Japan should never become a multiethnic society

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Stormlock » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

So how much population do you figure Japan needs before it should stop growing? Indias? And what does it do then, when population growth flatlines, and you suddenly have the current pyramid, multiplied by 2 or 5 or 10?
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Vaniver » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:25 pm UTC

Stormlock wrote:So how much population do you figure Japan needs before it should stop growing? Indias? And what does it do then, when population growth flatlines, and you suddenly have the current pyramid, multiplied by 2 or 5 or 10?
Well, the entire developed world needs to start pushing retirement ages back to deal with increased lifespan, and the increased cost to the final decade or so of life, or decide to reduce the amount of money spend on life-extension. But that's a secondary issue.

The correct answer to that question depends on how social services are run, if that's the dominant factor, or how the economy works, if that's the dominant factor. If you're familiar with Social Security in the US, it's what's known as a Ponzi scheme- past investors are paid with the money from the next investors. It works fine if the population is growing- it works horribly if the population is shrinking, as the load per worker increases over time rather than decreases.

So, if you've got a Ponzi scheme guaranteeing the lifestyle of your retirees, you need at least 0% population growth. Industrialized society tends to result in less than 0% population growth once women start getting educated and financially liberated- the US has around 2 children per women (the replacement rate is around 2.1 children per women), although it's slightly less than that for natives, while Japan has 1.2 children per woman. That means, if you want to have the same number of people in Japan, you need two immigrants for every three Japanese children that are born.

If you don't have something like that, though, and are just concerned with keeping the economy running, you can survive population decline if you have sufficient productivity gains. The perverse thing, though, is that those productivity gains combined with a growing or stable population would result in immense economic growth, especially if you're moving to an increasingly service-based economy.


So, economically speaking, populations should at least stay stable, unless they're in distress (which few first world countries are).
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby netcrusher88 » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:If you don't have something like that, though, and are just concerned with keeping the economy running, you can survive population decline if you have sufficient productivity gains. The perverse thing, though, is that those productivity gains combined with a growing or stable population would result in immense economic growth, especially if you're moving to an increasingly service-based economy.

That sounds like it would end up a lot worse than it looks because I'm pretty sure it would blow up. Isn't that basically an economic bubble?

Offtopic: interesting point about SS being a Ponzi scheme. Never thought of it that way. It's not exactly a Ponzi scheme (there is real investment and money backing it), but it is at least partially one. Huh.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Indon » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:43 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:Offtopic: interesting point about SS being a Ponzi scheme. Never thought of it that way. It's not exactly a Ponzi scheme (there is real investment and money backing it), but it is at least partially one. Huh.


Well, it's less of one if it's not spent from for non-SS spending, but that eventually ended up not happening.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Alexius » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:58 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Yes, there are many long-term repercussions of immigration. For example, I can get good Italian food in the North End. And there's a place we ate just last night where you can buy fish and chips with curry *or* gravy, which I'm told is impossible in the UK because the English and the Scottish hate each other.

Buh?
I have never seen either on fish and chips in England- and I don't know why you would. Curry would mask the taste of the fish, and gravy would make it horribly soggy. Traditionally, the accompaniments here are salt and vinegar.

Also, while there's plenty of good-natured animosity between England and Scotland, especially when they play rugby against each other, I certainly wouldn't call it hatred. There is nowhere in Scotland where I would be beaten up for being from England, and the only Scots who actually hate the English (and vice versa) are crazy nationalist politicians.

I'm all for immigration, though- after all, deep-fried fish may have been brought to the UK by Jewish immigrants!

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Vaniver » Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:38 pm UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:That sounds like it would end up a lot worse than it looks because I'm pretty sure it would blow up. Isn't that basically an economic bubble?
Not really- a bubble is when a sector of the economy is overvalued, which is self-reinforcing (hey, the price of tulips is going up- time to invest in them!), not when there is real growth. Each Japanese worker's time becoming more valuable (because they make more things) means that you can have the same value with less workers, or more value with the same number of workers.

