A stable world, no unemployment, a social compact where no one is forgotten:
It has been so on Himeshima for 40 years and suddenly, faced with the most alarming economic downturn since the Second World War, everyone from the central Government in Tokyo to the country\’s biggest industrial conglomerates is desperate to copy its secret: work sharing.
The island\’s magic formula amounts to a four-decade experiment in job preservation, a running agreement by employees to sacrifice wages and regular working hours for the sake of keeping everybody in work. Everything on Himeshima — the local bureaucracy, the ferry company, the prawn farms, the clinic and the care home — joins in.
However, you can\’t have it all. There is a cost to not allowing the gales of creative destruction to run through such a society.
Even though wages have remained more or less the same for decades,
That\’s the cost of a static society. It\’s static.
The one thing that makes capitalism worthwhile is that it\’s the only system we\’ve ever found or tried that leads to a sustained and continual growth in the living standards of the average bloke. One to two percent per year, year after year, decades and centuries. Average incomes in 1750 per capita were roughly what average incomes were per capita in AD100. Now they\’re, in those places that have had some variant of capitalism, for some period of time, around 12 times that 1750 level. At least.
No, you can\’t have it all. Make your choice please.