Sunday, August 9, 2009


The latest in a series of articles about Japan’s population “crisis”. Japan is being presented by the press as a case history of an ageing nation. The spectre of a dwindling workforce having to support an albatross of more and more pensioners is one that growthists in North America and Europe are raising with more and more alarm. Obvious questions about this assumption are never put forward or considered. Questions like, if we grow the workforce either by immigration or birth incentives, who then will support those people when they age? More immigrants and newborns? And who will support THEM when they age? And on and on. The concept of an ecological carrying capacity is seldom mentioned.

No mention either, about the financial costs of raising children as opposed to supporting the aged being higher. Nor about the fact that money that is out-layed for immigrant adjustment policies or carrying the fiscal burden of unskilled immigrants could instead be used for productivity improvements, or that it is the productivity of the workforce, not their numbers, which is relevant to the non-issue of who will support our retirees.

One sensible comment put Japan’s “crisis” in perspective:

“All other things remaining constant, an increase in population generally decreases the quality of life of an area's inhabitants and causes an assortment of social and environmental problems that humanity has yet to resolve. With Japan's GDP currently rivaled only by the U.S and European Union, I question whether the potential revenue gain brought by a population increase, whether garnered from foreign or domestic sources, is worth the sacrifices it demands. You're doing well, Japan - don't ruin a good thing.”
T. Pain

Tim Murray

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