Over at Slate, Robert Shapiro explains how ’90s US growth and Japanese decline are both due, in part, to Information Technology.
And you know what? He’s makes a fine point.
Throughout the ’80s, many Americans envied Japan its technological prowess, but there is a strong case that Japan’s IT weakness magnified its slow growth and weak productivity gains in the ’90s. One of Japan’s top economists, Rizaburo Nezu of the Fujitsu Research Institute, has recently documented the various and complex ways in which, less than a generation after Japanese firms pioneered the miniaturization and marketing of electronics, Japan has “disappeared from world IT competition.”
Let’s not forget other, equally vital, differences. Despite recently revealed flaws, the US still has much more transparent corporations, those corporations are still much more in thrall to their shareholders, and our goverment is (yes, even during Clinton) much more responsible, flexible, and coherent.
Anyway, read Shapiro’s analysis. It’s good work.