warispeace comments

Posted in: Japan to ban disinfectant resale as more regional economies reopen See in context

This pandemic, is shining an even brighter light on the sever failings of following the neoliberal push to turn all social relation into market relations, where especially in low supply conditions those with money have a much greater advantage. Of course, this goes against a democratic understanding that we end up with better and safer societies when we share more equitably public goods. We are talking about masks and alcohol here, but shouldn't we extend the discussion to other basic needs, such as housing, nutritious food, medicine, etc.?

There is the rather illogical notion that each individual or company pursuing greater wealth will lead to social betterment, but we see in the example discussed in this article and the fact of increasing global inequality, that private wealth mostly remains private. Imagine what would happen in a family if each member tried to eat all the food many hands produced. That would go over well, wouldn't it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: In cash-rich Japan, a fifth of firms now see risk of insufficient capital See in context

@JCosplay

Thank you for your feedback. You make an important point about the timing and speed. What I'm thinking is, for example, offering financial support to those laid off workers who want to build cooperatives or when a firm is bailed out, instead of government getting a capital stake, provide workers with an ownership share so they could have more input into their own working conditions. Basically, leverage these conditions to enhance workers' rights and opportunities. Hope this clarifies a little more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: In cash-rich Japan, a fifth of firms now see risk of insufficient capital See in context

So the answer to the second to last crisis of capitalism, in the 1970s, was to move from a Keynesian model to neoliberalism. When the last crisis hit in 2008 and neoliberalism was shown to be a failed approach, there was just a doubling down rather than a serious rethink because major governments have become corporate states. This latest crisis, at least in Japan and the US, appears to be another doubling down, with the people's and future generations' wealth flowing to investors and large corporations instead of taking the opportunity to shift to an economy for the people, of the people, by the people. We seem to like justice, an equal opportunity to participate in national and local government decision making process, and a fair share of public goods in our society. That is to say we still seem to value democratic processes. So why don't we also have these in our working lives?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S military at Japan base shows it can function during pandemic See in context

And please remind me again why Japan still can't become a sovereign nation and why there are fears that another country might want to invade Japan? Is it the wise elderly population? Perhaps they would want the debt burden? Wait, it's Japan's abundant energy and mineral resources...

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Posted in: Michael Moore's 'Planet of the Humans' asks: What if green energy cannot save the planet? See in context

I’m saying its a red herring because we are already doing it without any deliberate policy to promote it: when societies develop, their birth rates go way down, and everywhere in the world except sub Saharan Africa is on course to have their populations peak and then decline in the near future.

It's true that as societies gain more material wealth and share it more, populations grey and decline, partly because pension and other social welfare systems replace the need for a large family. Also, death rates decrease and there is not the same fear for the future, which leads to higher birth rates. But, this gain in material wealth has been driven by overexploitation of the natural world, and especially fossil fuels. We are simply living beyond the carrying capacity of the planet and created a climate emergency. Destabalization leads to higher birthrates in poorer regions and refugee flows, so even if wealthier countries (for now) have population reduction, this is not happening at a global scale. In addition, people in a material abundant nations consume the most, so these countries need to rapidly reduce their populations if they are to live with their nation's carrying capacity and not exploit the rest of the world.

We will either have to reduce human population in an organized way, or this will come about through natural disasters, pandemics and, quite possibly, war.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Michael Moore's 'Planet of the Humans' asks: What if green energy cannot save the planet? See in context

Our numbers and damage to the environment were largely kept in check by natural pressures until the 19th century when industrialisation and modern medicine allowed our numbers to soar far past sustainable levels.

This was one factor, but more important was the conversion of fossil fuel energy to food energy through new fertilizers. With cheaper and abundant food, Capitalism could satisfy one of its critical requirements for growth, ever more people (using ever more energy and resources to make stuff they soon trash).

Before Moore and others questioned the perpetual growth model, even if green-washed, the Limits to Growth group in the 1970 showed us that growth of human population and resource use on a finite planet is impossible. Their research conclusions were attacked but recently there work was revisited and indeed we are tracking just as predicted for a major crash in ecological systems in 2030, as under the logic of capital accumulation, we keep following the business as usual scenario. Below is a link to an article on the revisited work, with graphs.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe pressed to pay out more cash as coronavirus hits economy See in context

@IloveCoffee

It should be taught in 5th grade that govt doesn't have any money. Every yen they spend, they first have to take it from the people, thus reducing the money people have in their pockets, the money in the private sector, and the money in private banks which are used to lend to businesses.

Why teach something incorrect to 5th graders? The government spends a lot of money it does not "take" from people through taxes. They borrow against the future by selling government bonds (which is why they want inflation to discount the cost of repayment).

Because of this situation, Modern Monetary Theory is getting more traction, which argues that governments can just print fiat money. Others counter that this will create inflation, but because Japan has a shrinking and greying population, perhaps this shouldn't be a concern. Though there could be global currency valuation issues.

Well, because government financing is rather complex, maybe we need to wait and teach it to 7th graders ;)

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe criticized over lounging-at-home Twitter video See in context

One would hope, at the very least, he is reading government and experts reports and reviewing policy documents. He's the PM at the time of a unique crisis. Step up and work for all people!

