To the World of 2024,
Today, March 18, 2015, the Federal Reserve is making another announcement. Everywhere in the financial world the debate is between whether interest rates will be raised or stay the same. I believe by 2024 this will seem ridiculous. To think that one organization carried so much power over the financial well being of so many lives. However, today is has been accepted as financially “normal” by the majority.
Today it would seem that societies around the world have embraced this idea, that centrally planning everything from our money to our sex lives has become the standard.
You may think I jest, but read on.
Recently, I came across the following headline from Bloomberg:
The Japanese Government Is Trying To Figure Out How To Get Its People To Have More Sex, Bloomberg, Jan 25 ‘15
Now I ask you, have the political leaders of Japan gone mad? How far will the role of government reach in Japan? Since they have been hyper printing their currency, the yen, over the last three years, shouldn’t politicians be more concerned about the Bank of Japan wrecking their own economy than sending out surveys or doing interviews with groups to make sure their citizens are having enough sex?
Of course, the real concern of the government is the birthrate, which is falling fast:
“The birthrate is falling fast. By 2060, the population is expected to go down by a third, and, by 2100, if trends continue, by 61 percent. In 2011, sales of adult diapers in Japan exceeded those of baby diapers. It’s an urgent national problem: there isn’t enough procreation.”
So is it any wonder that one of the solutions for this is a tax. Yes, a tax.
“Morinaga Takuro, an economic analyst and TV personality, believes this has something to do with attractiveness. He has suggested a ‘handsome tax’: ‘If we impose a handsome tax on men who look good to correct the injustice only slightly, then it will become easier for ugly men to find love, and the number of people getting married will increase.’”
Fortunately, I am not an ugly man, or at least my wife doesn’t think so. But neither am I handsome enough to fall into the “handsome tax” group.
Like the US, Europe, or other nations following the “centrally planned life” model, the Japanese government wants their citizens to know, that money will be spent to find a solution, as though spending money by a government always leads to a solution.
“Whatever the case, it’s an urgent government concern. In 2014, aware of the dangers of becoming a nation of old folks, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set aside a 3 billion yen ($30 million) for programs aimed at boosting the birthrate, including matchmaking programs.”
Could these studies and programs be taking attention away from the fact that the government has become the “buyer of last resort” for its own stock market – a symbol of “economic growth and opportunity” – literally by printing up trillions in yen solely for the purpose of buying their own government bonds and stock funds?
“Since (Bank of Japan) Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda took office in March 2013 and introduced monetary easing of what he called a “different dimension,” the central bank has sharply increased its buying of baskets of stocks known as exchange-traded funds. By directly underpinning the market, officials have tried to encourage private investors to follow suit and put more money in stocks in the hope of stimulating the economy and increasing inflation.
During the past two years, the central bank entered the stock market roughly once every three days, picking up a total of ¥2.8 trillion ($23 billion) of ETFs that track Japan’s major stock indexes, according to Bank of Japan records. That distinguishes it from the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank, both of which have bought bonds to pump up the economy but haven’t directly bought stocks.”[Original source was from the article, BOJ Helps Tokyo Stocks To Soar: Some Within Bank Worry Over Growing Role in Market, WSJ, March 11, 2015]
The speed of change in the world around us today should be alarming. Yet it would appear that since 2008, whether in Japan, or my country, America, that as long as one’s life is moving along a somewhat predictable path, that the massive increase and intervention by the state (central bankers) in financial markets, or “unlimited” ways to spend money fixing society (politicians), is merely accepted as normal, or at least not with any severe backlash.
Yes it has been this way for years and years, but the speed of change that has taken place since 2008, and especially since 2013, makes it clear that these patterns in markets and society are like the declining birthrate in Japan, totally unsustainable.
The comments in William Pesek’s recent book, Japanization: What the World Can Learn from Japan’s Lost Decades (2014), make it clear that epoch changes are coming much faster, larger, and sooner, than the policies implemented to date by central bankers and national politicians to “fix the problem”:
“Only 1.2 million Japanese turned 20 (in 2012), half as many as in 1970 – a reminder that the population is shrinking as the national debt surges…
Takeshi Fujimaki, a former adviser to billionaire George Soros, is bracing for a fiscal crisis sometime before the Tokyo Olympics. That risk drove him to recently run for an upper house of parliament seat, which he won. ‘I decided to become a politician because I think a financial crisis will come sooner or later,’ Fujimaki said. ‘This total debt will continue to increase. I don’t think Japan can survive until 2020.’
Japan’s debt is approaching 250 percent of GDP. The nation will spend 22.2 trillion yen servicing its debt in the fiscal year begun in April 2013, accounting for more than half of total tax revenue and occupying about 24 percent of the government’s budget.”
Today, it seems that the number one value in society is optimism. I consider myself an optimistic person. But I also believe that when we are facing such incredibly serious social issues like the ones taking place in the world around us, that we must start talking among each other about these serious issues, and seeking answers at the family and local community level, rather than abdicating our sex life and financial futures to the policies being created at the national and international level. Yes these central planners can tap into this “unlimited source of ‘free money'”, but when seen through lessons already written from the story of “unlimited debt to fund unlimited spending by the state” , we know that it has always proven to be an unsustainable path.
It is now March 2015, and the drug of “all time highs” in global wealth indicators seems to have pushed posts like this one to the backburner. But I have also observed a growing crowd that is very concerned about where this is leading all of us, to me, a positive step in the right direction.
We will see where this story in history takes us, as we continue to watch.
A Curious Mind
- You are encouraged to read my recent public article, Free Money; What Could Go Wrong? It provides financial charts of the Japanese Nikkei, the longest DEFLATING stock market pattern in modern history (its all time high taking place on January 3, 1990), and the explosion of assets on the Bank of Japan’s balance sheet since 2012, caused by their current attempts to literally buy up their sovereign bonds and their stock market. Just google the title to find it on the web.