fix the problems, so the issue will remain forever. They are their own worst enemy.

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Good economy don't just come by itself.

You are incorrect here. A good economy always comes by itself. Left completely alone, the economy becomes an economy of the people. The prices for goods and services are determined by what people are willing to pay for these. The value of money and the interest rates charged for borrowing is also set by the people. In the end you end up with a stable system where people can get what they need, and are paid a fair wage for a fair amount of work.

But those in power do not like to leave the economy alone. They always seek to find an advantage in order to profit themselves. Look at what Japan has done, if you want an example. Japanese companies did not want foreign companies to compete in the domestic Japanese economy, so tariffs were placed on imported goods. In addition to this, the yen was manipulated to keep it weak, making Japanese goods cheap around the world, while making foreign goods imported to Japan very expensive. The lack of foreign competition removed the need of domestic companies to have to compete, and allowed them to make agreements with each other to set minimum prices.

The government says all of the above is to protect the Japanese economy, provide a high quality of life to the Japanese people, and keep everyone fully employed.

But what has been the result? High prices for goods and services due to lack of competition and price fixing have made things in Japan too expensive. When things are too expensive, people buy fewer of these things.

The LDP has kept itself in power by rigging the election system to provide those in rural areas with three votes per person. And the LDP buys the votes of these people via heavy agricultural subsidies paid for by high tariffs on imported foods.

In a country were goods, services, and food are all overpriced, people find that it they can no longer afford to raise children, and the population declines. When the population declines, the result is less consumption, less profit, and less tax revenue. The government responds by raising taxes, the companies respond by lowering prices, which necessarily results in lower wages and benefits.

Left completely alone, prices would fall to a level people could live with. But the government has not only bought the votes of the elderly with food subsidies, but also the votes of other people, via large spending projects, infrastructure, medical care, pensions, education, etc. Normally these things could be afforded, except that most of these services are greatly overpriced and poorly run, and consume more in revenue than they contribute in value.

Worse yet, rather than try to address the problems created by changing the current system, it has used taxpayer money to finance it. Nearly all the money spent in "stimulus" programs ends up with Japan Inc, who own the largest banks, which have first dibs on the money printed out by the central bank. This money has been borrowed, and used for stock buy-backs, causing a hugely inflated stock market which has reached high levels despite the lack of any net economic growth.

Now we are reaching the end of the road, and the bill is coming due. Low rates, zero rates, negative rates, currency manipulation, and massively increasing the debt with meaningless stimulus measures, the last 17 of which have failed. "Helicopter money" is more of the same, and will fail just as all previous attempts have failed.

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Consumers would then spend the money

A contentious claim. If it were me that helicopter money were dumped on, I'd dump what remaining yen I have, and sell forward yen which I expect to be paid in future (to the extent possible).

And if I were selling stuff to consumers or other producers in a value chain, I'd demand foreign currency payment or bitcoins, rather than yen.

But what are the consumers going to spend on in the first place, without more production of stuff that they actually want?

They have plenty of inflation in Venezuela these days, but their economy has done down the tubes and the people need to go to Columbia to buy flour, etc.

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thank you Sangetsu03 for your considered and articulate summation…. was so impressed that I registered here just so I could send this….

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Raise the wages to a minimum 1500 yen per hour at 8 hours a day and a 40 hour work week More money in the workers hands burns holes in the pockets and then they spend more. Also increase in wages will increase prices to the consumer and inflation will over ride deflation If the people have money they will spend money And also the taxes will increase and more Govt. money This QE Is only good for big corporations So give it to the consumers ABE is a big corporation backer and is bought and paid for by big corporation About timer he people get the money Life will be better for the people

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@sangetsu03

"A good economy always comes by itself. Left completely alone, the economy becomes an economy of the people."

