Sunday, February 5, 2012

Get Your Gaman On

The other day, I quoted Howard Davies explaining the big macroeconomic advantage of a country like Latvia over a country like Greece:
Latvia could make austerity work because they'd been in the USSR for 50 years, they were used to unpleasant and dramatic things happening. The population would accept incredible privation. 
As a sort of followup, here's a letter from one Mr. Zachary Pessin, in yesterday's FT:
I have often thought that acclimatisation to a depressed economic environment is a state of mind that the Japanese have adjusted to... I first went to Japan in 1995 to live for a semester, then lived there full-time from 1999 to 2002. I have been every year since, save the last two. So, for 15 years I have seen how a generation of Japanese lost pride in their country, lost hope of an inspiring life and came to terms with the drudgery.
"Yikes," you're probably thinking, "Lost pride, lost hope and drudgery? That sounds awful -- we'd better figure out fast how to avoid it." Well, if that is what you're thinking, then you'd better think again. Losing hope is the whole point. The Japanese, Pessin says, are
a decade ahead of us in dealing with the world we now live in. ... Perhaps you know the Japanese term gaman, which is effectively translated as “to persevere valiantly through pain or difficulty; stoic determination”. This too will be another import from Japan, because they have been living in the House of Gaman for almost 20 years now, and we Americans are just arriving. And make no mistake, the deleveraging that must continue across the US economy for at least another five to eight years at best will keep us walking the precipice of deflation for at least that long. There will be a need for gaman.
I don't know how much pain or drudgery is in store for Zac Pessin personally, given that he is President and Chief Executive of the Distributed Capital Group; you can find him here crowing about double-digit returns on his investments in sub-Saharan Africa. But it's nice of our masters to let us know about the sacrifices we will be expected to make on their behalf.

Those who take the meat from the table
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the taxes are destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.

15 comments:

  1. Brecht was the lead quote in my dissertation.

    and another from Mother Courage

    "Who's Defeated?The defeats and victories of the fellows at the top aren't always defeats and victories for the fellows at the bottom. Not at all. There have been cases where a defeat is a victory for those at the bottom. Its only their honor that's lost"

    ReplyDelete
  2. The premise of Pessin's stoic ode is false. Japan has not been suffering from economic deprivation.

    Western commentators love to bash the Japanese economy, because it's paternalistic model tempers market competition with a modicum of social obligation. But that model still stacks up well against laissez-faire rivals.

    In December, the last stats I could find, Japan's unemployment rate was 4.6 percent. That low figure is typical of the two so-called "lost decades" of the 1990s and 2000s, when Japan was allegedly mired in stagnation. The "drudgery" the Japanese have been languishing under is the drudgery of full employment.

    It's true that during that period Japan's GDP growth wasn't gangbusters. But a lot of that is because of demographic changes that saw the labor force shrink a bit. Japan's per capita GDP growth and standard of living grew steadily through that period.

    The Japanese are substantially richer and more secure than they were ten and twenty years ago, so it's no wonder that they're bearing their hardships with such exemplary resignation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wonder about Mr. Zachary Pessin's conception of 'pride in their country' and 'an inspiring life'.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Will,

    Good point. Obviously it doesn't make his suggestion that what Americans need to do is give up hope any less grotesque, but you're right, Japan is a very strange country to use to make the point. Because on almost any social indicator -- not just employment but life expectancy, health outcomes, education, crime, income distribution, etc. -- Japan looks much better than the US. Of course the one group that really has had a lost decade is owners of capital. (One wonders who Pessin was talking to.) I wonder how much the lost decade discourse in Japan parallels the way the 1970s, which was a period of rapidly rising wages and living standards for the large majority of households (and the most egalitarian income distribution in modern US history), not to mention huge cultural progress in areas like equal rights for women, the beginning of environmentalism, etc. (and the best movies), are treated as some kind of economic disaster, presumably because it was a period when owners of financial assets did so poorly.

    There are a bunch of new books out about the 1970s, would be interesting to think about.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Average hourly earnings adjusted for the CPI, however, declined steadily from early 1973 till early 1982 in the US.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not exactly. There was a rise between '75 and '78, between the two big drops.

    It's interesting that earnings/CPI continued to drop until the Clinton presidency. The only notable rise was between '95 and 2000.

    Bush brought that to a screeching halt.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=4Tk

    Cheers!
    JzB

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes, the 70s comparison was sort of off the cuff. Not sure it makes sense on further thought...

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Josh,

    What especially doesn't make sense is the part about the 70s having the best movies.

    Hollywood's Golden Age in the 30s-50s--those movies are true humanist works of art. Everything that came after is unwatchable. (Godfathers excepted.)

    ReplyDelete
  9. And 2001: a Space Odyssey excepted.

