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(MSN)   Rising Sun, Shrinking GDP   (msn.com) divider line
    More: Followup, State of emergency, Economics, Macroeconomics, Japan, Consumption, Economic growth, Consumer spending, Economy  
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811 clicks; posted to Business » on 18 May 2021 at 8:55 PM (4 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2021-05-18 9:08:10 PM  
PBS has a channel called Create and it has two Japanese NHK English language shows on Sunday morning, Trails to Oishii Tokyo and Journeys in Japan.The Oishii show is all about food and is great. The Journeys show is rather depressing over this last year. The Journeys show goes around Japan to show places with history and supposedly interesting but almost every episode is about a town or city that used to have importance but seems to be on a bad decline if not outright dying. It was rather half and half downer before the pandemic episodes, but since then it is all just sad.
 
2021-05-18 10:24:44 PM  
The Japanese population shrunk by 2 million people from 2009 to 2019.  Their GDP is probably never going up again, at least not over any long stretch.
 
2021-05-18 10:31:09 PM  
Hard times in much of Japan.

Said almost everyone for the last 30 years. Sorry. I meant 3000 years. Yes. Some rural areas are "dying."

A lot of it is demographic. I would say a lot of it is that it is striving to have European ideals in Asia.

And if pressed, I would say that this is what happens to every imperialist nation when it stops being imperialist. Some of the old imperialist nations have encouraged immigration from their former colonies for one reason or another over the years. The youth and vitality of immigrants have shored them up. That has led to other problems.

We will see what happens. Japan is still pushing ahead.
 
2021-05-18 10:47:22 PM  

Incontinent_dog_and_monkey_rodeo: The Japanese population shrunk by 2 million people from 2009 to 2019.  Their GDP is probably never going up again, at least not over any long stretch.


Wow. That is pessimistic. I do not know how someone could think this. Could one be convinced otherwise?

1. Things do not just decline forever.

2. Japan still has vast human resources and a large market.

3. Japan still has a well educated, more or less secure middle class, a stable government

4. Stable grids and infrastructure, numerous facilities, water, forests, capital, foreign reserves

5. An established and respected legal system, stable currency and asset markets,

6. No continuous war. No guns. No strife or squalor.

7. Trade surpluses? Probably. Foreign debt? Negligible. Interest rates? Low. Inflation? Probably lower haha.

Japan is not the wild west. Anyone who thinks that GDP growth is the be all and end all of quality of life is deluded.

Don't want to get too high on a soapbox, but I DO often wonder if the average American or the average Japanese person has had a better life since, oh... 1987. The crash. In almost every way that can't be measured by GDP, the Japanese have been better off. For what it is worth, I do not worry about Japan falling off a cliff the way I do for the US.

And let's all remember that if we are measuring GDP in dollar terms, all it would take for the Japanese economy to "go up again for a long stretch" would be for the US dollar to crater. Sometimes a country can get ahead by doing nothing rather than doing something.
 
2021-05-18 11:10:05 PM  
A guy I know went to the dentist yesterday with a toothache. Made an appointment on Friday. He was late for his appointment by half an hour but they made room for him anyway. Checked him. Xrayed him. Found a big problem and chose to start a root canal. They did the anesthetic, drilled, started the root canal, filled it up and set another appointment for a few days from now.

One hour. 13 bucks.

Another friend had a sick bird. Took it to a reputable vet who was calm and kind to the bird. This was also yesterday. The vet, a woman, received informed consent from the bird owner for certain treatments, but examination revealed that no treatment was necessary. Maybe just a change in diet. And here is some medicine to help things along.

One hour. About 50 bucks.

Just good competent professional services. Calm. Reassurance. Trust.  There is a distinct lack of hucksterism, rushing, pushing, etc. Or maybe I just live in a bubble. This Japanese dystopian hellscape seems to be missing all of the hallmarks of successful countries, such as people yelling at each other, being dragged out of cars and killed, legalized drugs of all kinds, people asking me for spare change outside of grocery stores, election strife, robocalls, spree shootings, etc.

