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(BBC)   Government report says Japan's population will shrink by one third by 2060, which is shocking considering how short they already are now   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 94
    More: Scary, Japan  
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3436 clicks; posted to Main » on 31 Jan 2012 at 12:58 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-01-31 10:03:11 AM  
Well of course they are going to have population problems, their private areas are nothing but pixels from what I've seen.
 
2012-01-31 10:50:55 AM  
I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.
 
2012-01-31 11:03:20 AM  

eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.


There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.
 
2012-01-31 11:23:18 AM  
Q: Why did Tokyo Disneyland go out of business?

A: Nobody was tall enough to get on the good rides.

/Old joke is old.
 
2012-01-31 11:26:59 AM  

Sybarite: eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.

There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.


yeah but european countries don't have seppuku.
 
2012-01-31 12:03:45 PM  

Sybarite: There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.


And culture. IIRC, the Japanese people are generally xenophobic.
 
2012-01-31 12:07:10 PM  

Sybarite: eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.

There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them.


Yep. It sounds like each person of working age will be supporting 4/5 of a senior citizen (plus themselves and their own children, of course).

For perspective, in the US, each person of working age is currently supporting 1/5 of a senior citizen.
 
2012-01-31 12:19:27 PM  
They're still a long way from not sleeping in drawers.
 
2012-01-31 12:20:13 PM  
Here's the problem in graphical form, for 2025:

i295.photobucket.com

Now shift everything up by 35 years. In the US (the bottom graph), it will still be basically the same shape, with people being born at a steady rate and dying off once they start hitting their 70s. In Japan, the long pink line at the center will now be up at the 85-89 year mark, and will be supported by the few 35-year-olds who used to be the cyan infants in the graph. It will basically be a pyramid standing on its tip, which is as unsustainable for a country as it is for a building.

/graphic stolen from MoneyWeek, but not hotlinked
 
2012-01-31 01:00:38 PM  
I volunteer to go and impregnate all the Japanese women.
 
2012-01-31 01:05:52 PM  
They'll have to figure out a way to tax robots.
 
2012-01-31 01:05:55 PM  
Just send over three Mexican families. Prollum solved.
 
2012-01-31 01:07:38 PM  

thomps: yeah but european countries don't have seppuku.


or tentacle porn. Or vending machines that sell used schoolgirl underwear...
 
2012-01-31 01:08:24 PM  
2.bp.blogspot.com

I think this explains the population decline in Japan. NTTAWWT.
 
2012-01-31 01:08:38 PM  

Sybarite: There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.


Japan has an extremely cheap and effective health care system in which the government dictates costs to providers. MRIs in Japan cost less than $100, while here in the U.S. they cost several thousand.

There may be some finance issues, but not to the extent you claim.
 
2012-01-31 01:10:34 PM  

Rapmaster2000: They'll have to figure out a way to tax robots.


Slightly off topic, but Japan is leading in the development of exoskeletons, so that 60 year old sons and daughters can lift 80 year old parents.
 
2012-01-31 01:10:37 PM  
taiwans birthrate is so low they pay people to have anchor babies. for serious.
 
2012-01-31 01:10:39 PM  
Population DECREASE? Maybe I can move there then?
 
2012-01-31 01:11:00 PM  
Economic collapse and mass starvation will decrease world population by two thirds so we won't care.
 
2012-01-31 01:14:48 PM  
Approves.


badassoftheweek.com
 
2012-01-31 01:15:39 PM  

Sybarite: eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.

There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.


Maybe we can end the idea that the standard "retirement" should include owning several properties, an income close to or exceeding your working income, and flying all over the world with a lifestyle vastly superior to even the most powerful Kings, queens, and emperors of history?

Babyboomers: "HOW DARE U I PAID IN ENTITLED SNOWFLAKE LAZY IPOD GENERATION WAHHHHHHH!!!"
 
2012-01-31 01:19:30 PM  
SONY

Because caucasions are just too damn tall
 
2012-01-31 01:20:49 PM  
So by 2156 there will be no people in Japan?
 
DGS [TotalFark]
2012-01-31 01:22:36 PM  
+1, subby.