I should add that we're really talking about workforce growth, not population growth. Population growth is the number of people born minus the number of people who die- workforce growth is the number of people who enter the labor market minus the number of people who leave the labor market. To see the important difference, consider a Japan where a longevity treatment is found that allows people to live until 200, everyone in the country takes it, and it also makes everyone in the country sterile. It's obvious that the current workers won't be able to retire when they hit 60 since there will be less and less workers that can support them, until there's no one left who is still working, and the whole population trying to collect a pension.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:45 am UTC

cycoden wrote:apparently some Japanese school kids have a habit of sharply poking their gaijin teachers in an inappropriate place when they aren't looking :shock:
My understanding is that they do that to eachother as well.
The key point is have programs where immigrants can get free language and culture lessons to help them integrate into Japanesse society then their won't be a cultural divide.
Hell, have tests to keep out the idiot foreigners and allow in the ones who aren't just there for the giant party that Hollywood has led them to believe Japan is. Considering WWII and what the average idiot here thinks of Japan, I can understand their distaste for foreigners, but they have to realize not all foreign people are idiots. This seems like a logical solution to me.
Y'see, Japan's an island no bigger than California, where everything is filtered. There are so few foreigners here, their only impressions of things outside of Japan comes from the media. And to be honest, they don't really give a damn about anything other than America. So yeah, try to imagine a country where the perceptions of you are created by your movies, music, and MTV. And when you stop crying and shaking at the sheer horror of that thought, I'll be here waiting.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:07 am UTC

Stormlock wrote:So how much population do you figure Japan needs before it should stop growing?

Yeah, the dog still doesn't understand human population dynamics. Which I suppose shouldn't be surprising, what with it being a dog.

Because, see, Japan's problem is not a falling population, but a very noticeably inverted age pyramid, with few working people supporting many old people in a trend that will only get worse. It's possible to maintain a stable population *and* a healthy age distribution, but when each generation has significantly fewer children than the last that won't happen.

Did you even look at the age distribution graphs?

Alexius wrote:I have never seen either on fish and chips in England- and I don't know why you would.

Well the side was for the chips, not the fish, for one thing. And talk to Jesse, for another. It's on his *very* British authority that I believe these things.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Yakk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:44 am UTC

2% reduction in people turning 20 per year, 0.5% death rate per year up to age 60, retirement at age 60, 2% death rate post-retirement. (simple model)

Result: massively inverted population pyramid, with a huge ratio of retirees to workers. Massive tax/etc load on worker productivity, because a huge percentage of the population isn't working.

Do the same with a 0.5% reduction in people turning 20 per year, and an increase of the retirement age to 70, and the inverted pyramid doesn't develop to nearly the same extent.

Japan's population isn't merely shrinking: it is collapsing. If it imported young workers at a sufficient rate to reduce the rate of population shrinkage, it could cushion the inverted population pyramid problem.

Note that there are entire nations that have huge rates of immigration. Canada, Australia, USA and the UK all accept perfectly legal immigrants at huge rates. Canada's largest city is has about a 45% foreign-born population (no, I'm not kidding), and other great cities in the above sets aren't that far behind (London England, etc).

It works. It has worked for centuries. England, a tiny island nation, has had a rather open immigration policy for a long time.

Strangely, all of these nations aren't being crushed by immigrants -- rather, the nations that accept immigrants are among the most effective exporters of their culture to the rest of the world.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Stormlock » Sun Apr 26, 2009 6:53 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Because, see, Japan's problem is not a falling population, but a very noticeably inverted age pyramid, with few working people supporting many old people in a trend that will only get worse. It's possible to maintain a stable population *and* a healthy age distribution, but when each generation has significantly fewer children than the last that won't happen.

Did you even look at the age distribution graphs?



Well you tell me how you stop population growth without having fewer younger people arrive than in the previous generation? What is your mystical secret? Maybe put through an age tax and hope the old guys will leave?

What did you think caused the screwy age pyramid? It's simply a symptom of a lowered population growth rate. It's not something that can ever be avoided in the long term. And putting it off makes it worse. Partially putting it off is just splitting the suck 50/50 between now and later.

I shouldn't expect a mundane human to have foresight though. History relates that pretty well.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:51 am UTC

Stormlock wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Because, see, Japan's problem is not a falling population, but a very noticeably inverted age pyramid, with few working people supporting many old people in a trend that will only get worse. It's possible to maintain a stable population *and* a healthy age distribution, but when each generation has significantly fewer children than the last that won't happen.

Did you even look at the age distribution graphs?



Well you tell me how you stop population growth without having fewer younger people arrive than in the previous generation? What is your mystical secret? Maybe put through an age tax and hope the old guys will leave?


Raise the retirement age, so the elderly keep working; offer incentives for them to leave (no joke); sabotage geriatric health care (joke).

What did you think caused the screwy age pyramid? It's simply a symptom of a lowered population growth rate. It's not something that can ever be avoided in the long term. And putting it off makes it worse. Partially putting it off is just splitting the suck 50/50 between now and later.


