Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

This book, based on economics and game theory, analyzes the changes that Japan is now facing as a reflection of changes in Japanese families and society. The author presents a simple framework for the structural relationship among markets, communities including families, and the state; and uses it to explain the changes that have occurred in Japanese society. Social changes have created a series of social problems such as population ageing, poverty, and regional disparities, which require changes in public policies. The book provides readers with rich information about the Japanese social security system, social policies and regional policies by explaining why they are developed, how they are designed, and what challenges they face. Readers will find that the transformation of Japanese society is not really a special case but a fairly common one that many developed countries have experienced and many developing countries are going to experience. The book will be useful not only to those who are interested in Japanese society and public policies but also to anyone who is interested in the transformations of families, communities, and roles of the state in a modern market economy.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Understanding Social Transformation

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Transformation of the Japanese Society in the 20th Century

Abstract
To understand the basic nature of the Japanese society in the 20th century, it would be most useful to study the long-run trends of the Japanese population in Fig. 1.1. In the 20th century, the population was almost tripled, from about 44 million in 1900 to about 127 million in 2000. However, such a rapid increase will be almost completely offset by the decline in the 21st century. It is estimated that the population will be less than 60 million in 2100.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 2. Markets, Communities, and Government: Analytical Framework

Abstract
In this chapter, we try to clarify functions and limits of the three most important institutions in our society: markets, communities (including families), and governments. We also try to clarify the interactions among those institutions.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 3. Introduction to Decision Theories

Abstract
In this section, we provide a brief introduction to decision theory to understand our theoretical arguments on the social transformation in Part II.
Shinji Yamashige

Economics of Family and Community

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Formation of Families

Abstract
We consider issues of family formations. From a biological viewpoint, the ultimate goal of human beings can be viewed as raising children who possess the same gene. Only the genes that successfully achieved this goal survived. Although we may not view it as the goal of our life, it is important to understand how such a biological goal has been pursued by human beings.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 5. Resource Allocations within Families

Abstract
In this chapter, we analyze resource allocation within families, especially the transfer of resources between parents and children. What is the difference between a parent-children relationship and an ordinary relationship between humans? It can be explained by love or the “altruism” of parents towards their children. Parents’ altruism towards their children can be well understood from the biological and evolutionary viewpoints.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 6. Traditional Communities

Abstract
In the following two chapters, we turn to the economic analysis of a community, which we defined in Chap. 1 as a network of people who are not motivated to seek profits. The family we discussed in the last two chapters is an example of the community, but communities extend beyond families.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 7. New Communities

Abstract
Relationships among members in traditional communities are usually defined vaguely. Hence, it is difficult to define formal rules to maintain cooperation and thus various informal punishments based on long-run relationships have been used to prevent selfish behavior that harms the community. In traditional communities, in order to impose social punishments on deviators of the norm of the community, people are monitored constantly and occasional conflicts with the deviators are solved by the whole community. In general, the relationships in communities are tight-knit and closed. For those people who like to have “freedom,” such a relationship can be quite oppressive.
Shinji Yamashige

Social Policies in Japan

Frontmatter

Chapter 8. Population Crisis

Abstract
The Japanese population started to decline in 2008, and it is forecasted to shrink further at an increasingly rapid rate (c.f. Fig. 1.​1). Moreover, the number of elderly people (above 65 years old) continues to increase. The elderly ratio, that is, the ratio of the elderly people to the total population, will peak at around 38% in 2050 before leveling out.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 9. Poverty

Abstract
In market economies, people fall into poverty under two conditions. First, people cannot earn enough money to cover their cost of living. This happens when people do not have enough assets and abilities to sell to others (e.g., due to unemployment or disability) and/or if they are confronted by high costs of living (e.g., due to sickness). Second, the people under the first condition do not receive aid from anybody. Even if people do not have enough money to make a living, they need not fall into poverty as long as they have good friends, families, or adequate insurances.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 10. Regional Disparity

Abstract
The population of rural Japan has been aging and declining at a rapid rate. There are many rural areas where the elderly ratio exceeds 50% and their sustainability is under doubt.
Shinji Yamashige

Chapter 11. Epilogue: Social Transformation and Public Policies

Abstract
Families, and communities in general, change as the society surrounding them changes, causing a social transformation that further transforms them.
Shinji Yamashige

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

    Bildnachweise