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Guest Post: Japan And The Exhaustion Of Consumerism

Tyler Durden's picture





 

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Japan And The Exhaustion Of Consumerism

Japan's faddishly fantastic fashions illustrate the exhaustion of consumerism as a driver of wealth creation.

Japan is known for artful handcrafts, high-tech gadgets and outlandish fads. All modern economies depend on fads and fashions to drive consumption, and so Japan's leadership in fads reflects its advanced state of consumerism: it is a very wealthy nation, and its wealth has been distributed widely enough that the vast majority of its citizens have access to the "good things" produced by modern industrialized economies.

Thus it is unsurprising that Japan generates sufficient surplus on a national scale to support elaborate fads and fashions such as those on display in the Harajuku district of Tokyo:

Every Sunday, young people dressed in a variety of styles including gothic lolita, visual kei, and decora, as well as cosplayers spend the day in Harajuku socializing. A cosplay enthusiast will usually dress as a fictional or iconic character from a band, game, movie, anime, or manga.

 

The fashion styles of these youths rarely conform to one particular style and are usually a mesh of many. Harajuku is also a fashion capital of the world, renowned for its unique street fashion.

The global reach of manga and anime is well-known, and so the overlap of fad, fashion and media (young people dressing up as manga characters) is also unsurprising.

There is even a weekly television program on NHK (Japan's English-language network) that covers kawaii fashion. (Kawaii means "cute," though with a different range of meaning that "cute" in English. Kawaii includes what we might call cutesy, sweetly nostalgic or cartoonishly cute.)

There are certainly positives to this opt-in "public fashion show": self-expression in a conformist society, a bit of healthy rebellion against convention and good fun to share with friends, to name three.

But there is a less positive aspect, too: it is a phenomenon of extended adolescence, a state of "suspended animation" of young adults facing truncated opportunities for adulthood--secure careers, marriage, family, homeownership--who are stuck in a seemingly permanent adolescence.

It's as if there is a split in the road and no third way: some young people make it onto the traditional corporate or government career path, and everyone else is left in part-time suspended animation with few options for adult expression or development.

What few seem willing to acknowledge is the solipsistic, narcissistic nature of this reliance on public display of consumerist fantasy for self-identity. All consumerist fashion is based on superficiality and self-indulgence, of course; but if we look at the energy, money and attention "invested" in fashion lifestyles in Japan, we might conclude it is strong evidence that there is plenty of "money and time to burn" in Japan. While that is certainly true, this reliance on consumerist excess for self-identity and pastime is also evidence of a deeply troubled economy and society.

Young people have money and time to burn on outlandish costumes because few earn enough to have their own families or flats. They work part-time for low wages and live at home or in tiny one-room apartments. Few own cars because they 1) don't earn enough to support a car and 2) they're uninterested in acquiring status symbols or prestige signifiers.

This is not just a generational shift: it reflects a realistic understanding that opportunities for secure, high-paying employment have diminished over the past 20 years. There are plenty of low-level jobs, but few with the guarantees that their parents took for granted.

Sound familiar? This reality is playing out in Europe and the U.S. as well.

If all this is new to you, I strongly recommend you read my essay The Non-Financial Cost of Stagnation: "Social Recession" and Japan's "Lost Generations" (August 9, 2010).

Here are a few highlights:

-- Once-egalitarian Japan is becoming a nation of haves and have-nots.

-- More than one-third of the workforce is part-time as companies have shed the famed Japanese lifetime employment system.

-- The slang word "freeter" (for part-time worker) combines the English "free" and the German "arbeiter" or worker.

-- A typical "freeter" wage is 1,000 yen ($7.80) an hour.

-- As long ago as 2001, The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimated that 50 percent of high school graduates and 30 percent of college graduates now quit their jobs within three years of leaving school.

-- Japan's slump has lasted so long, a "New Lost Generation" is coming of age, joining Japan's first "Lost Generation" which graduated into the bleak job market of the 1990s.

-- These trends have led to an ironic moniker for the Freeter lifestyle: Dame-Ren (No Good People). The Dame-Ren (pronounced dah-may-ren) get by on odd jobs, low-cost living and drastically diminished expectations.

-- Many young men now reject the macho work ethic and related values of their fathers. These "herbivores" reject the traditonal Samurai ideal of masculinity. Derisively called "herbivores" or "Grass-eaters," these young men are uncompetitive and uncommitted to work, evidence of their deep disillusionment with Japan's troubled economy.

-- These shifts have spawned a disconnect between genders so pervasive that Japan is experiencing a "social recession" in marriage, births, and even sex, all of which are declining.

-- The trend of never leaving home has sparked an almost tragicomical countertrend of Japanese parents who actively seek mates to marry off their "parasite single" offspring as the only way to get them out of the house.

-- An even more extreme social disorder is Hikikomori, or "acute social withdrawal," a condition in which the young live-at-home person will virtually wall themselves off from the world by never leaving their room.

Is it any wonder that in the face of such a bleak and maladaptive future, young people seek identity, community and solace in a fantasy world of fashion? When an economy is dominated by a Savior State that issues unsustainable promises, and a society is dependent on a consumerist frenzy of ceaseless fads, status signifiers and shopping for identity and what passes for community, then narcissism, restless emptiness and the aloneness mentioned yesterday in The Hidden Cost of the "New Economy": New-Type Depression are the inevitable results.

Beneath the surface of Japan, Inc., bullet trains, cute robots and exuberant fashions, this is the Japan few outsiders understand: the exhaustion of consumerism.

 


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Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:54 | Link to Comment sdmjake
sdmjake's picture

That looks like some kind of crap out of the Hunger Games...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:28 | Link to Comment New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

lassie, given' your avatar, you must shurely know that the temporal view is from behind.

And so it is for all of our views.

So, a greenie on ya, praps not for the comment, don't cha' know.

- Ned

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:56 | Link to Comment fuu
fuu's picture

That color of pink is pretty vibrant. Almost glowing.