This only exist in a dream world. HK is the freest economy in the world, yet she is buffeted by external factors. Same with Japan or any other country if left completely alone. External forces will cause capital to flow out if Yen is overvalued. External forces will cause labor to push down wages in order to be competitive. In this global economy, all developed countries are basically falling down in many job sectors as their jobs can be outsourced or automated. High employment with temporary contract workers and less overtime looks politically good but does not help the average workers in reality as they do not have disposable money to boost the economy. Helicopter money is only a flash in the pan and will only create a temporary high.

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This only exist in a dream world. HK is the freest economy in the world, yet she is buffeted by external factors. Same with Japan or any other country if left completely alone. External forces will cause capital to flow out if Yen is overvalued.

Of course a free economy is a dream world, and so is true personal freedom and world peace. But unlike freedom and peace, economic phenomena is naturally occurring, and always seek to find a balance. And this balance will always be achieved, and it will always overcome any external pressure to create artificial growth or decline, in time.

A simple example is how the US forestry service fought forest fires in the American west. Any time a wisp of smoke appeared, firefighters would respond instantly to put out the fires. The problem was that forest fires are naturally occurring, and occasional fires burn out the deadwood and excessive brush. By preventing fires from occurring, the deadwood and brush accumulated greatly, and eventually when the fires returned, the excess of fuel made them catastrophic, completely destroying the forests. Governments and their central banks are doing the same thing the forest service did, putting out the small fires to try to maintain perpetual growth. You don't need to be a genius to guess what the results of these policies will eventually be.

In this global economy, all developed countries are basically falling down in many job sectors as their jobs can be outsourced or automated. High employment with temporary contract workers and less overtime looks politically good but does not help the average workers in reality as they do not have disposable money to boost the economy. Helicopter money is only a flash in the pan and will only create a temporary high.

You neglect to mention that while globalization has indeed lowered the quality of life in developed countries, it has also raised one-fifth of the world's population out of poverty. Are you saying that you are entitled to a higher wage and better quality of life than other people in other countries? Are you like those hypocrites who say the rich have too much, and must pay more tax to help the poor, but by the standards od developing countries, you yourself are fabulously rich. And like a rich man who complains about his tax bill, you complain that your wages and benefits are decreasing and the money going to those who don't deserve it. The economc cycle follows the path of least resistance, to be economical is to get the most result for the minimum effort. It is only natural that manufacturing and services end up being performed in the places where the most work is done for the least amount of money.

Eventually wages in developing countries rise, because selling goods for lower prices than competitors creates heavy demand, and an inflow of foreign currency creates a currency imbalance, driving up the value of the domestic currency, and increasing the cost of labor. That is, unless the currency is manipulated, a la Japan sme years ago to keep labor cheap. If things are left alone, the imbalance between developed and undeveloped countries evens out. While the lots of some will suffer, the lots of others will greatly improve. But since things never left alone, there will always be haves and have nots.

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@sangetsu03 I liked your first post. It seems to make some sense. I may be a bit lazy to understad economics but...stuff like this still makes me wonder:

"...economic phenomena is naturally occurring, and always seek to find a balance..."

How do you know this is true? What do you mean by "natural"? I sense that there some truth to what you're saying as politicians try to produce short term successes (i.e. election wins or holds on power) without regard to long-term effects. When it comes to these types of questions, as a lay person, I want to know if there is any dogma here? Or, I might ask, what do you think the best argument against your position is? Do you have doubts about certain areas of your thinking? Areas where you could change your mind? And, to take it a step further, could tomorrow's natural success lead to next year's natural calamity? In other words, Could economic success lead to human downfall? Finally, I wonder about strict libertarians. I wonder if there is any good example in history of a country we can look at that has put economic libertarianism into practice?

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@sangetsu03

I will simply say that a country like Japan with very limited natural resources is simply destined to be a poor country if she is as overpopulated as now. Same goes to Taiwan, Hongkong, S Korea will be next. Singapore I might add will escape the poverty trap because of her strategic location and endless cheap labor around. Japan is only rich for the top tier. Certainly not the average people. So are the other overpopulated countries mentioned here. Pull away the export market and you see what I mean. All these countries will tank promptly.

