June 22, 2006


Ah, no kids afoot: Empty trains, work till you die: Some figure birthrate drop will make more room, job options, better life, but it'll cost (MAYUMI NEGISHI, 6/23/06, Japan Times)

Manabu Akagawa, author of "Kodomo ga Hette Nani ga Warui?" ("What's Wrong with Fewer Kids?"), ... is not alone in his criticism of the government's efforts to keep the population numbers up. Takuro Morinaga, a visiting researcher at Mitsubishi UFJ Research & Consulting Co., said negativity and fretting about the future of the pension and social welfare systems solves nothing. [...]

He listed many ways that Japan stands to benefit from a declining population: less crowded trains and vacation spots, more spacious and less expensive housing, and fewer traffic jams.

This assumption, however, doesn't take into account the possibility of fewer trains, and railroad employees, if ridership falls, and the realities of urban real estate ownership, with its restricted parameters.

"We will not be able to sustain the pension system (if the population keeps falling), but that can be solved by creating a society where we (all) work for life," Morinaga said.

Imagine how often the dead man switch will go off when the guy driving the train is some 95 year-old who can't retire because there's no longer a safety net?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 22, 2006 9:28 PM
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