A Great Act: Living Beyond One's Means
(Photo from Blogtorira, a great act from an ancient Kagura performance)
Frugal Green Living made some very important points here on Treehugger. The timing is perfect for change. In his interesting column, Financial Times' David Pilling talks to Chinese and Japanese finance experts, wondering if this is America's chance to kick its Asian addiction.
Did America hang itself with Asian rope? I put this to a Chinese official last week and, quick as a flash, he responded: "No. It drowned itself in Asian liquidity."
Asia's part in America's financial downfall has been two-fold. First, shiploads of cheap goods from China and other low-cost producers helped keep a lid on US prices. That lulled the Fed, with its tight focus on the consumer price index, into thinking it could have it both ways: high growth with low inflation.
Second, FT notes, Asian bank reserves, particularly from Japan, funded buy-now pay-later consumption in the US. I can't help but wonder why. "Asians have lived below their means so that Americans could live beyond theirs" - a classic quote.I'm sure bankers and experts are as smart here as in other parts of the world. Did they really believe this unsustainable, un-green, un-frugal experiment would go on and on? Consumption without conscience - it is nothing new, of course. But the global scale of today's economy means we are rapidly destroying the planet, just to buy new gadgets, or a bigger car we don't really need, because easy loans made it all seem just that - easy.
Treehugger loves downsizing, as noted here, here and more recently again here (yummy photos!). But we may have to adjust very fast to our new, frugal lifestyle. How mentally prepared are we to get recession ready?
Asks Martin Frid at greenz.jp