An overpopulated country with limited natural resources is very very dependent on export, efficient work ethics and entrepreneurial people. Without that, their lunches will easily be taken away by the more hungry people like India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc, not to mention the vast labor pool from Africa as well. Efficient movement of goods across the ocean with giant containerships and better inland infrastructure will bring more two way trade from the hinterlands of these people, further eroding the competitive advantage of Japan and other countries mentioned above.

Japan should probably optimized to 75 million population to avoid overstressing the people there. Helicopter money, all those quantitative easings are actually legalized frauds pulled on the younger generations who will never ever be able to repay those debts. They will see higher and higher taxes down the road, further stifling the economy. In other worlds, a Death Spiral awaits Japan. No amount of helicoptering can solve the problem.

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I think it is time to monetize some of the debt. The bond buying by the central bank fails everywhere it is used - it simply exchanges one low yielding asset for another.

A modest amount of money printing might stimulate a bit of inflation and economic activity.

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How do you know this is true? What do you mean by "natural"

Economics is a generally associated with business and money, but it is also associated with nature. The balance is the balance between the population and resources. In the natural world (and we are part of nature) the amount of resources is usually the amount necessary to supply the local population. When too much resources are consumed, they become depleted. This forces the population to decline to a sustainable level. And when there is an excess of resources, the opposite happens, and these fuel an increase in population.

Resources in modern society are money, food, land, and such. Shortages and excesses of any of these have an effect on population. According to Adam Smith, the strongest measure of a thriving economy was the growth of it's population. Applying Smith's measure to Japan indicates that the economy is certainly not thriving. Lack of resources is driving the population downward.

I will simply say that a country like Japan with very limited natural resources is simply destined to be a poor country if she is as overpopulated as now.

The main resource lacking in Japan is economic efficiency. Lack of efficiency results in higher costs, and higher costs without a corresponding higher income leads to a scarcity of the resource of money. Japan could sustain a much larger population. One of the main drivers of efficiency is competition. Competition makes individuals smarter and stronger. Smarter and stronger individuals make a stronger community and country. But as we all know, Japan abhors competition. Japanese companies have always used their influence over the government to limit foreign competition for the domestic market, which has always account for more than half their sales. What is worse is that these companies refuse to compete against each other within Japan. Have you been to a movie in Japan? Did you notice that every theater in the country charges the same price for a movie ticket? This is a flagrant example of the practice, which extends through much of the economy.

Without competition, there can be no increase in efficiency, and without efficiency the price of a product or service will be higher than it would otherwise be. Most might think that in a country where prices are higher, there is more money for wages and benefits, but since prices are high, they negate the effect of higher wages and benefits. The most prosperous communities in the world right now are the ones with the most efficient economies.

In a global economy the strength of local resources becomes less important. Japan has not been self-sufficient agriculture since before the Meiji era. The population was much smaller then, as there was not enough food to feed more people. When trade was freed in the Meiji era, food began to be imported on a large scale, and this resulted in lower prices for food, and the population increased accordingly. Most countries in the world are not entirely self-sufficient in all resources, yet most are able to get sufficient amounts of what they need.

could tomorrow's natural success lead to next year's natural calamity? In other words, Could economic success lead to human downfall?

"Success" is a very relative term. In most cases, the success of one person or life form usually comes at the cost of failure to another. But not so in economics, where the success of an individual usually translates to success to others. A person who starts a business needs to hire staff, builders, advertising, legal help, accountants, borrow money, etc. No one can become successful independently, success for one means success for many. Success can be anything from a profitable coffee shop to a multinational corporation.

The problem arises when individuals or companies want more success than their businesses are capable of delivering in their environment. To create this excess success, the first step is usually to try to limit competition, usually using politician influence to create laws which limit competition. In the short term this works, success increases above what would otherwise occur. But in the long term, the excess prices created by this excess drives down consumption, reducing excess profits at least to their natural level, but usually below that, at least for a time.

