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Wednesday December 17th 2014

40 years of foresight, insight and integrity

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Editor's Choice

'Articles by Hazel Henderson'

Japan now at a crossroads

Japan faces a snap election on Dec. 14 with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” on trial. From the conventional economics perspective of growth measured in gross domestic product, we are told that Japan is “stagnating” with excessive debt. Economists dispense their usual bromides: “open up the economy”; “join the Trans-Pacific Partnership”; “cut government spending”; “tax more”; “tax less”; “print money” — lurching between austerity and stimulus. From a futurist’s perspective all this advice is nonsensical. Japan is still undergoing the now global transition of mature industrial economies from short-term material economic growth at whatever social and environmental costs — to a more mature, long-term, system-wide social development. As [...]

Japan At The Crossroads

Japan At The Crossroads

Japan At The Crossroads Japan faces a snap election on December 14th with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" on trial. From the conventional economics perspective of GDP-measured growth, we are told that Japan is "stagnating" with excessive debt. Economists dispense their usual bromides: "open up the economy"; "join the Transpacific Partnershp"; "cut government spending"; "tax more"; "tax less"; "print money" – lurching between austerity and stimulus. As I wrote in August 2001 in Nikkei Ecology, from a futurist's perspective all this advice is nonsensical and today even more so. Japan is still undergoing the now global transition of mature industrial economies from short-term material economic growth at whatever social and environmental costs – to a more [...]

Quality of Life Indicators in Context – December 2014

USA Update: December 2014 Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by a healthy 321,000 in November. The 214,000 jobs in October was revised upward to 243,000, with September’s 256,000 revised upward to 271,000. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.8%. All these welcome upward revisions auger a quickening recovery and a rise in wages, with average hourly rates rising by 9 cents on private, non-farm payrolls. GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.9 % in the third quarter of 2014 with a revised 4.6% increase for Q2, good news after the 2.1% drop in GDP-growth for Q1. The USA recovery is still on track but unevenly shared, as exit polls found the economy still the top worry of voters. The civilian labor force participation rate held at 62.8%. It remains difficult to find information on [...]

JAPAN: FROM FAILED ABENOMICS TO 21ST CENTURY QUALITY OF LIFE

In 2001, after Japan had fallen into what economist dread: stalled GDP-growth, I published these two articles in Japan. In “Japan at the Crossroads” and “Japan is Not the Only Country Caught in the GNP-Growth Trap,” I viewed Japan through my “Quality of Life” metrics, as transforming from material economic growth at whatever social and environmental costs to a more mature stage of long term stability. As Japanese citizens acquired ever more material assets, they sought more livable communities and new forms of satisfaction. Japan’s infrastructure was the envy of the world, and its large public debt was owned by its own citizens – not by foreign bondholders. I called on then Prime Minister Koizumi to announce new quality of life goals and a national scorecard beyond [...]

Computer-driven financial markets on unregulated electronic exchanges

Computer-driven financial markets on unregulated electronic exchanges programmed by algorithms now dominate Wall Street, along with high-frequency trading (HFT). The infamous "Flash Crash" in May 2010, driven by electronic trading, caused stocks in many 401Ks to suddenly fall to pennies and recover in split seconds. Small investors lost confidence, pulling some $70 billion out of stock markets. <http://4a5qvh23tbek30e0mg42uq87.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2011/06/gts_1.13_web_medium.jpg> While Wall Street recovered, trust eroded further due to the losses, foreclosures, job cuts and taxpayer bailouts after the 2008 meltdown. Today, the public's trust is battered by news of fraud, insider-trading, rigging of interest rates and huge fines on [...]

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