Economically, suck tends to multiply. It's much worse to have 10% extra unemployment for a year than it is to have 2% extra unemployment five years in a row. Your way is stupid. Long-term prosperity is the result of stability, not growth spurts--spreading out the bad and the good evens out the business cycle and allows for steady growth.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:53 am UTC

Nancy, people are talking.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Stormlock » Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:56 am UTC

I'd get more sense out of a fossil than you anyways.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:05 am UTC

Well yes. Fossils rarely use those troublesome "words" that your tiny brain has such difficulty with.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:41 pm UTC

Stormlock wrote:What did you think caused the screwy age pyramid? It's simply a symptom of a lowered population growth rate. It's not something that can ever be avoided in the long term.

Well no shit.

But presumably even someone like you can understand the difference between a lowered population growth rate and a significantly negative population growth rate, right? You won't even have to use things like numbers if you don't want to! Japan's problem is a population pyramid that's actually narrower as you go down. A healthy zero-growth population would be narrower in every bracket than the one below it, but only slightly. Not by as much as countries experiencing explosive population growth.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Jesse » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:54 pm UTC

Alexius wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:Yes, there are many long-term repercussions of immigration. For example, I can get good Italian food in the North End. And there's a place we ate just last night where you can buy fish and chips with curry *or* gravy, which I'm told is impossible in the UK because the English and the Scottish hate each other.

Buh?
I have never seen either on fish and chips in England- and I don't know why you would. Curry would mask the taste of the fish, and gravy would make it horribly soggy. Traditionally, the accompaniments here are salt and vinegar.

Also, while there's plenty of good-natured animosity between England and Scotland, especially when they play rugby against each other, I certainly wouldn't call it hatred. There is nowhere in Scotland where I would be beaten up for being from England, and the only Scots who actually hate the English (and vice versa) are crazy nationalist politicians.

I'm all for immigration, though- after all, deep-fried fish may have been brought to the UK by Jewish immigrants!


Alexius, you are wrong, I am afraid. Chips and curry is available (mostly in Southern England, but occaisonally in the North). In Scotland, most fish and chips places will do chips and gravy. Also, there are definitely places in Scotland where you will get beaten up for being English. I should know, I lived in one of those places! Your area may vary, but I've lived all over England, and in a bit of Scotland as well, so I feel okay calling myself knowledgeable on these things.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Yakk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 3:38 pm UTC

Stormlock wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:It's possible to maintain a stable population *and* a healthy age distribution, but when each generation has significantly fewer children than the last that won't happen.
Well you tell me how you stop population growth without having fewer younger people arrive than in the previous generation? What is your mystical secret? Maybe put through an age tax and hope the old guys will leave?

I did some editing, and bolded part of gmalivuk's post.
What did you think caused the screwy age pyramid? It's simply a symptom of a lowered population growth rate.

It is beyond lowered population growth, and into population collapse actually.

See, there is a difference between rapid population shrinkage, slow population shrinkage, slow population growth, and rapid population growth.

Just because rapid population growth isn't good, doesn't mean rapid population shrinkage is ideal.
It's not something that can ever be avoided in the long term. And putting it off makes it worse. Partially putting it off is just splitting the suck 50/50 between now and later.

No?

Imagine your goal population of Japan was 10 million people.

Now imagine you tried to do that in one generation. Starting right now.

You'd have a period where there where huge numbers of old people, and only a tiny amount of young people to support them. The young have to be virtually enslaved in order to be coerced into supporting the old. Economic collapse or abysmal and fatal treatment of the old is quite likely.

If you do it slowly, dropping the population by a few percentage points a generation, you would never reach that level of shortage of workers to supported elderly.

In the long run, things may work out -- but in the long run, people starve to death unless your economy is functioning.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Kizyr » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:54 am UTC

Oh well. I tried. I hope at least a few other people were able to get something out of that little demographics lesson.

@Stormlock:
Just a couple of general points to keep in mind:
- Population pyramids are meant to highlight the distribution across age groups, not the overall population. The primary issue here is what's known as the "dependency ratio"--the number of dependents (generally speaking, this is <20 years and >65 years) divided by the working age (20 to 65 years). The total population is irrelevant in this case.

- Realistically, there is no "target population". Yakk/gmalivuk already got at this one.

- Even if you had a legitimate argument about immigration, nothing you've said applies to Japan's case. Japan has a 99% ethnically Japanese population, with less than 1% of the population being immigrants. The idea that Japanese jobs are being lost to immigrants, or that social services are being strained because of the immigrant population, is completely ludicrous in Japan's case.

