One of the longest running and therefore most organized trips is the Harris Japan trip. Harris Japanese students have planned this trip for several years now as an opportunity to share their culture, their history, and Japanese policy with their colleagues. I had the opportunity to sit down with Peter Biava, one of the Team Harris members that attended the Japan Trip, a trip he says he was excited about since his first week at Harris. Ever since hearing about how organized and how incredible the trip has been, Peter dedicated himself to participating this spring, growing more anxious each time he met another Japanese Harris student or trip participant.
I asked Peter to reflect on his trip, and how the experience changed his perception of public policy. Peter said the trip taught him when the policy metrics fail—when they can’t reflect the feelings or desire of the populace and qualitative aspects they don’t reflect. Peter and the trip had an opportunity to meet with several high up policy-makers and learn what policy issues currently matter to them. These policy-makers include: … One thing many of them indicated was that they were displeased with their GDP per capita. However, Peter alluded that one thing he noted was that these metrics did not appropriate reflect the quality difference he experience in Japan. Even something familiar—like McDonalds—was on a whole other level of quality in Japan. Peter noted that when considering economic development and growth, the traditional policy metrics often failed to capture qualitative aspects like these.