Whatever happened to the virtuous Japanese?

By Owen Paine on Monday September 27, 2010 05:33 PM

Cousin Marty is concerned about the Japanese. They ain't savin' like they used to.

"In the early 1980’s, Japanese households were saving about 15% of their after-tax incomes..."
This is of course a fantastic rate; virtue incarnate, to honorary Scotchman Marty. But after 10 years more of up and then 20 years of nowhere, today the rate is "just above 2%", and this is with a gub deficit of 7% of GDP.

And yet Japan -- Wynne Godley, listen up -- still exports cash. How?

"This apparent paradox is explained by a combination of high corporate saving and low levels of residential and non-residential fixed investment.
" Translation: corporate Japan is exporting [Lenin warning] ... capital! Capital! CAPITAL!!! -- Even as Japan's domestic economy, once the skyrocket of the planet, stagnates and has stagnated for 15 years or so.

Such are the wages of success for the generations of sarariman job smurfs, after all their toil, ingenuity, dedication, and sacrifice. No wonder those little Japanese girls dress and think so dirty; they gotta give the beaus a break from Zeroville. Oh, the precious charmers -- but alas, one day they'll be old and saggy, like Father Smiff and me, and like Japan's industrial base.

Comments (15)


Chinese, Japanese... Don't bother me with the facts.


That 'topgirl' is giving me palpitations. Take down that picture, Mr. Smiff.

Stagnation and maturity, and tumescence!


jeez can we get an actual Japanese?

may I suggest:


What? Tentacle porn, humiliating gameshows and sex robots didn't ring any warning bells?


Whoa up there. Just what's wrong with tentacle porn?


It doesn't work?


(lovin' the thought that hotsyness & unearned income are mutually exclusive)



Same Chinese model as in post's illustration without the corporate branding. control click or command click brings it up quickly.


There is a very interesting discussion of "savings" by Michael Hudson at Counterpunch today (Wednesday 29th, that is) that suggests there is quite a lot of missing backstory in the mainstream narrative about these supposedly frugal Asians. An OP post about the Hudson article would be nice.


The Michael Hudson piece is terrible.

Japan's savings rate was driven by high household saving, now it is being driven by corporate saving (the point of this post). Contrary to what Hudson assumes, neither Paul Krugman, nor anyone else with a clue has thought that China's high savings rate was a function of high household savings. The only people who try to argue that are right wing hacks like Scott Sumner.

and no, it is not the US driving this thing, it's China. The mechanics of it are pretty fucking simple (who has the capital controls? who has the pegged currency? whose currency is inarguably undervalued? who is actually running a massive surplus?), and Hudson is either INCREDIBLY stupid, or being disingenuous when he ignores the clear arguments that Krugman has made hundreds of times.

The rest of Hudson's article is just a collection of half baked nonsense, some sort of Austrian Economics meets Washington Consensus free trader screed, with a dash of Chalmers Johnson to give it a leftish flavour.

Basically, Hudson is a worthless hack.


hudson's latest crap
leaves me ...bored

its a completely odds and ends chop shop job
pk has a consistent position
hudson has pot shot position(S)

he is not an economist he's a huckster

i agree with fb

now i might not say this however
"..it is not the US driving this thing, it's China"

the amerikan MNCs could shut this down
at any point
there's just to much money in this simple game
to even consider a massive reval

the degree of market penetration inside the PRC is another matter

if MNCs are both plants and stores
consider this:
the amerikan oufits want more stores in china

now this mostly means more plants inside china aimed at china's own markets

the pressure is best kept up
on the politbureau by suggesting the end of high PRC plant based export growth
is only a matter of switching production to other low wage low reg low tax
areas of the globe
under the cover of north market protections
not from just any undervalued forex
export source
but only from selected sources ....
check out the recent bill
discretion in the bill means other offenders other low ball currency manipulators
are not necessarily subject to sanctions
this is empowerment legfislation
not complusory legislation
sanctions are slapped on
its up to the discretion of uncle's executive branch to slap on or lay off these actions of rectification


i thought this chick was a jap
because i googled
"jap babes " or some such thing

how dare google undermine my efforts
at precision

this in retrospect is a better shot

more traditional


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