Anyway, I've spent enough time going down this line of argumentation.

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:Hell, have tests to keep out the idiot foreigners and allow in the ones who aren't just there for the giant party that Hollywood has led them to believe Japan is. Considering WWII and what the average idiot here thinks of Japan, I can understand their distaste for foreigners, but they have to realize not all foreign people are idiots. This seems like a logical solution to me.

Getting into Japan for reasons other than tourism or school is already a pain as-is. I don't think there's anything the government needs to do to discourage this any further.

The Great Hippo wrote:Ah! My bad, I apologize - I'm not intimately familiar with the metrics of this situation - just using my knowledge of US immigration policies and racism to draw some (in this case, incorrect!) corollaries.

It's all good. There are some similarities to other countries' approaches to immigration, but likewise, there're a number of unique (and interesting) issues that come up when we're talking about Japanese immigration specifically.

Anyway, the best solution would be to encourage more women to join and remain in the workforce, regardless of if they're married or have a family. (So, standardizing maternity leave, the equivalent of an equal rights amendment, etc.) You address a lot of issues that way: the size of the workforce, gender disparity, family size, etc. KF
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Comic JK » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:39 am UTC

Stormlock wrote:
Stormlock wrote:Edit because so many people I've met over the years ignore or don't notice this problem: You cannot infinitely increase the population within a closed system without infinitely reducing the quality of life as well.

Ok, when someone addresses THIS, then they can go on about how Japan should increase it's population. Not before.

Without immigration, Japan's population is poised to fall sharply because of low birth rates. Like much of Europe, Japan needs immigration just to maintain the demographic status quo.

I'm not too worried about a nationalistic Japan, since as an American ally Japan serves as some counterweight to the expansion of Chinese power in the region. However, a racist Japan that weakens itself over time is a worrying problem, for the same reason.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby sakeniwefu » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:08 am UTC

This measure isn't in any way racist. What was racist was allowing the nikkei immigration in the first place. Japanese people thought that illiterate and untrained immigrants of Japanese descent would somehow be easier to integrate into Japanese society than university degree holders or people married to Japanese nationals. While standards for immigration into Japan are usually very high, they are lowered significantly for nikkeis.

The sad truth is that blood did nothing for the nikkkeis, they didn't speak the language, and most of them ended up in a vicious circle of poverty. That is worse now, and the Japanese government is doing them a favor by giving them a real alternative while at the same time keeping them from gaming the system. This is actually a realization that racism is good for nothing.

I cannot agree with government sponsored mass immigration in general. It is like the broken window metaphor, in the end you end up with unemployed window makers *and* a broken window. You only delay and aggravate the problem. Infinite growth is not sustainable.

The real problem is that Japan is extremely overpopulated, and *this* is what causes the low birth rate. Mass immigration would only aggravate the problem and pass it on to the next generation.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Alexius » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:13 pm UTC

Jesse wrote:Alexius, you are wrong, I am afraid. Chips and curry is available (mostly in Southern England, but occaisonally in the North). In Scotland, most fish and chips places will do chips and gravy. Also, there are definitely places in Scotland where you will get beaten up for being English. I should know, I lived in one of those places! Your area may vary, but I've lived all over England, and in a bit of Scotland as well, so I feel okay calling myself knowledgeable on these things.


Sorry- gmalivuk was just making it seem like the two were permanently and universally at each others' throats like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.
Curry and chips I have seen- just not with fish. Probably haven't been to enough chip shops...

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Yakk » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:45 pm UTC

Alexius wrote:Sorry- gmalivuk was just making it seem like the two were permanently and universally at each others' throats like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Naw. The Scottish have, historically, allied with the English quite often against their primary historical enemy: the Scottish.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Alexius » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
Alexius wrote:Sorry- gmalivuk was just making it seem like the two were permanently and universally at each others' throats like Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

Naw. The Scottish have, historically, allied with the English quite often against their primary historical enemy: the Scottish.

Talking about present-day, not historically. Given that they last fought each other (and very much in the way you describe, Highlanders against Lowlanders plus English) in 1745, and since then they conquered 25% of the world fighting alongside each other, it's pretty clear that things have changed. gmalivuk's post seemed (to me) like he thought there were ongoing bitter ethnic divisions between English and Scots.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:08 am UTC

It's called humorous hyperbole. You should try it out sometime.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby e946 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:19 am UTC

To those saying this is racist and unreasonable, etc. If all the instances of "Japan" were replaced by "America", it would instantly become an article that you're used to reading, and you would just cast it aside. What's the difference here?

