Tag: Japan

The Latest From the Keynesian Front

A couple of years ago, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe instituted a program that made Keynesians everywhere wer their pants with joy. Abenomic consisted of fiscal stimulus (i.e., spending), quantitative easement (aka inflation) and structural reform. The result?

Japan is now in a recession. Oh, and their debt is up 230% of the GDP.

Now doubtless the Keynesians will have explanations for it. Keynesianism can never fail; it can only be failed. The Hoover years didn’t disprove anything. 1946 didn’t. The 1960’s didn’t. The 1970’s didn’t. 1993 didn’t. Like the Communists of old, Keynesians believe their pet theories are proven laws of nature and if the facts don’t fit the theory … well, ignore the facts. Their biggest excuse is that Japan raised sales taxes by 3%. I would submit that if that kind of modest tax hike derails what the Kenyesians themselves labelled as the best test yet of their theories, your theories are bullshit.

Oh, one economy that is starting to grow? Greece’s. This also shouldn’t be happening because of the austerity. Nor, as a matter of fact, should our economy be growing.

At one point does the mere thought begin to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing our minds that Keynesianism doesn’t work?

(All of the above comes with the caveat the most “Keynesians” these days are actually pseudo-Keynesians. They love the part where you spend during a recession. They’re not so keen on cutting spending during growth. Practically, Keynesianism is less an economic theory than an excuse to perpetually grow government.)

Japan v. China

It seems to be Protest Week around the world:

BEIJING — Anti-Japanese demonstrators took to the streets again on Sunday in cities across China, with the government offering mixed signals on whether it would continue to tolerate the sometimes violent outbursts.

Protesters burned a replica of the Japanese flag at a protest in Wuhan, in central China, on Sunday.
The protests were orderly in Beijing, with several hundred people circling in front of the Japanese Embassy demanding Chinese control over a small island group known as Senkaku in Japan and as Diaoyu in China. Protests were also reported in other cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Qingdao.

On Saturday, protests occurred in more than 50 cities, with some violence reported. A factory for the Panasonic Corporation was set on fire in Qingdao, and a Toyota dealership was looted, according to photographs posted on social media sites and local residents reached by telephone.

Poor China. They picked the wrong week for this.

I have to believe that there is a certain amount of staging going on here. Common sense tells us that the Chinese people do not all of the sudden get angry because of some obscure uninhabited island Japan has occupied since 1895 (and one China only became interested in once oil was speculated to be there). The official excuse is because the islands were nationalized by the Japanese government. That nationalization may indicate Japan plans to exploit them soon. So, again, I suspect this is really a dispute over who controls a precious resource; oil, most likely.

(I was just a reading a primer on this and, apparently, China thinks they should be part of Taiwan, a nation neither China nor Japan acknowledges. Foreign relations get very strange sometimes.)

Keep on eye on this one. It sounds like China is rattling the saber a little bit. They do this periodically, usually to distract the populace from some internal trouble (China’s economy is looking bad in the near term). I seriously doubt they want to do anything since we are obligated to protect Japan and a couple of aircraft carrier groups would take out their entire navy and air force.

Radiation vs. radiation..

It’s been a while since the tragedy that struck Japan recently has been front & center, and when it is, it’s always the usual anti-nuclear suspects in the MSM going at it, telling us how horrible this event was and how nuclear energy was too dangerous, so I figured I had to post an interesting find I made to give us some perspective. A post titled “Radiation in Japan” deals with the measured radiation emission experienced by a Silicon Valley techie on a business trip to Japan that took a Geiger counter with him. Only he seems not to have just used it when he was at his destination 50 miles from the melted Fukushima reactor plants, but did the whole trip, then graphed it. Check it out at the link.

Obviously being up 10 kilometers or 6 ¼ miles in the air exposes you to far more radiation – from the sun – than you are going to get at Fukushima. Now, the fact remains that the radiation at Fukushima is a constant, while plane trips usually are not – ask me to tell the joke about the reaction from the old guy when the flight captain came on the announcement system to report that the third engine on his 747 had conked out but that they would still make their destination safely only with a6 hour delay if you need the punch line and a clue to this comment – and that should factor in the big picture, but we should keep in mind that the current radiation levels are certain to be reduced drastically when the Japanese finally finish taking action to encase the damaged reactors, as was seen at Chernobyl.

The point about this post? Most people are woefully ignorant about radiation and nuclear energy, and as someone with an engineering background, this has always ticked me off. Flame on!