Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This is why it's going to get worse

The Old Gray Lady has an article today by Hiroko Tabuchi that blames Japan's two lost decades and current depression, not on government-sponsored zombie banks, lousy central planning, and unsustainable deficit spending that kills investor confidence, but on consumer frugality.  Now intelligent people gave up on The Times as a reliable source years ago, but many of the educated in our society still look at it as a respectable medium.  Here's a simple lesson for Mr. Tabuchi: The root word in capitalism is capital.  The basis of the economic system is that the economy is powered by those with capital.  Consumerism, funded by ever-expanding credit is an unsustainable system that will lead to collapse.  If you have good banks, a frugal citizenry, and a government that lives within its means and thus doesn't take the loans that would go to producers, your country will build capital, which can be lent to the productive class to increase production.  With more production, you create more capital, and can sustainably consume more.  The Austrian School has a famous saying: "Consumption is the reward for Production."  The only things that will stop savings from being turned into increased productivity are: Government deficits crowding out good loans or zombie banks with bad balance sheets taking the savings without the ability to loan.  (This is why those banks must be liquidated.)
I charge The New York Times to not print articles like this.  They should be easy to spot.  If anyone blames our current financial mess on too little consumption or poor consumer confidence, they don't know what they are talking about, and giving them a voice does a disservice to the country.

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