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Dibley » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:09 am UTC

Ummm, no. If someone wrote an article saying the US should never be a multiethnic society (which would be stupid since it very much is) and saying we need to make sure all the jobs go to white people, you can bet there'd be an uproar.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Belial » Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:41 am UTC

Dibley wrote:Ummm, no. If someone wrote an article saying the US should never be a multiethnic society (which would be stupid since it very much is) and saying we need to make sure all the jobs go to white people, you can bet there'd be an uproar.


Yeah, basically. If you performed that substitution, it becomes yet another racist screed about how we should banish the evil brown people back to mexic-india for taking our jorbs.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Zamfir » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:57 pm UTC

Dibley wrote:Ummm, no. If someone wrote an article saying the US should never be a multiethnic society (which would be stupid since it very much is) and saying we need to make sure all the jobs go to white people, you can bet there'd be an uproar.


Yes, but saying that American citizens should have the jobs, and suggesting a program where non-citizens get a lump payment to leave the country would generate a lot less outcry.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby headprogrammingczar » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:18 pm UTC

Actually, I'm pretty sure people would say "quit wasting our damn money".
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:52 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Dibley wrote:Ummm, no. If someone wrote an article saying the US should never be a multiethnic society (which would be stupid since it very much is) and saying we need to make sure all the jobs go to white people, you can bet there'd be an uproar.

Yes, but saying that American citizens should have the jobs, and suggesting a program where non-citizens get a lump payment to leave the country would generate a lot less outcry.

Have you *read* anything on this forum? Of course there would be an outcry. And it would actually be an outcry, rather than criticizing another country, because of how many of us live in America and would strongly disagree with any such nonsense perpetrated by our government.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:04 am UTC

Also, the Japanese anti-immigration policies are doubly racist, because it's not "they'll take our jorbs!" which translates to the reasonable, though selfish and short-sighted, "they'll decrease the cost of unskilled labor through increasing supply!"- it's "they'll take jorbs we desperately need people to do, and instead are planning on making robots to do!" I mean, yeah, if they end up making robots that can do the jobs, they're better off without the immigrants. But that's betting a lot on uncertain technological change.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby BoomFrog » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:16 am UTC

It's their crazy obsession and confidence in robots that makes Japan great.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Dibley » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:42 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Dibley wrote:Ummm, no. If someone wrote an article saying the US should never be a multiethnic society (which would be stupid since it very much is) and saying we need to make sure all the jobs go to white people, you can bet there'd be an uproar.

Yes, but saying that American citizens should have the jobs, and suggesting a program where non-citizens get a lump payment to leave the country would generate a lot less outcry.

When he said that he wanted to make sure that all the jobs "are filled by Japanese", I interpreted that, perhaps incorrectly, as meaning ethnically Japanese. Given that he was, in the same conversation, saying that Japan should not become multiethnic, it seems to suggest that it's ethnicity, not citizenship, that is the problem. Although there was also that thing about ethnically Japanese Brazilians that were not being let in, so maybe he really is talking about just citizenship.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Zamfir » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:21 am UTC

Dibley wrote:When he said that he wanted to make sure that all the jobs "are filled by Japanese", I interpreted that, perhaps incorrectly, as meaning ethnically Japanese. Given that he was, in the same conversation, saying that Japan should not become multiethnic, it seems to suggest that it's ethnicity, not citizenship, that is the problem. Although there was also that thing about ethnically Japanese Brazilians that were not being let in, so maybe he really is talking about just citizenship.


I am quite sure that the people they want to leave are not citizens, but people with working visas for an indefinite time, so the analogue in the US would be closer to people whose visas are not extended. Of course you can then argue that these people should have been made citizens in the first place, and it is probably true that anti-imigration sentiments, and simply xenophobia, are the reason they didn't become citizens.

But more to the point, I am not sure if the Japanese make that clear a distinction between ethnicity and nationality, and especially a phrase as "multi-ethnic society" is probably a translation of a concept that doesn't mean exactly the same. For the far majority of the cases, Japanese citizens are ethnic Japanese, and of the all the ethnic Japanese in the world, most are Japanese citizens. So "filled by Japanese" could easily be about both at the same time, without a specific intention in one or the other way.