What the hell is wrong with Japan anyway? When will it "modernize?"

So when someone says, "Japan's GNP dropped a little, and Japan can't get any better." I guess I should say, "Probably."
 
2021-05-18 11:36:54 PM  
The wonders of Fark never cease. One person is conducting a lively debate
 
2021-05-19 12:02:42 AM  

2fardownthread: Hard times in much of Japan.

Said almost everyone for the last 30 years. Sorry. I meant 3000 years. Yes. Some rural areas are "dying."

A lot of it is demographic. I would say a lot of it is that it is striving to have European ideals in Asia.

And if pressed, I would say that this is what happens to every imperialist nation when it stops being imperialist. Some of the old imperialist nations have encouraged immigration from their former colonies for one reason or another over the years. The youth and vitality of immigrants have shored them up. That has led to other problems.

We will see what happens. Japan is still pushing ahead.


So multiculturalism is to a strong nation what burning lead is to a star? Interesting theory.
 
2021-05-19 12:35:09 AM  

BlazeTrailer: 2fardownthread: Hard times in much of Japan.

Said almost everyone for the last 30 years. Sorry. I meant 3000 years. Yes. Some rural areas are "dying."

A lot of it is demographic. I would say a lot of it is that it is striving to have European ideals in Asia.

And if pressed, I would say that this is what happens to every imperialist nation when it stops being imperialist. Some of the old imperialist nations have encouraged immigration from their former colonies for one reason or another over the years. The youth and vitality of immigrants have shored them up. That has led to other problems.

We will see what happens. Japan is still pushing ahead.

So multiculturalism is to a strong nation what burning lead is to a star? Interesting theory.


Immigration is bad and everyone has been counting Japan out for 3000 years. If I didn't know any better I'd say he's the drunk old man that frequents my neighborhood takoyaki stand
 
2021-05-19 1:35:18 AM  
Apparently, 2 million people voted with their feet in the last decade. So did one Japan critic chiming in here. He came across the Pacific, creating all that CO2, looking for work. And apparently found it. And, as most foreigners do, has not skipped a beat in flaying Japan at every turn.

If Japan does not please a certain person, please go back to the USA. I hear it is still number one, with a rising GDP too! Go help count the votes.

There can be no debate without a rebuttal, so let me continue with my exposition.

On March 9, 2011, I was at a meeting of a large business group, listening to a speech by one of the old guard who was retiring. He was advising the room full of boomers that it was not a time of anxiety. If they were worried about the future, all they needed to do was empty their bank accounts and set up residence abroad. There are plenty of cheaper places in Asia and South America a person could go to. He was off to Australia, where he had a nice little house already. He got his polite applause. I made it a point after the speech to tell him he was wrong. Was he?

About 42 hours later, the earthquake and tsunami struck, and almost everyone in that room at least doubled their wealth. Some did a lot better, like the guy I was going to go out to dinner with on March 11. He had to cancel, suddenly got very busy and stayed that way for years thereafter. He built tens of thousands of units for evacuation centers, and wow did he do it fast.

The point is that Japan has adversity, but opportunity. Quite often they come together or rely on one another. Serving other people is a great thing especially if you can do it when people need it most.

And the guy going to Australia? He was retiring anyway. Certainly more than 2 million Japanese have retired in the last decade. Is it really a drag on Japan's economy to let the Japanese boomers retire to whatever Florida they like? If he has nothing to offer Japan, he has freedom to go to Guam, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, or any old place. I have not missed him even once. I know of at least one person who lives abroad in the greatest country on Earth, but comes back to Japan on a regular basis just for the health care.

Maybe some countries can still learn something from Japan to improve themselves.
 
2021-05-19 2:29:51 AM  

2fardownthread: Apparently, 2 million people voted with their feet in the last decade. So did one Japan critic chiming in here. He came across the Pacific, creating all that CO2, looking for work. And apparently found it. And, as most foreigners do, has not skipped a beat in flaying Japan at every turn.

