In today’s print edition of the Daily Yomiuri Hiroko Ota, Japanese state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, is quoted as saying on Wednesday, Japan must reform its labour market in order to continue growth and increase its productivity in order to compensate for its aging and low birth-rate society. The comments were made during a discussion with Edward Lazear and Matthew Slaughter, both members of US Council of Economic Advisors.
But really should not this be an opportunity to show responsibility for ecological sustainablility by not producing and consuming more, but rather to reduce? While I understand the concern that it is important to maintain the nation’s standard of living this should not be a time to increase it. There is nothing to say that a shrinking economy moving in line with a shrinking population means a lowering of the standard of living. As long as productivity per capita is maintained then increased productivity would be unnecessary and therefore should not be the aim.
In our time of need for global environmental responsibility the government rhetoric should reflect this in their goals and actions. A missed chance for leadership in this area. It is a shame, really. How silly to talk of growth when everything else in the country is shrinking.