The girl giving the Queen one can stay at my place when the island melts.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:57 | Link to Comment RSloane
RSloane's picture

Almost fuuuuscia.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:02 | Link to Comment fuu
fuu's picture

More magenta but I see what you did there.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:56 | Link to Comment kengland
kengland's picture

That is truley Western influence. Their ancestors would be appauled. A once proud and strong culture run right into the ground

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:01 | Link to Comment john39
john39's picture

this is the result of the planners behind the new world order.  cut humanity off from its true roots, from the land, from anything with a deeper spiritual meaning.  instead, you are permitted empty and trivial lives, never knowing your true nature or potential, why they maintain full control.   fight now, or this is what your descendents have to look forward to...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:17 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

Huxley is winning the race in Japan.

pods

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:39 | Link to Comment A Middle Child ...
A Middle Child of History's picture

She looks very pneumatic.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

....new fashion statement; Malthusian cartridge belt...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:00 | Link to Comment CIABS
CIABS's picture

john39 says:  "this is the result of the planners behind the new world order.  cut humanity off from its true roots, from the land, from anything with a deeper spiritual meaning.  instead, you are permitted empty and trivial lives, never knowing your true nature or potential, why they maintain full control.   fight now, or this is what your descendents have to look forward to..."

i agree.  cut them off from their roots, in preparation for their complete elimination.  and not only in japan.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:59 | Link to Comment larz
larz's picture

Is this article about Japan or United States of Amerika?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:57 | Link to Comment Matt
Matt's picture

Do you really think this is some centrally-planned evil plot, or might it simply be the natural results of demographics? How high can population density go, and how large a portion of a nation's population can be retired, before it causes big shifts in culture, living standards, etc? How can you expect people living in cement boxes surrounded by masses of other people, to retain an agrarian culture?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:40 | Link to Comment AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

Not so sure. I see Bernays right on his heals.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:31 | Link to Comment batterycharged
batterycharged's picture

So true, don't they know scarfing McDonalds, driving SUVs, buying condo's in Florida, being fat and overweight, making a living by selling commodities or stocks, is truly the way to "be in touch"?

I mean, they really should be out striving to sell used cars on a corporate level. So they can afford a 10 room house with 5 cars. Only then will the achieve ZEN...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:52 | Link to Comment Shigure
Shigure's picture

...the Yen Buddhists?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:30 | Link to Comment gaoptimize
gaoptimize's picture

Not the West that built the modern industrialized world.  As a defender of all that is right and good about the West, I'm offended by your comment.  We know who debased and keeps debasing our culture, its work ethic, and all the other values of our heritage.  Those people will not do well in the coming reset.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:01 | Link to Comment Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

We have a culture?  

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:35 | Link to Comment batterycharged
batterycharged's picture

Yep. Its called Walmart culture.

You rise, work, consume, work, sleep, consume, watch advertisements on what you need to consume, consume, consume, eat, sleep....

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:29 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

That is truley Western influence.
_____________________

That is the result of 'americanism'.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:42 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

Come on AnAnon, you got yourself a set of pink fairy wings in the closet, don't you?  

pods

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:52 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

That's 'americans' who've stuffed their closet with accessories like that. It gives them the belief they could fly, they could reach the sky. Very necessary as they think of infinite growth, and growing the pie to the Moon and beyond.

Down to earth people only need good shoes or having walked bare footed when they were young.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:15 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

Well I appreciate the actual reply.  But amerikans don't need that shit to make them think they can fly, are special, etc.  If the constant adoration from childhood ever wears off we have oodles of pharmaceuticals to make sure everyone feels special.

pods

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 23:05 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

pods said:

Come on AnAnon, you got yourself a set of pink fairy wings in the closet, don't you?

AnAnonymous Fairies Wear Boots

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyYRfRF1NJs

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:01 | Link to Comment Cyrano de Bivouac
Cyrano de Bivouac's picture

The defeat in WW2 has a lot to do with it.

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:55 | Link to Comment mick68
mick68's picture

Consumerism is for sheeple and it looks good on them.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:55 | Link to Comment forrestdweller
forrestdweller's picture

why would consumerism be narcissistic or self indulgent?

it might be a completely meaningless process of self reinforcing behaviour.

we do some work, and as a reward (reinforcer) we buy ourselves some stuff. the stuff also has some reinforcing qualities. it makes our lives a bit more comfortable. but we have to keeop working, or even work harder, just to keep rewarding ourselves with buying things.

and in the end, we are all rats in a cage.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:30 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

We are all american.

Signed: an American.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

I know your favorite music video:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerika_(song)

pods

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:54 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Never heard that one. And dont wish to waste one second listening to it. 'American' cultural item, so life elevating, well known...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:55 | Link to Comment pods
pods's picture

It is merely the German version of your schtick, albeit much more entertaining.

You know us amerikans loved to be entertained.

pods

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:57 | Link to Comment news printer
news printer's picture
Jobless Man sets himself on fire in Italy

A jobless man 55 years old, has set himself on fire outside the Presidential Palace in the Italian capital city, Rome.

http://www.section9department17.com/1/post/2012/10/jobless-man-sets-hims...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

This is sad.  I have been telling people you cant emotionally prepare for what is coming.  Prepare to be challenged people.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:13 | Link to Comment MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

People are emotionally preparing...  front running even...  hence the depression/downtrodden atmosphere.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:30 | Link to Comment fourchan
fourchan's picture

wow thats a very poinent observation.

next stop a total reevaluation of values.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:05 | Link to Comment YuShun
YuShun's picture

poignant

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

Light a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day.

Light a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:58 | Link to Comment VonSalza
VonSalza's picture

society of the spectacle

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:43 | Link to Comment sschu
sschu's picture

Look at me!  Look at me!

Our culture is so totally narcissistic.  We are prime for plucking by someone/something.  What will it be?  Progressivism?  Islam?  Communism?  Hedonism? (maybe we are all ready here).  

You pickem.

sschu

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:58 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I almost voted down, thinking this was a response to the previous comment.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:03 | Link to Comment Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Young people have money and time to burn on outlandish costumes because few earn enough to have their own families or flats. They work part-time for low wages and live at home or in tiny one-room apartments. Few own cars because they 1) don't earn enough to support a car and 2) they're uninterested in acquiring status symbols or prestige signifiers.

