Japanese refutation of neoliberalism: Through the meat grinder of electoral politics and the media darkly

If you compare MRZine’s take on the recent Japanese election to the NYTimes’ take, your head is going to swivel around so fast it will fly off its stump.

So the Democratic Party of Japan won the election in a landslide, using a discourse rejecting neoliberalism. They beat out the standard ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

For MRZine, the election was a bafflement. They saw the Left blowing its chances in the polls by failing to take advantage of the growing popularity of Left ideas in the public. They found it only slightly less dismaying than the recent elections in Italy and India.

For the NYTimes the Japanese election was a blood-curdlingly galling victory by social democrats. The NYTimes could not restrain itself from bemoaning the rash (symbolic) rejection of neoliberalism (AKA, in NYTimes-doublespeak, “reform”) undertaken within this long-economically-stagnant liberal country.

Whom to believe?

I think through some triangulation and some extrapolation that what you get is this: The Liberal Democratic Party were the Japanese Clinton Democrats and the Democratic Party is the Japanese Obama Democrats. So what we can expect from the changeover is just about the same policies in Japan, but a small rise in the legitimacy of left-ish discourse, and then increasing frustration and perhaps polarization. (And unless conservatism is reconciled with profitability, a la lucky, temporary Clintonism, the NYTimes will continuing whining away obnoxiously.)

But Japan actually has Left parties. Perhaps, after the disillusionment, the Left parties will do better in the next election. Americans by contrast have nowhere to go but the streets.


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