TBH, by some measures Japan also applies here. They do better on a lot of measures, but their parenting story is one of pushing all responsibilities onto the woman and keeping men at the office late forever. That's a different type of servitude and denial of care to families with young children than America, but it matches the OP's comment.
Canada has also been doing this since the 1970s. They haven’t been able to naturally replenish their population since 1972.
The problem is that now even countries in the EU realize that they can’t maintain their populations and their entitlement programs without immigration despite the backlash from the native population. What makes things worse is that nearly every country is suffering from declining birthrates now, even developing countries with the exception of Central Africa so it’s unlikely to be a long term solution anymore.
In the coming decades, countries will likely start to compete for younger immigrants
What we consider illegal immigration now used to be legal when our country was more prosperous. Of course, the main problem with not having the current immigration legislation is our massive entitlement system. Imo the reason it was able to work before was because there wasn’t a giant, social safety net. Regardless of which side of the argument you’re on about that, economy is now too weak to shoulder the load of providing benefits for everyone AND playing world police (even though the later is now important again for national interests). Of course, it will get even worse if we don’t have replacements for working adults, and elderly retirees begin to outnumber everyone
You’re probably right on the legal side based on my quick scan of the history of US immigration. It looks like what changed is the effectiveness of enforcement which drastically gotten better in the Information Age.
The town of Nagi in Okayama prefecture is bucking the trend; they have many families with 3-4 children, and their overall birth rate is well over replacement levels.
They get delegations from all over Japan as well as Korea, eager to learn how they did it. So many visitors, in fact, that they've started charging a fee, to keep from being swamped.
As far as I can tell, it comes down to money. About 20 years ago they decided to incentivize families in various ways, and this combined with a fairly stable local economy has paid off.
It's not clear whether their success can be replicated nationally, but at least the problem is now widely recognized and discussed at the highest level, so perhaps they'll be able to slow down the trend at least, if not reverse it.
There's not a magic thing, but you have a sequence of things that need to be addressed. Inexpensive young child care, less expensive schools, time off from your job without penalty to encourage having kids, make it triply so for women. Give a career boost for having kids. It's money and cultural and they're not changing their culture! It's really hard to change culture, look at the US, we turned out to have a significant racist underbelly after all, it never went away.
Surely the most likely outcome is that Japan becomes increasingly reliant on automation to ensure sufficient resources are available to support the non-working population? How well that works out is anyone's guess but there are plenty of opportunities to reduce the need for human labour in the Japanese economy even with current technology, and I would imagine that will become increasingly the case as technology improves and economic realities set in.
There are other options. They could incentivize old people to move to cheaper places. Why should a Japanese person slave away to support a retiree instead of their own family? Why should an immigrant work to support a Japanese retiree instead of their own family?
Temporary and permanent immigration to Japan seems to be increasing in the last few years.
On the "influencer" side, you also are seeing more and more people talk about how cheap houses in beautiful parts of Japan are, how easy / difficult it is to buy and live in one of them, etc. Come to think of it, are these covert advertisements by the Japanese government to get more foreign immigration and capital?
There's only so many countries that will have a surplus of young workers though, and arguably they're ones with cultures/ethnicities least likely to be readily integrated into Japanese society. And such workers are likely to have better options available as other countries with more of a history of accepting immigrants look to remedy their demographic woes.
I say that as a Westerner with an ambition to spend some time living/working in Japan - but AFAIK the only way it would be possible currently is to legally marry my (Japanese) partner, so most likely we'll go elsewhere.
It's a high-IQ, high-trust, homogeneous society. They won't get people who can integrate. The most sensible thing would be to promote fertility through incentives, or find other ways to accommodate an aging population.
There is a recent documentary on Netflix, Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, which covers a a number of areas around the world, showing what seems to be most likely causes of people living relatively long compared to rest of the world. Okinawa, Japan is covered in one episode and I recommend checking this out to see some of the factors that contribute to longevity.
I read a study a while back that indicated the best predictor of "blue zones" or the prevelance of centenarians is how poorly records are kept, the worse the records are, the more likely to have people 100+.
"Japan is what the rest of the world should become, not the condition to avoid."
> Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent speech to parliament brought Japan’s dropping birthrate into sharp relief. It’s “now or never” to address the nation’s population decline, he said in the 45 minute speech, adding that “Japan is standing on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society.”