This is also happening here.  And the younger people who are either dumb or naive (granted, sweetfully), dress up (aka Halloween) because they are trying to escape the reality that their lives and the majority of the lives of their peers around them, is pretty shitty....and getting shittier. But hey, for one night, I can dress up as a penis!  Girls will finally love me!

This also goes for young people at the top end of the spectrum, the "sons and daughter of corporate America", as THEY ignore the crumbling society around them (think: NYC socialites).

But hey, the DOW is up!!!!111  Life is good!!!!!!111 All is well!!!1111

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment XitSam
XitSam's picture

It is perfectly reasonable not to own a car in Tokyo. "Uninterested in status symbols or prestige signifiers"? Well, yes, let's just continue spending fiat currency we borrow just so the neighbors can be impressed.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:59 | Link to Comment kengland
kengland's picture

This is what we want to bring to the Middle East. What is there not to love?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:54 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

'Americanism' is the best thing to have ever happened to humanity...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Too bad it happened from the inception of society, but was named far after for the political purpose of a broken record...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:54 | Link to Comment JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

"This is what we want to bring to the Middle East. What is there not to love?"

Actually if you think about it I would love suicide bombers who torched themselves without hurthing others while making an irrefuttable point?.

Wouldn't you?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:59 | Link to Comment LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

fashion there, talent TV here...it's all about distractive engineered culture.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:01 | Link to Comment 1
1's picture

Great post.  Thanks.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:05 | Link to Comment bank guy in Brussels
bank guy in Brussels's picture

Man, that is one über-cool user name you picked

'1'

Clever just to think it might be available

Fits in with this article, very fashionable and trendy

Also makes me think of that great somewhat intellectual TV series from the past, Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner', with that question every week '...Who is number 1?'

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:47 | Link to Comment JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

Yes, stolen and then trivialized by Austen Powers.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:24 | Link to Comment Mad Mohel
Mad Mohel's picture

Fook Mi & Fook Yu

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:08 | Link to Comment Diplodicus Rex
Diplodicus Rex's picture

There's something very strange going on here. Tyler, I think your database has been hacked. I see a lot of new names over the last two weeks posting for the first time. However, when you look at their profiles it claims they have been members for 1-2 years. One or two, maybe, but there's a statistical trend, too suspicious for my liking. In addition, over the last couple of weeks I've tried to look at the profiles of members posting for the first time only to be faced with a completely blank screen with no errors reported.

There's summit up here.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:22 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

Never heard of you, either, Rex, but I've been here (almost...) since the get-go.

Got tired of the gold bitchez! malarkey that ruled here for quite a while.  Most of us read behind the scenes and don't comment on that stuff.  Gold bitchez!  Ha!

Riiiiiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhhhhhtttttttt...

Precious metals are just another commodity bubble for barbarous relics that have zero intrinsic value, save catalytic converters and foil for covering satellites.  I got tired of inane conversation about who has a better price over spot- and guns and beans and all that stuff.  And no, don't post to that becaue I am not going to argue with you.

That's well and good if you disagree, I'm just not interested.  Apparently, neither is Ms. Creant and many others.  Now that we are in the end-game, expect to see many of us back to comment.

Now, I believe you owe Mr. Durden an apology for accusing him of padding his book with fake names and profiles, don't you?

:D

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:26 | Link to Comment Diplodicus Rex
Diplodicus Rex's picture

"And no, don't post to that becaue I am not going to argue with you."

I think you're fighting with shadows. Please tell me where in my post I mentioned anything to do with your two preceding sentences. Your 4th paragraph makes no sense whatsoever in the context of my post.

"That's well and good if you disagree, I'm just not interested."

Agree or disagree with what exactly? You are rambling. What on earth are you talking about?

"accusing him of padding his book with fake names and profiles"

Nice straw man you have built there Orly. Now please go back and re-read my post and let me know where I said that or anything even like it. I suggested that "I think your database has been hacked" which means I thought someone else did it, not the Tylers. It was a serious suggestion. Databases can be hacked. ZH's is no different. At least one other person agreed with my observations. The user with the handle "1" is a case in point which, if you follow the thread indentations, was an example of where my post was aimed.

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:42 | Link to Comment Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"I see a lot of new names over the last two weeks posting for the first time. However, when you look at their profiles it claims they have been members for 1-2 years."

I noted this as well.  In fact one poster pre-dated the current version of ZH.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:57 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

As do I.

I believe it was blogspot.zerohedge.com or some such thing and it was as stark as the day was long but filled with wonderful, educational banter from the likes of Cheeky Bastard and others.  I knew next to nothing about finance and the experience with the early ZeroHedge has taught me that I still know next to nothing about finance.

Either way, it would do well not to criticise but to appreciate this wonderful gift of communication.  It's still the best educational format anywhere and it should be cherished for what it is: a real exchange of finance and economic ideas across the gamut of the industry.

No one is getting over on you boys.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:01 | Link to Comment PUD
PUD's picture

Just one more surreal piece of evidence that the world has gone mad. In america dudes don't dress up in pink but they do buy snowmobiles in record numbers from Polaris...extended childhood american style! fuck yeah!

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:04 | Link to Comment VonSalza
VonSalza's picture

Look up Brony / MLP

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:25 | Link to Comment Goatboy
Goatboy's picture

And adulthood is when you marry, start drinking, start wearing silly suits with ties, pretend you do something at the office and overall do whatever warlords and actual owners of this farm told you to do?

Fuck that!

Panta rhei. We need new narrative in sync with reality.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

"In america dudes don't dress up in pink"? Oh, but they do! There's San Diego Comic-Con and countless other conventions happenning monthly all over this country. It's Harajuku on 500 pounds of fat.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 17:34 | Link to Comment Jam Akin
Jam Akin's picture

 

And meanwhile in Japan they have "Maid Bars" where the staff of attractive young ladies who are all dressed up in French maid costumes tell the geek boy patrons what they want to hear: what studs they are.  

 

Lots of sickness in that society under the colorful exterior.

