Geography Archives: Japan

  • They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To! Why Even the Best Post-war Economist Ended Up a Tragic Figure

    The Crash of 2008 and its ghastly aftermath was not just an economic crisis but also a crisis aided and abetted by economics. Previously I have written about the Econobubble (the handmaiden of the “real” Bubble) and the toxic theories of economists who were very recently rewarded with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.  Following […]

  • Contrary to the New York Times’ Assertion, Japan Does Not “Face a Looming Demographic Squeeze”

    Note that the labor force participation rate of women in Japan is a mere 48.5 percent, much lower than the 72.0 percent rate for men, a fact disregarded by both the New York Times and Dean Baker. — Ed. For some reason the New York Times wants to scare its readers about Japan’s economic situation, […]

  • West Sea Crisis in Korea

      Contested Waters: Background to a Crisis 1. On November 23, 2010, military troops from the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea) and the United States conducted war-simulation exercises, dubbed “Hoguk” [“Defend the State”], a massive joint endeavor involving 70,000 soldiers, 600 tanks, 500 warplanes, 90 helicopters, and 50 warships.  It was slated to […]

  • Unquiet on the Far Eastern Front

    From the FWIW department, a video of an anti-war demonstration of 160 people in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, on 5 December 2010. One of the themes of the Shinjuku demo, as shown in this poster, was (to paraphrase rather than translate): “‘China Will Invade Japan’?  Are You Nuts?” In other words, the crazy Japanese right-wingers are […]

  • Globalizing Homophobia

    After September 11th, 2001, one of the liberal justifications for the military intervention against Afghanistan was the oppression of women, but also of gays, by the Taliban.  People in Europe and the USA received with shock the news that same-sex couples were publicly executed in the Kabul Stadium by bringing down a wall upon them […]

  • Waiting for Flying Saucers?

    UAW President Bob King and his corporate partners at GM, Ford, and Chrysler-Fiat will blame the competition they’ve rigged on workers and relentlessly degrade them into believing they are worth less and less as profits rise.  That’s not a guess, it’s the drill. History lessons must be revised before the profiteers of war and labor […]

  • Korea: Still an Unknown War

    Bruce Cumings.  The Korean War: A History.  New York: Modern Library, 2010.  Cloth, $24.00, pp 288. Any time that a book appears by Bruce Cumings, one of our foremost scholars on Korea, it merits attention.  His latest book, The Korean War, is particularly welcome given the recent sharp increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. […]

  • A Letter from Tel Aviv: The Right in Israel Is Playing with Fire

      I am in Tel Aviv.  70 km away from the fires, I cannot even see the smoke cloud above the Haifa area, which is moving into the sea and may reach Cyprus before it comes to me.  The pictures on my plasma TV are, however, very saddening.  You see tens of thousands evacuated from […]

  • Cancun Climate Conference: Some Key Issues

    A year after the chaotic Copenhagen summit, the 2010 UNFCCC climate conference begins in Cancun.  Expectations are low this time around, especially compared to the eve of Copenhagen. That’s probably both good and bad.  The conference last year had been so hyped up beforehand, with so much hopes linked to it, that the lack of […]

  • Currency War and US Imperialism: Interview with Samir Amin

    There has been much publicity about the so-called “currency war” arising from the discussions at the recent G20 meeting.  Can you explain what is meant by currency war? The discourse, the rhetoric, on the currency war is very superficial and even misleading.  As everybody knows, what is being said is that the Chinese yuan is […]

  • Squeezing Iran: The European Connection

    Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are due to start again shortly, and once again the European Union is called upon as a “mediator.”  This is no minor challenge.  With Iran insisting on discussing Israel’s nuclear capacity and the United States preparing a tougher uranium swap agreement, a deal seems as far away as ever.  Nevertheless, […]

  • China’s Export Conundrum

      In 2009, the European Union, United States and Mexico filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against China’s export restrictions on certain raw materials, including bauxite, coke, fluorspar, silicon carbide and zinc.  They said that, firstly, these constraints — in the form of export taxes, quotas, licences and so on — caused […]

  • Can We Afford Cost-Saving Efficiency?

      So there are no technological fixes [to the environmental problem caused by increasing consumption] in sight? I’ve gone on from the basic footprint concept to demonstrate a couple of other interesting spin-offs.  The assumption seems to be, in the mainstream, that improved technology, improved material and energy efficiency will help to solve this problem. […]

  • G-20 Barking Up the Wrong Tree

    If the G-20 is going to be nothing more than a talking shop on economic issues, they ought to at least talk about the economic problems that really matter, and the ones that they can do something about.  Not that currency values don’t matter — they are actually very important.  And it is interesting to […]

  • Wages and Deflation in Japan

      Wages and Depressions Sooner or later any bubble bursts, leading to falling asset prices as investors flee to safe liquidity.  Distress selling and debt liquidation by the market participants follow.  For Irving Fisher (1933), it is of key importance that an asset price deflation leads — via falling asset prices and a distorted financial […]

  • The IMF and Economic Recovery: Is Fund Policy Contributing to Downside Risks?

    Introduction The IMF’s most recent World Economic Outlook (WEO) projects world economic growth will slow, from 4.8 percent in 2010 to 4.2 percent next year.  Throughout the report, there are numerous concerns expressed about the “fragility” of the global economic recovery.  The Acting Chair of the Executive Board states that “[t]he recovery is losing momentum […]

  • G20: The United States and Neo-mercantilism

    Here comes the travail of crisis.  The more they talk about coordination, the more it becomes necessary to concentrate on the conflicts revealed by the very talk of coordination.  The G20 finance ministers’ meeting, held in South Korea on Friday, has already been mortgaged by the case opened by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner regarding […]

  • Playing the Currency Blame Game

    The slanging match over currency and monetary policies at the annual Fund-Bank meetings, held over the second weekend of October, points to the disarray in global economic governance.  While the US sought to mobilise IMF support for an effort to realign exchange rates and ensure an appreciation of the renminbi in the wake of China’s […]

  • The Myth of Expansionary Fiscal Austerity

    Introduction Recently governments, economists, and international financial institutions have been debating the merits of further fiscal stimulus to combat the Great Recession versus fiscal austerity or “adjustment” — that is, higher taxes and/or lower government spending — to combat budget deficits.  Some supporters of austerity have gone as far as arguing that fiscal adjustment could […]

  • Continued Threat of Deflation

    The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent in September as consumer energy price inflation slowed to 0.7 percent after gains of 2.6 and 2.3 percent in July and August.  Overall prices have grown at a 2.7 percent annualized rate over the last three months.  The core CPI remained unchanged over the month and has now […]