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Thread: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

  1. #1
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    Default It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    "Tokyo. Japan'sprime minister issued a dire warning about the country’s population crisis on Monday, saying it was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions” due to the falling birth rate.

    Japan has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with the Ministry of Health predicting it will record fewer than 800,000 births in 2022 for the first time since records began in 1899.
    "
    https://edition.cnn.com/2023/01/23/a...hnk/index.html

    China will have similar problems,

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Everyone will have to figure this out, sooner or later. Sooner is better than later. Japan has been doing quite well at it.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    "Degrowth" seems to become the new economic strategy, one of the authors is Timothee Parrique.

    A lot of other authors and thinkers in the summary behind this link.
    https://timotheeparrique.com/academic-articles/

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    I’m not seeing a problem; I’m seeing a better future.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    What's the problem? Less population pressure on farmland. Maybe then farmers will earn more than IT nerds. The alternatives for depopulation is disease or nuclear war.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Economic decline. With the social problems that come with it
    Ragnar B.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    The problem isn't a lower population, it's getting through the transition.

    Decommissioning infrastructure which cannot be maintained anymore, when there isn't a tax base anymore sufficient even to decommission it safely. Finding ways to provide the increasing volume of health care and extended care a significantly large seniors' population requires, when the demographics don't show a large enough working age cohort to do the labor, or large enough productive capacity in the economy to have that much highly skilled/paid labor devoted to non-GDP producing services.

    Japan's not the only society which will go through such a wrenching transition. To be honest, it will be harder in sparsely populated places which already have a rough time retaining infrastructure like highway systems or water treatment etc on a shrinking regional tax base as their prior populations move to cities for the services elderly folks need. Overall population decline in addition to rural depopulation will be a helluva tough management challenge, especially in democracies.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    The problem isn't a lower population, it's getting through the transition.
    Yes, and the first step is to recognize that it needs to be done, rather than fight population decline as if it was a bad thing.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Yes. But why would the population level ever stabilize, what would compel people to start getting more than two kids? Unless we go back to a situation where kids are needed as a labor force in the family.
    Ragnar B.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    To be honest, it will be harder in sparsely populated places which already have a rough time retaining infrastructure like highway systems or water treatment etc on a shrinking regional tax base as their prior populations move to cities for the services elderly folks need. Overall population decline in addition to rural depopulation will be a helluva tough management challenge, especially in democracies.
    not necessarily. . .

    standard of living can be maintained in a declining population if worker productivity increases at a corresponding rate
    japan from 1960 through 2000 saw huge gains in worker productivity (through its investment in and development of efficient technologies); since 2000 japan's rate of increase in worker productivity lags behind most other top performing economies - that's a real problem

    there are other options, that a few nation's may be able to exploit, think nations with relatively low populations combined with income and wealth equality and vast wealth, nations with sovereign wealth funds, denmark. . . norway. . .

    or nations, like canada and australia, with low population compared to their vast natural resource wealth; in this regard canada is better poised for growth as they have a more reasonable attitude with regards to immigration

    comparatively, its quite possible that rural centric populations may be able to raise their productivity levels more easily than already highly productivity urban societies
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 01-24-2023 at 07:56 AM.
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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    I really think economists are a poor guide to this.

    Lets try the historians.

    In June 1348 a seaman came ashore at Weymouth with an infection of yersinia pestis; by December 1349 about half the population of England was dead. England is used because England had better records of population than other European countries but the figures are assumed to be similar everywhere.

    The economic consequences were interesting but they were not bad.

    China offers an example of the opposite: the importation of New World vegetables into Macao by the Portuguese in the 16th century is taken to have doubled the population of China; the economic effects were negative.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Craig-Bennett View Post

    China offers an example of the opposite: the importation of New World vegetables into Macao by the Portuguese in the 16th century is taken to have doubled the population of China; the economic effects were negative.
    post wwii when the worlds largest munitions plant located in muscle shoals, alabama was converted to produce fertilizer coincides perfectly with the world population explosion beginning in 1950
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Why does productivity have to increase? Income for most people has remained stagnant for decades. Only the top whatever % are seeing their income grow. We seem to be surviving it, and surely could survive the top x% also seeing their income stagnate.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    productivity doesn't have to increase and probably won't

    however if you want to maintain current standards of living, which japan certainly does, then productivity must increase
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    japan will probably import workers like they have done so in the past
    curious to see if they choose brazilians again
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Productivity can certainly increase even with reduced labor - but one still needs markets to sell into. With overall population decline - especially with such decline focused in wealthy countries - the markets to sell into will also shrink.