/that is all
 
2012-01-31 01:22:40 PM  
So like a giant Sarasota with better sushi?
 
2012-01-31 01:23:47 PM  
DEALING WITH SOCIAL SECURITY IS MANAGEABLE. DEALING WITH OVERPOPULATION OF HUMANS IS NOT.

How many times do I have to make this point? The answer cannot be forever that every generation of humans is larger than the one before it. We need to figure out a way to balance the budget without relying on population growth. What are we supposed to do, keep it up until we form a human carpet, covering every square foot of land on the face of the earth?
 
2012-01-31 01:25:40 PM  

Sybarite: eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.

There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.


2.bp.blogspot.com

What 180? The only direction which fixes this is to grind the old people up as food.

There's no enough funds to sustain them and grow the economy. Very hard to fix this with shuffling around little green pieces of paper.
 
2012-01-31 01:27:19 PM  
thanks to Fukushima
 
2012-01-31 01:27:53 PM  

Starry Heavens: Here's the problem in graphical form, for 2025:

[i295.photobucket.com image 450x452]

Now shift everything up by 35 years. In the US (the bottom graph), it will still be basically the same shape, with people being born at a steady rate and dying off once they start hitting their 70s. In Japan, the long pink line at the center will now be up at the 85-89 year mark, and will be supported by the few 35-year-olds who used to be the cyan infants in the graph. It will basically be a pyramid standing on its tip, which is as unsustainable for a country as it is for a building.

/graphic stolen from MoneyWeek, but not hotlinked


Yes, but it will only be unsustainable for a single generation, until the old people die out. This can be overcome through running a deficit for a few years, at which point the graph will resemble a straight pole as people settle into a rhythm of having 2.00 children per woman. This will happen when the free market equilibrates with the demand for human labor.

The alternative is much, much worse. We cannot have eternal growth. In fact, the longer we try to solve this crisis through population growth, the longer and more painful the borrowing period is going to be.
 
2012-01-31 01:28:11 PM  

ChuDogg: Maybe we can end the idea that the standard "retirement" should include owning several properties, an income close to or exceeding your working income, and flying all over the world with a lifestyle vastly superior to even the most powerful Kings, queens, and emperors of history?


That's not necessarily what people expect. They do expect to be able to live somewhere other than a major city that has enough people under the age of 60 around to run anything. The Japanese live long lives...

There's a thoughtful, intelligent (if acid) expat blog on this trend that I follow, Spike Japan. The road-trip series on Hokkaido's dwindling towns (new window) is especially good.
 
2012-01-31 01:29:56 PM  
The people who think a shrinking population would be beneficial to society are generally the same people whose reasoning tells them that currency deflation would be great because "all my moneys would be worth more!"
In short, range-of-the-moment thinkers.
 
2012-01-31 01:34:00 PM  

DGS: +1, subby.

/that is all


Ah, so funny.
 
2012-01-31 01:34:54 PM  
Even Faster If We Let More Of Them Drive...
 
2012-01-31 01:36:41 PM  

Sybarite: There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them.


This is an outdated outlook, and it's surprising considering it's been known for quite a while that automation has been killing jobs like crazy. Theoretically, Japan should have fewer problems than any developed nation because the relative size of its young, productive labor force is trending in the same direction as manufacturing jobs.

No, the problems in Japan are similar to America's, which goes to show how irrelevant their population "problem" is. It's twofold:
1) The aging fiftysomethings are incredibly powerful culturally, within the labor force (where they are forming some very top-heavy companies) and demographically, in politics. So this is exactly like our Baby Boomer generation, with the richest generation further enriching themselves by exploiting their progeny. It's gotten to the point where some companies have forced retirement as a policy, but even forbidding anyone over 65 to keep working isn't solving the problem fast enough -- and doesn't solve the political problems. As a result, their Millenials are completely uninvested in their employers and country.
2) They are trying to be a manufacturing-based economy dependent on exports, but this causes a chronic problem of strengthening yen. The more goods they ship out, the more their own yen gets sucked back into the country, increasing global demand for the currency and effectively making their exports more expensive. Trade surplus nations invariably get hit with the deflation bug. America's got the other problem; we're a service- and consumer-based economy dependent on imports. The more oil we buy with dollars, the less oil our dollars buy. It's almost hilarious the extent to which these two countries think the other's grass is greener.

