The Times says Japan is “disheartened.” It hasn’t looked at Japan’s trade figures — or America’s.
The New York Times yesterday carried a major article headlined “Japan Goes from Dynamic to Disheartened.” Rarely has the truth of the Japanese economy been so completely misrepresented. This article is a highly selective pastiche of isolated hard-luck stories plus spin from propagandistic sources (as close observers have long understood, the Japanese establishment exaggerates Japan’s weaknesses and understates its strengths, the better to stay out of Washington’s sights on trade). Worse, key “facts” are indisputably wrong.
Posted in Japan, Press
Tagged disheartened, japan, japanese gdp, mark skousen, martin fackler, naka-dori, new york times, roppongi hills, tokyo midtown, vuitton, yen
Current U.S. trade policies were first tried by the Ottoman empire. As I show in this article — first published in the August 2010 issue of the American Conservative – America’s decline is proceeding even faster.
Here’s an economic history test:
1. Which Great Power pioneered the secular trend towards freer international trade?
2. Which Great Power first resorted to spiraling foreign indebtedness to pay for its wars?
3. Which Great Power first permitted large-scale foreign direct investment in its domestic industries and infrastructure?
Posted in History, Trade
Tagged birdal, economies of scale, foreign debts, mercantilism, ottoman, pat choate, tariffs, trade, value added tax, vat
John Kennedy’s ambassador to Japan is the subject of a new biography. Unfortunately, as I point out in this review (which was first published in the June 2010 issue of the American Conservative), the author’s agenda has little to do with the truth.
- Edwin O. Reischauer and the American Discovery of Japan, George R. Packard, Columbia University Press, 368 pages
Before there was Beatlemania, there was Reischauermania. Admittedly, the latter was more localized and, of course, it is not much remembered these days. But it was huge at the time, and in the end it may prove to have left a bigger mark on history.
Posted in Book reviews, History, Japan
Tagged cartel, detroit, galbraith, harvard, japan, mercantilism, packard, reischauer, renault, wanted: an asian policy
This is a longer version of an article I have just published in the journal of the Overseas Press Club of America.
Former Tokyo correspondents held a reunion at the Overseas Press Club in New York in March at which I was a speaker, and I was less than flattering about recent coverage of Japan. On the principle that it is as well to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, I herewith offer more detail on my strictures.
Although in the space available I cannot do a comprehensive job of debunking conventional coverage (for more details, see my books), I list below six myths that can be readily disposed of in a few sentences.
The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times slept while Bernie Madoff swindled. [Article first published in CounterPunch. To read the original click here.]
An old maxim has it that newspaper editors separate the wheat from the chaff, then print the chaff. By this standard, the editors of the Wall Street Journal have shown special deftness in their handling of the Madoff affair.
They used the occasion of whistleblower Harry Markopolos’ testimony in Washington recently to address seemingly every minuscule detail of the scam. They even published an irrelevant, if lovingly crafted, floor plan of Bernard Madoff’s office in the Midtown Manhattan Lipstick building.
Yet, in all their apparent desire to “flood the zone” (maybe they’re angling for a Pulitzer!), one detail was missing. Not a word of explanation was offered about the curious role played by the Journal’s own Washington-based investigative reporter John R. Wilke.
Posted in Press, Service economy
Tagged chittum, counterpunch, deogun, front-running, garrity, gerald seib, gretchen morgenson, howard kurtz, madoff, markopolos, michael lewis, mort zuckerman, nexis, paul steiger, red flag, wilke
The American radio industry’s top liberal talk show host has had some nice things to say about my book on China. That’s flattering. What’s even more flattering is that he has read the book. Really read it, that is.
One of the more discouraging things I have learned in a writing career that now stretches back nearly 40 years is that few people read books. They buy books; they talk about books; they deck out their living room shelves with books; they like to be photographed with books. But that does not mean they actually read books.
In my experience, even book reviewers rarely get much beyond the first chapter. They then move straight to the last few pages of the final chapter before writing a review. This will consist mainly of a statement of the reviewer’s opinions not on the book but rather on the underlying topic that the book addresses. If the reviewer agrees with the author’s opinions on this topic (which the author will probably, if he is doing his job, have withheld until the last few pages), this will come through loud and clear. Equally if the reviewer disagrees, this too will be evident. But the basic point is that the review will be about opinions, those of the author and those of the reviewer, with the latter’s holding center-stage.