In Japan, with much financial corruption, there was an extreme rise in stock and real estate prices for a very long time, accompanied by extreme real economic growth, compared to the United States. Then, asset values crashed, and the Japanese economy stalled out at a very suboptimal level. After this, Japan, a modern economy that had learned all the would-be-corrective Keynesian and monetary tricks, pushed these tricks hard and long. Japan, for many years, not only ran an immense government deficit but also reduced interest rates to a place within hailing distance of zero and kept them there. Nonetheless, the Japanese economy, year after year, stays stalled, as Japanese proclivity to spend stubbornly resists all the tricks of the economists. And Japanese stock prices stay down. This Japanese experience is a disturbing example for everyone and, if something like it happened here, would leave shrunken charitable foundations feeling clobbered by fate. Let us hope, as is probably the case, that the sad situation in Japan is caused in some large part by social psychological effects and corruption peculiar to Japan. In such case, our country may be at least half as safe as is widely assumed.

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