Thursday, November 10, 2011

Will Miss #385 - (relative) economic parity

I've said before that Japan conducts a sort of "soft socialism", but it's not necessarily rooted in the redistribution of wealth. There is, however, relative economic parity in Japan with a large middle class, few rich people, and few poor people. This is accomplished by not offering presidents and CEOs obscenely lavish salaries and keeping the bottom income bracket a little further from the rocks and by not undercutting employees in order to service stock holders. The Japanese do not embrace conspicuous wealth and overtly disapprove of the flaunting of wealth. Though they aren't known for their political activism or complaining, it is clear to me from years of talking to Japanese folks that they will not easily suffer their company leaders being grotesquely overpaid while the people at the bottom lose lifetime employment and financial security. Being roughly financially in a similar situation as others in Japan means people feel like they are in the same boat lifestyle-wise. It undercuts feelings of envy, keeps crime low, and makes people more satisfied with their quality of life. 

I will miss the social benefits of living in a society in which most people live at approximately the same economic level.