I wonder if there is any good example in history of a country we can look at that has put economic libertarianism into practice?

The closest real examples are Hong Kong and Singapore, though less so now than in recent times. Singapore at one time was classified as the poorest nation in Asia, that is obviously not the case now. Rather than the term "libertarianism" the more accurate term is laissez faire, which means "let us do."

Economic success cannot lead to human downfall, but excess success can lead to hard times. Pushing the pendulum too far in one direction results in an equal swing in the opposite direction. One important factor in economics is value. Goods, services, labor, and money have value, and this value is usually determined by consumers. But since 1971, the value of all of these has been taken out of the hands of consumers and put into the hands of governments and central banks. By manipulating currency values and interest rates, they can change the values of goods, services, and labor, at least for a time. When too much currency is printed, interest rates are too low, the economy will eventually make a natural adjustment, and depending on the amount of external manipulation, this adjustment can be mild or painful.

The economy has natural up-and-down cycles, but when it is artificially manipulated to cause excessive or unnatural growth, these up-down cycles are amplified into boom-crash cycles.

The best argument against my position is that for the most part, we all currently enjoy a relatively good quality of life, and for years many people have voice concerns like mine that we live in an excessively overtaxed, over regulated, and over-leveraged economy, and despite these concerns, the economy continues to be relatively prosperous. What I hope more than anything is that I am wrong in my beliefs, and that the world's economies can continue to provide prosperity in spite of it's defiance to nature. But I think the world's economy is like the Titanic, and our politicians and central bankers are the musicians who continue to play music as the ship sinks beneath their feet.

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@sangetsu03 You have some very nice explanations here. Some of what you're saying is simple enough for me to understand and agree with. Some of it I need to ponder. Here are a couple of statements that I'm not convinced of and that I'm not seeing evidence for yet:

"Economic success cannot lead to human downfall..." "...success for one means success for many."

Yet, maybe these statements have a truth limited to the context. I'm kind of interested in the limits of human rationality. I find myself liking a lot of your comments but also feeling I have a bit of a bias. The manipulation, lack of efficiency, uniformity, dullness, conformity, etc., in a society so dominated by group-think bureaucracy, rubs me the wrong way. I have to consider that this society could just push on the way it is, declining in its output of relevance and meaning, but still stubbornly able to move along without change. Who knows? It might be easier than we think to convince people that they live in the best of all worlds even as objective measures of well-being show sharp declines.

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Here are a couple of statements that I'm not convinced of and that I'm not seeing evidence for yet:

Downfall is not a result of success, it is a result of failure. Farms in the pre-depression era were successful to an extent, but this success was not well managed, and the "dust bowl" was a result. Farms in the same areas now grow vastly more food, but as they are managed much better, their output is sustainable.

As for the second quote, I own my own business, as did my father, and his father before him. I started a business for two reasons, first, to be independent, and second, to make money (or, perhaps in the reverse order). The money I make goes to buy things I need and want. Those things are made by others, and sold to me for a profit, so my success in business profits other businesses. My business employs people, because there is more work than I can do alone. The people employed by me spend the money I pay them to buy the things they need and want. My "greed" sustains them, their "greed" sustains others. So long as I manage my business economically, it and I should continue to make money, as well as those who are paid by me. Had I been content to get a white-collar job, and earn a salary, I and a few other people would be worse off.

"Rationality" is also a very relative word. What is deemed rational behavior by us might be deemed as absurd by others. It is very easy to rationalize things in order to make them fit into our perspective, easier so than enlarging our perspectives to more accurately rationalize the world around us. I dislike rationalization, because we usually use it to avoid pesky things like the truth, and to bend right and wrong into shapes more convenient for us to accept, or to make poor decisions appear better.

Japan is a paternalistic society which has always been run by old men, the current educational, business, and political systems are all good examples. This is a fundamental part of Japanese culture, and culture generally overrides other considerations, and even laws in Japan. One's place in school, company, or government bureaucracy is mainly dependent on one's age and seniority.

