Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Change of values?

I was recently in Japan for a few lectures. As most probably know Japan has stagnated economically the last 20 years after a period of break-neck growth since WWII. One can reflect over what that means for the people that are 20-30 years old now compared to those that are 50-70. The latter grew up in a world very improvement of standard of living was almost taken for granted, where almost everybody became richer every year. Todays young have a different outlook. The question is how do the young of today look at economic growth. My very unscientific survey (of two! young ladies) show that they don't seem to much burdened by this and that they actually seem much less obsessed with income and wealth than their parents.

Perhaps it works in a way that we adjust our expectations to what is realistically attainable. To study Japan is interesting as we all, in turns, will go into their kind of economy in the future, when populations stabilise and decrease, and we lost competitiveness to other, more energetic nations on their way up (China).

Perhaps we all can realise that we don't need more things and that there are other values in life than a new car and a swimming pool. I hope so.

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