22 ( +25 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan's battle with pandemic may mark end of Abe's fiscal experiment See in context

This telling of the Abenomics story misses a key point: it was always about austerity or precarity for lower classes and fiscal and monetary stimulation for the upper tier. Not much different than the usual neoliberal trickle down approach. The wealthy could see that with a shrinking and greying population, the pie was shrinking and Abenomics is the deceptive name used to disguise a battle for a larger slice.

While the increased regressive consumption especially hit the unemployed and working poor, the progressive national tax was being reduced for those with higher incomes and growing wealth.

A lot of the government spending can be classified as corporate welfare. Basically perks for huge corporations. The move to increase defense spending and allow weapons sales abroad is a good example. Of course there is the Olympics, a huge payout of tax money for the construction industries. Quantitative easing was a way to juice the market and enrich the investing class.

There was "structural change" mainly on the labour side, that allowed for more contracting out and a growth in predatory worker outsourcing businesses. At the same time, the myriad governmental barriers to entry are still there, meaning it's hard for people with creative ideas and energy to start up and remain in business. Stats show that small and medium sized business pay a higher tax rate than larger corporations as they are granted far fewer deductions.

The virus crisis exposes Abenomics as traditional class struggle, because with mass unemployment and small business crashing and burning, we see clearly how reluctant the Abe government is to step in and really help those who need it. Rather, in the details we can see this is another opportunity to use stimulus to transfer public funds to the ever better off.

27 ( +30 / -3 )

Posted in: Taxi firm fires entire workforce; says drivers better off collecting unemployment See in context

To prevent this, the government is currently offering sizable subsidies to businesses of all sizes that don’t lay off a single employee as a result of the current economic downturn.

Totally untrue. The subsidies are not generous at all, as they are capped at ¥8,800 a day for workers who are told not to work at all. This is basic part-time pay. The company must make up the spread in wages, if they don't reduce a workers wage. Also, if someone works a few hours a day, compensation is less. So unlike in more advanced economies, the Abe government's policy provides little incentive for companies to keep workers if business drops by much.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. approves Google request to use segment of U.S.-Asia undersea cable See in context

So will these private profit making and tax avoiding companies have to pay for any of the infrastructure that public money built?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Meals on wheels See in context

This is one company benefiting from the virus.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Main points of Japan's ¥108 tril emergency package See in context

Bringing back manufacturing

So companies that up and fled Japan seeking a cheaper labour force and lower labour and environmental standards, requiring tax payers pick up the bill for the suddenly unemployed, now get rewarded for bringing back their processing and manufacturing, again leaving the burden of the newly laid off workers for someone else to carry.

This is clearly another example of the Abe government's ongoing class warfare, using this virus shock to further enrich the wealthy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe unveils massive coronavirus stimulus worth 20% of GDP See in context

Though the details aren't many, based on what has come out, I don't see how this will help small and mid-size companies, which employ the majority of workers.

1) Social Security and tax deferrals just push the pain off for a while.

2) Even with a non-interest loan, which businesses want to go further into debt with no revenues for a while and likely lower revenues post-virus as the recovery will take time?

3) To qualify for full "9/10 wage assistance, the employee has to not work at all and even then, "9/10" is capped at 8,800/day. So if its a 21 day month, that covers roughly 185,000. It's great if all the workers are already low-wage workers, but if they get a decent salary, the business still has to make up the difference or cut their salaries to subsistence levels, increasing the already large number of precarious workers. When employees work a few hours a day, the assistance goes down.

Overall, this means businesses need to top-off wages to keep employees and continue to pay rent and some other operational cost and possibly also pay back loans for capital costs. Without rent moratoriums and some grants, I can't see how many small business will be incentivised to keep going. Something more along the lines of Germany will be needed.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: 92 from Chicago let in at Narita airport without being asked to self-isolate See in context

What is fascinating is that the State of Emergency law retains the sovereignty of citizens, by only granting authorities the power to strongly request people follow a course of action. In this sense, Japan is far more democratic than countries imposing martial law and moving the police and military to enforce it.

And yet, the death penalty and state secrets laws grant the government extreme authority.

Oh for the love of contradiction.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's imperial household on full alert against coronavirus See in context

The agency has also stopped accepting volunteer cleaners

Volunteer cleaners!! Will the folks at Hello Work accept this activity for those on the dole?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo gov't urges people to refrain from cherry blossom parties in parks See in context

This virus slows over-consumption, with benefits to our natural environment, such as cleaner air and, in the case of fewer hanami gatherings, less enduring plastic garbage, which symbolizes or reflects Japan's active rejection of fragility and impermanance, or perhaps its embrace of Shumpeter's idea of creative destruction rather than wabi-sabi.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

Posted in: Japan pushes to remove Fukushima references from U.N. exhibition See in context

It's surprising the nuclear village gang don't try to replace those panels with ones showing how nature is now flourishing in the no-go zone. Or there could be panels with Mighty Atom leading the charge for the next oh so green and clean nuclear revolution.

