Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yes we can or can we?

Japan has had its first change in government in over 50 years as the liberals led by Yukio Hatoyama swept to a landslide victory. The man who is about to become Japan’s next prime minister condemned "US-led market fundamentalism" and vowed to shield his nation from unrestricted globalisation and move Japan toward a regional currency union and away from the unstable Dollar.
In an essay published in the Japanese magazine Voice, Mr. Hatoyama wrote that the global economy had "damaged traditional economic activities" while market fundamentalism had destroyed "local communities", citing the decision by Junichiro Koizumi, former prime minister, to privatize Japan's post office.

"... we will not implement policies that leave economic activities in areas relating to human lives and safety, such as agriculture, the environment and medicine, at the mercy of the tides of globalism," Mr. Hatoyama wrote. He went on to state a need for better welfare, more child support and wealth redistribution.

The sentiment of Japan’s voters has been moving in this direction for more than ten years since the attempt to rescue their economy in the 90’s by giving truck loads of money to their large banks was a dismal failure. The conservative government meanwhile was moving in the opposite direction by allowing American business practices such as importing labor and the use of temp workers to drive down wages. The recent slump led to massive layoffs and in turn deportations of ethnic Japanese that had been encouraged to emigrate back to Japan after generations abroad.

These layoffs also produced something the Japanese had not seen since the war, homeless people living in the streets. Americans still take these scenes for granted since Reagan dumped the chronically mentally ill on the curb. Today the majority of county jail inmates should be mental health patients and millions of working poor are tucked away in hidden camps or populating parking lots at night. Japanese voters completely replaced their entire government for just a fraction of what we take for granted every day. Yes we can, or can we? www.prairie2.com


Athanasor said...

We can't - survival becomes an enervating and bone wearying task. The level of general ignorance is rising much faster than the sea level.

Your posts almost always seamlessly blend into my own observations.

Found you via Mike Malloy's show.

Anonymous said...

"[S]hield his nation from unrestricted globalisation and move Japan toward a regional currency union and away from the unstable Dollar" of course means cooperation or membership in the SCO/BRIC economic organizations and agreements. Prarie2's previous posts have provided these details while referencing Dr Michael Hudsons Perspective on these events. (I believe very correct)
Dr Hudson has recently refocused on Iceland and their economic destruction by the banking thieves. They will of course turn to Russia/SCO for economic survival and trade. See/listen to Guns and Butter - "Iceland Recovering From Neoliberal Disaster" - August 19, 2009 at 1:00pm
With Dr. Michael Hudson on Iceland's banking crisis and foreign debt; it's decision to push back against IMF and World Bank austerity; andGuns and Butter - August 26, 2009 at 1:00pm
"Dress Rehearsal For Debt Peonage" with economist Dr. Michael Hudson on why the banks are returning the bailout money; bank fees and penalties; banks prefer default to foreclosure; debt as wealth;http://www.kpfa.org/archive/show/34/2009/08

Pandabonium said...

Good post.

As a resident of Japan of some five years (and intending to stay on indefinitely) I really welcome this change. The JDP has its work cut out for it, and some of the things they advocated during the election campaign are silly and not popular, even among folks who voted for the JDP (rather large monetary support for families with kids in school, making toll roads free) but those are minor compared to the sea change in the focus of Japan's government.

notoriousqed said...

Since the election of Mr. Hatoyama, the reorganization of the Japanese Government has hit a slight snag.

The structure of government in Japan relies on professional ministers that then report to the Diet. These people are the leading experts in their respective fields, like Finance and Industry, to name a few.

The dying acts of the Liberal Democratic (read- Conservative) Party was to stack the ministries with operatives that remain loyal to the Liberal Democratic Party; in sum, they will remain in power for the near future at least.

The biggest problem for any change of government is to first find the levers of power. And if they are relying on the ministers that have been recently seated, the likelihood of obstruction is very real.

Pandabonium said...

Bureaucrats in Japan are career minded and will adjust to the new PM. Hatoyama and the DPJ are well aware of what and who they need to deal with.