Friday, June 26, 2009

Looking To Japan

When I look at Japan, I see a glimmering of things to come. As a beginning, please read the following article over at Jesses.

The Particularity of Japan from an Economic and Demographic Perspective

Now, when I read about Japan in current literature, I hear a great deal of sneering about their stagnant economy, their spoiled children, their rising militarism (they are talking about taking their military spending to almost 1% of GDP Gasp!!!) , etc. etc. etc. But when you think about it, they may very well be showing us the way.

In particular, take a look at this chart published over at Jesse's. If you click the chart you can see a larger image.

OK, now lets look at things from the long view….the really long view, well past the end of the boomers and the x-er’s and such, out to the point 80+ years from now. Japan will be sitting on a population about half what they have now. They will have reached it through tight immigration controls and natural deaths. The price will be a “stagnant” economy and an homogenous culture. I think that in the eighty years coming up the age makeup of the Japanese population will revert to the historical norms of a 7-10% aged population, which will strip away another 15 of so million folks, leaving a population around 50 million. This is a good population for that country, right around where it was prior to the turn of last century, and within the carrying capacity of the land.


But let’s take a look at their “stagnant” economy. They still have public health systems that easily outstrip those in the USA. Their standard of living is high. They have unemployment and underemployment, but who doesn’t? They don’t allow immigration, so the kumbaya folks call them racist.

So we are looking at a system in Japan that will effectively reduce the population to manageable levels in the time-frame that will also witness the end of fossil fuels as an economic driver. In my opinion,, every nation will have to address the population issue in this same time frame. It looks as though the choices being made by the Japanese will allow an orderly transition to a low-energy Weltanschauung with the culture and population intact.

Contrast this with the actions of the US. We are currently trying to restart a growth engine. Each time we manage to get it started again, we will run against the energy wall and go into another downward spiral. We have lost control of our borders and have mass movement of non-citizens within the country. These non-citizens have some of the most prolific population growth numbers. We contribute huge amounts of our energy in maintaining a military presence throughout the world.

So, if we are to begin to make the transition to the way that the world is inexorably headed, we will have to begin making the same decisions that the Japanese have already made. We will have to shut down our borders. We will have to reduce birthrates. We will have to bring our military to a rational point well below the 5% or so where it resides now. None of these are out of our reach.


shiloh1862 said...

Not only close our borders but deport all illegals here. And massively reduce the nanny state.


Publius said...

Right on.
Japan's culture and conservatism (small c) have been targets of globalonists since Perry forced Japan "open" in the 19th century.

But the Japanese are going to fare better in some ways, or many (depending on our actions) than we are.

I suspect that the USA will splinter, however, with some regions making the right decisions, and others going to hell in a handbasket.

Gather ye marbles said...

Japan exemplifies an encouraging demographic trend: population growth flatlining in developed nations. The USA is around zero growth for the native-born populace; USA immigrant population growth drops dramatically by the second generation. See Wikipedia articles "Demographic-economic paradox" and "Total fertility rate" for analysis. A trend I'd like to see: per capita consumption (of energy and otherwise) also flatlining and trending down in developed nations, because people come to their senses and get less hogish. Pollyann-ish, or could that happen?