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Japan Inc. and the Iraqi quagmire

I wrote earlier that critics of the Iraq war reminded me of desperate short-sellers facing a margin call.

Via Tim Blair, Wall Street Journal editorial writer Bret Stephens says they're also like the 1980's Western experts who warned us about the Japanese economic juggernaut:

The myth of Japan Inc took hold because there was so little Western reporting to suggest that not all was well with the Japanese economy. So, when Japan's real-estate bubble burst and the economy flatlined for more than a decade, the world was caught unawares. The myth of an Iraqi quagmire took hold for similar reasons — the media was so busy telling the story of everything that was going wrong in Iraq that it broadly missed what was going right.
Stephens argues that the media's problem is not necessarily one of factual accuracy, but of discretion and judgement:
The problem is that journalists have a difficult time distinguishing significant facts — facts with consequences — from insignificant ones. That, in turn, comes from not thinking very hard about just which stories are most worth telling.
He may be right. But fortunately, the question of which stories are worth telling is no longer answered solely by the mainstream media.


Anonymous said...

More related to the title than the content, my experience has been that Japanese men who run their own businesses were supportive of Japan's involvement in the Iraq War than any other easily identifiable group of Japanese. Speaking of which, did you see yet another group of academics (the name involves chemisty as opposed to the first such group to which Nobel Prize-winning author Oe Kenzaburo apparently belongs) has organized to register their opposition to any changes in Article 9? 

Posted by Comrade_Tovarich



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