Sorry @englisc aspyrgend, am I also being ignorant and irrational because I think nuclear energy has this little waste disposal issue that won't seem to go away many half-lives from now?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Man on train pushes emergency button after passenger without mask coughs See in context

When logic and proportion

Have fallen sloppy dead

And the White Knight is talking backwards

And the Red Queen's off with her head

Remember what the Dormouse said

Mask your head

Mask your head

So let's think about the hysteria of the button pusher...

Hee is worried when there is still only a slight chance of meeting someone infected among the millions of people in Tokyo, and then not everyone develops symptoms and only 5% of cases are critical and less than 2% of mainly those with weaker immune systems sadly pass away. This is roughly equal to dying from a head injury after stumbling and falling when someone panics and pushes the train emergency stop button.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Researchers to conduct major Japan ocean microplastics survey See in context

The old delay by research strategy. Nice! As if others in the world don't know the effect already. Time for bolder action by the J-governments. Does the ban on free plastic bags mean stores can just charge a yen or two? And only a 25% reduction by 2030. The infamous too little too late move Japan could patent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Thunberg keen to visit Japan in 2020 See in context

The standard I expect of public figures is tolerance and acceptance of different views. That's what being an adult means.

It's telling that you show little tolerance and acceptance of Greta's views and actions.

-1 ( +18 / -19 )

Posted in: Thunberg keen to visit Japan in 2020 See in context

Here we have a young person facing the truth of the climate emergency and acting when too many adults, including some of the commentators here, do far too little or even participate in denialism. Yet she is scrutinized by the likes of Burning Bush and held to standards far beyond what is expected of political leaders, corporate heads, the media... Give Greta a break and either cheer her on or just keep all the hating to yourself.

-3 ( +31 / -34 )

Posted in: Japanese crown prince, wife begin tour of Poland See in context

Should these symbols of the Japanese state be legitimizing the extreme right, authoritarian government of Poland with such a visit? Though maybe that is the message from the Abe government, which itself would lurch further to the right given the chance.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Ivanka Trump calls on G20 leaders to prioritize women empowerment See in context

She also said research shows that states with higher female participation are less likely to use violence or military force to resolve international conflict.

Did she bother to think this through? The US has a high labour force participation rate for women and just loves the use of violence to create international conflict.

And is she talking about promoting "participation" in the race-to-the-bottom, sweat-shop industry that produced her line of clothing?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't to urge firms to help employees undergoing fertility treatment See in context

If we consider historically the extreme population rise in Japan and how this led to the colonization of neighbouring countries and war and to Japan's continued subservience to the US Post WWII to sustain access to food and other resources, then the government would be wise to promote depopulation to a level of much greater self-sufficiency. Though this is not a call to maintain the draconian neoliberal labour standards.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Kao's #beWhite campaign leaves firm red-faced See in context

It launched the #beWHITE project on Tuesday as part of marketing efforts for a detergent, urging an equitable distribution of chores at home.

The terminology deserves scrutiny, but also shouldn't we be questioning the legitimacy of any huge corporation that rails against unequitable distribution? It would be interesting to know what the pay ratio of CEO to average employee is and if the company uses cheap Asian labour to expand profits. Also, to what extent does the company redistribute its profits sufficiently to address the environmental damages caused in the production and use of its products, or is this cost not born by the company? Just how off-white is this corporation that moralizes about home life to boost profits?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Regional bank in Japan battles ultra-low rates with wine bar, sea urchins See in context

@Kurisupisu

Organic growth is a very slow and stable way to grow, as your 10% yearly revenue increase suggests, but I can't see any downside to a loan with the low interest rates here in Japan and no penalty for early repayment. For cash flow for some businesses this is essential. Also, why operate a company with your own money if you can do this with the banks?

As for this news, seems like a smart idea for these banks to diversify and at the same time support their region.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's labor shortage eats away at back-breaking work culture See in context

Interesting how this article doesn't mention wage decline and precarity under the abenomics approch to neo-liberalism.

The link below has some charts and statistics that can provide some structural content to the far too anecdotal and cheer-leading tone of the news article.

https://apjjf.org/2018/6/INOUE.html

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Posted in: U.N. report on global warming carries life-or-death warning See in context

Burning Bush writes

The scientific "community" has been wrong countless times in history, and they're wrong again.

And you are right because...? Sorry, but denial is not a rational and evidence based counter-argument. Nor is an appeal to tradition (wrong in the past so wrong now) acceptable as it is acknowledged as one of the most common logical fallacies. So what is your argument? Why not point out specifically where these 6,000 members of the scientific community have got it wrong and offer proof, and not just that from a handful of scientists flush with fossil fuel company money.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: 'No chance!' says Troussier as Japan play Russian roulette See in context

Manager Nishino announced the list of players of the squad for the World Cup.

But let's be realistic. 5 were chosen by Kirin, 5 by Adidas, 4 by Family Mart, 4 by Mizuho and 3 by Dentsu (one each by Kawahara, Ozawa and Juji).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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