Monday, February 22, 2010

Bad money drives out good

I don't know about other countries, but I do feel that what is undeniably lost in this country is the will and ability to see and endeavor for distant things.

Things were different at different times. I hear that in the postwar era, people were craving for knowledge. When the Iwanami Shoten, publisher of quality books for the academic and the academically-oriented general readership, released the first series of readings, people lined up in front of the bookstores. They were so eagerly waiting for the first drop of enlightenment after years of darkness and oppression, and it showed. Time flies like an arrow, and now many publishers in Japan decry they cannot sell quality books, while bestsellers of marginal or superficial values crowd the bookshelves.

Gresham's law states that bad money drives out good. The key assumption behind it is that both good money and bad money are legal tenders, and should be accepted in the exchanges in the market. It is true that both cheap knowledge and profound are exchanged in today's society as if they are equivalent, as long as they can lead to revenues and sales.

We all live in a market economy, and deploring the status quo adds nothing towards amending the situation. It is interesting to consider under what sociological conditions do people start for aiming at distant ideals, though.


Anonymous said...

Fully concur. It is certainly difficult to find any meaningful trace of a serious yearning for "distant things" in our country. For me, there is a strong correlation between the level of individual enthusiasm towards looking beyond the "distance" and the level of individual consciousness of "globalism (going by the definition of humanistic self-awareness of being a part (or member) of a global human society)". The Meiji restoration and postwar eras were both unique for Japan in the sense that the people then were required (if not forced) to take on a global perspective as a means of "survival" (in other words, we had no other choice but to become global). Looking at today, the lack of immediate necessity for such means (or the peoples' "disbelief" towards the lack thereof) has clearly led to a serious decline in such "global" consciousness among us, particularly among the younger generation. I view the decline in overseas travel among the young (or even the decline in car sales) to be an indirect sign of such decline and while I am yet to confirm any data I speculate that the level of enthusiasm among the young towards learning English (not from a juken/TOEIC/TOEFL perspective but rather from a communication capability perspective) to be significantly lower than other non-English speaking countries. Knowing the aforementioned "disbelief" to be mere delusions, I remain worried.

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

I remember the waxed paper and star signs shows the prices (☆☆・・)of the Iwanami Library.
Yes,Time flies...

apple407 said...

The “primordial soup” that is the here and the now is cloudy and turbulent; no doubt, a necessary condition for creativity and invention. The zeitgeist both dictates and tears apart the fragile condition of creativity. The muse must be both a nurturer and a tormentor.
“Survival of the Fittest” is a metaphor whose meaning is revealed only eons from now.