Your interview with Shinzo Abe (“Japanese PM targets big reforms to cement legacy,” Oct. 8) may indicate some momentum in a fundamental shift in ideas — a shift away from the in-retrospect foolish “golden age” theory of retirement, which was invented in the 1950s. This led to the notion that, starting in their 60s, people should be paid while spending a couple of decades or more in idleness and entertaining themselves, rather than remaining productive. Mr Abe instead wants “a society where people never retire and pursue lifelong careers.” If not lifelong, perhaps, at least significantly longer.
Your article proceeds to assert dogmatically that this “will count for little if deflation is not banished” because “the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent inflation objective is still far off.” This treats the necessity of 2 percent inflation as a fact instead of a pretty dubious theory. In reality, perpetual inflation at 2 percent is merely the latest fashion in central banking ideas. It follows many other central bank fashions, which have succeeded each other over a century, going back to the gold standard. Like the “golden age” theory of retirement, I believe the “2 percent inflation forever” theory will be found wanting and replaced.