> The difficulties of balancing work and family life is another significant factor in Japan’s low birth rate. In the industrialized world, Japan has some of the greatest working hours and fewest vacation days, making it difficult for parents to raise kids and have a full-time job. Additionally, there aren’t many affordable childcare options, which discourages people from having kids.
> Japan is ranked one of the world’s most expensive places to raise a child. Housing prices and education costs are particularly high, which can make it difficult for families to afford children. Japan’s high cost of living, limited space, and lack of city-based child care services make it challenging to raise kids, which results in fewer couples having kids. The declining marriage rate, financial strain, childcare load, later childbearing, and infertility are also some of the variables influencing Japan’s declining birthrate.
> Despite noticeably decreasing suicide numbers over the past decade, Japan still has one of the highest suicide rates among high-income OECD countries. Historically, Japan’s above-average suicide rates have been closely linked to the economic situation of the country.
The 80 year olds now lived a healthy long life. There's not much reason to believe the 20 year olds now will be in this situation in 60 years considering no one is having kids so there will be no one to take care of them in their old age.
Retired people aren't working any more and require some level of resources to take care of them. The higher the higher the ratio of retirees to everyone else grows, the higher the percentage of society's resources will be spent on them.
This can take the form of higher taxes to pay for more and more socialized healthcare, but even in a libertarian utopia your dollars are competing against theirs as a higher percentage of the workforce are employed to care for them.
If you're a young person who's still working, it's not an attractive outlook.
This is going to happen in a lot of places over the next 30 years. Italy and South Korea are also in big trouble. Unless we really ramp up immigration in the US, it's going to happen here too.
On the plus side, everyone complaining about not being able to afford a house now… just wait 30 years. They'll be giving them out for free all over the place. The prices of real estate outside of major metropolitan areas will fall to zero.
Houses are already dirt-cheap in US small towns. Move to a 3rd or 4th tier college town or dying farm town in Kansas, say, far from any metros, and you can score big-ass brick houses that’re nice & updated for like $100,000 or less, still.
You’ll have bad public schools, local median wages will be shockingly far under what you’re used to, it’ll be far from major cities and notable natural attractions, and medical care will probably be mediocre at best. But there are tons of cheap houses in this country today.
 my point is there are tons of cheap houses now, but you (the general “you”) don’t want to live in them. In the future there may be more, but they will also be places people don’t want to live (economic decline and bad schools & medical care go hand-in-hand)
Your comments are so important and correct. Not many people have noticed that this will be increasingly a fact of life in the US. I remember when it was Walmart that destroyed the business districts of small towns when they built on the edge of town. Shrinking population in the US, lack of workers is here today! That also means fewer people to buy stuff over time.
The population and economic retrenchment in the viability of life in small towns is one of the sources behind the passionate support for terrible people like Donald Trump. Their world is shrinking and they don't know what to do about it. It's not because of liberals or trans people somehow taking your stuff, and people trying to motivate you with cultural conflicts are not your friends. The economic model changed and we have fewer people around too. I'm not immune, as a software engineer my value to society will ebb and flow, who knows what Chat GPT will do to it.
Most Africans who have the resources to migrate are spoiled for choice when it comes to countries to migrate to.
Colonization making English and/or French an official language of about 50 African nations means there are about a dozen options that present basically no language barrier and much smoother cultural assimilation than East Asia in general.
I'm not saying no African at all would go to the region. But they'd be near the bottom of the list even with comparable policies.
The real issue is the cost/barrier to entry. I'm pretty sure Japan would be full in 4-5 years if they would open the gates(i.e a free border with the world). It's not like the immigrants are looking for cultural assimilation. Maybe their children but that's not a sure thing either. You can see that in Paris and London where even the 2nd or 3rd generation is still living within the same "communities" with little cultural assimilation. With enough mass immigration you may see a reverse assimilation.
That's not really what I meant by cultural assimilation.
Acceptance, Opportunity, Racism, Xenophobia.
East Asia is much more backwards than the West in this regard and the west isn't exactly heaven. In South Korea and Japan, all foreigners get the short end of the stick but black/brown people and Africans get the shorter end.
All the open policies in the world won't reverse public sentiment so easily.
Immigrant are human. And knowing you won't have to watch people scuttle away when you enter a bus means everything when you have options.
