Richard Koo, the chief economist of Nomura Research Institute talked about some of the macroeconomic issues regarding the Japanese economy which was really staggering to think about. 85% of the value of the land disappeared after the bubble. This is 3 years of GDP. That's huge when you consider that the great depression in the US was only 1 year of GDP drop in assets. The savings and loan problem in the US was only a 20% drop in the value of assets. The scale of the Japanese problem is gigantic and unprecedented. On the other hand, this could happen to any country such as Taiwan, Thailand, China or even the US. The huge drop in asset value is causing another very unique situation where 70%-80% of companies are paying down debt when interest rates are basically 0% because they are so highly leveraged against assets that have lost so much value. The fact that the economy is even functioning is amazing.
We talked a lot about the issues and how to communicate our point. We decided to focus on how diversity enables markets and democracy since this point of view is rather unique and core. We decided to start a blog about this project. ;-)