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View Diary: How Will Our Economic Transformation Change Our Political Geography? (179 comments)

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  •  Japan is Declining Rapidly (5+ / 0-)

    Nobody immigrates there, and they've stopped having children.  They're going to shrink by something like 20 million over the next few decades, even with those incredible longevity rates.  

    "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

    by Dana Houle on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 05:11:34 PM PST

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    •  And those incredible longevity rates (5+ / 0-)

      may cause problems of their own.  Japan's population pyramid projections are completely inverted.

      Any force that tries to make you feel shame for being who you a form of tyranny... And it must be rejected, resisted, and defeated. ~Al Gore

      by Sinister Rae on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 05:21:01 PM PST

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      •  Right, Which is Why Their Low Birthrate... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman, theran

        ...and non-existent immigration is such a huge demographic and economic time bomb.  

        "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

        by Dana Houle on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 05:29:44 PM PST

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        •  Dud (0+ / 0-)

          I'd like to know exactly what kind of disaster people think will happen when this supposed time bomb goes off. Talk about overpopulation! Japan needs to lose about three-quarters of its population just to get down into the same density region as California (Japan: 337 per sq-km, California: 90 per sq-km).

          And neither California nor Japan really has a sustainable population.

          Let's talk about a real disaster. Within our lifetimes, the polar ice caps could melt. The arctic cap could be completely melted in summer within a decade. If even a fraction of the ice and snow in Greenland and the antarctic turns into liquid water, the land where I'm now sitting in Sunnyvale will be underwater, along with much of the Bay Area, LA, and many coastal cities of Japan.

          Why are we in this pickle? The main reason is unrestrained human population. Sure, climate change is created by dumping carbon from fossil fuel into the air, but suppose population wasn't going to continue to climb? Each additional person added to the population is one more person raising carbon levels in the atmosphere. Where population peaks will determine to a large extent how difficult it is to fix the climate problem.

          Whatever imagined disaster awaits Japan from its low birthrate, it's nothing compared to having the ice caps go away.

          •  Good Luck Funding Social Welfare... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            alizard, BYw

            ...programs when you have more retirees than workers.

            And talk about think liberally, you can't imagine having lots of people and also protecting the environment?  What a narrow, unimaginative, Malthusian reactionary response.  

            "Dignified people, without a whimsical streak, almost never offer fresh insights, in economics or anywhere else." Paul Krugman

            by Dana Houle on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:11:52 AM PST

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            •  I'm Game (0+ / 0-)

              Show me how that works. So far, I all I see is that we are overpopulated and it has translated directly into raping the environment and polluting the earth.

              Really, what you are asking us to do is to take less each so that we can have more people on the planet. I don't want to do that. I don't want to compromise my lifestyle in order for someone else to have a plethora of kids. I don't see any reason why any of us should suffer because we have been irresponsible about family planning.

              Are you trying to call me Malthusian? Remember that Malthus was just stating a law of nature. That law says that if a population is unrestrained within itself then natural forces will step in to restrain it. What that means in practical terms is that if we chose not to act responsibly, then human population will be restrained by natural forces: specifically war, pestilence and starvation. A liberal attitude about it is that humans should take personal responsibility so that others don't suffer. That means that people need to be informed and make the responsible choices on their own because otherwise forces beyond our ability to stop will step in.

              I'm very much wishing that people will be responsible because the alternative, I believe, is avoidable suffering.

              You can call me Malthusian if you want, but I'll just wear that as a badge of honor, which it certainly is.

    •  It's not just Japan (5+ / 0-)

      Japan is just an extreme example, since it's very bad at importing adults.  The NYT had an article on similar problems elsewhere.

      The reason for dropping birth rates is always economic as well.  Having kids is too expensive for educated, middle class women (couples).  These dynamics aren't likely to change, making immigration more and more important to the developed economies going forward.

      "Dream for just a second and then do it!" -- Kolmogorov

      by theran on Sun Feb 22, 2009 at 06:42:55 PM PST

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      •  Expensive Kids (0+ / 0-)

        When kids are too expensive to have, that's feedback from the universe. Can't you hear the universe calling to you, "Enough! Enough!"?

        Japan would not have trouble "importing adults" if it were a cheap place to live and had plenty of environmentally friendly areas to move into. But it's not. It's got some of the highest costs in the world.

        Why? Because it has some of the highest population densities in the world. Competition drives up prices, and overpopulation is driving that competition.

        •  yes, yes it would. (0+ / 0-)

          I would not go to a country to live where accidentally stumbling into the wrong bathroom would get me raped.
          I would not go to a country which has the highest rate of preteen pregnancies in the civilized world.
          Maybe you'd prefer a country where you could sit on the subway and compose music for a full month straight (with donations of food from travellers...)
          Me? I wouldn't feel safe on that subway.

          [err... the guy on the Tokyo subway subsequently asked, "Can I do the same thing in NYC?"]

          Jesus ain't comin', go ahead and put the Nukes back now.

          by RisingTide on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:24:43 AM PST

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