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:02 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

The Japanese have refined the Western phenomenon of permanent adolescence. Refinement is what the Japanese do.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:41 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

 

 

+1

 

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:05 | Link to Comment pashley1411
pashley1411's picture

Well, two trends here.    Its similar to Germany's pacifist, nature-bent romanticism, and imho sexual obsession.   Take away a people's native and very human desire to defend themself, and those energies are expressed elsewhere.

But I don't want to argue the point.    Create an economy of retail clerks and you'll get a culture for retail clerks.  

 

 

  

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:47 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

 

 

pashley1411:

 

"Well, two trends here.    Its similar to Germany's pacifist, nature-bent romanticism, and imho sexual obsession.   Take away a people's native and very human desire to defend themself, and those energies are expressed elsewhere."

GOOD observation and no idea why you were down-voted ...
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:56 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Good comment.  Germany has an "imho sexual obsession"?  When did this happen?  Not the Germany I remember, must be getting old.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:23 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

 

To be fair, pashley1411 did say "IMO" re: Germany and "sexual obsession"

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:05 | Link to Comment mademesmile
mademesmile's picture

How are they different than hipsters?

Extended adolescences, living with parents, crazy clothes, low paying jobs. I guess the main difference is trying to appear ANTI-consumer while shopping at urban outfitters.

I'm 32 and still don't understand hipsters.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:09 | Link to Comment ironsky
ironsky's picture

Congratulations. You picked answer D. There is nothing to understand.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:05 | Link to Comment Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture

I'm 28 and some would say from the way i dress that i am a "hipster", some of those things you pointed out are true, though i live in my own place and pay my own bills.  Most of my money goes to booze and food and rent, but i think the one trend that i have in common with hipsters is that i put more emphasis on music, books, movies, pop culture/ culture then "normal" people who worship sports and the size of their paycheck while they hate what they are doing to some extent.  Most of us have no choice, its hard to avoid the corporate BS ,  but i don't have cable or internet except at work and manage to put away alittle money.  I don't shop at urban outfitters and have the same clothes i've had for years.  Who's not anti consumer here?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:10 | Link to Comment Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture

Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth. He knew he did not belong to them; he knew that, like the vampires, he was anathema and black terror to be destroyed. And, abruptly, the concept came, amusing to him even in his pain. ... Full circle. A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever. I am legend.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:05 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

Clock your online and tv time, then give it some serious thought.  The only real infratructure built in developed countries over the past twenty years has been the matrix . . . perfect for that deeply satisfying connection to a world where most people have no meaningful or productive role to play now that most wealth is funny money controlled by "investors" in infinitely derivative capital markets.   

Financialization has a clearly predictable end.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financialization

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:35 | Link to Comment Sockeye
Sockeye's picture

Upvote for you.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:45 | Link to Comment Ident 7777 economy
Ident 7777 economy's picture

 

Bob:

"...

The only real infratructure built in developed countries over the past twenty years has been the matrix  ..."

Only too true ...
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:08 | Link to Comment PUD
PUD's picture

Stoxx Europe 600 at highest close since June 2011

Italians lining up round the block to buy gov debt...spain "financing" itself with new low yields!

US debt ceiling to be raised for the nth time

booyah!

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:11 | Link to Comment mccoyspace
mccoyspace's picture

"You kids! Get off my lawn!"

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:15 | Link to Comment rustymason
rustymason's picture

"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..” ... “Solitude sometimes is best society.” ... “Farewell Hope, and with Hope farewell Fear” - John Milton, Paradise Lost

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:14 | Link to Comment Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

"I love monster movies. And the cheaper they are, the better they are." FZ

This is the close-up kids, smile.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment putaipan
putaipan's picture

P H R U N O B U L A X !

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:15 | Link to Comment shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Japan needs a good war to get that samurai spirit pumping again.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:15 | Link to Comment shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Japan needs a good war to get that samurai spirit pumping again.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:16 | Link to Comment Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture

Best article by charles hugh smith in awhile, nice to be able to read what our future will look like because of the unwillingness of our "elites" to come to terms with what they must "sacrifice" for our society to continue

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:26 | Link to Comment Mrmojorisin515
Mrmojorisin515's picture

Which also just caused me to have another thought...... Didn't the US used to chide japan over the economic choices they were making in the early 90's?  Perhaps they had no choice after all, because if allowing bad debts to liquidate would cause the fall of the governing government, maybe the US didn't want to lose its fav asian lap dog.  Maybe we were the orginator of the past two failed japanese decades............

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:49 | Link to Comment Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

OK.  Now what about ringing Japan with nuclear plants?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:20 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

Forgive me, but these are cultural observations and not "racist" remarks, so save it for someone else.

Actually, it seems a matter of self-image and natural identity. When everyone looks basically the same, it is incumbent upon the individual to find a distinctive characteristic, such as fashion may provide, to distinguish oneself from the collective body as a whole.

The same principle applies when American blacks name their children what most people would consider "strange" names.  It is simply a matter of distinction in a sea of near-identical individuals.

Plus, the fashions are kind of a cute method of self-expression, if I may say so.  The strange names, not so much.

:D

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:33 | Link to Comment hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

 

 

The same principle applies when American blacks name their children what most people would consider "strange" names.

Two brothers (literally) down at the carwash, Orangejello and Lemonjello, will probably agree. 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:17 | Link to Comment rustymason
rustymason's picture

Japan needs to be warned of what happens if these cute hippies ever get into power.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:31 | Link to Comment dugorama
dugorama's picture

enlighten me.  what happens?  do they cut defense spending and end pointless vanity wars?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:16 | Link to Comment rustymason
rustymason's picture

They completely destroy the social fabric, bring in workers to replace the natives, create racial strife, then create more dysfunctional bureaucracy to "fix" everything, sweeping the profits off the top for themselves and socializing the losses.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:24 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

That'll never happen.  The Japanese are as xenophobic as anyone on the planet and have very specific laws about who can emigrate.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:18 | Link to Comment Drachma
Drachma's picture

Manifestation of mass mental health deterioration I dare say.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:16 | Link to Comment ironsky
ironsky's picture

I imagine the 2 plus million WWII military deaths were a real help to the gene pool of a society that doesn't admit outsiders.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:27 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

young people seek identity, community and solace in a fantasy world of fashion?
______________________

Only young 'americans'? Huh no, fantasy is solace for every 'american'. It is the 'american' nature to rejoice in fantasy, from those freedom loving founding fathers that were so enamoured with freedom they kept slaves to US American middle class that is so enamoured with peace they have never enough wars...

