Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Japan will endure

Just a few short thoughts, and a little encouragement for any of my readers with connections with Japan. I know that the last month or so has been profoundly difficult.

Japan will endure. In 2100, there will still be a Japan, and it will be recognizably Japanese. If the world as a whole manages to muddle through and maintain its trends in life expectancy, perhaps achieving 'actuarial escape velocity', there may even be a few Japanese folks old enough to have seen this post. They will almost certainly possess the reasonable belief that Japan is still THEIR country.

Your leaders are often venal and corrupt. So are everyone else's with very few exceptions. They're inclined to lie to you to avoid panic and to save face. So too again are almost everyone else's. You might have to take a significant chunk of real estate out of agricultural production for a while. Rebuilding will cost you a ton of money, which will probably hurt your economy substantially. But your elite and your leaders are NOT traitors. They do NOT wish to elect another people. They do not hate you and yours. In this I envy you. Contrast your movie 'The Seven Samurai' and our movie 'Braveheart'. They speak to the radical difference in nature between your elites and ours.

Eventually as your population decreases, your young people will feel that family formation is desirable and affordable in significant numbers. Try to avoid crushing them with debt and thereby suppressing their fertility. But your elites know this already, and, they don't hate you or want to replace you. You trust your elites more than we trust ours, for good reason. You'll probably manage to slog your way through this crisis without doing anything terminally stupid or creating a massive schism between your elites and the ordinary Japanese citizenry.


Hail said...

Contrast your movie 'The Seven Samurai' and our movie 'Braveheart'. They speak to the radical difference in nature between your elites and ours.

Please expand on this.

Jehu said...

Certainly---in Braveheart the salvation of the non-elite had to come from exceptional members of the middle class and low gentry. In the Seven Samurai, when the chips were down, the peasants could count on the blood and sacrifice of their elite class (the Samurai), depite the fact that they had betrayed them and brought them low. The Samurai knew that their victory would benefit mostly the farmers, but they did so anyway because of their fundamental nature (they're sheepdogs, albeit very aggressive ones, not wolves) at the cost of most of their number. In Braveheart the nobles were always selling out the people to the English, in a parallel to the US today where the elite and the underclass are engaged in an active alliance against the middle. Edward even speaks directly of ethnic cleansing ('we'll breed them out' and the problem with Scotland is that it's full of Scotts) in the movie. There's an incentive for a King to ally with the commons to check and balance the power of the nobles, but Scotland has no king until the end of the movie where Robert the Bruce waves the bloody shirt of Wallace and implores the commons to 'now bleed with me' as they had with Wallace. In 'The Seven Samurai' there is a reconciliation between the displaced elite and the people---one decidedly more hopeful than anything I believe we can expect.