Today’s Wall Street Journal had an article about changing attitudes towards labor in Japan. There’s a mounting worry about “NEETs” – young Japanese who are “not in education, employment or training.” And although they account for only a minor fraction of the workforce, Japanese officials are worried that this is a trend that could set off an economic spiral. From “In aging Japan, young slackers stir up concerns”:
But NEETs could exacerbate a demographic problem that’s starting to plague Japan and will soon affect other nations, too: an aging society, combined with a shrinking work force.The preceding, by the way, was faithfully re-typed by yours truly, since I don’t have a subscription to the Journal online. But I view this as a harbinger of things to come in America. If younger workers lose the incentive to work, due to crushing payroll taxes to support skyrocketing entitlement spending, how can the system possibly continue? Ironically, salvation may come from massive immigration from other countries (Japan & Europe) where the demographic bomb will go off only slightly before the reckoning in the United States.
Unlike the U.S., Japan doesn’t want to rely on immigration to boost its work force. That means it needs to make use of every Japanese of working age, especially young people, if it wants to prevent its economy from shrinking in the long term.