You can believe Japan would be full all you want but I assure you it won't be because of Africans.
Genetics? The US is literally a nation born out of immigration and any "racial distinctiveness" in Europe has more to do with the limited means of transport leading to geographical inbreeding than some metaphysical legacy of pure bloodlines. Not to mention that most of Europe experienced various migration waves all the way back to the first migrations that resulted in Europe being settled by humans at all. Japan has been trying to keep up its strategy of just being extremely racist post-WW2 and it doesn't look like that got them anywhere.
Culture? You literally can't look at most nations' cultures without also considering the cultures of their neighbors that influenced them. As much as ethnonationalists like to pretend otherwise, for any continental culture the grouping of what aspects are specific to that "nation" have more to do with its history of government than any shared identity. Germany for example was barely a coherent concept before the 19th century. Japan being forced to spend most of its history navelgazing and sitting on its thumbs because it consisted of a bunch of islands doesn't make its culture any more special or worth preserving than any other and most of what you imagine when you think of Japan today is the result of being repeatedly carpet bombed and literally nuked after trying to do an imperialism to the point of voluntarily acting as a vassal to its victor: Westernization had less to do with immigration and more with global trade and trying to cargo cult the nation that wiped the proverbial floor with it.
Heck, the only example I can think of literal replacement is far-right Israeli settlers moving into houses of Palestinian families after their expulsion without even giving them enough time to clear out the fridge. That's literally replacement: residents of one culture and ethnicity are forcibly removed from their own homes and replaced with residents of another. But again, that's not what's happening with immigration and it's not what you're complaining about.
If you're truly concerned with a loss of culture and every distinctiveness being washed over until all that remains is a homogeneous grey soup Disney can fill in a tin and sell to you, the problem isn't immigration but commodification and tourism. Instead of dishonestly grandstanding about native Americans you should be looking at Hawai'i where Americans bluntly annexed the kingdom, cut up the land to sell it off to American hoteliers and the very rich, and then sold off cheap immitations of the native culture so middle-class tourists could have an "exotic" experience as a piece of escapism.
Forget about "national identities". Places used to have identities. Every city, every town used to have a distinguishing character that was the result of its geography and history, like the rings of a tree telling the story of past seasons. Then big box chains stomped out the local businesses and undercut the competition by making it up in volume before ramping up prices again once noone else was left. And with nobody left to perpetuate the culture now that the only means of production was commerce and commerce was owned by the same big companies, all that is left is the same, market researched, focus group tested, mass produced, grey soup that is served everywhere. At best you can hope your local history is interesting enough that Disney picks it up as a novelty so it can use it as the backdrop for its umpteenth retelling of a story some dead guy wrote before copyright became a thing.
You don't seem to genuinely worry about losing culture. It sounds more like you just don't like "foreigners" to live around you. If you are truly concerned about loss of culture, look at preservationist projects. There are for example linguists who go out to communities in Europe who speak endangered languages so they can be recorded and studied. There are people who form activist groups to get local sites on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites so it becomes easier to find funding to maintain them. There are groups who learn and teach endangered arts or crafts so the knowledge isn't lost when a profession is no longer deemed economically useful. There are people who use spare rooms to run donation-funded private museums to preserve local history.
But here's the thing: culture changes and evolves over time, especially at the intersection. Life isn't static and neither is history. If you demand that immigrants "assimilate" you are literally asking them to give up their culture to preserve some kind of shrinkwrapped carbon copy of what you think yours is. But even if left to its own devices, your culture would change over time. What happens with immigration is not replacement of culture but a merger. Culture is a river, not a pond. No matter how much commodification tries to tell you otherwise by trying to sell it to you in a bucket.
Outside of a few places like the US, people care a hell of a lot about the genetics. Try putting Africans in India, or Japanese in China, and so on, there is no such thing as the melting pot in the vast majority of the world.
They don't care about genetics. They just dislike specific groups of people. Which ones is largely arbitrary and has more to do with history than genetics. Some places also have a much narrower "in-group" than others, again largely as a result of history. In some cases the "in-group" doesn't even include all the groups of people that historically live in the same territory, e.g. present-day China has significant undertones of Han nationalism or India with Hindu nationalism, despite both countries being geographically huge and ethnically diverse.