    I remember a seminar with a demographer who talked about how the baby boom and subsequent baby bust generations affected the toy industry. From the early-60s through mid-70s the target cohort of toy-consumers grew by about 15%/year. Hence Hasbro, Irwin, Mattel, etc. By the early 80s, the toy-consumer-age cohort had shrunk sharply, and while the surviving manufacturers were far more efficiently run, they were fewer and far less profitable. Because market volume trumps efficiency.

    His advice was to observe the interests/needs of a large demographic cohort, and position yourself to be able to sell what they would need at this or that stage of their life cycle ... about 3 years before the wave starts to hit. Right now, that's health care, and home-supports for the still healthy senior population. In 1968, it was toys.

    Frankly, this is what's also driving the political unrest across the West, at least in large measure. I dunno how to fix it.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Without significant immigration, Europe and even the US would have similar troubles, different only in degree. We're not far from a declining population without immigration. Japan's immigration rate is very low by normal developed country standards.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Consider the trouble every rich country now has recruiting and retaining health care workers. Nurses especially, but every other health profession too.

    Partly, it's because we've finally found the age at which Boomers want to retire ... (or die). Partly it's because COVID has completed the burnout which a career's worth of budget restriction and scope-of-practice creep had set in motion.

    But largely, it's because the Boomers who chose to reproduce didn't actually have 2.2 kids with their partners. So without immigration, there's no natural cohort behind them to shoulder the work of caring for the West's largest ever cohort (Boomers) as they age.

    So we in the rich countries poach health professionals from poor countries, and bitch about their accents and cultural differences from us. And the people we poach ... leave the local populations not only without enough health professionals themselves, but also with a disproportionate % of physicians or nurses who weren't able to be successfully recruited by Canada, or the US, or UK, or etc. It's a huge ethical issue, "creaming off" many of the best and brightest from Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia etc. by offering them and their families incentives which their now-even-further-impoverished home countries cannot.

    Even so, health administrators in pretty much every country represented here on the Forum can't locate enough nurses to keep every existing hospital bed staffed, or find ways to fund their wages without putting enormous stresses on GDP one way or another. Let alone to staff up to address the anticipated wave of Boomer age-related care.

    .... I'll try not to keep boring you. But this is a key, incredibly immediate concern in health policy in the developed world.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Taking a somewhat larger view, the supply of nurses and doctors and other health-care workers is not like the supply of tungsten or natural gas, at least not in the medium term. People can learn how to do new things, and pretty much everybody learns a trade as they grow up. If because of an aging population, we have a larger demand for health-care workers and a smaller demand for, say, kindergarten teachers or coal miners, then people can learn how to do the former. Not that it isn't a real problem, but it's at least theoretically solvable.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    It is solvable, for sure. FWIW, we're inevitably going to have more stress on the forward shoulder of the mismatch (i.e. where we are now, and will be for awhile) than the back shoulder. Because it not only takes time to train people, but also to increase the capacity of the various institutions we use to train people. And to develop the willingness of the current cadre of nurses, physicians etc. to increase the # of students they supervise in preceptorships, residencies etc.

    Nothing in principle insoluble, but also nothing which will occur without much grinding of gears, recrimination, and incidentally less than optimal experience for more patients than one would wish.

    Whatever. If any WBF types are personally interested in reducing their own likelihood of getting banged about by this particular crisis, I recommend a range of lifestyle choices which will statistically make one less likely to need care for quite awhile. Incidentally usually improving one's quality of life a crap-ton.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Boomer blame yeah yeah. Who made the boom? The Greatest Generation, pumped full of propaganda.
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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    I'm just counting heads, Osborne. I don't blame Boomers (I'm on the back shoulder) for when they chose to be born.
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    I'm just counting heads, Osborne. I don't blame Boomers (I'm on the back shoulder) for when they chose to be born.
    I know, I didn't think you were, you're not like that. I just wanted to yell at the hyenas.
    Long live the rights of man.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Census Pop. %Ī
    1950 70,504 4.3%
    1960 78,638 11.5%
    1970 70,581 −10.2%
    1980 72,344 2.5%
    1990 67,935 −6.1%
    2000 62,977 −7.3%
    2010 51,137 −18.8%
    2020 44,922 −12.2%

    Population of Washington County, Mississippi where I was born in 1951.

