It is amusing how economics works in Japan. In truth, this “applied science” is amusing everywhere, but one place at a time. My title plays on the name of that country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe; one sees the term often in Asiatic media. He is trying, with the considerable equipage of a modern guvmint, to put some life into the Japanese economy. A growth rate that flatlined thirty years ago continues to be flatlined; real cash wages gently “relaxing” (not more than 1 percent per year).

The effects that are possible by this method are, however, restricted to galvinism. Put the electrodes on, and the frog’s legs twitch, notwithstanding the frog is a corpse. But he can’t make tadpoles any more.

Now, the Bank of Japan is struggling to push inflation up to 2 percent a year. By this galvanic method, they think their economy might come back to life. Since Keynes, the great economic spiritualist of the early twentieth century, and ingenious dissembler of the hocal-pocal arts, almost everyone agrees that it should. Other electrodes are tactically placed to drive the Yen exchange rate down; and pour borrowed money into “infrastructure.” The intention is to make the ex-frog jump, once before every election.

But the Dollar knows how to sink faster, and the spending only drives up a debt which absorbs ever more of the budget in servicing costs, and might eat the whole thing if interest rates climb. (Infrastructure that is actually needed tends to pay for itself; but that is another story.)

I think I left out “structural reform.” That is one of the “three arrows” of Mr Abe’s failing plan, along with the “monetary easing” and the “fiscal stimuli.” In structural reform, you move the government departments around, to create a kaleidoscopic effect, that masks bureaucratic expansion, and rivets the attention of simple folk, who can no longer find what they are looking for.

Japan is among the world’s frontrunners in demographic collapse. It is more visible there than elsewhere because, the Japanese do not like immigrants. I don’t blame them, I don’t like immigrants either; though I think I like my native countrymen less. And they don’t improve as they age, so far as I can tell. They only become more expensive to maintain.

There was a piece I read — I forget where — about sperm counts. (Amazing what one finds on the Internet.) It seems that throughout the “developed” world, which includes Japan as well as Europe and America, they are mysteriously and rapidly falling. It sounded plausible. Combine this with accelerating superannuation; with the proliferation of new sterile “genders” among the young; with the obviation of old-fashioned sex itself through pornography and “sexting,” sex toys and robots (again, Japan is at the front edge); with the ideological impositions of deep ecology; with abortion on demand and the means to detect the slightest imperfection in the womb — and what do you have? Not a baby boom, I would guess.

Yet that, alone, would expand the consumer markets, and eventually, load more tax revenue into the front end to replace what is being constantly evacuated.

Here is a principle of economics which perhaps only Schumpeter began to discern, before he looked away to happier prospects.

Prosperity kills. Eventually it even kills prosperity.