If 10% of the population is productive enough to sustain the other 90%, then the labor force being 10% of the population isn't a problem by itself. It's that in a democracy, the 90% will invariably dick over the 10%. About the only reason why the Japanese still have children at all are some very ingrained cultural expectations despite intense economic disincentives. A senior electrical engineer working in a mid-sized city earns about $60k with overtime. I've been on teams where the majority of the members were technically managers with no one to manage. That's where Japan's farked up.
 
2012-01-31 01:37:40 PM  

wildstarr: So by 2156 there will be no people in Japan?


sacredsites.com

There is precedent for it.
 
2012-01-31 01:37:45 PM  
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.
 
2012-01-31 01:38:41 PM  

eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.


This is one of the bad results of our current economic system -- it needs constant expansion and that is mostly fueled by growing populations. But yeah in our current system, it is a very bad thing for a population to shrink -- there is no reason to invest, profits and employment shrink as well, and a general downward spiral happens. Then on top of that you compound the problem with the fact that not only is the population shrinking but the demographic is skewing towards old age and it is a double whammy for the social support system.

I don't really think there is a viable alternative to our capitalist economy, but it is sort of a dirty not-so-secret aspect that it relies on underlying population growth.

// better hurry up with Newt's permanent settlements on Mars to make room ...
 
2012-01-31 01:52:18 PM  

ChuDogg: Sybarite: eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.

There are going to be massive public finance problems as the country has too many non-working elderly and too few working people to support them. European countries have been dealing with this problem by allowing more immigration, but in Japan that would require a complete 180 in public policy.

Maybe we can end the idea that the standard "retirement" should include owning several properties, an income close to or exceeding your working income, and flying all over the world with a lifestyle vastly superior to even the most powerful Kings, queens, and emperors of history?

Babyboomers: "HOW DARE U I PAID IN ENTITLED SNOWFLAKE LAZY IPOD GENERATION WAHHHHHHH!!!"


Maybe we can end the idea that you can spend all your income in your earning years and still "retire". Try saving instead of blowing it all on bigger houses, vacations, and the good life.
 
2012-01-31 01:56:57 PM  

jabelar: This is one of the bad results of our current economic system -- it needs constant expansion and that is mostly fueled by growing populations. But yeah in our current system, it is a very bad thing for a population to shrink -- there is no reason to invest, profits and employment shrink as well, and a general downward spiral happens.


Within a relatively short time (historically speaking), I think our machines will have enough intelligence that they can do anything humans can today. In a world like that, nobody will have to work in order to live (though some probably will, out of sheer boredom or for personal as opposed to economic reasons). It probably won't even have what we would recognize today as an "economy".
 
2012-01-31 02:01:06 PM  
Japan is just setting a good example- but this is just a start. The entire human race needs to seriously downsize. There's not a serious global problem that wouldn't disappear if the population of the world were about what it was at the end of the Black Death in 1350...a bit more than the population of the United States today. It's all just one of those easy way / hard way things.
 
2012-01-31 02:04:52 PM  

rico567: Japan is just setting a good example- but this is just a start. The entire human race needs to seriously downsize. There's not a serious global problem that wouldn't disappear if the population of the world were about what it was at the end of the Black Death in 1350...a bit more than the population of the United States today. It's all just one of those easy way / hard way things.


You'd have to get rid of a couple of major religions first though.
 
2012-01-31 02:05:15 PM  

Inchoate: ChuDogg: Maybe we can end the idea that the standard "retirement" should include owning several properties, an income close to or exceeding your working income, and flying all over the world with a lifestyle vastly superior to even the most powerful Kings, queens, and emperors of history?

That's not necessarily what people expect. They do expect to be able to live somewhere other than a major city that has enough people under the age of 60 around to run anything. The Japanese live long lives...

There's a thoughtful, intelligent (if acid) expat blog on this trend that I follow, Spike Japan. The road-trip series on Hokkaido's dwindling towns (new window) is especially good.


I don't know about Japan but they definitely do here.

