Sunday, November 09, 2008


Until recently, I laughed when I would hear some politician in Japan (or to a lessor extent, a business leader) lecture the US or other countries about "free trade"---whatever that is.

I cannot do so anymore, as I can no longer consider such lectures hypocritical:

Democratic leaders in Congress urged the Bush administration on Saturday to consider using the $700 billion bailout for the financial system to aid distressed American automakers, in a prelude to what may become urgent negotiations over additional economic stimulus measures. New York Times

What is next? Over the last year, Starbucks has been having lower sales in the US; certainly, its stock has gone down. Perhaps it too is too big to fail. Walmart? Why wait? Why not send them several billion before they get into trouble. McDonalds? Why not? Dairy Queen, if it still exists, ought to get at least a billion or so as we don't wanna discriminate against smaller companies.

I may go back to the US and start up some sort of company, hire a few folks, and then wait for problems so that Uncle Sam can transfer tax dollars (or loans/investments of foreign origin) to me. Can I do that in Japan too? Why not? Get some US investors, start Happy Boy's English Fun Palace and Baked Beans and wait for failure---although in the eikaiwa racket it might just succeed. I won't even need a billion. A few million is enough for me.

From a near religious belief in "free trade" to---I don't know what else to call it---near socialism. There is a change coming and I don't think it has a lot to do with what President-elect Obama does or doesn't do. Of course, it could all just pass like the gasoline crisis did along with the sudden and short-lived embracing of greener energy sources.

Being as volatile as the markets have been recently, I am now wondering if Japan is actually closer to reality in the way it has set up its economy/markets? If only the US could get another country/region to depend on for exports while restricting/regulating access to its markets more than it does now...

No comments:

Post a Comment