What a pity. I am usually in agreement with you, but
1. I must disagree here with your Japan comment. Solow's model helps us understand Japan better (one more link):
a few formerly poor countries, notably Japan, do appear to have converged with rich countries, and in the case of Japan actually exceeded other countries' productivity, some theorize that this is what has caused Japan's poor growth recently – convergent growth rates are still expected, even after convergence has occurred; leading to over-optimistic investment, and actual recession.
2. Chad said:
On top of that a 50% savings rate for everyone would make your big savings rate less advantageous. ERE would be much more difficult in this situation.
I have a bone to pick on this one too: The way I understand ERE, ERE is not all about hoarding. It is also about reducing your outgoings in such a way that they are not subject to external machinations such as a nation's savings rate, or how quickly your hedge funds in Timbaktoo are yielding killer (200% growth) returns. I always notice the collective disbeliefs when Jacob mentions living under $10,000/year in California with wry humour...
Stephen Covey fans would likely express this point as "Keeping our lifestyles more and more 'circle of influence' focussed rather than 'circle of concern' focussed"
But, I've always liked your comments... They've made me think.