Courtesy of Dean Baker, one of my favorite economists, I read this interesting article about Shinzo Abe’s stimulus plan in Japan. It turns out that, contrary to the assertion of venal hacks like Fareed Zakaria, the Abe government’s intervention in the economy has done a lot of good. What makes the success of Abenomics so critical is that it serves as a rebuttal to the junk economics pervading the financialized West. Be sure to throw Abe in the face of the next neoliberal/libertarian who waxes eloquent about “balanced budgets.”
Speaking of balance, this article got me thinking once again about the differences between the liberal West and the rest. In most countries, mild economic populism and mixed private/public economies coexist with a strong sense of nationalism. Indeed, Shinzo Abe has been branded an “arch-nationalist” by mainstream outlets such as the Economist. As Abe shows, sane nations look after their people while simultaneously erecting walls against mass immigration and cultural leftism.
By contrast, the United States eschews this normal balance in favor of a bizarre combination of cutthroat neoliberal economics and SJW lunacy. Under this wonderful system, big corporations prove how enlightened they are by standing up for gays and transsexuals – all while paying their CEOs 300 times as much as their regular workers (Japanese CEOs earn far less). The United States is a land where we celebrate the diversity of our people, most of whom devote large chunks of their income to paying a diverse range of parasitic rentiers. We may be atomized, alienated, and economically insecure, but at least we can eat out at “ethnic” restaurants; well, when we can occasionally afford to.
What makes this arrangement so untenable is that it’s hard to maintain harmony when resources are increasingly scarce. It’s difficult to see the Other as a brother when he could potentially take your job. At some point, the U.S. will either have to work towards genuine economic justice (unlikely) or find a way to maintain a white majority and reject cultural liberalism (even more unlikely). Otherwise, expect turbulence in the years ahead.
While many might rightly contend that you cannot compare the United States to Japan, the leadership of Shinzo Abe nevertheless shows that there are alternatives to our current economic and cultural rot.