Fantasy is the common bread and butter for 'americans'.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:28 | Link to Comment Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

I don't think it's just Japan. It never ceases to amaze me how many women in their twenties making middle wage incomes (i.e., $30k-50k) think it's not only desirable, but essential that they have at least one purse that cost over $1000.

As for their endless demand for shoes - I expect I'll figure the whole toilet seat conflict out one day before that.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:13 | Link to Comment Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Sheesh, nothing complicated about it.  Shoes just make your legs look better.  The higher the heels, the more decorative the shoe, the better your legs look, and if they cost a lot, well that is just gravy.  Its a girl thing.  

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:29 | Link to Comment Midas
Midas's picture

Last time I was at the pool I saw some good looking girls.  They were wearing flip-flops, short shorts and t-shirts.  Whole ensemble might have cost 15 bucks.  Better than anything I see in the fashion mags for who knows how much.  Oh, yeah, it helped they had a nice tan.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:55 | Link to Comment Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Manolo Blahniks would be out of place in such a situation.  Hanging at the pool, of course, requires a hanging at the pool ensemble.  You are deluded if you think it cost $15.00. 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:29 | Link to Comment q99x2
q99x2's picture

Nice colors. Whose got the acid.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:30 | Link to Comment Cosimo de Medici
Cosimo de Medici's picture

Like everything in Japan, this can last longer than most people think.  The outlandish fashion---Gothic, Garu, Yamambas, Cosplay, etc.---has been a part of Harajuku weekends since the late 1980s, before the Dai Boraku.  Nothing new here.  Even Hikikomori began about 1990.  Those are now some messed up 40 year olds.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:51 | Link to Comment Orly
Orly's picture

My sister-in-law in Nottingham is all about Goth, head-banging.  She's 60-something.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:32 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I have a 30+ y/o friend who's been into this stuff for over 10 years. I kept wondering when she was going to grow up. Apparently never. Still lives with parents. No stable job. Few more years and forget the possibility of having kids. She'll probably be celebrating retirement in the same basement where she lived all her life.

On one hand, I feel sorry for people like her, but at the same time, knowing what the labor market is, I think having less competition is good for aggressive job seekers such as myself. I've only been unemployed for a total of 4 months over the last 10 years. Hope it stays that way.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 17:09 | Link to Comment toothpicker
toothpicker's picture

Depopulation agenda on speed: like a CFR wet dream

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:38 | Link to Comment eddiebe
eddiebe's picture

When machines and ultra cheap labor is doing most of everything for a society they will of course do all kinds of strange absurd things with their time and resources. Remember the old adage: Idle hands are the devils workshop?

Problem is in Japan as well as here in the U.S. the vast majority of youth have lost the ability to do much of anything other than a very narrow set of skills, if they even have that. We are now dependent on an very complicated machinery to supply us with what we want and need to survive. How many of these kids know how to grow a carrot make cheese or darn their socks? God help us if the machinery breaks down or runs short on grease.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:18 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

The machinery of life as we've come to define it simply requires fewer people.  When the machinery breaks down, those with no place or assets will be condemned for being worthless . . . by those who have come to own the machine and all the resources it requires.  Profit maximization will prevail . . . until either the lamposts or the FEMA camps are full. 

 

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:21 | Link to Comment FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

They are being culled primarily by malnutrition, especially through the use of GMO grain products like HFCS and wheat flour.  The trick is to kill them off profitably.  Some members of TPTB need the "useless eaters" to maintain their portion of the empire, e.g. Big Ag, Big Pharma, retail.  Other members prefer that they be killed off in profitable and interesting military adventures.  Everyone in TPTB do not have the same objectives.  This causes conflicts.  Elections are one way the way the pot is divided up for the members of TPTB.  There are other mechanisms as well.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:13 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

When production becomes efficient it enables more parasites. When one man barely produces enough to feed himself, every man has to be productive. When one human operated mechanical contraption spits out enough genetically modified food to feed the stomachs of a 1000 people, you bet, there'll be 1000 people doing nothing but eating.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:50 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

It'll be interesting to see whether "Owns It All" will remain a respected job title. 

They better slow this thing to a walk, imo, because they'll leave too damn many of the people who really built it out in the cold otherwise.  And those folks seem unlikely to buy the story of "You played the game and lost" as fair enough. 

Or tenable in any real way. 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:41 | Link to Comment Dr. Eldon Tyrell
Dr. Eldon Tyrell's picture

There is a small but growing movement out there of makers.

Good people to associate with.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_subculture

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:43 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

And, for fathers (divorced dads take note), it's a kid-friendly culture. 

And the tools

Everybody can find a use for a plasma cutter, right?  Collective ownership has some profound advantages . . . way beyond even the pleasure of collaboration. 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:40 | Link to Comment Food4Fools
Food4Fools's picture

or maybe they just don't own cars because traffic on the small island is a bitch and public transport is good...?

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:40 | Link to Comment Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

Didn't all start with Elvis? 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:49 | Link to Comment FatAmerican
FatAmerican's picture

people are just having fun, this article is garbage, charles hasnt had any fun since 1971, he forgot what is looks like, hes to busy writing for doomer blogs....

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

lol, Sounds like NZ after 1987 crash.

Part time jobs as process workers (if you were lucky) and lots of hanging out smoking pot. 

Interupted by yet another university / polytech degree.

Let me guess, most of them are over qualified as well....

As for dressing up -  that is 'IDontGiveAFuckALitis' because you may as well enjoy yourself till the ecnomy turns around.  I grew my hair long, got a goatie and went to undeground raves.....who cared?

Its that or start killing your elders who fucked up the economy and then screwed you again because they didn't want to take their losses.

Like these kids should respect their elders.....the elders have forgotten respect is earned.