In the moment, aside from historical preconditions, the largest factor to how narrow this in-group is and how strong the dislike towards those not in it is, is mostly a matter of perceived scarcity and danger. As every good business owner knows, the best way to distract an employee from how small their share of the profits is, is to dangle a more desperate group in front of them as a scapegoat. Give someone your scraps, then make them deathly afraid others want to take it away from them, and they won't dare to ask for more (or solidarize with others against you - racism was one of the biggest cudgels against unions in the early 20th century US before simply framing unions as communist became an option).
>It really depends how you define what a people is.
Not at all, not unless you use some Orwellian tactics to completely redefine what an ethnic group is.
>Geographically, it's obviously not replacement. "People lived here, now people live here" is just continuity.
A geographic area is not a "people" nor an ethnic group. Shoving more people into the landmass we know as Japan may be good for the economy of the landmass, but it won't be good for the ethnic group we call the Japanese.
>Genetically, who cares.
Common ancestry is one of the core attributes of ethnic groups. The Japanese people and ethnologists care
>Culturally, that's up to the people.
"If we replace the Japanese with Appalachian Whites, it's up to the people to decide if they're being replaced or not."
Yes, you made my point for me: if you replace the Japanese with foreigners, they are being replaced.
> "If we replace the Japanese with Appalachian Whites, it's up to the people to decide if they're being replaced or not."
Basically true. An awful lot of Americans, for example, don't see it as "replacement" when people from Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Spain, or wherever come join them. Their cultural identity isn't defined very tightly at all by who their parents were. This is not universally true in the country, of course, and some of the larger political fights are over this notion.
If Japan feels much more strongly that ancestry matters profoundly, well, that's going to be a rub for them moving forward.
But beliefs are malleable and it will ultimately be up to them.
Not at all, not unless you use some Orwellian tactics to completely redefine what ethnic replacement is.
>An awful lot of Americans, for example, don't see it as "replacement" when people from Mexico, Canada, El Salvador, Spain, or wherever come join them.
Just because there's a large group that's delusional or willfully ignorant to what's happening doesn't make it true. An awful lot of Americans think men can get pregnant, or climate change isn't anthropogenic or happening at all. They're being replaced whether they bury their head in the sand or not.
>Their cultural identity isn't defined very tightly at all by who their parents were.
Of course it is, just like it is in Japan. Your common ancestry and common ancestral grounds are core attributes of what we call ethnic groups.
>This is not universally true in the country, of course, and some of the larger political fights are over this notion.
As covered above, it's true whether one side believes it or not. No doubt it's become a large political fight from what I've seen. I agree with you there.
>If Japan feels much more strongly that ancestry matters profoundly, well, that's going to be a rub for them moving forward.
We do. Many countries in Asia and around the world do, which is why many of them (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, etc.) are ethnically homogeneous.
> not unless you use some Orwellian tactics to completely redefine
You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
But I'm not really interested in tugging on this thread because it's extremely tedious to argue definitions of words in a language where the dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive.
> They're being replaced
You can't replace a culture via immigration that has, as a cornerstone, "Come join us." That's like saying the population of a school has been "replaced" because it graduated an entire generation of students and a new generation is there now. The relevant continuity is unchanged.
One way out for Japan would be to shift their cornerstones. If that's not on the table, if a younger generation unserved by the status quo can't find a way to put it on the table... Good luck.
We both know exactly what it means and it's clear that its aptness bugs you.
>But I'm not really interested in tugging on this thread because it's extremely tedious to argue definitions of words in a language where the dictionaries are descriptive, not proscriptive.
I'm not interested in it either, but it's clear: the definition and proscriptive usage doesn't suit your narrative.
>You can't replace a culture via immigration that has, as a cornerstone, "Come join us."
Yes you absolutely can. If you replace the "come join us" leftist people with ISIS, surprise surprise, you've been replaced. QED.
>That's like saying the population of a school has been "replaced" because it graduated an entire generation of students and a new generation is there now.
This is a hilariously not well thought out example because it actually proves my point. Yes, if you replace the population of a school with a different ethnic group, you're replacing the original ethnic group. This is like saying if the trout population in a stream goes down, and you replace the dwindling population with salmon, "the relevant continuity [of fish] is unchanged." You've kept the fish population the same, but you replaced the trout with salmon (who are not native there). Thanks for proving my point. QED.
