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And You Thought the U.S. Had Trouble:

By       Message Mike Folkerth     Permalink
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Good Morning Middle America, your King of Simple News is on the air.

I keep focusing on the problems of the U.S. economy and to give all of you a much needed break, I’ll focus on someone else’s problems today; if only to assure you that we aren’t the only idiots in the world.

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As most eyes focus on the demise of the world’s largest economy (that would be us), the world’s second largest economy is feeling the pain. Japan is in trouble…again.

Who would have ever put it together that when the world’s largest economy slowed down their purchases from the world’s second largest economy that it would cause them to also slow down? I suppose they used some of those NASA computers to work that one out.

Japan has more problems than Brittney Spears. They live on a bunch of islands that are smaller than California with a population 3.5 times greater than that of the Golden State. Yuck! The population density is 12 times greater than the U.S.

Some 80% of Japan’s landmass is covered by mountains; mountains with volcano’s. Japan has 10% of all the active volcanos in the world. Oh joy.

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It would seem that Japan has about everything that a person could want, except oil and minerals of which they have somewhere around none.

Japan is the second largest importer of oil in the world and that oil comes primarily from the Middle East. In the event that some of you haven’t seen the news in the last 2,000 years, the Middle East is somewhat unstable.

Can it get any worse? Well sure it can, Japan also imports most of their food. On a calorie basis, the island nation accounts for less than 40% of their own food production.

Japan decided after the war that the old cliché “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” was sound advice and jumped square in the middle of unchecked capitalism. They adopted the buy now and pay later plan that seemed to be working so well for Americans. “Seemed to be” was the key phrase in the last sentence.

While the Japanese are said to have exceptional math skills, there is no sign of applying those skills to their long term economic plan. Yes, exactly like the U.S.

As if all the issues listed above are not problematic enough, Japan has a population problem. With 127 million folks crowded onto their formerly described islands…it isn’t enough; population that is.

Ya see, Japan decided to be as dumb as the U.S. and to put the bill on the tab for the kids to pay. Where they thought that they would put these kids, I have no idea, but it was in fact the plan. However, when the birthrate in Japan fell to 1.25 kids per couple, it busted up the game. The replacement team was dwindling.

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In a nation where the lack of landmass, natural resources, and food were major problems, a shrinking population could seem to the moderately sane to be a good thing. But the sane seldom visit the nations of exponential growth capitalism, so let’s look at some of the possible fixes that are recommended to head off Japan’s demise.

You will probably be shocked to hear that growth has been suggested. Yes, encouraging women to have more babies is one solution; cash is being plied in this area as we speak (I’m not making this up).

Another grand idea is to loosen up on the immigration laws and allow a whole lot more foreign folks to join the party. That approach is certainly working well for the U.S of A.

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Mike Folkerth is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed" and is not your run-of-the-mill author of finance and economics. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, (more...)

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