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Economic question

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Apr. 19th, 2003 | 11:53 am

So I had this intuitive flash, and I have little way to determine how true it is.

I've read about the stagnant Japanese economy, and how the recession has lasted 10 years or more. I was wondering if that's just what happens when an economy reaches dynamic equalibrium.

My guess is that unlike Americans who've been tought to desire without limits, the Japanese people hit some limit of how much stuff they were willing to own. Since the current philosophy of how economic systems are supposed to work is based on continued exponential growth it was determined that their economy has "failed" because it stopped growing.

Since I believe that exponential growth will eventually hit some limiting condinition and stop, I was wondering if perhaps what happened to the Japanese economy is just what happens to sufficiently mature economies?

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Comments {3}

her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Apr. 19th, 2003 12:09 pm (UTC)
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My guess is that unlike Americans who've been tought to desire without limits, the Japanese people hit some limit of how much stuff they were willing to own.

Mmm, I think that's an overly romantic view of modern-day Japan. From what I saw of the country (in the measly three months I lived there), it seemed pretty darned materialistic to me. You think advertising is bad here? It was ten times worse in Japan.

The significant difference, however, is that it's an island nation. So the citizens there face certain constraints in size that we in our huge-landmassed country of America don't face. That is, despite a willingness to own more more more! a lot of Japanese just can't. There's no room. Hence the demand for smaller appliances/cars/everything than is sold in the United States.

(This same constraint of size applies to the citizens of many European cities as well---while we like to imagine that culturally they may be less materialistic, I don't think we can deny that physical limitations play a very large, if not primary, role also.)

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Apr. 19th, 2003 12:28 pm (UTC)
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Well so much for hoping that other cultures have learned that there is a point called "enough". But running out of space to put things is still a valid constraint to limit exponential economic growth leaving the rest of my argument intact.

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her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Apr. 19th, 2003 01:05 pm (UTC)
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But running out of space to put things is still a valid constraint to limit exponential economic growth leaving the rest of my argument intact.

Oh sure. And that's another reason to decry urban sprawl!

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