Karoshi

Not like this is disputed, but culture can play a large role in an economy. Example: the Japanese economy is famously productive, ranking second or third in the world (by nominal GDP or purchasing power parity, respectively), but one of the reasons is that its workers work such long hours that there's apparently a commonly-known term for "death from overwork".

A major characteristic of JPM [Japanese Production Management] is that no time is supposed to be wasted. It's a stressful work system because even seconds that are wasted are considered unacceptable. Another main characteristic of JPM is the teamwork approach. If even one worker takes seconds longer than is considered the most efficient time to complete a task, then the whole team becomes slower which slows down production. There can be great pressure not to be the person responsible for slowing down the team.

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Causality is tricky

How does their productivity compare to Japanese who live outside of Japan in a very different culture? What about Japanese adopted into different cultures? Perhaps the difference in culture is manifested in regulations that prevent people from working themselves to death here.

Culture has everything to do

Culture has everything to do with economy I think. The way people live and think affects how they take business and how seriously they consider all the factors in their lives that includes daily life, which is largely is economy.

The quoted paragraph sounds

The quoted paragraph sounds like a poor description of "lean" manufacturing methods. Properly implemented, lean methods - such as eliminating wasted seconds and using sophisticated scheduling and task flow techniques which could crudely be summarized as "teamwork" - are less stressful to employees, not more.

The stories of overwork should emphasize the long working hours and the strong identification of a person's life with their job, not with the efficiency of their production methods. Efficiency at work is good; life spent at work bad (unless you really, really like your work).

I take such stories with a grain of salt, though... they may be true, but they have the ring of self-serving myths about foreigners, much like the stories Europeans tell about work-obsessed Americans.