>One way out for Japan would be to shift their cornerstones.
Or maybe Japan doesn't need "a way out".
>If that's not on the table, if a younger generation unserved by the status quo can't find a way to put it on the table... Good luck.
Homogenous nations will do fine, even if they upset your IMMIGRATION and unlimited capitalism pyramid scheme Gods.
Replaced? No. For the most part native Americans were murdered. Some, quite blatantly, sometimes with literal bounties being set on their heads but more often than not just like a regular "pest" or "dangerous wildlife". Others, more indirectly, through famines brought on by destruction of their food storages or culling of their hunting grounds. And even more died from plagues. They were also repeatedly strongarmed into contracts which were then broken after they had held up their end of the bargain. And of course there were many cases (as recently as the last century) where their children were forcibly removed and placed into Christian boarding schools to "kill the savage, save the child".
I know you probably like to use all of these things as fanciful metaphors to support your argument that "natives" (white people or the Japanese) are now being "replaced" by (incidentally Black and brown) immigrants but these weren't metaphors, these were the real deal. By alluding to these things as metaphors you're masking the real scale and character of these historical atrocities.
Hope? If housing prices decline in the US the way they have in Japan it's going to completely change… everything, and not in a good way. Housing is the primary savings vehicle in the US. Almost everyone relies on values increasing in perpetuity. If housing prices dramatically fall the poverty rate among the elderly is going to go absolutely bananas.
Wow, as a millennial that really sucks. Say you're in your 30s now, you probably bought at the height of inflated prices and right when you're ritiring, the value of one of your major assets/investments goes into the trash. Yay.
I wish we developed a culture of managed retreat. This change is an opportunity to consolidate some villages and remove old ones letting the land re-wild. We can better serve the needs of people when clustered closer together than spread thinly and we get back some of the nature we lost.
Is increasing birth rates just an unsolvable problem somehow? I think the importance of at least stabilizing the population is widely recognised, so I don't think it's the case that politicians are asleep at the wheel or something, but somehow that doesn't translate into efficient action.
I could imagine that authoritarian states would try what Romania did back in the day and outlaw contraception (which seemed effective, if very inhumane), but this is of course unrealistic in more liberal societies.
> Is increasing birth rates just an unsolvable problem somehow?
If solvable, it is ridiculously expensive. For one, the cost (non monetary) of birthing is placed on just half of the population. So the other half needs to sweeten the pot for that half. And these divisions are not just men/women, but also old/young.
Second, the benefit of higher fertility rates is not seen for decades, but the drawbacks are immediate. So it is very difficult for the participants to agree on a price. Many will die before they see any benefit, but they will pay the costs.
Artificial wombs might be an answer, but I doubt they are coming soon.
Of course it's not unsolvable. But that means you can't make your populace work 60 hours a week anymore. Who's really interested in solving that problem given the "sacrifice"?
>I think the importance of at least stabilizing the population is widely recognised, so I don't think it's the case that politicians are asleep at the wheel or something
I see it more as "we tried nothing and we're all out of options". Similar to how I wanted to lose weight for years and instead gained 30 lbs over the pandemic. You need to solve the underlying issues if you really want to fix the problem. And this problem seems to be cultural.
It's a similar situation to the US, despite having very different causes and consequences. But similar solution: give people time for leisure and don't work them to the bone during the physical prime of their lives. Which does mean "paying people the same for less hours", the kryptonite to corporations.
Would be curious to hear theories on what succeeds in motivating people to produce more (kids). If our lifestyle has changed in a way that people do not want to produce, and I see it linked with wealth, it would be pretty hard to ask people to reverse it, no?
I am not saying we need to constantly increase our populations, just wonder if it has been studied and do those studies prescribe a template for short term adjustments / inducements.
What's caused these numbers to trend low, in my uninformed opinion, is that society's idea for what constitutes adequate child care has escalated dramatically increasing the cost of having kids while working wages have bought less and less, which has made the risk being taken on by having even one kid increase beyond what most people are comfortable with.
An increasing number of people only achieve a level of reasonable financial security by the time they're in their 30s. When getting to that point takes that much time and effort, it's not something one wants to gamble on unless they absolutely have to, and in this circumstance having kids is in effect gambling.