    A drive around town shows what happens when much of the population and tax base leaves.

    BTW
    Race Num. Perc.
    White 11,180 24.89%
    Black or African American 31,919 71.05%
    Native American 48 0.11%
    Asian 302 0.67%
    Pacific Islander 5 0.01%
    Other/Mixed 884 1.97%
    Hispanic or Latino 584 1.3%

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    This is only a problem if we insist that our business, government and other institutions continue planning as if we have a growing population. The problem is not the change in population, the problem comes when you refuse to respond to it. This is the same problem an airplane has when it approaches a mountain taller than itís current altitude.

    I also agree with TomF about staffing healthcare. I'm living it now. And the reason I am living it is the US will not educate enough healthcare professionals.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Itís been a long while since Iíve been in Japan, but I recall a pretty damn racist society. Anglo types were tolerated, but the Filipinos and Koreans I knew were treated like untouchables. Immigration to Japan to fill job requirements would be difficult.
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Itís been a long while since Iíve been in Japan, but I recall a pretty damn racist society. Anglo types were tolerated, but the Filipinos and Koreans I knew were treated like untouchables. Immigration to Japan to fill job requirements would be difficult.
    The champs.

    The foreign share of the overall population has steadily grown, rising from 0.7 percent in 1990 to 1.8 percent in 2016 (see Figure 1).

    https://www.migrationpolicy.org/arti...ns-immigration
    Wow, that's over one hundred per cent. But keep it quiet.

    To address the increased labor shortages this pronounced aging brings, the government since the 1990s has turned to immigration, albeit in very small numbers and largely without public debate. In recent years, while the national government has claimed to promote labor force participation of elderly and female workers over increased immigration, the resident foreign workforce has in fact steadily risen, growing 40 percent since 2013 alone. Politicians remain reluctant, however, to draw attention to this growth or label it the outcome of explicit policy decisions.

    Why work to foster immigration on the one hand yet refuse to acknowledge such deliberate actions on the other? The answer lies in the particularities of the Japanese context. The society retains a strong perception of ethnic and cultural homogeneity, and immigration remains resoundingly unpopular. Yet demographic realities are forcing policymakers to court immigrants as potential solutions, or at the very least mitigating factors, to address some of the economic problems resulting from aging.

    -- ibid
    "Politicians remain reluctant, however, to draw attention to this growth or label it the outcome of explicit policy decisions." Gosh that sounds familiar.
    Long live the rights of man.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Itís been a long while since Iíve been in Japan, but I recall a pretty damn racist society. Anglo types were tolerated, but the Filipinos and Koreans I knew were treated like untouchables. Immigration to Japan to fill job requirements would be difficult.
    The champs.

    The foreign share of the overall population has steadily grown, rising from 0.7 percent in 1990 to 1.8 percent in 2016 (see Figure 1).

    https://www.migrationpolicy.org/arti...ns-immigration
    Wow, that's over one hundred per cent, like two peanuts instead of one. That's a lot of peanuts! Anyway, keep it quiet.

    To address the increased labor shortages this pronounced aging brings, the government since the 1990s has turned to immigration, albeit in very small numbers and largely without public debate. In recent years, while the national government has claimed to promote labor force participation of elderly and female workers over increased immigration, the resident foreign workforce has in fact steadily risen, growing 40 percent since 2013 alone. Politicians remain reluctant, however, to draw attention to this growth or label it the outcome of explicit policy decisions.

    Why work to foster immigration on the one hand yet refuse to acknowledge such deliberate actions on the other? The answer lies in the particularities of the Japanese context. The society retains a strong perception of ethnic and cultural homogeneity, and immigration remains resoundingly unpopular. Yet demographic realities are forcing policymakers to court immigrants as potential solutions, or at the very least mitigating factors, to address some of the economic problems resulting from aging.

