Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), told the US Congress last year that Japan’s debt path was ‘out of control’.
Simon warned of “a real risk that Japan could end up in a major default”. [The IMF expects Japan’s gross public debt to reach 218pc of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, 227pc next year, and 246pc by 2014].
I really don’t understand this scaremongering and negative thinking at all. Japan must be full of money, because there are so many beautiful things to spend it on.
Last year, for example, I visited a gorgeous shop in Tokyo called SunFruits. In it, one of these melons was on sale for only 21,000 Yen [euros 160, US$ 233].
Now to the farmer who grew the melon, $233 might seem a bit on the high side, compared to what he was paid for it.
But this is where the politics of envy so often gets it wrong. Because SunFruits don’t just sell melons, they sell a *totally designed experience*.
The SunFruits shop, for example, which contained the melon, makes the average Prada store look like a charity shop.
And it can’t be cheap paying for the security guard who’s there to keep an eye on the $6 strawberries. (That’s $6 each strawberry). (The guard is not in the picture because he was chasing someone who had stolen a grape).
I was reminded of all all this at our market here in France today.
In it, I purchased the melon below for two euros. Mine is an upscale melon hereabouts; others were on sale for half that.
I doubt that my melon was 93 times less delicious than the melon I saw in Japan. In fact I’d bet (but cannot afford to pay for a definitive test) that my melon tastes as good or better than the SunFruits one.
The only difference? mine has not been enhanced by the magic touch of of Design.