In regard to Japanese culture, many things technically illegal in Japan are not punished, (like price fixing) because they are part of the culture. Then there are things which are technically legal are punished, because they violate cultural norms.

One of the reasons Japan's business culture is uncompetitive is because it is seniority based, rather than performance based. Talent is not rewarded, it is not even sought after. New grads with no experience, possessing degrees completely irrelevant to their future profession are the top choices for new hires in Japanese companies. The new workers are completely dependent on their company for nearly everything, from salary to housing. Knowing nothing at all, they are dependent on their seniors, and this dependence never ends. They are indoctrinated rather than trained, and soon become faceless small parts of large business machines. Since workers are not encouraged to perform, companies don't perform. And since companies don't perform, the national economy doesn't perform, and we end up where we are now.

Critical thought is neither taught nor encouraged. Good luck finding a debate club in a Japanese high school or university, unless it is like those activity circles which exist in name, but not in practice. One never questions the system, one's seniors, or one's teachers. I have been around long enough to know that extremely few people are genuinely competent in any field, even in western societies which more generously reward competence. In Japan, truly competent people are more scarce in professions than in trades. There are many outstanding cooks, carpenters, and tailors, but very few truly competent professors, teachers, or business executives.

My father-in-law is a very wealthy man by anyone's standard. He started with nothing but ideas and energy, and through much hard work, acquired great wealth. In most societies, he would be praised for creating a business which employs thousands, and gives him the means to live where he likes, go where he likes, with little regard to cost. Yet, to this day, his family regrets that he did not become a regular salaryman in a well-known company. They resent the fears they felt at the great risks he took to begin and grow his company, and the dread of their name being attached to a bankrupt man should his risks fail. They wanted him to be a humble and simple person, to be a part of society, rather than a mover of society. When they visit his house (his main house, as he owns several), they look at it with a little distaste rather than interest or wonder. But he cares little about what other people think, and though I have nowhere near his level of wealth or success, he appreciates that what I have is what I have earned, independently.

Japanese by nature are risk-averse. They are also non-competitive by nature; it is thought that being a winner must result in others becoming losers, and losing is a great shame in Japan. So rather than causing others to lose, many simply avoid winning. The problem with this is that a society with no winners becomes a complete society of losers.

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@sangetsu03 By "nature" I take it to mean the society I'm sure. That's what I see. You can take an individual out of it and they are certainly able to act differently. But the society seems like a death-cult to me. Perhaps I would tweak what you're saying a bit. There is no evidence that success cannot lead to later failure in some way. There may even be evidence in the record of humanity that human economic success caused some later calamity...I'd have to research a bit. I wouldn't rule it out in the future too. I'm not sure "laissez faire" tends towards the very long term. It may be an open question what today's policy will lead to in one or two hundred years. I take your point about success. It depends though. The 19th century is full of progress and success on the backs of misery. Heck, that's till true today, though it's also true that humanity has never been quantifiably richer. But less "laissez faire." Maybe I seek a balance where Japan seems radically misaligned.

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Helicopter money WILL work, if it is done right. In the US, George W. Bush gave us $300 at one point to stimulate the economy, but all we did was use it to pay down debt. This did nothing for the economy. The way it needs to be done is for the BOJ to give poor people their 30,000 yen in scrip, which can only be used to purchase goods and services in the economy and NOT be used to pay off debt. For the sake of its multiplier effect, the scrip should be "signed off" with five verifiable signatures or thumb prints (indicating that the scrip was used five times in purchasing goods and services) before the scrip can be redeemed by the banks. Believe me, this WILL work!

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The problem with QE is that it has been merely feathering the nests of the 1% and widening the disparity between the rich and the lower/middle classes. QE has been providing the 1% with near-interest-free loans in hopes that benefits of their cheap borrowing will "trickle down" and reverse deflation — it's not working.

What he/she said.

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