Non-Sustainable Resources

In this Bloomberg article, Jared Diamond says that there are three things that are causing Japan’s economic problems to worsen.  The problems are marriages and babies, old people/immigrants, and non-sustainable resources.

I found the problem of non-sustainbale resources interesting because we did not really discuss this in depth.  Although no country is completely self-sufficient in renewable natural resources, especially forest and seafood, it is interesting that a country with limit resources like Japan would be opposed to sustainability.

Japan could be the First World country that is the most opposed to sustainable policies.  It has much higher levels of illegally sourced and unsustainably harvested forest imports than the European Union and the United States.  In 2010, Japan blocked the international protection for Atlantic/Mediterranean bluefin tuna because it is widely consumed in Japan.

Diamond hypothesizes that the cause of Japan’s disdain towards conservation stems from its countries core values.  He concludes that Japan’s desire to become the first non-Western to rival the West in wealth and power is the driving force behind this anti-sustainable outlook.

2 thoughts on “Non-Sustainable Resources

  1. wilburns

    This article doesn’t really seem to outline how Japan will undergo such necessary but difficult change. It simply says change needs to occur in women’s roles, demographics and sustainable practices, but offers absolutely no commentary on how to go about making these adjustments.

    I would like to offer my own humble opinion. Perhaps passing some sort of legislation to encourage more female workers to embark on a career, something along the lines of equal pay requirements, extended paid maternity leave, etc. would alleviate some of these issues. Similarly, raising the retirement age to 70 would likely be a decent move. As far as whaling and fishing goes, I have no clue how to get Japanese society to come around to conservation.

  2. the prof

    It’s not clear how resources add or subtract from Japan’s growth potential; agriculture, forestry and fisheries are a small share of its economy. Fertility — well, it’s a bit too late for that, and immigration can at best offset the shrinking LF.

    Diamond ought to read more about Japanese forestry and in-shore fisheries, and not assume that the stance on whaling is indicative of attitudes towards the environment, particularly when that whaling is insignificant in numbers caught. How about recycling? domestic emissions standards? energy efficiency?

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