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Friday, September 09, 2005

Japan Looks West and Sees North-South

I thought for awhile about how to present this editorial from Japan.  The editorial gives an unflattering view of the U.S. world image as the land of faltering ideals, an opinion driven in part by the inside look at our income disparities Katrina gave the world.

But rather than using this as a means of indicting those responsible for the decline in our world image and the increasing income disparity within our borders, I decided instead to be hopeful. It’s not too late to change our image, and the widening income gap is by no means an inevitable consequence of the economics of growth, public policy affects this outcome.  Perhaps recent events will humble those in need of being humbled and we can move forward and correct our ills, that would be my wish.  But, as they say, if wishes were fishes... Here’s the editorial from The Asahi Shimbun:

America's sorrow: Katrina shows U.S. has a 'North-South problem.' editorial, The Asahi Shimbun:  It is too early to assess the total damage unleashed by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated areas around New Orleans... The evacuation of those stranded in flooded areas is proceeding slowly. ... Many of those without the means or a destination of escape are black citizens. It seems that in the United States, poverty and race are intertwined. The social ills that underlie American society are profound and sad. Those realities have been on show for all to see... The United States has long been openly proud of its ideals as a country of freedom. Equal opportunities of success for everyone were cherished, and a helping hand of philanthropy was to be offered to those who are less fortunate. The world looked up to this image of an ideal America, but the ideal now seems to be faltering. U.S. troops are still in Iraq, where conflict and confusion reign. Bomb attacks have spread to Madrid, London and elsewhere. The United States has talked about "democratization of the Middle East" and "war against terror" as its goals, but it is hard to see what has been achieved...One of the breeding grounds of terror is the "North-South problem" between rich and poor countries. This latest natural disaster has proved that the United States has a homemade "North-South problem" within its borders. The United States started the war against Iraq in face of strong international opposition, and thus lost much of the global empathy it had gained with the 9/11 attacks. For the United States to regain the respect it seeks as a country of liberty and freedom, it behooves the country to solve its domestic "North-South problem." New Orleans, the cherished mecca of jazz, has been ravaged by the hurricane, and now aid is beginning to arrive, not just domestically, but from about 100 countries. No country can survive in isolation. We urge President George W. Bush to put his energies into resolving the problems inside and outside his country with compassion...

    Posted by on Friday, September 9, 2005 at 06:03 PM in Economics, Income Distribution | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (2)


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