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July 01, 2013

Evening Open Thread

The herbivores of Japan may be migrating our way.

Japan's latest generation of men appears lacking the fierce ambition that drove their fathers, much less their grandfathers. The term commonly used for this new generation of Japanese is "herbivores"....

Growing up in a period of tepid economic growth, a declining labor market and a loss of overall competitiveness, Japan's "herbivores" are more interested in comics, computer games and socializing through the Internet than building a career or even seeking out the opposite sex. Among males ages 16-19, 36 percent in one survey expressed no interest in sex, and some even despised it.

Not that women are waiting breathlessly for male stirrings: Disinterest is even higher – 59 percent – for females in the same age category...

One indication of this breakdown in family ties has been a gradual loss of interest in marriage, among men but at least as much so among women. By 2010, a third of Japanese women entering their 30s were single, as were roughly one in five of those entering their 40s. That's roughly eight times the percentage in 1960, and twice that in 2000. By 2030, according to sociologist Toyota, almost one in three Japanese males may be unmarried by age 50.

....

Could the same process occur here? Are young American males following the path to herbivore pastures? There are some disturbing parallel trends. The onset of the Great Recession has slowed fertility in the United States, the one large high-income country with fertility rates historically above replacement levels, down to the lowest levels in a quarter century. Despite a rise in population of 27 million Americans, there were actually fewer births in 2010 than there were 10 years earlier.

I don't know how you'd measure this completely made-up attribute, but America does seem to have lost most of its vigor and, for lack of a better word, animal spirit. We seem to like the leash.


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posted by Ace at 07:28 PM

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