[p2p-research] Japan's Demographic Crisis

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sun Aug 16 22:04:16 CEST 2009

Ryan Lanham wrote:
> http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-is-dying-2009-8

 From there:

"Japan's population shrunk by the most ever, 45,914 people, in the year 
ended March 2009 based on latest data. Japan's demographic death is getting 
worse.It's a bad time to be young in Japan. Not only are there fewer of you, 
but your parents' generation is putting you further into debt with cushy 
benefits. Meanwhile, you fight for fewer traditional jobs. ... The most 
recent data shows that things are getting worse, not better, and if this 
continues we would expect GDP declines to become a permanent feature of the 
country. Perhaps now we understand corporate Japan's fascination for robots."

Exactly. And this would be the United States too, if it weren't for 
immigration and births by immigrants who still know how to have fun and 
raise families. A lot of Western Europe is facing the same issues. And, 
someday soon, the rest of the world may face it too, as family and community 
gets replaced by gadgetry and virtualization.

That is just as I said towards the end of my previous post (the "solar pv is 
cheaper than coal" one). Forget "Peak Oil". The industrial world is facing a 
"Peak Population" crisis. :-) We are "amusing ourselves to death".

We desperately need to convince people to invest in having bigger families 
and using more (sustainable) resources before it is too late. :-)

And, despite all that, there are few good jobs for the young. Now, beyond 
Greek kids rioting, French kids are rioting again:
   "Second night of unrest near Paris "

They know they're getting a raw deal. They have just been so heavily 
schooled they have trouble seeing exactly what went so wrong.

We desperately need to reorganize the basis of industrial society (basic 
income, the end of compulsory schooling, local 3D printing, peer production, 
gift economy, free commons, etc.). It is indeed a *social* crisis, not a 
*technical* crisis (except to the extent that our technical infrastructure 
reflects our social assumptions and political priorities).

And, just like in Japan, in the USA oldsters are saying the young should 
suffer to pay for oldster benefits while getting none of their own (except a 
thirteen year prison sentence is Prussian schools). Example (again, and with 
my commens in brackets):
One senior [with US government supplied comprehensive health care supplied 
through Medicare and a US government supplied basic income called Social 
Security] wanted to know how the government would pay for a program to cover 
some 47 million uninsured [young] Americans [most who were paying payroll 
taxes of 15.3% of all their small income to supply his health care and basic 
income]. "Where are the doctors and nurses going to come from to cover all 
these new people?" he asked [after likely having voted in such a way as to 
prevent those young people from having enough wealth or initiative to become 
doctors, or to be successful enough in life to pay even more to support him 
in his own age.]

It's a supreme dysfunction of a society -- a society drowning in the 
potential for universal abundance and universal community and universal 
happiness and universal health. It is a society where oldsters invest in 
immortality by living an extra few miserable years of "frailspan" rather 
than invest in immortality through "paying it forward" to a next generation 
by voting for them to have a chance for a decent life, basic medical care, 
and a family. And so, the youngsters strike back like in Greece and Paris. 
And maybe soon everywhere.

Rich versus poor. Oldster versus Youngster. All drowning each other in fresh 
water because they are worried there will not be enough water to quench 
tomorrow's thirst while we live on the coast of the Great Lakes.

Maybe this is somebody somewhere's idea of a big joke? :-)

But it is the kind of joke that is not so funny when it happens to your own 
civilization. :-(

--Paul Fernhout

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