December 11, 2012

magicc Overview

The magicc program is a research project that seeks to address environmental issues, energy problems and economic concerns through the work of “academicians of business and management and scholars of innovation.”
As its name indicates, the project places its emphasis on visiting corporate worksites and conducting research based upon an in-depth understanding of the realities of technology development and enterprise management from a “microeconomics point of view,” a characteristic that sets the program apart from the many other research endeavors that focus on environmental and energy problems.

As a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan currently is grappling with three serious and contradictory problems concerning the environment (reduction of greenhouse gases), energy (stable supply of electric power while eliminating nuclear power plants) and economic stagnation (Japans prolonged sluggish growth). To simultaneously solve these three problems, Japanese firms not only must create new industries related to the environment and new forms of energy, they also must be able to stably create added value in those new industries (see diagram at right).

Many current environment and energy policies have disregarded this point. When viewed as a solution to environmental problems or a solution to energy issues, such policies are difficult to oppose and substantial tax funds are invested. If a scenario in which corporate activities are invigorated, added value is created by firms and economic growth ensues cannot be drawn as a result, however, the effects from investing taxes will be short-lived and limited (and tax funds are likely to be wasted).

One reason conventional environmental and energy policies do not necessarily achieve significant results is thought to be the fact such policies lack an understanding of the realities of actual corporate management, market competition and technology development. In fact, it is not government that will promote the development of environmental and energy industries, it is firms exposed to international competition, and that means working individuals. Without an understanding of the realities of competition, technology trends, managers’ intentions and consumers’ preferences, enacting appropriate policies is impossible.

It is believed that until now, scholars of business have been little involved with environmental and energy policy. Hitotsubashi University has nevertheless launched this project, however, because of its awareness of issues like those described above.