    -- ibid
    "Politicians remain reluctant, however, to draw attention to this growth or label it the outcome of explicit policy decisions." Gosh that sounds familiar.
    Long live the rights of man.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Taking a somewhat larger view, the supply of nurses and doctors and other health-care workers is not like the supply of tungsten or natural gas, at least not in the medium term. People can learn how to do new things, and pretty much everybody learns a trade as they grow up. If because of an aging population, we have a larger demand for health-care workers and a smaller demand for, say, kindergarten teachers or coal miners, then people can learn how to do the former. Not that it isn't a real problem, but it's at least theoretically solvable.
    I've two nurses in my immediate family, and they both want out. Its an incredibly stressful and demanding job that requires a long commitment to get qualified, so having done that, gained the degree and the experience, its very hard to change course. So both my partner and our daughter, they being a "Clinical nurse specialist" and a "Nurse practitioner" have left the public health system and are working part time in specialist private practice, that at a time when the public health system is crying out for their skills.

    Both would change course in a heartbeat if they could find employment with reasonable pay and conditions.

    John Welsford
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    I've been banging on about population decline for some time now, have written to successive ministers of finance asking what an economy in a reducing population will look like, and, from their replies, and replies from economists that they've forwarded my enquiry to, they don't know and are to a large extent they're hiding their heads in the sand.

    Western economies are predicated upon growth, and thats largely worked for a couple of centuries now, but we've hit the wall in terms of population growth in most developed countries, Japan and South Korea being the most extreme examples but when you look at the statistics its clear that these developed countries are propping up their populations with migrants, thats fine in the short term but as the standard of living in the source countries improves there is less and less incentive to change countries so migration will slow down.
    There is also the point that there is in many cases an increasing outflow, for example, if someone at retirement age is sitting on a house worth say, three quarters of a million dollars, its quite feasible to sell up, buy in say, Belize or Phillipines for 20% of that figure and live very well from the proceeds of investing the rest.

    Robotics, automation and technical innovation will continue to reduce the amount of labour for a given output, thats a given. I don't think thats a problem, as an example that we can all relate to, there used to be such a thing as the "typists pool" in most bigger companies, women learned "Pitmans shorthand " so they could take dictation, and now, we're almost universally using a computer and word processor. Our cars are being assembled by robots, the labour content is a fraction of what it was not very long ago, the machinery that grows our food is guided by GPS, and will in the very near future be self driving, this is happening all around us, almost invisible but a sweeping tide that is changing our lives all the time.
    It will continue.

    John Welsford. Who has two kids, below the required 2.2 for replacement, like almost everyone he knows.
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by TomF View Post
    It is solvable, for sure. FWIW, we're inevitably going to have more stress on the forward shoulder of the mismatch (i.e. where we are now, and will be for awhile) than the back shoulder. Because it not only takes time to train people, but also to increase the capacity of the various institutions we use to train people. And to develop the willingness of the current cadre of nurses, physicians etc. to increase the # of students they supervise in preceptorships, residencies etc.

    Nothing in principle insoluble, but also nothing which will occur without much grinding of gears, recrimination, and incidentally less than optimal experience for more patients than one would wish.

    Whatever. If any WBF types are personally interested in reducing their own likelihood of getting banged about by this particular crisis, I recommend a range of lifestyle choices which will statistically make one less likely to need care for quite awhile. Incidentally usually improving one's quality of life a crap-ton.
    When a population is stressed, as in WW2 for example, there is a boom in the birthrate, its happened over and over again. I'd not put that forward as a solution to population decline, but thats what created the boomer bulge in the graph.

    John Welsford
    An expert is but a beginner with experience.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    It’s been a long while since I’ve been in Japan, but I recall a pretty damn racist society. Anglo types were tolerated, but the Filipinos and Koreans I knew were treated like untouchables. Immigration to Japan to fill job requirements would be difficult.
    They are even more ethno-centric than USAeans. They also look down on and mistreat Okinawans, Chinese and so on.

    That has had a major impact on their immigration policies.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by john welsford View Post
    John Welsford. Who has two kids, below the required 2.2 for replacement, like almost everyone he knows.
    Another .2, how hard can it be?
    Long live the rights of man.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by skuthorp View Post
    ...
    Populations adapt.

    Governments can help. Because the future is difficult to know, they will make large mistakes.
    Life is complex.

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    Default Re: It's 'Now or Never' time for Japan's falling population

    Quote Originally Posted by Osborne Russell View Post
    Another .2, how hard can it be?
    polyamory for the win? Pool the offspring amongst a sufficient clutch of parents to find a whole-number?
    If I use the word "God," I sure don't mean an old man in the sky who just loves the occasional goat sacrifice. - Anne Lamott

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