Japan May Be Nearing A Radical Move To Save Its Economy

What do you do when you’ve tried just about every avenue economists have dreamed up to stimulate your economy and it just keeps going the wrong way? We may be about to find out.

Japan’s economy has been on a roller coaster for a long time. They went to zero interest rates long ago and have some of the finest infrastructure you are ever likely to see thanks to a decade of fiscal stimulus. They did come out of their seemingly never ending recession earlier this decade thanks in no small part to the worldwide credit and housing bubble. As soon as that burst, they were right back in the soup but this time they have the rest of the world for company.

Unfortunately, while it’s a bad case of the flu for a lot of developed countries (so far) for Japan it’s closer to pneumonia. Their economy dropped a shocking 12.7% on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter. So with all their experience in dealing unsuccessfully with pulling their economy out of the dumps what’s on tap now? You aren’t going to believe this one.

According to Societe Generale’s chief economist in Asia, Glenn Maguire, Japan may by June begin an unprecedented interventionist policy in its economy aimed at weeding out non-competitive industries.

SocGen’s Maguire said the next move by the Bank of Japan, potentially as early as June, will be the unveiling of an interventionist policy in the economy wherein the central determines what companies will survive and which will fail, under a broad plan aided by central bank funding.
“It’s a pick-winner policy and it effectively chooses which industries will remain,” Maguire said. “Japan is so far into unconventional monetary policy at this point, there is little else they can really do.”
Goodbye Mr. Market and hello central planning.
Maybe we should all chip in and do something extra to pull Japan out of their funk first. I really don’t want them leading the rest of the world’s politicians down this road.
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