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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Foreign Affairsが音声版を復活

 
Foreign Affairsが音声サービスを復活させました。4、5年前にもやっていたような気がしますが、今回は記事ごとにも音声を購入できるようになっています。Foreign Affairsの記事は長いので音声を英語学習に生かすようなことは難しいかもしれませんが、このような動きは歓迎したいですね。

最新号は冷戦時代の未解決問題を取り上げていて、国際関係の歴史に興味ある人には気になる内容となっています。日本や韓国、インドネシアなどアジア関係の記事も充実しているので、今号はオススメかもしれません。そんな中Voodoo Abenomicsという日本関連の記事をご紹介します。下記Bloombergの動画でも辛口に語っていますが、Foreign Affairsの記事もタイトルを見ただけで批判記事だと分かりますね。



Voodoo Abenomics
Japan's Failed Comeback Plan
By Richard Katz

Abenomicsといえば「三本の矢」。この記事でも“three arrows”: monetary easing to reverse deflation, fiscal stimulus to boost immediate spending, and structural reforms to revive long-term growthとそれぞれの「矢」について簡潔に説明してくれています。

To restore confidence, Abe has undertaken a program of what he calls “three arrows”: monetary easing to reverse deflation, fiscal stimulus to boost immediate spending, and structural reforms to revive long-term growth. If all three arrows were hitting their targets, there would be reason for bullishness. But two of the arrows have already flown wide: any stimulus from temporary spending has been more than offset by premature tax hikes made to cut government debt. Meanwhile, the prospects for structural reform have not progressed beyond vague sloganeering.

タイトルのVoodoo という言葉を聞いただけでも、まやかしだと批判したいのだと想像できますが、Abenomics=Reganomics=Voodoo Economicsというレーガノミクス批判の文脈があるようです。



(Wikipedia)
アベノミクスは第1次安倍内閣にて安倍政権の経済政策の総称として命名され、その後の第2次安倍内閣の経済政策とは基本的なスタンスが違っていた。当初の「アベノミクス」とは財政支出を削減し公共投資を縮小させ、規制緩和によって成長力が高まることを狙った「小泉構造改革」路線の継承を意味するものであった。この言葉は中川秀直幹事長などがメディアに売り込んでいた痕跡があるとされる[12][13]。
第2次安倍内閣では デフレ経済を克服するためにインフレターゲットを設定し、これが達成されるまで日本銀行法改正も視野に、大胆な金融緩和措置を講ずるという金融政策[14][15]。ロナルド・レーガンの経済政策であるレーガノミクスにちなんで、アベノミクスと呼ばれるようになった[16][出典無効]。ちなみに安倍首相自身は2013年9月26日にニューヨーク証券取引所での講演で「Buy my Abenomics(アベノミクスは『買い』だ)」と述べている[17][18]。また、同年12月30日の東京証券取引所の大納会の場でも、「来年もアベノミクスは買い」と述べた[
19]。

ブードゥー経済学
1980年のアメリカ大統領選挙に立候補したジョージ・H・W・ブッシュは、同じ共和党で指名を争ったロナルド・レーガンが政策に盛り込んだ一連の経済政策に対し、ブードゥー経済学(英:Voodoo Economics)と揶揄した。当時からサプライサイド派は経済学界においてほとんど支持を得ていない異端であったことによる。呪術経済学やまじない経済学などの訳語が当てられることがある。

Voodooという言葉は自分はクルーグマンのNYTのコラムで知りました。

OP-ED COLUMNIST
The New Voodoo
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: December 30, 2010

How did Republican leaders reconcile their purported deep concern about budget deficits with their advocacy of large tax cuts? Was it that old voodoo economics — the belief, refuted by study after study, that tax cuts pay for themselves — making a comeback? No, it was something new and worse.
To be sure, there were renewed claims that tax cuts lead to higher revenue. But 2010 marked the emergence of a new, even more profound level of magical thinking: the belief that deficits created by tax cuts just don’t matter. For example, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona — who had denounced President Obama for running deficits — declared that “you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.”


