Nakano non-consumers, and Japan’s image in the US

Nakano non-consumers, and Japan's image in the US

As the world economy spreads gloom and fear, the United States is once-again pre-occuppied by Japan. After the 90s when Japan’s bubble burst, the OOs saw Japan  eclipsed in the United States imaginatin by China, as well as India, Russia and Brazil. Now, Japan is back as the dark side of what might happen to the United States economy.

Today’s New York Times featured Nakano housewives, and documents their frugality to offer “a peek at how thrift can take lasting hold of a consumer society, to disastrous effect.” Efficient and eco-conscious activities like re-using bath water for clothes washing, shunning conspicuous consumption, and purchasing fewer cars are portrayed in this leading United States media as creating a “second Lost Decade”, this time of lost consumption.

Can we really not imagine a global economic recovery without United States wasteful consumerism and its worldwide suppliers? Is there no room for re-use, recycling and barter? Is the mall the only pathway to healing?

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