Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Paul Krugman Channels Abe, Humblebrags

“… Japan never had the kind of employment and human disaster we’ve experienced since 2008. Indeed, our policy response has been so inadequate that I’ve suggested that American economists who used to be very harsh in their condemnations of Japanese policy, a group that includes Ben Bernanke and, well, me, visit Tokyo to apologize to the emperor. We have, after all, done even worse.”

Paul Krugman has an op-ed that should be appearing any time now on Prime Minister Abe’s FB page. Just one paragraph should suffice to give you an idea of what it says about the fiscal-monetary policy package.

“But Mr. Abe returned to office pledging to end Japan’s long economic stagnation, and he has already taken steps orthodoxy says we mustn’t take. And the early indications are that it’s going pretty well.”

But the quintessential Krugmanism here is the sequence that I copied at the top. Of course Krugman, unlike Bernanke, had no role in the policy response to the ongoing global financial crisis. It’s like Soichi Ohya’s post-WW II ichioku souzange; by sharing in the responsibility, h*He’s condemning the ones who have actually been in charge.

* See comments for clarification.

That said, as METI rebel Hiroyuki Kishi tweets, “If only a solid growth strategy follows…”


Michael Thomas Cucek said...

Okumura-san -

I believe you have the ichioku sange reference backwards: by requiring that everyone reflect, Oya let off the hook those who were responsible for the disaster.

Jun Okumura said...


Actually, I got my history totally wrong. It was Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni-no-miya and the effect, if not the intent, was more or less what you indicate here. I even managed to get it mixed up with ichioku so-hakuchika, a takeoff on PNH’s plea that Ohya coined in 1957 as a criticism of the dumbing down effect of television on the Japanese public. At the time, most Japanese watched television in the public bathhouses or at electric appliances storefronts. Sadly for Ohya, the TV-set buying binge just before the 1959 royal marriage made sure that television would be available at all hours of the day (and increasingly, late night and dawn) in every household.

You do not want to grow old…