Japan’s economy has been stranded by the same moronic scheme announced by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Japanese politics is an impenetrable hive-mind of graft and just-so stories, but the fundamentals of the economic problems are shockingly similar. And I try not to sprinkle the internet’s favorite word about too much.
Japan, inc. was overvalued and when the walls came down, nobody got out. Yet an unwillingness to allow real corrections has resulted in a state of suspended economic activity, where the official policy is zero interest, and everybody’s still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Periodically you see headlines announcing that the worst is over, that they’ve turned a corner, that this at long last is the real bottom, except that nobody actually believes it. The media, the government, the business community, the voters, the banks; all agree that things are looking up–and nobody invests. Because really, everybody knows that the correction has only been deferred.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the above description applies to both countries. Or that Japan’s disastrous last two decades are now our immediate future. In the immortal words of General Akbar, it’s a trap.