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Sat, Feb. 6th, 2010 12:26 pm
Growing old in, and with, Japan

29CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Sat, Feb. 6th, 2010 02:23 pm (UTC)

But have you considered that a declining country won't have any money to keep its social programs afloat? Older people means extra pressure on the health care system, and no one to pay for it. "Growth" is mostly a diseased concept, but is also partly necessary to pay for "growing" expenses.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Feb. 6th, 2010 02:39 pm (UTC)

Population decline: economic consequences puts both the pros and the cons. Here, from that article, are some of the pros:

* Standard of living does not necessarily correlate with quality of life, which may even increase as the population declines due to presumably reduced pollution and consumption of natural resources.

* There may also be reduced pressure on infrastructure, education, and other services as well.

* Predictions of the net economic (and other) effects from a slow and continuous population decline (e.g. due to low fertility rates) are mainly theoretical since such a phenomenon is a relatively new and unprecedented one.

* The decade long economic malaise of Japan and Germany is often linked to these demographic problems. However, the economies of both Japan and Germany went into recovery around the time their populations just began to decline (2003–2006). In other words, both the total and per capita GDP in both countries grew more rapidly after 2005 than before. Russia's economy also began to grow rapidly from 1999 onward, even though its population has been shrinking since 1992-93 (the decline is now decelerating).

* In addition, many Eastern European countries have been experiencing similar effects to Russia. Such renewed growth calls into question the conventional wisdom that economic growth requires population growth, or that economic growth is impossible during a population decline.

* In a country with a declining population, the growth of GDP per capita is higher than the growth of GDP. For example, Japan has a higher growth per capita than the United States, even though the US GDP growth is higher than Japan's. Even when GDP growth is zero or negative, the GDP growth per capita can still be positive (by definition) if the population is shrinking faster than the GDP.

* A declining population (regardless of the cause) can also create a labor shortage, which can have a number of positive as well as negative effects. While some labor-intensive sectors of the economy may be hurt if the shortage is severe enough, others may adequately compensate by increased outsourcing and/or automation. Initially, the labor participation rates (which are low in many countries) can also be increased to temporarily reduce or delay the shortage. On the positive side, such a shortage increases the demand for labor, which can potentially result in a reduced unemployment rate as well as higher wages.

Edited at 2010-02-06 02:40 pm (UTC)


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Feb. 6th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)

the labor participation rates (which are low in many countries) can also be increased to temporarily reduce or delay the shortage

This was the point I was making about immigrants' loss in Japan being womens' gain. A recent 3Sat documentary about the future of work in Japan also showed a lot of older people (right into their 80s) being employed.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Feb. 6th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)

You can watch that documentary online here (German only).


ReplyThread Parent