Instead the smug SOBs add insult to injury by looking down on the very kids they have bankrupted.

Its sad to see history repeating itself...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:23 | Link to Comment FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

At least you got high and got laid.  It was better than spending all your time in your bedroom with a video game.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 18:13 | Link to Comment slackrabbit
slackrabbit's picture

I did that as well and I even had a 1200 baud modem; go fidonet!!! ;-)

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:49 | Link to Comment rosiescenario
rosiescenario's picture

Why Hog sales are still going strong in the U.S. despite (maybe because of) our economy. The Japanese may dress in pink, but over here the "Look at Me" crowd goes with Hell's Angels wantabe get ups and loud bikes....

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:55 | Link to Comment SoNH80
Thu, 10/18/2012 - 23:13 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

"Chicken spears! Chicken spears!"

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:53 | Link to Comment kevinearick
kevinearick's picture

Productivity

Even a blind squirrel, like Harvard, finds a nut once in a while – Self-Constitution; Agency, Identity, & Integrity; Christine M Karsgaard: self-conscious activity leading to personal identity, making self into self; focusing on the causes behind threatens your sense of agency, autonomy and efficacy…but, like a game of pool, unintended consequences of independent action may create a positive feedback loop with others.

Quality of character is the negative feedback loop that brings bipolar cognitive dissonance back into effective resonance, work. Quality people build quality products, producing a quality economy. Government needs to get back into its box before it hurts itself, irreparably.

Demographic expansion and capital accumulation have turned. What is productivity growth?

“The discussion is interrupted by Thrasymachus, who asserts that the best life is the unjust life, the life lived by the strong, who impose the laws of justice on the weak but ignore those laws themselves. The more completely unjust you are, T says, the better you will live, for pickpockets and thieves, who commit small injustices, get punished, while tyrants, who enslave whole cities, and steal their treasuries, lead a glorious life, and are the envy of everyone.”

Never stop asking yourself, where am I in time? You vote most effectively by raising children accordingly. While the majority clings to the false assumption that the individual is powerless, subject to circumstance, to justify its participation in empire operations, ask the emperor who has positively affected the most kids over time.

Look at the empire’s record; it’s not the empire, or anyone participating in its operation. You don’t build a high quality economy out of low quality, high quantity OEM behavior habits, manufacturing more and more mass at thinner and thinner margins, or by collecting profit in the form of ever more derivative paper. “Who is smart and who is stupid?”

OEM manufacturing supporting brand owners supporting industry standard setters is not an economy; it’s an empire built for cultural export, exploitation. One working person supporting two parents supporting four grandparents, an inverted pyramid, is going to get ugly quite rapidly. Associated environmental degradation, natural resource shortage, and income disparity aren’t going to help.

So China solved the famine problem. Really? Have you looked at global food production lately? In 1980, Shenzhen had 20,000 souls. Today, it’s 7M+. Thank goodness Kissinger opened up China and IBM plowed through with all those computers and numerical control, to hold exponentially increasing forms so government can control jobs globally, down to the last man, woman and child. If not for Canada, China would already be toast.

“One fundamental thing to say about these three-plus decades is that it’s the most consistent bipartisan American policy. Every administration has substantially followed the way the relationship evolved.” Kissinger

“they still have close to a billion people who have not benefitted in the slightest form from this wealth creation. They know it, and these people are getting mad…China knows what they have to do is to continue to industrialize, to get these people off those farms.” Powell

“I think it will begin to change with a new president no matter which of these three candidates wins. You get a reset at that time.” Powell

“I hope the new president will close Guantanamo…” Powell

“I would hope that one of the first things that the next president would do would be to [not only] close Guantanamo…” Albright

“With respect to Guantanamo, I totally agree with what Colin and Madeleine and Chris (Warren Christopher) have said.” Baker

“I agree with the impact that Guantanamo has internationally…The negative impact.” Kissinger

“Or in the words of another politician, “I feel your pain.”” Hamilton

 

“Trust me…If you had the intelligence I have…” oxymoron politicians everywhere

“Europe is built to wage peace…values that Europe espouses and tries to export…From the war in Iraq…in terms of 9/11…suddenly…those border restrictions now begin to be re-imposed again in terms of all the security we face at our airports and ports. If you don’t give us the information we’ll stop your planes landing. How are we going to approach some of these challenges that face us in the arctic? Are we going to try to approach them with old fashioned ideas and concepts of sovereignty – national sovereignty and territoriality? Ideas that really, I think, belong in past centuries? Or, are we going to look for some new concepts of supranational governance…?” Wallis

“Appetite makes the proposal. Reason decides whether to act on it or not. Spirit carries the decision of reason out. The constitution in this way makes it possible for a group of citizens – who without the constitution would be a mere heap of individual people – to function as a single collective agent.”

“don’t we often notice in other cases that when appetite forces someone contrary to rational calculation, he reproaches himself and gets angry with that in him that’s doing the forcing, so that of the two factors which are fighting a civil war…”

Productivity is all about character. You can’t buy it from corporate or get it for free from government. You have to earn it, the old fashioned way, in the school of hard knocks. Quality, whether anyone likes it or not, is a function of the nuclear family, and if the zero-sum competitors in the middle class are convinced by capital to vote explicit nuclear operations out, the middle class crashes.

The nuclear family doesn’t cease to exist; it simply becomes implicit. The empire can flag my records, seize my accounts, destroy my credit record, and revoke my ID, but it cannot stop me, because I travel at will and it locks itself up writing laws to prevent my travel. Meanwhile, I can accelerate time by knocking out the margin wherever I go.

As you can see, the empire only increases your agency by attacking you, if you let it have its way. No matter of empire expenditure, it cannot read your mind, identify who is following your example, or know what you are going to do next, if you don’t know, which is the point of the spear, real time adaptation.

If you want to believe in the bell curve, that’s your business, but if you tax me, don’t expect me not to have an effective response. I will raise the bar to increase the output gap every time. Notice the insecure eunuchs are circling the wagons with women again?