Of course, there are exception to the rule, such as Japanese citizens from Korea, and these ethnic Japanese from South-America, and as far as I can tell all those exceptions are problematic. These people got visa in the first place because they were felt to be somewhat Japanese, and I think their children sometimes do get citizenship, but Japan just doesn't know exactly how to deal with them. Note that in the article there are quite some Japanese voices who oppose this policy.

It is a bit too easy, I think, to take an American view of immigration and apply it to other countries. The US have a very specific, and rare, concept of who is and who is not American, both for citizenship and more general culturally. This concept makes immigration relatively unproblematic, although there are clearly all kinds of issues in the US too. But this concept has grown over centuries in which America was a relatively empty country, as it to some extent still is, and other countries can't just copy the concept.

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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Kizyr » Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Also, the Japanese anti-immigration policies are doubly racist, because it's not "they'll take our jorbs!" which translates to the reasonable, though selfish and short-sighted, "they'll decrease the cost of unskilled labor through increasing supply!"- it's "they'll take jorbs we desperately need people to do, and instead are planning on making robots to do!" I mean, yeah, if they end up making robots that can do the jobs, they're better off without the immigrants. But that's betting a lot on uncertain technological change.

Well the best solution, again, would be to make it easier for women with families to be in and remain in the workforce, and be held in equal status as men (meaning the same opportunities for advancement). Even if it's not perfectly achievable, the more companies work towards that goal, the larger pool of labor they'll have available. (Education rates between men and women are also similar, so there's no shortage of intellectual capital.)

But, that's getting a bit tangential.

Bottom line is, there is no major immigration problem in Japan. With a less-than-one-percent immigrant population, so few immigrants are doing any work that the only way it could be viewed as problematic would be to start speaking entirely in hyperbole. (Of the "they'll destroy our way of life", or the "look at the native Americans" variety.) This sort of policy is designed based on fear of what could happen on-down-the-line--the question is, whether that fear is legitimate.

Zamfir wrote:I am quite sure that the people they want to leave are not citizens, but people with working visas for an indefinite time, so the analogue in the US would be closer to people whose visas are not extended. Of course you can then argue that these people should have been made citizens in the first place, and it is probably true that anti-imigration sentiments, and simply xenophobia, are the reason they didn't become citizens.

There isn't an analogy to the US since we confer citizenship based on both jus soli and jus sanguinis; Japan confers citizenship only based on the latter. Meaning, we're also talking about people who have had children in Japan, and whose children have been living there all their life. Basically, they'd feel about as close to Japan as I do to the United States. That would support the last statement in your paragraph.

Zamfir wrote:But more to the point, I am not sure if the Japanese make that clear a distinction between ethnicity and nationality, and especially a phrase as "multi-ethnic society" is probably a translation of a concept that doesn't mean exactly the same.

I do agree that there's a closer connection between ethnicity and nationality in Japan compared to the US (although I generally avoid speaking in terms of "The Japanese do this" and "The Americans do this"). But I don't see how that makes their immigration policies any less xenophobic.

I'd have to know whatever Japanese term they're using for this to figure whether or not it has similar connotations, or what those connotations further imply. KF
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Vaniver » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:11 pm UTC

Kizyr wrote:Bottom line is, there is no major immigration problem in Japan. With a less-than-one-percent immigrant population, so few immigrants are doing any work that the only way it could be viewed as problematic would be to start speaking entirely in hyperbole. (Of the "they'll destroy our way of life", or the "look at the native Americans" variety.) This sort of policy is designed based on fear of what could happen on-down-the-line--the question is, whether that fear is legitimate.
The sad thing is, being a monoethnic society has its benefits. I would argue they're less than the benefits of a multiethnic society, but when you look at race relations in the US or the trouble Europe is having with its Muslim immigrants, one sometimes thinks "man, it would be nice to live in a country where everyone is the same."
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Aikanaro » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:53 am UTC

Except then you have the increased difficulty in relating to OTHER nations that are entirely comprised of one race (that happens to be different from YOUR one race). I personally think Lord Vetinari put it best: "Alloys are stronger."
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Stormlock » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:29 am UTC

Errrr, what? The US isn't exactly a diplomatic wizard.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Silas » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:35 am UTC

Next to Japan, we look like Gandalf. Have you seen the shit we get away with? Softwood lumber, our military on six continents, and a half-dozen PTAs that burned our trading partners. Japan's neighbors are pissed off over history books.
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Re: Japan should never become a multiethnic society

Postby Stormlock » Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:16 am UTC

No, next to Japan, you look like Conan. You get away with that shit because you're the crazy fucks that used nuclear weapons on another country and spend more money on your military than most countries have GDP.
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