The other thing is that also due to depressed wages, a couple becoming parents means that between working their jobs and taking care of their kids, their life as it previously was basically ceases entirely, which is also a hard pill to swallow. Ideally people would have time to both raise their kid and continue being who they used to be without trying to squeeze time out of the margins by e.g. giving up sleep.
There’s also other aspects of work-dominated culture like difficulty of meeting people outside of the workplace which also factor in.
I would say it's what consitutes adequate childcare combined with over reliance on parents as caregivers. So emphasis on nuclear family means you don't have grandparents, aunts, and uncles around so much. Paying for childcare is increasingly expensive as well. Even older children tend to be busier now with school and such which means that in a big family the older siblings aren't available to help out with the younger in the way that for instance my mother did as the third oldest of nine when she was a teen.
To add to that, people having kids later and having to move where career prospects are best means that fewer relatives are around to rely on, either because they’re too distant or have passed from old age.
My partner and I have three parents between us, and none are interested in helping with childcare as grandparents. My partner said that if she had known ahead of time we'd be entirely on our own, we wouldn't have had the two kids we did.
We get by with paid childcare instead, because we're here now and there is only one path forward.
In addition I think the massively expanded amount of entertainment makes people less likely to have kids. Huge number of people used to have kids just because they were bored. There are almost too many reasons technology has lead to less kids to count.
I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, though. It’s better if couples have kids because they want to instead of doing it because it’s a matter of course by way of boredom or social pressures.
There’s probably enough people who do want them to keep up replacement rate if the factors I mentioned were addressed, since not only would it open some couples up to having kids, it would also make it more likely for those who’d otherwise only had one to have multiple.
Absolute agree that kids who are consciously planned and wanted are much better for society, but demographic collapse is a serious concern. Especially for these east asian countries there are so many factors pushing birth rate down that I think it's going to take a colossal public effort to right the ship so to say.
Imo the only long term solution is societal acceptance of parenthood as a job instead of something that is done for free. That would be a huge cultural shift for every society, but from what I understand it will be an even harder pill to swallow in eastern asian cultures. The insane work culture has been the backbone of the growth in these economies so I think it might be hard for them to accept that it isn't sustainable.
Right now the costs to have children remain incredibly high.
Canada is just beginning to roll out $10/day daycare, which should reign in a lot of these costs and make it more affordable to have a family. It'll be interesting to see where Canada's growth rate is at 10, 20 years from now once that is common.
Of course other costs elsewhere (ie. housing!) have spiked so much that will further discourage household growth, so more work needs to be done.
Canadian here. Housing costs have increased so dramatically this would still put you back to only maybe five years ago in terms of disposable income. This is just a wild guesstimate, but you get the idea. Anecdotally I've heard that other countries, particularly in Europe, have tried subsidized or even free daycare and that it failed to have any effect on birthrate.
If there are less people shouldnt there be more empty and available housing? If the cost of housing is high because investment companies have purchased all of the vacant housing and jacked the price put a hefty (monthly ?) tax on vacant housing that is not sold or rented in 3 months. Somewhat more affordable housing becomes available to people that requier a house to raise a family in. Lower the price to something people can afford or pay the empty housing tax. Could work for commercial properties as well.
There's already layers upon layers of empty home taxes in BC and vacancy remains near 0%. There's really no remarkable amount of empty homes anywhere. Every time someone has tried to search for it they've came up with very little.
The simple dull reality is that there's a huge shortage of homes because homes were under built for decades and decades due to 1) exclusionary zoning and 2) governments stopping funding any and all below market housing in the 1990s.
The shortage of suitable homes of course hurts families very badly.
Many large homes suitable for families are occupied by retirees that don't want to move and don't have anywhere good to move (because again, we've built little). Zoning prohibits subdivision and redevelopment of the vast majority of the surface areas of cities so creating more housing is difficult.
Families need 1300sqft+. We badly need to rezone the entirety of our cities broadly to allow massive sfh lots to be redeveloped to create multiple 1300sqft+ spaces suitable for families. Rowhouses, Townhouses, and Apartments.
Having kids is a burden - financially, but also physically and emotionally. In the past people were "motivated" to have many kids, because sex is a great pleasure, and children are a side effect. Now that modern medicine remedied unwanted "side effects" there's no way in Hell to trick people to have more than one, maybe two kids.
