Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Government Japan Needs

Neoliberalism and democracy can't exist together. It's time for us to stress democracy.

Japan has a democratic political system and a capitalist economy. Modern Japanese society consists of people acting in both the political and economic realms. Each one of us is a free citizen. We are also consumers and investors.

A capitalistic society becomes stable when capitalism is balanced against democracy. But because our capitalistic system has been driven recklessly toward a kind of market fundamentalism, the balance is completely off and the citizens are less free. Unions have lost power. Many workers have lost their jobs. Social welfare programs have been greatly reduced. The structural reform that hid behind the name of "deregulation" took aim at the weakest of us and forced more hardship upon them. The strong have profited from the changes, but the weak are made more miserable.

Japan must revive its brand of democratic capitalism. Citizens must recover their basic human rights. The Bush administration has made the majority of us unhappy with its beautiful sounding neoliberal globalism — a series of structural reforms that bring us market fundamentalism, small government, deregulation and less social welfare. Neoliberal globalism brings misery to the people while also destroying capitalism. The downfall of Lehman Brothers points to the defeat of neoliberalism.

We must turn from the reckless course neoliberalism has put us on. To do that, we need to resuscitate our democracy.

A new government replacing the LDP-New Komeito coalition must be dedicated to reviving democracy. It must promise to defend our basic human rights and Japan's Constitution. And it must act on that promise.