by Kozo Yamamura
Where has capitalism gone wrong? Why are advanced capitalist economies so sick and why do conventional policy solutions, such as reduced taxes and increased money supply, produce only wider income disparity and inequality? We now live in a new world in which we enjoy the highest living standard in history, acquiring ever more goods and services as necessary luxuries. Yet current policies only serve to expand public debt and exacerbate socio-economic inequality.
In Too Much Stuff, Yamamura upends conventional capitalist wisdom to provide a new approach. He suggests the only way for capitalism and democracy to thrive is to increase investment to meet societal needs such as improving social safety nets, infrastructure, and better education and health care for all, but this means raising taxes. Both solutions-orientated and accessibly written, this book argues that this will help reduce the growing wealth gap which threatens global democracy.
With fascinating examples from the US, Japan and Germany, as well as convincing evidence from across the Western world, Too Much Stuff is a bold book that challenges the economic orthodoxy and offers practical steps forward that we can all support.
About Kozo Yamamura
Kozo Yamamura (1934-2017) was the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Professor of Asian Studies and Economics at the University of Washington, Seattle. He also worked at universities in the US, Japan, Germany and France. He published or edited 25 books from in the US, UK and Japan, many focused on the Japanese economy and economic history, in addition to several books on Comparative Economic Institutions and Policy.
"Kozo Yamamura finds the source of capitalism’s malaise in the heart of developed world consumption patterns. [...] The ideas behind this book are good [...] The focus on ‘necessary luxuries’ and loose monetary policy is very much reflective of the Japanese experience and while he attempts to assess the German and the US economies, there are real limitations to his approach. [...] there is much to recommend this book but it is something of a pastiche of different styles. The ideas at times are ‘lost in translation’ almost literally since the book appeared originally in Japanese. There are times when, in an attempt to be readable, the book skims over critical definitions that would help build a more robust structure to the argument. Nevertheless, the approach is interesting and thought-provoking, not least because the focus on consumption patterns is novel."
Table of Contents of Too Much Stuff
- A new perspective on capitalism's "sickness";
- Inspiration in the Kaufhaus des Westens;
- Unreal tax rates;
- Printing money;
- Inequality and discontent;
- Buckling bridges and crumbling mountains;
- The United States: stagnation and gridlock;
- Japan: bubbles, "lost years" and Abenomics;
- Unified Germany: a divided nation;
- Four European economies;
- Reform to the rescue;
- Adapting capitalism and changing politics;