Japan’s predicament stems from belief that demography is a private matter. Abortion and birth-control are easily available in Japan, as with most industrialized societies, and Japanese society is in a slow-motion collapse. The top-heavy gray population will be a terrible burden to the smaller young cohort and it, in turn, will burden its own (smaller) succeeding generation.
Household formation must plummet. There is little to reason to invest in industry because (the export market excepted) future demand will drop. Revenues will drop as the tax-paying population dwindles. Each private decision (e.g. abortion) in isolation harms no one (but the unborn baby.) Collectively, the social results are devastating.
I always wonder at remarks such as “There are too many people in the world” or “Over-population is the greater danger.” On what are these assertions founded?
In business, some years ago, I traveled extensively in the Plains States and Mississippi Valley and was in one dying prairie town after the next. The mantra, heard over and over, was “We have to find a way to keep our young from leaving — our town is dying.” A reduced population did not bring back the passenger pigeons or the buffalo herds. It certain did not bring back prosperity. The results were boarded up stores, scant Main Street traffic, shuttered schools and an aging housing stock. In short– despair.
Some of these same towns are now encouraging what they first shunned: immigrants. I have seen town after town on the Plains renewed by Hispanics who relocate and take minimum wage positions at meat-packing or other industries. These same Latino(a)s buy and fix-up houses, send their children to the schools, pay property taxes to support the schools and shop in the Ma and Pa stores where one parks inward toward the curb and not alongside it (the real marker of small town America.) In some Midwestern states, I believe MN is one, an “exotic” Somali population is fueling economic revival.
But, it is not just the small towns. The mayor of Detroit now wishes to “import” 750,000 immigrants to fuel that town’s prosperity. He could hardly do better. Manhattan is full to bursting — one has to walk sideways down some sidewalks in the evening — but property values are sky-high and the cultural life of the City is phenomenal.
In short, people equal prosperity. A dearth of population equals poverty. This is so widely proven by the experience of municipalities from East Horsecollar, Nebraska to the Upper West Side that one must conclude that only environmentalists, with their decadent romanticism, believe otherwise. Or, do the merchants in the town where the reader lives say each day, “Gosh, I wish I had fewer customers!”
Japan is on its way out. Greece and Italy are next. Demography is clearly not just a personal matter. It concerns all of society. Feminism is a slogan — it is not a practical philosophy for economic prosperity.
From a personal standpoint, I do not really care. I am elderly and grew up in the booming baby boom world (although I predate the Boomers) and so did well from a thriving, people-filled economy. For those who come after me — well, just ask the Japanese.