You set the standard, aggregated. The empire is just the fall guy. The whole point of Jesus was/is/will be that individual initiative can and does make the difference on the margin, which becomes the whole. Why do you suppose the Church had to make him out to be God? How could a carpenter possibly beat the pants off the moneychangers, with a few words, here and there?

“In fact, we could say failure means to succeed in a way that doesn’t really matter.” Depend on God, take responsible risks and expect opposition. That’s not a bad start.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:26 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

Please give credit to the author of your post's content.

http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:55 | Link to Comment bigkansas
bigkansas's picture

British women think about fashion 91 times per day and a total of 30 days per year (that's even more than men think about sex!)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2155893/British-women-think-fashion-91-times-day-total-30-days-year-thats-men-think-sex.html#ixzz29fdH7Ve5 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:22 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

(Because fashion is a substitute for personality, character, charm, wit, charisma, and, of course, looks - the media told me so, so it must be true!)

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:57 | Link to Comment jimcg
jimcg's picture

Awwww, come on....give em a break.

Look at what we wore and looked like in the 70s just to get laid: pirate shits, multi colored shoes, and shoulder length hair.  LOL

J

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:05 | Link to Comment cbxer55
cbxer55's picture

So, if they never leave their mom, what are they going to do when their mom leaves them (dies)?

I have two brother-in-laws, one my age (51), who still live at home. The 51 year old has never left home. Mom and dad are retired. The 51 year old does not work. The younger one recently got a job after being out of work for over four years. 

I despise both of them.

The young people of Japan, who waste their money on these trendy fashions, are going to have to pay the piper eventually. Their parents are not going to live forever. 

I suspect a lot of suicides are in their future.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:20 | Link to Comment mind_imminst
mind_imminst's picture

One of the key points here, IMO, is that they (japanese) are not starving, despite the economic stagnation. Everyone has "something". They have food on the table. They have tiny spaces to live with TV/internet/modern conveniences. The youth are experiencing a crisis of purpose, sure, but they do not revolt because the Keynsian Government is keeping things afloat. With the exponential trend in technological progress, the bankrupt governments of the world might be able to hang in there. Feeding the masses with "bread and circuses", while sowing existential angst within the youth about what it means to be human (really, just another farm animal in the eyes of many elites)

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:20 | Link to Comment Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

"some young people make it onto the traditional corporate or government career path, and everyone else is left in part-time suspended animation with few options for adult expression or development."

Well I for one am truly envious of this setup! Why can't all those silly cosplayers just dress normal and line up for their dead-end soul-destroying low-wages long-hours cubicle jobs like the rest of us!? The nerve of some people!!!

What they're running away from is not something anyone should be running toward, it's the truly perverse and degenerate form of "adulthood" illustrated in, for example, Fight Club.

"It's just, when you buy furniture, you tell yourself, that's it. That's the last sofa I'm gonna need. Whatever else happens, I've got that sofa problem handled."

Consumerism, yes, and the total breakdown of traditional individual, familial, social, and cultural forms for which adequate replacements are being sought but not being found.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:34 | Link to Comment Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

Someone needs to teach these kids to put those garish fashion statements on canvass/paper, as opposed to on themselves.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 17:11 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

As long as you can buy your fix of trinkets, stay entertained and meaningfully engaged (a subjective calculus, that), eat and sleep, this bullshit can be maintained as the path of least resistence. For everybody.

We seem to have a surplus of both would-be revolutionaries and corporate whores at present (even established artists are getting dicked.)

Of course, a significant decrease in the corporate whores (downsizing, anyone?) could certainly increase demand for the former, it seems to me. 

That would be the "And we're very, very pissed off" part.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:34 | Link to Comment TheMuppet
TheMuppet's picture

Many of the article comments are accurate - this one is't:

"Few own cars because they 1) don't earn enough to support a car and 2) they're uninterested in acquiring status symbols or prestige signifiers."

In fact, thanks to the excellect train system, you don't need a car on a daily basis in the metro areas (which is most of the country) even if you can afford it.  Furthermore, habitually driving a car on the narrow surface streets is an annoying inconvenience, and the expressways are all toll roads so that a crosstown roundtrip in Osaka == $20.  A car is therefore a luxury item, and that is why you'll seee Mercedes dealerships but not (ironically) Toyota dealerships.

In the USA, OTOH, you *must* own a car even if you can't afford it.  Hence poor households will typically own several old used cars, maitaining one of them in working condition by performing their own maintanence labor, with the others as backup when it (inevitiably) breaks down.

And true, inequality is increasing in Japan, but it is still a far cry from the high levels of inequality reached in the USA, and Japan has one of the lowest of the OECD world.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:43 | Link to Comment dolph9
dolph9's picture

Every place is a little different.

Japan is quite crowded, much of the main island is uninhabitable mountains.  The people cram into a few megacities along the coastal plain.  They are quite impressive constructs but the quality of life is pretty low compared to say North America.

Japan is running out of things to build, and will soon run out of things to export.  This will happen because they don't have domestic sources of energy, and no amount of nuclear or alternative energy can power their industry.  China is grabbing what is left of the coal, and they will get the oil as well.

I do have sympathy for Japan because throughout my youth and even today they have provided quality, usable goods.  And I had a great time during my one visit there.  Japan did alot of work but in the end what is there to show for it?  It's hard not to think of Japan as a society drifiting to oblivion. 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 13:48 | Link to Comment Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

Almost as much pink as tonight's Seahawk's Niner's game.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:00 | Link to Comment ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

Although the dress is somewhat different here in the U.S., the behavior is essentially the same:

 

http://www.amren.com/news/2012/10/gap-forced-to-pull-t-shirt-after-backl...

 

Consumerism fatigue is but a symptom of a much larger problem: Overpopulation.  Our society today has reached a point where it no longer 'needs' to work to survive.  Food, clothing, shelter are either provided or rather easily procured.  There is only one prime directive on Planet Earth, 'Reproduce'.  DNA requires its own survival, at the expense of all else.  Subconsiously, the human race is beginning to realize the overall futility of 'life'.  It has no real meaning, other than to reproduce.  Consumerism is simply a distraction from the boredom.

