Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japan: Other Points of View

The Lehmann Letter (SM)

There has been so much doom and gloom accompanying events in Japan, it is refreshing to see other points of view.

Two Japanese, writing on the op-ed page of this morning's New York Times, expressed pride and hope in their country. They not only wish Japan well, they also expect better days ahead:

These views point out how difficult it is to forecast a nation's ability to deal with setbacks and adversity. So many crosscurrents come into play. For each cause for pessimism one can find a countervailing reason for optimism.

Stock markets suffered in Japan and abroad, and no one can be blamed for moving their funds out of equities into a safer haven. But that retreat is not necessarily a sign of things to come.

Japan may very well return to the regime of lackluster performance that prevailed before the disaster. That could not, however, be blamed on recent events. To the contrary, it would highlight the importance of circumstances prevailing before the earthquake and tsunami struck.

The American stock market also suffered. But Japan's crisis may have instigated an overdue selloff. After two years of strong performance fundamental questions prevail: Will the economy grow rapidly and will profits grow with the economy? Most of the answers to those questions are here at home, not abroad.

So, as Jesse Jackson says, "Keep hope alive!"

© 2011 Michael B. Lehmann

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