As a freshman in high school I was the coxswain of the boys' 5th (top novice) crew. Our crew was: Chris Perkins (stroke), Jacques Lilly (3), Nelson Hayden (2) and Carl "Mario" Lanza (bow). At 5-0 we were undefeated, and following the old tradition of "betting shirts" I had 5 war trophies that I wore proudly until they became too small or tattered.
I credit Mr. Erhard and also Galen Brewster for instilling in me a love and appreciation for crew that remains untarnished all these years.
It seems that the French, at least, have not lost sight of the value of education. They require that students spend time grappling with some of the great ideas of Western philosophy and then demonstrate understanding by using them in their own arguments. This seems in contradistinction to the trend in the States, where increasingly education is viewed as a form of vocational training.
The idea behind philosophy was itself entirely philosophical.
In the newly created republic (and yes, I know Napoleon had just made himself emperor, but the point still holds) it was important to create model citizens.
Had not the great writer and thinker Montesquieu himself said the republic relied on virtue, and virtue consisted in the capacity of individuals to exercise their own freely-formed judgment?
So the purpose of teaching philosophy was - and remains, in theory - to complete the education of young men and women and permit them to think.
To see the universal arguments about the individual and society, God and reason, good and bad and so on, and thus escape from the binding imperatives of the now - by which I mean the dictatorship of whatever ideas are most pressingly forced on us in the day-to-day by government, media, fashion, political correctness and so on.
Yet a third interpretation of Mr Abe—one that looks to the external world rather than inner psychodrama—is perhaps the most plausible. It is that his concerns about Japan’s economic weakness and his concerns about frailties in its national defence have been strengthened, and made mutually reinforcing, by the rise of China. China loomed on the agenda in 2006-07, but did not dominate it as it does today. China overtook Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy in 2010. Its growing assertiveness suggests that it is out to reclaim its centuries-old centrality in East Asia, a position which Japan usurped in the late 19th century and occupied, in various ways, for much of the 20th. The most obvious instance of Chinese assertiveness is around the waters of the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands, where China is openly challenging Japanese control. In this context Mr Abe sees economic and national security as all of a piece—and would do so even if he did not hang out with right-wing pals in a weird historical theme park of the mind.
Yet choosing backward-facing patriotism as a model for modern strength has consequences for how Mr Abe is likely to govern after the upper-house elections. For all the current emphasis on structural reform—continued work on which is vital if the fiscal stimulus and monetary expansion are to lead to long-term growth—Mr Suga and other colleagues make it clear that constitutional change will be a priority for Mr Abe in the Diet’s autumn session.
"He wants to tick the right boxes politically. He wants to project the image of a reformer," said Aurelia George Mulgan, a professor of Japanese politics at the University of New South Wales. "Whether he has the convictions, beliefs and ability to deliver in the areas that are required for economic growth is a big question mark. My answer is 'No'," Mulgan said.
But Mr. Abe reassured the public Friday, telling Fuji Television that the trickle-down to consumers from the weaker yen was already starting. Tourism from overseas was already picking up, for example, as foreign visitors took advantage of the weaker yen, he said. “It might take a year or two for everyone’s incomes to grow, but we’ve already seen things start to improve this year,” he said.
I seem to remember hearing something similar during the 1980s and 90s.
An article by Mike Whitney expresses my concerns far more succinctly and with more than my own anecdotal evidence and gut feelings.
Free trade, deregulation, privatization and labor “flexibility”. Where have we heard that before? This is just the Shock Doctrine wrapped in a Keynesian bow.
Abe wants to kick-start the economy and win the upper House in July elections so he can advance his neoliberal agenda; pump up stock prices, privatize more publicly-owned assets and industries, deregulate energy and financial sectors, and pass laws that will allow corporations to fire workers without review. Is that why Krugman is so euphoric?
While there may be some short-term improvement from Abenomics (which could as easily be called “Rubenomics”), the long-term battle against deflation will undoubtedly be lost. Monetary easing and the wealth effect are no substitute for a strong, vibrant economy and solid wage gains. As Waseda University finance professor, Yukio Noguchi, told the New York Times, “Without a revival of the real economy, this is all just voodoo economics.”