Anytime I hear "Im worried i wont even be able to retire" I automatically translate that to " im worried I won't be able to live better than ghenghis khan did while pumped up on drugs in constant fear of my mortality".

The only thing unsustainable is retirement itself. If you couldn't save you should work until you're physically unable. Once you're physically unable your off to the group home to prepare for the inevitable. And the only medications you get are painkillers.

All retirement plans should be taxed retroactively and any pensions including SS should be revoked. And dont give me that shiat they "paid in", that money went to the general fund which bought all their shiny toys while cutting taxes and running up deficits. Paid in my ass
 
2012-01-31 02:12:07 PM  
So the bluefin tuna, if they last that long, should recover better then?
 
2012-01-31 02:13:28 PM  

Oznog:

What 180? The only direction which fixes this is to grind the old people up as food.


No one wants to eat other people, that's how you get Mad Cow disease. What we should do is feed our elderly to our pets. Then we feed our pets to pigs, chickens, and cows, which in turn we eat. We're comfortably removed from the taboo meats while still reaping the benefits of incorporating our dead into our food chain, as opposed to allowing them to go to waste by rotting underground or cooked down into polluting dust.
 
2012-01-31 02:14:21 PM  

Tommy Moo: Yes, but it will only be unsustainable for a single generation, until the old people die out. This can be overcome through running a deficit for a few years, at which point the graph will resemble a straight pole as people settle into a rhythm of having 2.00 children per woman. This will happen when the free market equilibrates with the demand for human labor.


Just so you know, that would be a significant increase in the number of children, since it's currently less than 1.4. Since one of the major causes of the low fertility rate is lack of money for raising kids, more retirees increasing the burden on working families seems like it would exacerbate that, not improve it.

One benefit, I suppose, is that housing prices should absolutely plummet. That would help young families get an apartment for a reasonable price.

/for comparison, the fertility rate in America is 2.05
//Japan is 1.37
 
2012-01-31 02:14:22 PM  

eddyatwork: I don't understand why people think a lower population is a bad thing. Japan has over 100,000,000 people in an area the size of Montana. I would think they'd be paying people not to breed just to have some elbow room.


It's more the aging of the population that's a concern, putting greater stress on social services without adding much productivity.

If they could have a much smaller population with the same basic age structure it wouldn't be a problem. Which it looks like they'll have eventually. But the transition will be rough.
 
2012-01-31 02:15:49 PM  

rico567: Japan is just setting a good example- but this is just a start. The entire human race needs to seriously downsize. There's not a serious global problem that wouldn't disappear if the population of the world were about what it was at the end of the Black Death in 1350...a bit more than the population of the United States today. It's all just one of those easy way / hard way things.


Most population control initiatives are based on stabilizing/curtailing population growth (which is fine; family planning is important in all kinds of ways). I'm not sure that there ever has been a stable, humane, effective way to engineer a population decrease, though, and wonder how that might be accomplished.

ChuDogg: All retirement plans should be taxed retroactively and any pensions including SS should be revoked. And dont give me that shiat they "paid in", that money went to the general fund which bought all their shiny toys while cutting taxes and running up deficits. Paid in my ass


Wow. Whence the bitterness? It's not like there's no middle ground between "palatial pipe-dreams of decades-long retirement on the public dime" and "retirement-plan systems are scrapped and everybody works till they're dead".
 
2012-01-31 02:17:02 PM  

One Bad Apple: wildstarr: So by 2156 there will be no people in Japan?

[sacredsites.com image 500x333]

There is precedent for it.


There were still people there. A lot fewer and living at a much lower level of civilization. But some intrepid cannibals weathered the collapse and managed to reproduce.

/will future humans marvel at the abandoned Hello Kitty monuments and puzzle over their purpose?
 
2012-01-31 02:17:26 PM  
natmar_76

Japan has an extremely cheap and effective health care system in which the government dictates costs to providers. MRIs in Japan cost less than $100, while here in the U.S. they cost several thousand.

Yeah they dictate the cost. However, they also have a population that's generally more healthy than Americas population, which contribute to keeping the cost down. We're a bunch of fat asses here in Merica!

/lapbands for everybody!
 
2012-01-31 02:21:06 PM  
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