Old people eventually can’t work and need people to take care of them. The more working people there are per non-working person, the easier this is. Birth rates dropping to half of replacement levels means there will decades, maybe even centuries, of unprecedented low worker:retiree ratios.
I think we as society has to come to harsh realization that keeping people alive past time when they can self-function with certain level of support is coming to end. Unless they have enough wealth stored away to pay for it.
It is very scary thought, but as cynic or realist it seems only solution.
You've never used or heard of grandparents being used to provide childcare?
Anyway, providing we can improve productivity sufficiently, then along with various measures that will enable the elderly to largely take care of themselves (medical advancements etc.) I don't think we're going to reach a situation where we simply have no capacity to keep the oldest generation alive and well. I can also see laws and attitudes towards euthanasia changing such that those with the highest care needs will no longer expect to be kept alive regardless of quality of life.
There will always be some percentage of the population that are essentially incapable of contributing further to the economy due to advanced age, and yes, it will grow, but I suspect you underestimate the vitality of many older Japanese.
Unless I miss something, any reduction in population due to fewer births will change the age distribution, so reverting to 1 billion people without changing the age distribution means billions of people dying much earlier than they have been. I'm going to say that's ... not good.
Bad for the utterly stupid rentier capitalists that run everything in the west. Hopefully the coming population decline will wipe them out. For less hopefully look to Britain where the tyranny of the rentier classes continues while everything falls apart.
In the US it feels like the pandemic accelerated things by about ten years, hence the current bitching about people not wanting to work. Florida trying to legalize child labor.
Why are Japanese so adamant and self-sabotaging? What explains this behavior? Their govt simply refuse to tackle population decline. They could easily give tax breaks to families and encourage people to have children. They also seem to be adamant on not opening up immigration. Is there any deep social reasons for this?
Very simply put, there are many more important values in Japanese society than “having as many kids as your parents did.” What these factors are and why they exist is a topic so vast it borders the incomprehensible. All of the reductive, frequently cited reasons are correct individually, but when added up they don’t come to a conclusive answer. That is why Japan is not alone with this problem.
I think however that a trip to Japan would leave a firm impression as to some root causes. In many ways it is staring you in the face while you’re there.
While their work culture could be partially to blame, the main culprit for this is Japan’s xenophobic attitude towards immigration. They don’t mind tourists, but anything that would change the “purity” of their homogeneous population is still a big no. Japan also has arguably the best and most effective immigration controls in the developed world, which they are now a victim from.
This attitude towards immigration is slowly changing now though due to desperation and political policies that still dole out entitlement after entitlement to elderly who no longer work and contribute to tax revenue and the economic growth at large
Life expectancy is an about 84 years, death rate is about twice the birth rate, so population will decrease by 6 million in about 5 years. Population will go from 124M to ~118M by 2028 based on my elementary analysis.
I am actually curious what is the solution you're talking about, unless you mean hardcore immigration that's most of the west using as a stopgap. I have no problem with it, but don't think it actually resolves the problem long-term.
Taking a long term view, half a century or a century out, at the rate the world is currently developing, it seems possible there will be no poor countries left to supply cheap labour. Most of the world will be wealthy, except for a few basketcases mired in warlordism and economic isolation, such as Congo, Burma, or North Korea today. Such regions will certainly have still have plenty of poor desperate people - but they will not have the education, etc., that the migrating masses driving the economies of the highly developed countries do today. They will be malnourished and illiterate and no one will want them as immigrants, just as they are unwanted as immigrants today. The rest of us seem to be on track to be part of one competitive globalized labour pool.
I suspect India may want them. (though with the most population in the world they may not). I work with several people from India who moved to the US, and all noticed a major quality of life drop despite much higher income just because in India you can hire servants for $1/day, so anyone with education is used to have servants making meals, cleaning the house, driving them around, and other such tasks. In most places where someone reads this there a minimum wage laws so you couldn't hire servants so cheap. (don't ask me how someone survives on $1/day in India).
The rest of us of course wouldn't know how to handle uneducated migrating masses.
Because birth rates are dropping in every single country as people get educated and etc. 2nd generation immigrants are not having as many children either after the migrate so it is simply a stopgap until every country has a birthrate less than 2.1 (or whatever is needed to have stable population). That’s why I got curious what is this magical way of fixing the population decline.
