NYT: Japan Needs A Higher Illegitimacy Rate

The New York Times editorializes that Japan needs more illegitimate births. [Boosting The Birthrate, By The Editorial Board, May 23, 2014]

Back in 1989, I attended a Goldman Sachs lunch organized to encourage investment in the then sky high Japanese stock market. The main speaker was former U.S. ambassador to Japan (and former Democratic Senate Majority leader) Mike Mansfield, then in his late 80s.

(Mansfield had a remarkable biography: He had joined the Navy during World War I at age 14. After a couple of years of dodging U-boats in the North Atlantic, they noticed and kicked him out, so he enlisted in the Army. After a couple of years, the Army noticed he still wasn’t 18 yet so they kicked him out too. Then when he finally reached 18 he became a Marine, serving in the Far East. Then he worked for 8 years in a blue collar mining job in Butte. When he got married, his bride convinced him to go to college at about age 30, even though he’d never gone to high school. He wound up a professor of political science.)

Anyway, the point is that in 1989 the American Establishment (e.g., Goldman Sachs) loved Japan because investors had been getting rich off it. Shortly thereafter, the absurd Japanese real estate and stock bubble popped. Now, the American Establishment despises Japan because they haven’t made money off it in decades, so they are constantly trying to think of ways to fix Japan. For example, Wall Street has prospered in America as the illegitimacy rate goes up up up, so, obviously, that would fix Japan too.

Offering advice like this is just being neighborly.