Each new generation is being increasingly exposed to sex, porn, and reproduction.  As more and more people populate each nook and cranny of living space, each person feels less and less meaningful, especially without 'fulfilling roles' at work or elsewhere.

Despondency is evident everywhere. Males and females simply abandon commonly recognized behaviour, and instead only eat, sleep and groom. They become narcissistic, withdrawn and often violent. They become asexual and self destructive.

Unable to acquire, create and utilize ideas appropriate for life in a post-industrial culture, they resort to nihilism, collapse, and breakdown.*

 

*(Based on info shared by ZH poster 9-30-12 www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/42/wiles.php

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:48 | Link to Comment SoNH80
SoNH80's picture

Many of the posters here seem to think that not having a fat wife and 2.2 ungrateful spoiled kids is a mark of failure for a young man.

In today's world, it may very well be smart.  Very smart.

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:04 | Link to Comment jimcg
jimcg's picture

Awwwwww, come on, give em' a break.

Look what we did back in the 70s in order to get laid; wore tie-dye and pirate shirts, multi colored shoes, and had lots of hair. LOL

J

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:21 | Link to Comment rustymason
rustymason's picture

Japan began adopting American-style liberal schooling techniques about 20 years ago.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:27 | Link to Comment TrulyStupid
TrulyStupid's picture

You're absolutely right... what the Japs need to do is to embrace social conservatism and start conversing with Jesus.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:36 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

"When an economy is dominated by a Savior State that issues unsustainable promises, and a society is dependent on a consumerist frenzy of ceaseless fads, status signifiers and shopping for identity and what passes for community, then narcissism, restless emptiness and the aloneness mentioned yesterday in The Hidden Cost of the "New Economy": New-Type Depression are the inevitable results."

These people have no saviour state, 100% employment... and look how they dress up:

http://farrellworldcultures.karnscity.wikispaces.net/file/view/zulu-warr...

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 15:46 | Link to Comment Martel
Martel's picture

Isn't it equally true, that young Japanese are VERY brand-conscious? They wait in line for hours, even days for the opening of a new luxury store. Nobody in Europe would wait for Prada shoes, as waiting is for common people, and luxury is for elite, those who don't have to wait.

Culturally Japan is cul-de-sac, but I guess economically they can still squeeze juice out of their salarymen. Having lots of no-future youngsters may even benefit their big corporations, as they can get cheap temp workers and can give only modest salary hikes even for good workers.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:02 | Link to Comment ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

I looked up an old (much younger) acquaintance on 'Farcebook' today.  I found him.  He had somewhere around 123 friends.

 

Just for fun I clicked on the friends, and all the pictures of the friends included their occupations:  server, cashier, receptionist, student, over and over.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 16:10 | Link to Comment Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

There are more than enough of these new kids here in Southern California.  Comic Con will quickly give you a glimpse of this crowd.  As the Author says, they are a result of our government policies.  In general youths with purple hair, tatoos, and body perforations do not have the motivation, skills, intelligence, or looks to be ace members of the elite.   While the elite zoom around in Beemers, wear Rolexes, have MBAs and JD degrees, and consume, consume, consume the woeful kids have found friendship and membership in their groups.  My guess is that the average purple hair has more real friends than any handful of CEOs.  Don't despair them.  They just have different "business models" than the worker bees.

 

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 17:45 | Link to Comment besnook
besnook's picture

not really much observed here that is new. harajuku has been like harajuku for almost thirty years. the only difference is the show is no longer bizarre. it is culture. the japanese have never been big consumerists with the exception of haute western fashion and vanishing ancient japanese cultural art, food and experiences patronized by the wealthy. one room apartments in tokyo and other cities are not downsizing. they have always been the norm in my 50 year experience. there are actually a lot more bigger homes and apartments than there ever has been. kids, especially women, have always lived at home until they married. in fact, moving away from home after marriage has only been around for a coupla generations. no need for a car in any tokyo city or in japan in general. mass transit is that good. anyway.....

as someone else here said, the japanese take western trends and perfect them. the anime character trend is really art imitating life imitating art. in other words, it is all bullshit so being dressed up as an anime character is just as real as dressing up as a salaryman. everyone is a real life anime character. the japanese are so cool in their bizarreness and their bizarreness is so cool. that has always been the paradox for me. how can any western social analyst say the japanese are so conformist and lacking imagination. everyone else in the western world is more conformist and not nearly as creative in mind or culture.

the economics of japan(what this guy was trying to connect to) are the precursor to western economics in the sense that what has happened to japan is what happens to any modern industrialized super connected(in transportation and communication) that has been built out infrastructurally speaking. all economies on long term growth charts are still building out their transportation and communication infrastructure. once that buildout begins to slow and end the general economy follows suit as does middle class wage growth and entrepreneurial opportunity. eventually a negative feedback loop begins and gains momentum making people poorer and the rich richer as a comparison in nominal and intrinsic terms. because globalization gives the wealthy access to glabal markets the poor working stiff can only experience as a consumer the wealthy are able to continue to amass more wealth.  as a post industrialist country with no immigration the result is a declining population due to negative birth rate(and a large elderly population. baby boomers for the usa) begetting a smaller future workforce which takes the pessure off the need for future jobs which takes the pressure off the need for the future welfare state since fewer jobs will be needed to produce the same and probably more output. the conclusion for japan will be much more rosy than the immigrant dependent and over populated states once the elderly bubble is popped.

kissinger might conclude that japan needs to get rid of it's elderly population as quickly as possibble.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:34 | Link to Comment New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

"kissinger might conclude that japan needs to get rid of it's elderly population as quickly as possibble."

That might well be the model that inheres into the so called "patient protection and affordable care act."

Model ain't worth nothin'

- Ned

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:22 | Link to Comment dadichris
dadichris's picture

One thing I've learned from 1st hand experience; any attempt to explain things that happen in Japan will probably be wrong.

Thu, 10/18/2012 - 19:35 | Link to Comment New_Meat
New_Meat's picture

dad... so how do you explain that? - Ned

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 04:49 | Link to Comment cbhattarai
cbhattarai's picture

Japan is really the famsous country and every gadgets that they have is having a better surveillance and security .

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