If Japan does not please a certain person, please go back to the USA. I hear it is still number one, with a rising GDP too! Go help count the votes.

There can be no debate without a rebuttal, so let me continue with my exposition.

On March 9, 2011, I was at a meeting of a large business group, listening to a speech by one of the old guard who was retiring. He was advising the room full of boomers that it was not a time of anxiety. If they were worried about the future, all they needed to do was empty their bank accounts and set up residence abroad. There are plenty of cheaper places in Asia and South America a person could go to. He was off to Australia, where he had a nice little house already. He got his polite applause. I made it a point after the speech to tell him he was wrong. Was he?

About 42 hours later, the earthquake and tsunami struck, and almost everyone in that room at least doubled their wealth. Some did a lot better, like the guy I was going to go out to dinner with on March 11. He had to cancel, suddenly got very busy and stayed that way for years thereafter. He built tens of thousands of units for evacuation centers, and wow did he do it fast.

The point is that Japan has adversity, but opportunity. Quite often they come together or rely on one another. Serving other people is a great thing especially if you can do it when people need it most.

And the guy going to Australia? He was retiring anyway. Certainly more than 2 million Japanese have retired in the last decade. Is it really a drag on Japan's economy to let the Japanese boomers retire to whatever Florida they like? If he has nothing to offer Japan, he has freedom to go to Guam, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, or any old place. I have not missed him even once. I know of at least one person who lives abroad in the greatest country on Earth, but comes back to Japan on a regular basis just for the health care.

Maybe some countries can still learn something from Japan to improve themselves.


You just can't help but lie and lie. Whatever helps you find comfort in clinging to your irrational hatred.
 
2021-05-19 2:41:03 AM  

2fardownthread: Wow. That is pessimistic. I do not know how someone could think this. Could one be convinced otherwise?

1. Things do not just decline forever.


True but population shifts have inertia and Japan has been building up speed on a downward trajectory in a country that doesn't really tolerate much less facilitate (im)migration.  Even if conditions were to improve substantially it could still be a decade or two before the population stabilizes.  China, for instance, started to strictly enforce their one-child policy and it took roughly 30 years before the population curve started to flatten.

2. Japan still has vast human resources and a large market.

While true the amount of economic activity that population can generate is limited by the productivity of the labor pool.  There are limits to how much productivity you can squeeze out of workers.  As the population ages the labor pool will naturally contract creating shortages if positions can't be filled with immigrants.  The ratio of job vacancies to job seekers is already over 2 meaning there is a severe shortage of labor.  Shortages like that will not only hobble growth but it will discourage investment in the region.  

3. Japan still has a well educated, more or less secure middle class, a stable government

While true it's also irrelevant since it doesn't address the point about declining population contributing to a stagnating economy.  

4. Stable grids and infrastructure, numerous facilities, water, forests, capital, foreign reserves

While infrastructure is of good quality Japan's grid security is marginal because Japan has to import most of their fuel (being the leading importer of natural gas and coal which are 37% and 28% of power generation capacity).  Japan's capital resources are somewhat constrained by its reliance on exports for economic activity (nearly 20% of GDP).  Since Japan is trying to both stimulate domestic spending & maintain cost competitiveness with overseas competitors a strong yen is discouraged by monetary policy.  However it can't be weakened too much otherwise energy imports would become unaffordable.  So competing interests push and pull creating volatility where the yen gyrates between 80 yen per USD to 150 yen per USD over the last 30+ years.

5. An established and respected legal system, stable currency and asset markets,

The legal system is kind of a mess.  The conviction rate for criminal cases is 99.9% which is ridiculous.  Access to legal advice is suspect with 1 lawyer for every 4000 people (US 1 per 250, UK 1 per 350, Canada 1 per 425).  Lawsuits, even for valid legal claims, are discouraged by structural impediments which create a legal system that is frighteningly slow (taking decades to pursue claims to exhaustion).  The civil system lacks punitive damages, limits fee awards (particularly harmful given the sheer duration of litigation), severely limits discovery (making evidence gathering nigh impossible), and employs a severely flawed adversarial-inquisitorial judicial model.  