さて、Foreign Affairsの記事は非正規雇用の問題を導入として持ってきています。このような具体的な数字で語られると説得力があります。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to revive Japan when he took office in December 2012, and he often boasts of all the jobs he has added since. But all the gains have been for irregular work; regular jobs have fallen by 3.1 percent. Consequently, the average wage per worker in real terms has fallen by two percent under Abe. No wonder consumer spending is anemic. Imagine as well the frustration of these irregular workers when a low salary thwarts their natural desire to start a family. Whereas 70 percent of Japanese men in their 30s with regular jobs are married, among irregular workers in their 30s, that percentage plunges to just 25 percent.

ということで、コアメッセージは安倍政権は経済成長に必要な構造改革に及び腰だということになっていきます。

In the end, it is Abe’s third arrow -- structural reform -- that will determine whether Japan can raise its long-term real growth rate from the 0.8 percent average prevailing since 1992 to the two percent the prime minister has promised. Even Japanese government economists admit that without reform, the country’s long-term growth rate will never exceed around 0.5 to 1.0 percent. With the working-age population shrinking, the only way to generate more growth is to gain more productivity from each worker. Japan’s GDP per hour worked lags behind the average for rich countries by 25 percent. Yet the erosion of human capital caused by the rise of irregular workers makes raising productivity even harder.

To lift productivity, Japan needs serious structural changes to promote creative destruction, the process of replacing decaying firms with vibrant ones. The sectors of Japan’s economy that face international competition, such as the auto industry, enjoy high productivity. But the lion’s share of the economy is domestically oriented, and much of it is shielded from both international and domestic competition by domestic regulations and cartel-like business practices. In these sectors, Japan lags far behind its peers. To take one tiny but characteristic example, regulations currently restrict online sales of nonprescription drugs because if unrestricted, such sales would hurt brick-and-mortar pharmacies; one corporate member of an Abe advisory panel on reform quit when bureaucrats emasculated his proposal to lift this regulation.

Foreign Affairsはアメリカの外交政策を取り上げているので予想はできますが、TPPに積極的でないことも批判しています。高い支持率を背景に構造改革を進めるのではなく、歴史問題や憲法問題にエネルギーを注いでいる安倍政権に失望しているようです。

The most obvious litmus test of the third arrow is Abe’s handling of the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In recent months, these talks have stalled largely because Abe’s team has insisted on keeping tariffs and other barriers high in a few agricultural sectors (such as beef, dairy, and pork) that employ less than 100,000 households but where high prices boost Japan Agriculture’s income. As of mid-May, an agreement had not been reached. Even if a deal is eventually signed, Abe’s capitulation to small interest groups means that it won’t be used as a catalyst for domestic reform, unlike the way South Korea used its trade agreements with the United States and Europe, and as reformist officials in the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry have urged Japan to do as well.

Abe certainly has the clout to take on these vested interests: he still enjoys an approval rating around 60 percent, and his party holds an overwhelming majority in parliament. Yet it seems impossible to find a single case in which the prime minister has truly challenged a powerful domestic constituency. Instead, he is wasting his political capital on denying seven-decade-old war crimes and refusing even to admit that Japan committed aggression, claiming Japanese ownership of islets long controlled by South Korea, and trying to change school textbooks to reflect these retrograde views. Even when Abe’s ideas on security are sensible -- such as his proposals for Japan to exercise a right to collective self-defense -- the need to overcome resistance in pacifistic Japan diverts Abe’s energy. Inevitably, this puts the third arrow on the back burner.

非正規雇用の問題は先々週のBusinessweekでも大きく取り上げていました。海外メディアからすると同じ仕事なのに正社員と派遣で給料が違うのは奇異に移るのでしょう。。。

Bloomberg News
In Japan, a Caste of Part-Timers Rebels
By Jason Clenfield May 29, 2014

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