Japan and the World Economy through the lens of MMT – video presentation

Today, I make available a video session that I recorded in Japan while I was working there in the latter part of this year. It sets out a range of interesting topics that form, in part, the research program that my colleagues and I at Kyoto University have mapped out to work on in the coming year. I hope that by the end of 2023 we will have advanced this program and perhaps will be able to stage some sort of event (Covid permitting) in Japan later next year to spread the knowledge.

Japan and the World Economy through the lens of MMT

One of the things I did while working in Japan recently was to record footage with my colleague at Kyoto University, Professor Satoshi Fujii where we discussed a range of issues about Japan and the global economy.

The discussion is part of a series of presentations that we will produce in the coming year including the publication of a jointly authored book on these matters.

It was a very long session and was recorded on November 3, 2022.

There was no script – just a few topics that we were interested in discussing.

It was designed to tease out a range of research issues.

There were some graduate students from Kyoto University in attendance and the multimedia unit at the University provided the media skills.

Thanks to that unit for their editing etc.

There was an interpreter present just in case we needed clarification of anything that was said – you know my Australian drawl! – and she was fantastic.

The following timeline roughly captures the way in which the conversation unfolded.

I have provided it because the session was very long and you might just be interested in certain topics.

00:00 to 02:45 Introduction
02:25 to 13:00 Japanese economic condition pre-pandemic – ‘the lost decade’, the 1991 property crash.
13:00 to 26:30 Discussion about sales tax hikes in Japan and its impact on Japanese household consumption and wages growth. Role of household debt.
26:30 to 36:00 Role of mainstream economists in sales tax hikes in Japan and the impact on public and private debt. Rise of austerity thinking in Japan.
36:00 to 46:00 The advent of deflation in Japan and negative impact on business investment and the retention of earnings.
46:00 to 54:40 Denial of economists of their failures with respect to sales tax. Rise of Groupthink.
54:40 to 1:05:00 The onset of inflation in Japan and the World in 2021. Transitory versus structural forces and analysis of central bank policy.
1:05:00 to 1:14:00 Discussion about corporate taxation and biases of policy under neoliberalism towards shareholders.
1:14:00 to 1:33:00 Specific focus on current interest rate hikes – lack of clarity in monetary policy. Is inflation a return to the 1970s?
1:33:00 to 1:40:00 The GFC and the way fiscal policy responded.
1:40:00 to 1:44:00 The avoidance of criticism by Japanese politicians and targetted policy to low income households.
1:44:00 to 1:49:00 The way governments of all ideological persausion became instantly pragmatic during the early days of the pandemic.
1:49:00 to 1:51:00 The impact of government fiscal expansion during Covid on public perception of fiscal deficits etc.
1:51:00 to 1:56:30 Discussion about low unemployment and the value of job security in Japan.
1:56:30 to 1:57:00 Low inflation leads to wage suppression.
1:57:00 to 1:59:30 The importance of tolerance in Japan in suppressing dissent.
1:59:00 to 2:16:00 The challenges for the future of Japan – health, climate, ageing society, decentralisation. How austerity undermines the future.
2:!6:20 to 2:19:30 The misuse of the work of Adam Smith – social stability.
2:19:30 to 2:25:00 Impact of US pressure on Japanese regulations and problems for food security. Localism versus globalisation.
2:25:00 to 2:31:00 North Korea, global instability. Return to national self sufficiency.
2:31:00 to END Casual discussion about Zen diets etc.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2022 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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