Lately I have been thinking alot about this because, since buying a home, I've purchased alot of power equipment to take care of the property. My brand of choice is "Echo," a japanese small 2-stroke engine company that makes very quality equipment for a competitive price. When initially looking, I wanted to buy American stuff, but when it came down to it, there either wasnt a US company in existence who offered what I wanted, or the prices were simply exorbitant for their high end manufactured products. What I understand about Japan is it's a capitalist society like the US, with a similar standard of living to ours, however, where the manufacturing has been in a freefall here...it is thriving there. Why can they build tons of quality stuff like vehicles, dirtbikes, chainsaws, etc. where we cannot do the same? I mean vehicles here have gotten better recently, but anything else is either ridiculously expensive or made in china now. Didnt they model their system after ours after WWII? I understand Japan also has universal healthcare and that the US workers' healthcare costs are built into the products they make, which raises prices or forces work overseas, but healthcare is only a piece of the puzzle. What are the other factors involved? Do the japanese work for alot less? How do they keep prices, costs so low and quality so high, and we cannot?