I don't think it's possible to compare Japan and the United States economies in a meaningful way.

Japan is a mono-culture with a very strong authoritarian history. The United States is a nearly anarchic society where anything goes. We are a patch-work of religions and cultures and an outpost of European civilization. Japan is "reflection" or apparent imitation of Chinese civilization (and lately Western civilization) but with an underlying unique Japanese culture which remains itself. Japan is a great imitator (and I don't mean this in a completely disparaging way) while the United States is a great innovator. I think the huge ship of economic and financial thinking is slowly turning in the waters, away from extremely simple, game-theoretic models based on rational, self-optimizing homo economicus, towards more complex views based on anthropology, psychology, sociology and history. The comparison between Japan and England is closer but obviously not perfect either. They are both Island nations, they are both surrounded by nations similar to them which they have tried to dominate (Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Okinawa, Hokkaido, Korea) and they both "reflect" the values of a "mother" civilization (Europe and China, respectively.) More interesting is that Japan is quietly rearming itself. We need to notice and react because a strong Japanese military presence will be far more important for our future than a comparison our our economic model with the Japanese economic model.

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