Google Doc : Group Critique
Scenario: It’s been nearly 20 years since Prime Minister Shinzo first enacted sweeping policy changes which focused on increasing the number of Japanese families that comprise of multiple children. Due to the declining birth rate, many economists feared an inevitable depression, fueled by a decrease in the number of individuals entering the work place and an increase in the number of elderly citizens they in turn would need to support. Shinzo’s policies, instituted with intentions to raise the birth rate to a more sustainable 2.2 children per family, were wide ranging, with some more popular then others. Extreme tax credits to subsidize the costs required to raise a child were put in place. Many of these tax credits were in turn paid for by a sales tax on birth control, particularly condoms. Mandatory paid leave for couples was instituted, and the Japanese government invested heavily in online dating sites.
Shinzo’s policies found success almost immediately, significantly raising the birth rate from a paltry 1.4, to a robust 2.9. No longer were there fears of a bankrupt social security fund, or even worse, losing a culture forged over 2000 years of history. With the excitement of a new future for Japan, the economy excelled due to a more happy and diligent workforce that was excited about future success.
Sadly, the Japan we see now resembles very little of the Japan we knew 20 years prior when Shinzo’s policies first went in to effect. Within the past five years, a slow and deliberate spike has taken root in national crime rates. Initially, Japan began to see an increase in petty crime rates through major urban areas. As those crimes began to spiral outward into the suburbs, more disturbing crimes appeared to replace those in urban neighborhoods. National newspapers began displaying headlines reporting more and more gruesome crimes. Within the last few years especially, organized crime has returned with a passion taking control of entire boroughs of major cities. Secondary and tertiary Japanese economies have arisen which focus on services with questionable moral and legal status.
Many Japanese scholars have recognized the correlation between the increase in birth rate and the increased crime rate, and have attempted to prove if one may have influenced the other. One theory posits that taxes on birth control led to lower usage, and an increased number of accidental births and in turn unwanted children. Fifteen years later, these unwanted children began contributing to increased crime rates due to a lack of parental supervision. Another theory highlights the tax credits, arguing those who took advantage of the credits most were poorer citizens that contributed less to the economy. Coupled with a national decrease in IQ levels, some scholars believe the credits enticed those citizens to raise children, as opposed to Japans brightest and hardest working individuals who were less enticed by the tax credits. Still others believe the crime rate to merely be a side of effect of a larger population. With more people living in more densely packed cities, arguments have been made for higher crime rates being merely due to increased stress caused by increased interaction rates and more chances for crimes of opportunity.