It's as if the legal system was designed to discourage people from using the legal system.  Definitely not a model anyone should emulate.  

6. No continuous war. No guns. No strife or squalor.

Understandable since Japan lives inside the US defense umbrella, doesn't really have a domestic firearm industry, and has a (rapidly) declining population in a still as yet wealthy nation.  More jobs than applicants and a homogenous population without migrants tends to remove some of the larger social stressors.  

7. Trade surpluses? Probably. Foreign debt? Negligible. Interest rates? Low. Inflation? Probably lower haha.

Nothing to be happy about there.  Exports only 100 basis points above imports...especially since Japan is importing so much fuel.  Economic stagnation going on 30 years now has seen real wages drop around 13% which is unprecedented for an OECD country.  Per Hour labor productivity has fallen and continues to fall with Japan on par now with Slovakia & Turkey in the bottom third of the OECD.  National debts are substantial with a total debt equal to 240% of GDP with the foreign component equaling 91% of GDP.  

Don't want to get too high on a soapbox, but I DO often wonder if the average American or the average Japanese person has had a better life since, oh... 1987. The crash. In almost every way that can't be measured by GDP, the Japanese have been better off. For what it is worth, I do not worry about Japan falling off a cliff the way I do for the US.

25% of workers in Japan work 50+ hour weeks regularly versus 10% of Americans.  Which shows how remarkably distorted the work calendar is when the median hours worked for a Japanese worker is nearly identical to an American's.  A Japanese worker leaving college in 1987 would, by 2021, be twice as likely to commit suicide than an American.  Real wages for an American worker have gone up 20% in that period which isn't great but it's a lot better than seeing your wages decrease by 13% during that same period.  The intervening time hasn't been great for women either...however the labor shortages combined with declining wages for men have had a nice side effect of actually getting more women into the labor force to the point where, after 34 years, Japan's labor participation rate for women finally caught up to the US.  It also compressed the gender wage gap from 33% in 2005 to just 26% in 2017 making Japan the third worst of the OECD.  

And let's all remember that if we are measuring GDP in dollar terms, all it would take for the Japanese economy to "go up again for a long stretch" would be for the US dollar to crater.

Good farking god.  I mean...say it out loud and think about how stupid that sounds.  GDP is measured in local currency.  When comparing the GDP of two nations their currencies are converted to Dollars at the rate of exchange used when their GDP was measured.  Changes in the US Dollar value won't impact how the Japanese economic output is measured.
 
2021-05-19 2:49:31 AM  

2fardownthread: About 42 hours later, the earthquake and tsunami struck, and almost everyone in that room at least doubled their wealth. Some did a lot better, like the guy I was going to go out to dinner with on March 11. He had to cancel, suddenly got very busy and stayed that way for years thereafter. He built tens of thousands of units for evacuation centers, and wow did he do it fast.



Yeah that's called a demand surge...if you're being charitable (profiteering if you aren't).  We see that all the time here whenever there is a natural disaster like hurricanes, floods, or fires which create a period of heightened demand for skilled trades and materials (both of which can garner substantial premiums).  It's not really something I'd highlight and if anything emphasizes the severe labor shortage in the country particularly in construction where over a third of the workforce is 55 or older.
 
2021-05-19 4:32:17 AM  
Every single developed nation is aging, unless they are like the US and have actually falling life expectancy. Every one has near zero or negative population growth. The entire world, as a whole, has a declining population growth rate. GDP is going to fall because there are fewer people to make GDP. But GDP does not make a good life.

As for Japan, it has its problems, but it runs a damn sight better than the US. I've been there several times, lived there for a short 3 months, and it's not bad. People work too hard just like in the US, and the old conservatives are too powerful like the US, but it works much better. And I can tell you why in one video:
Marine Pays Her Taxes despite Being a Pirate [ENG sub] [Hololive]
Youtube Iyo02GZYR1o

/few Americans pay their taxes with that attitude
//which is why we can't have nice things
 
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