The Economy

Me: Hi Japan. What’s going on with your economy?

Japan: The usual. Why?

Me: I keep hearing that it’s “stagnating” or “stagflating” or “sluggish” or a “train wreck”.

Japan: It is.

Me: And there’s a “lost generation” that can’t find really amazing jobs and earn buckets of cash every month.

Japan: They can’t.

Me: And your GDP isn’t seventeen double digits above the baseline macro index for economic growth forecasts in the second half of the Dow Smith fiscal trimester.

Japan: Something tells me you’re not an economist.

Me: All of this must have had lots of very negative impacts on your society.

Japan: Oh yes. Absolutely.

Me: Such as?

Japan: Well, as you said finding a decent job these days is tough.

Me: Right. Finding a job isn’t easy. What else?

Japan: People are earning less now. Wages have come down dramatically since the 90s.

Me: How much were people earning before?

Japan: Oh, shit loads. Business men got their bonuses delivered in wheel barrows.

Me: And it’s subsequently come down to normal levels since the bubble burst?

Japan: Yeah, i guess.

Me: And what other major society-breaking, life-affecting problems have occurred since then?

Japan: Well, erm, there’s the, er…let me think…

Me: …

Japan: …

Me: Haven’t you still got one of the highest life expectancies in the world with some of the healthiest people even with your half-arsed smoking laws and steep suicide rates?

Japan: Er…yeah. I think so.

Me: And you’ve got one of the highest rates of literacy and numeracy and low rates or alcoholism and drug abuse.

Japan: Yeah…but this year’s growth forecast isn’t looking great. Again.

Me: Aren’t your crime and incarceration rates are really low? Don’t you have universal health care and an absence of obesity?

Japan: Yeah, but last years’ numbers weren’t good at all. Just look at those graphs.

Me: You’ve got low rates of teenage pregnancy and mental illness. You’ve got the best public transport infrastructure on earth that can take people to all corners of you quickly and cleanly.

Japan: Yeah, look, you’re totally missing the point.

Me: Sure, you’re not perfect and your financial system isn’t anywhere within driving distance of being in awesome tip-top shape, apparently, but all of the above has continued whilst your economy has “faltered” and “stuttered”. Daily life is still pretty comfortable isn’t it? Has any of this really changed? How have you suffered?

Japan: Well, i’ve been left behind. China’s now the second biggest economy in the world. I’m number three.

Me: And?

Japan: Well, they’ve overtaken me.

Me: So?

Japan: So, well, erm, their economy is bigger than mine.

Me: And that means it’s a better place to live?

Japan: China? God no. Have you seen it? It’s a fantastic mess.

Me: Right.

Japan: But their graphs do look good. I mean, you can’t beat looking at an economic graph and statistics for finding out how nice a country is to live in, can you?

Me: Have you ever thought of looking at some other graphs and statistics?

Japan: Hell no. What would that tell me?

Me: Well…who knows?


November 29, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. Things You Realize After You Get Married replied:

    Very cleverly written. People look at a country’s economic forecast (and stats) in order to determine how it fares or ranks in the world, but perhaps the well-being (via a well-being index which is starting to be used in Canada) of the people who live in that country is a better indicator…..Congrats in being FP!

  2. tokyobling replied:

    Hilarious. Well put!

  3. segmation replied:

    Japan sure has lots of news! But I think Japan needs facts, don’t you?

  4. seahorseviet replied:

    Fantastic post!

  5. bluebeadpublications replied:

    You summarize their viewpoint quite well.

  6. Argus replied:

    I like it. I also very much like the way you’ve laid out your blog — clean, crisp, no clutter; just content.

    (And do I detect a closet cynic?)

  7. freshlypressedisbiased replied:

    i don’t get it.

  8. Michael (contemplativemoorings) replied:

    Somehow, the desperately poor (who are far more affected by economic stagnation than the average person) never factor into these commentaries…I mean, as long as the middle and upper classes are dtill doing fine, who really cares, right?…

    Funny post tho 😉

  9. Pandaren replied:

    Love your posts! I like Japan’s personality; he (or she?) is quite feisty!

  10. OyiaBrown replied:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  11. dale100889 replied:

    This got a good laugh out of me.
    Materialism has come to define a generation I’m afraid…

  12. foldedcranes replied:

    [Smart comment of choice].

    My remarks instead limited only to: This is sensational.

  13. danielwilcock replied:

    Reblogged this on abstract utility and commented:
    An excellent dose of dry humor about Japan’s economy

  14. Emily Cannell replied:

    The only problem is on the horizon. Not enough babies being born to replace the elderly moving in to the system.In the end, a shrinking work force will still have to pay for taking care of these centenarians.

    • tokyobling replied:

      On the other hand, you’ll be hard pressed to find a genkier population of centenarians! And don’t worry – there won’t be any pensions when we turn 65. We’ll work until we drop! (^-^)

      • Emily Cannell replied:

        You are so right! The word genki was developed just to describe the centenarians riding the buses!

  15. Hardik Gohil replied:

    Superb conversation…. Keep it up….!

  16. Hardik Gohil replied:

    Reblogged this on The Way I See It.

  17. bgpronto replied:

    Reblogged this on BgPronto and commented:

  18. brentdsheffield replied:

    I read the whole thing and I have ADHD. You have extremely clever writing my friend/

  19. Old Gaulian replied:

    I think the important distinction is between simply the economy and the socio-economy. The economy as a whole takes into account a whole lot of factors, from GDP to employment – and while on the face of it, particularly in the media, the focus is on increase in economic growth, there certainly is scope to look at a country’s unemployment rate and assess the strength of the economy. Socio-economic analysis however looks at the relationship between the economy and society. Your brilliantly written post brings into focus that integral relationship and the requirement for governments to look further into the interaction between economic policies and society as a collection of self-interested individuals.

  20. newbon replied:

    Reblogged this on Newbons Blog and commented:
    Putting things in perspective, a great blog piece – A Conversation with Japan.

  21. alfredo239047 replied:

    I enjoyed reading this. Thanks!.

  22. legendsofyouth replied:

    Seriously great post, thanks for sharing! Sometimes we are too quick to forget other world affaires. Congrats on FP!

  23. KS replied:

    awesome 🙂

  24. James R. Clawson replied:

    Interesting blog! USA sure could use some pointers and help in this area at this time. Most of the time nations have looked up to us , but now seem to be looking down on us. I think the world is in an economic crisis including Japan. Hopefully the leaders of these nations can work it out and turn the tide!

  25. www, replied:

    LOL i love the back and forth of this. Very creative and well written. I give you props on the level of creativity you served here. i think quality of life has dramatically reduced here (USA) compared to the rest of the world.

  26. Zach replied:

    I love your entries. This was perfectly clever!

  27. labioactivo replied:

    Reblogged this on labioactivo.

  28. Colin Pinks replied:

    Reblogged this on Colin Pinks and commented:
    ‘Me’ and ‘Japan’ discuss why looking beyond the media mantra of growth, GDP and stats, might be worthwhile.

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