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Over the past twenty years, Japan has shown a deepening (and somewhat puzzling) commitment to stagnation. There has been no significant immigration, no significant productivity improvement, no significant GDP growth, and deflationary monetary policy. But despite its commitment to what would normally be a deeply immiserating economic policy, Japan has also committed to making stagnation as livable for as many people as possible.

In that context, Japan's lack of private equity makes a certain amount of sense: corporate restructuring which redistributes money to shareholders, in combination with a committed policy of stagnation, would result in intense economic misery for the average Japanese worker. Private equity plus inflationary monetary policy plus deregulation to permit more 'churn' among small businesses might actually work.
Taking a short break from my blogging break here, to wade into the controversy over private equity. In general, I am a supporter of private equity, so first a disclaimer. There appears to be a real an...
Andreas Schou's profile photoJay Gischer's profile photo
To be clear, I'm not actually endorsing private equity in Japan -- I'm just saying that in the context of a Japan which is committed to stagnation, private equity would make things worse. In order to fix stagnation in a way which doesn't make most Japanese workers miserable, you'd have to make more (and different) changes.
Japan certainly isn't miserable, I'm not sure it's sustainable, in the long-long term. Their debt:GDP ratio is awful and youth unemployment has been shocking for a long time. Stagnation leads to gerontocracy.
Noah says, "long wasted overtime hours separate men from their families". But you can simplify that sentence.
This seems to hit your theme of indebtedness, and how debt structure has changed radically, producing subtle effects elsewhere.
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