    Maybe a few others.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Davidbenjaminltd@outlook.com is indeed the right place to get your blank ATM card. Much has been said about this company which i saw online about their reliability and certified services am reaffirming this because i have tested them too and they are trusted. I got my card 4 days ago and it took just 2 days for it to be delivered to me after i made all necessary payments. If you are tired of wasting your money an time on fake companies then davidbenjaminltd@outlook.com is the right place

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have being hearing about this blank ATM card for a while and i never really paid any interest to it because of my doubts. Until one day i discovered a hacking guy called Engineer Michare, he is really good at what he is doing. Back to the point, I inquired about The Blank ATM Card. If it works or even Exist. They told me Yes and that its a card programmed for random money withdraws without being noticed and can also be used for free online purchases of any kind. This was shocking and i still had my doubts. Then i gave it a try and asked for the card and agreed to their terms and conditions. Hoping and praying it was not fake. One week later i received my card and tried with the closest ATM machine close to me, It worked like magic. I was able to withdraw up to $6000. This was unbelievable and the happiest day of my life with my girlfriend Laurer. So far i have being able to withdraw up to $78000 without any stress of being caught. I don't know why i am posting this here, i just felt this might help those of us in need of financial stability. blank ATM has really change my life. If you want to contact them, Here is the email address (micharelatmhacker@gmail.com). call and text him +18508008129 And I believe they will also Change your life

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hack and take money directly from any ATM Machine Vault with the use of ATM Programmed Card which runs in automatic mode. email (paulfranciscardhacker@yandex.com) for how to get it and it cost,and how to also hack credit cards and send the money to your self,we are located around the world, these cards works on any ATM machine and it works according to it's activation.

    ………. EXPLANATION OF HOW THESE CARD WORKS……….

    You just slot in these card into any ATM Machine and it will automatically bring up a MENU of 1st VAULT #1,000, 2nd VAULT #5,000, RE-PROGRAMMED, EXIT, CANCEL. Just click on either of the VAULTS, and it will take you to another SUB-MENU of ALL, OTHERS, EXIT, CANCEL. Just click on others and type in the amount you wish to withdraw from the ATM and you have it cashed instantly… Done.

    ***NOTE: DON’T EVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF CLICKING THE “ALL” OPTION. BECAUSE IT WILL TAKE OUT ALL THE AMOUNT OF THE SELECTED VAULT. To get the card email (paulfranciscardhacker@yandex.com)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hack and take money directly from any ATM Machine Vault with the use of ATM Programmed Card which runs in automatic mode. email (paulfranciscardhacker@yandex.com) for how to get it and it cost,and how to also hack credit cards and send the money to your self,we are located around the world, these cards works on any ATM machine and it works according to it's activation.

    ………. EXPLANATION OF HOW THESE CARD WORKS……….

    You just slot in these card into any ATM Machine and it will automatically bring up a MENU of 1st VAULT #1,000, 2nd VAULT #5,000, RE-PROGRAMMED, EXIT, CANCEL. Just click on either of the VAULTS, and it will take you to another SUB-MENU of ALL, OTHERS, EXIT, CANCEL. Just click on others and type in the amount you wish to withdraw from the ATM and you have it cashed instantly… Done.

    ***NOTE: DON’T EVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF CLICKING THE “ALL” OPTION. BECAUSE IT WILL TAKE OUT ALL THE AMOUNT OF THE SELECTED VAULT. To get the card email (paulfranciscardhacker@yandex.com)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hack and take money directly from any ATM Machine Vault with the use of ATM Programmed Card which runs in automatic mode. email (paulfranciscardhacker@yandex.com) for how to get it and it cost,and how to also hack credit cards and send the money to your self,we are located around the world, these cards works on any ATM machine and it works according to it's activation.

    ………. EXPLANATION OF HOW THESE CARD WORKS……….

    You just slot in these card into any ATM Machine and it will automatically bring up a MENU of 1st VAULT #1,000, 2nd VAULT #5,000, RE-PROGRAMMED, EXIT, CANCEL. Just click on either of the VAULTS, and it will take you to another SUB-MENU of ALL, OTHERS, EXIT, CANCEL. Just click on others and type in the amount you wish to withdraw from the ATM and you have it cashed instantly… Done.

    ***NOTE: DON’T EVER MAKE THE MISTAKE OF CLICKING THE “ALL” OPTION. BECAUSE IT WILL TAKE OUT ALL THE AMOUNT OF THE SELECTED VAULT. To get the card email (paulfranciscardhacker@yandex.com)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I’m KINBALY JAMAIS, I contracted HIV in 2011, I was told by my doctor that there’s no possible cure for HIV. I started taking my ARV’s, My CD4 was 77 and viral load was 112,450. I saw a website of Dr.Amadu, also I saw a lot of testimonials about him on how he uses herbal medicine to cure HIV. I contacted him and told him my problems, He sent me the herbal medicine and I took it for 7 days after then I went for check-up and I was cured. The medicine has NO SIDE EFFECT, there’s no special diet when taking the medicine. He also cure ALS, HEPATITIS B, CANCER, HERPES and lots more. You can reach him on drwhiteherbalhome@gmail.com or .call/Whats-app +2348162050558


    ReplyDelete