A Tale of Two Economies

2014 Jul 12, 3:51am   2,607 views  11 comments

by Bellingham Bill   ➕follow (2)   💰tip ()  

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1   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 3:52am  

This news article prompted that:

Japanese firms near crisis point as labor shortage deepens

Japan’s labour shortage is nearing crisis in some key industries as it spreads from construction to services, curbing companies’ operations, pushing up wages and potentially crimping a tentative recovery in the world’s third-largest economy.

Airlines, retailers, truckers and restaurant chains are being forced to rethink expansion plans and, in extreme cases, shut up shop because they cannot fill jobs at any wage.


2   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 4:12am  

hey you're on to something

shows Japan needs to draft ~5M of our guys

Age 15-24 populations:

shows Japan is down 8M and the US is up 8M since ~1995.

I'd rather be a randomly-selected Japanese person age 15-24 than the same in the US, I think.

3   indigenous   2014 Jul 12, 5:33am  

It seems to me it is a problem of demographics.

In the US it seem that this same point is tactic to get more H-1B visas approved.

4   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 6:05am  


shows unemployment rate for 15-24 still at recessionary levels.

is an interesting graph; blue working age population 15-24, up ~15% since 1990.

full-time employment is up 20%.

Problem is total working-age pop (green):

is up even more, so the unexperienced get shafted.

5   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 6:12am  

blue is full time employees
green is age 25-64, our full-time workforce.

~10 million full-time jobs short

heck of an economy we've got here, 5 years on.

6   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 7:10am  

Tourist’s 10-day detention rapped

Lawyers say elderly American should never have been jailed for holding small pocketknife

7   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 7:15am  

to be fair to the Japanese, if I were a citizen of any homogenous, aboriginal country -- this extends to all of Europe too -- I wouldn't want to see my cultural heritage evolving and essentially being diluted as millions more immigrants arrived.

The New World (and Australia) was a tabula rasa when Europeans arrived (unless you were the aboriginal!) so the pre-existing cultural heritage was nil so perhaps immigrants can all get along better in these countries.

On one hand culture 'purity' is not more important than people, but on the other hand it's sad to "lose" what once existed.

Or at least I can understand why people would feel that way.

8   Bubbabeefcake   2014 Jul 12, 10:41am  

Keeping low rates will make the blue line similar to the red one.

It won't be 100% because our population still grows while Japan didn't but in general it will follow the red curve.

Also remember that employers in Japan responded by still trying to find that magical employee with lots of experience even when most already past away which gives you an idea how our employers will behave with broken demographics.

But for the Fed to raise rates, those too big to fail businesses will get wiped out and good business gets rewarded which will employ those with less experience......

9   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 11:16am  

Bubbabear says

Keeping low rates will make the blue line similar to the red one.

is that a bad thing?

10   indigenous   2014 Jul 12, 12:32pm  

Bellingham Bill says

is that a bad thing?

Yes it is. It has to do with why there is no business investment

11   Bellingham Bill   2014 Jul 12, 1:09pm  

indigenous says

It has to do with why there is no business investment

With Japan's daily wage China's weekly wage, only an insane person would invest in traditional labor-intensive industrial enterprise in Japan.

shows dollar-for-dollar Japanese wages rose 10X vs Chinese wages when the yuan weakened and the yen strengthened, 1985-1995.

Shenzhen has a current minimum wage of 1650 kuai, which is currently 270 yen ($2.70, about 1/3 Japan's effective minimum wage) -- back in the 1990s, Shenzhen's wage was no doubt 1/3 of today's, putting the wage multiple at 30-40X -- one WEEK of Chinese labor for one hour of Japanese labor

But for all of Japan's lack of business investment, they somehow managed to accrue a colossal $3T net capital position thanks to sustained (decades-long) trade surplus


Japan Inc wisely redeployed their winnings into investments in all over the world.

there's more to life than "business investment", LOL, but if you talk with a misean you'd never learn that.

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