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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Fewer Mouths To Feed In Japan- Fewer Producers

Found this interesting report on Japan from Andrew Sullivan. It's population is decreasing. It was expected to start years from now but began this year as:

The number of deaths outnumbered births by 10,000 this year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Excluding wartime figures, the number of births, at 1.067 million, was the lowest since records have been kept; births dropped 44,000 from the previous year.

For the "over-population" crowd, I guess Japan will have fewer mouths to feed and thus should be exaltant over the "development". Anyone with knowledge of economics will tell you that it should be a grave worry. (That was intentional).


Japan has not only one of the world's lowest birthrates, currently 1.29 lifetime births per woman, but also the highest life expectancy. Those trends are particularly evident in rural areas, where graying Japanese dominate and schools are being shuttered. By 2025, nearly 30 percent of the population is expected to be older than 65.

Who is going to pay for the old-timers' financial needs? Where is innovation going to come from? Who will defend them? Watch Old Europe follow suit. Stay alive, Americans. And please keep having kids.

Meanwhile in Spain (who knew?):

The number of abortions carried out in Spain has risen by almost three quarters in the past decade but the figure remains low by European standards, the country's health ministry said. In 2004 the total reached 84,985, up by 6.5 percent on 2003 (79,788) et 72 percent on 1995 (49,367), it reported.

Fewer and fewer and fewer.....


At 7:47 AM, Blogger blogagog said...

I don't think I agree with you. Japan is in a different position than most other nations. There is no immigration. It is completely impossible for a foreigner to become a Japanese citizen. so a low birth rate will not change the makeup of the country, only the age.

Japanese pensions are based on 'money in the bank', not money soon to be made as social security and non-401k pensions are in the states. So the answer is that no one will have to pay for old-timer's financial needs. The money is already there.

This is of course very different from Europe. As Europeans have less and less children, they are being replaced with African and Southern Asian immigrants. And all of the European Social Security schemes that I'm aware of are just as bad as ours, so they are going to be in big trouble soon (just like us).

So for Japan, the only drawbacks I see are that they may be slightly less innovative, and slightly less able to defend themselves. The benefits of being able to be more self-reliant (more land/person) outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

You should turn on that thing that makes it so you have to type in a code to make a post. It makes it so spambots like 'internet money' above can't post here.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger neal phenes said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lighten up. Robots with personalities will be the workers of the future. Of course, we must fear their godless souls reproducing themselves and staging some sort of insurrection, but at least short term we'll get the work done. And Japan especially should have no fear, as it is cutting edge when it comes to robotics. Witness robot pets. There will be a technological fix.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't step on the batteries!

At 6:33 AM, Blogger francois said...

I don't know that population decreasing is necessarily bad for an economy, assuming productivity continues to increase and/or people continue to work as long as they are healthy.

What will damage an economy is people spending 40 years in retirement being supported by working families.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the government needs to quit creating incentives for people to just loaf around when they are still capable of working.

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