What is 'hardcore immigration'? Japan doesn't have to adopt the immigration policies of France or Italy. However, implementing some form of selective immigration with assimilation programs appears to be a potential solution
> However, implementing some form of selective immigration with assimilation programs appears to be a potential solution
This would require not only legislative changes, but also a significant social shift. The broad Japanese society simply does not believe at present in “assimilation”, because it maintains such a strict in-group, out-group separation and the latter simply can never be Japanese in their view. For example, up to the end of the 20th century, Japanese would trust foreigners less the better those foreigners spoke Japanese, because a truly fluent and proficient foreigner would be viewed as confused about his/her ethnic identity or trespassing on something distinct Japanese. This has gradually changed somewhat with the influx of people from other Asian countries who work in kombinis etc., but it still shows the sort of social resistance that advocates for immigration reform are up against.
Perhaps the only correct solution is a combination of methods: selective immigration + programs that make it easier to have children + maybe some state propaganda (state propaganda can be good, though not always is) + other approaches.
When you think about it, it really seems like a gigantic task
It's not really a gigantic task to offer perks for families(i.e better loan rates, childcare services etc)and you don't need any immigration. Of course you need some positive discrimination ajd perhaps propaganda as well. You get propaganda anyway (i.e a while ago we had a lot of war propaganda<i.e on terror>, nowdays we get a lot of LGBTQ propaganda) so it's not "bad" per see as long as it's acknowledged and serves the common good. I would take that over the "we need cheap labour/immigrants with unlimited visa to sustain our economy" propagabda.
I don't think everyone agrees that this is a problem. Yes, a bunch of old people eating up resources and not contributing to the bottom line looks bad on paper, but Japan is a pretty rich, heavily mechanized society. I don't think the writing is on the wall for them just yet.
It is a big problem because the younger generation becoming disenfranchised leads to worse outcomes all around. They can't take care of their own family because society forces them to work longer, worse hours to make up for the aging workforce. And the less wealthy older generation can't retire.
Japan internally isn't nearly as mechanized as you might think because a lot of their backing technology is ancient and requires the older generation to understand how it works.
Right. Because the country with the 28th largest population density and largest city by populaion is going "extinct." Time to raise that density to 1 and make the rents even higher to save japan from extinction!
Weird population demographics are a problem. Here's why.
When people stop working, they stop contributing to society but they don't stop taking from it.
For as long as human society has formed, the solution was either the working population being productive enough for everyone else or the non working dying off soon after the fact.
When fertility rates are in the shitter for a long time, you guarantee that at some point, the working population will be far far lower than what is necessary to support the rest.
A demographic and societal collapse will ensue. Many benefits and safety nets for many people including the working will cease to exist simply because it can no longer be sustained.
Japan's national pension scheme is "pay as you go", meaning that benefits for retirees today are paid out of the contributions going into the scheme today.
Japan has already reached the point of having less than two workers per retiree. By 2050, that number is projected to be more like 1.5.
Paying some taxes to social security / medicare / etc works out OK when those go to cover 0.5 to 1 dependent per worker. When that 1 workers income needs to support 1.5 .. 2+ things will get ugly fast.
Once this hits in full force, it will last decades. It's that simple.
And it has nothing absolutely nothing to do with capitalism or socialism or communism or whatever -ism you might want to scapegoat. For as long as humans need to work to survive this will be a problem.
The problems Japan is having, South Korea is looking to speedrun. It's so bad that it's too late to forestall a collapse. Even if the country magically started having replenishing birth rates immediately, in at most a few decades, we'll be seeing a collapse that would last at least 20 years. This is the best case scenario. It's straight up apocalyptic.
This is what a population table looks like for a country that had a fertility rate of 6 at year 0 and then an extinction level rate of 1 for decades (SK is actually decidedly worse at 0.78 now).
It's like climate change. You go decades with everything looking normal at first glance. By the time, everything doesn't look so normal it's to late to do anything other than save your population from extinction. (Assuming you can even do that. A lot of people seem to miss the fact that not one country that has suffered declining fertility rates has managed to reverse the trend despite trying for decades. Not one)
the availibility of porn is correlated to people having less and less families, what are you talking about ?
Also the Japanese quite obviously do have porn albeit censored, no one thinks that changing that will help, if anything Japan needs to restrict acces to pron and virtualized or parasocial relationships.