Emigration Up, Birth Rate Down
Germany is already facing a demographic nightmare as birth rates fall despite a slew of family-friendly policies. Now, new statistics show that more people are leaving the country than immigrating — adding to concerns about the country’s shrinking population.Â more from SPIEGEL…
We’re too broke to be this stupid
Beleaguered taxpayers may finally put a stop to the sheer waste of government spending
Back in 2008, when I was fulminating against multiculturalism on a more or less weekly basis, a reader wrote to advise me to lighten up, on the grounds that “we’re rich enough to afford to be stupid.”
Two years later, we’re a lot less rich. In fact, many Western nations are, in any objective sense, insolvent. Hence last week’s column, on the EU’s decision to toss a trillion dollars into the great sucking maw of Greece’s public-sector kleptocracy. It no longer matters whether you’re intellectually in favour of European-style social democracy: simply as a practical matter, it’s unaffordable. Â Mark Steyn has more>>
“Is EuropeÂ Turning Japanese?”
You Should Be So LuckyÂ Â [Mark Steyn]
I foundÂ this an arresting headline – “Is EuropeÂ Turning Japanese?” – but a goofy opening paragraph:
The dismal growth prospects of many European countries has raised an increasing numberÂ of questionsÂ about whether large parts of the continent will emulate Japan of the 1990s and endure a decade-long economic stagnation. On the face of it, a long-lasting Japan-style post-bubble slump with deflation seems a plausible outcome for a large part of the continent.
For a start, Europe’s would be a no-bubble slump – and, as for “decade-long economic stagnation”, you should be so lucky. Japan isn’t in a “slump”, it’s in long-term decline. In my book, I recalled the days of hysteria about how “theÂ yellow peril was annexing America and pretty soon they’d be speaking Japanese down at the shopping mall”:
It didn’t happen and it’s never going to happen. In the Nineties, I tended to accept the experts’ line that Japan’s rising sun had gone into eclipse because itsÂ economywas riddled with protectionism, cronyism and inefficient special-interest groups. But so what? You could have said the same in the Sixties and Seventies, when the joint was jumping. The only real structural difference between Japan then and Japan now is that the yellow peril got a lot wrinklier. What happened in the 1990s was what Yamada Masahiro of Tokyo’s Gakugei University calls the first “low birth-rate recession”. It’s not theÂ economy, stupid. It’s the stupidity, economists â€“ the stupidity of thinking you can ignore demography.
In that sense, Europe isn’t “turning Japanese”; it’s halfway there. In 1950 in Greece,Â one retiree was supported byÂ roughly eight workers; by 2030, that ratio will decline to the point where one retiree will have to be supported by a mere two workers. That’s according to the official OECD figures. But the OECD defines “retiree” as “64 and over”, and workers as 20-64. And nobody in Greece works till 64. Hairdressers retire at 50 because it’s categorized as a “hazardous profession”. So realistically the worker/retiree ratio is probably heading for something closer to one-to-one-and-a-half. And, once that math becomes widely known, at least one of that one-and-a-half is gonna get the hell out rather than throw away his working life in a vain attempt to prop up Andreas and Spirou’s lavishÂ retirement home.
Oh, but don’t worry about Greece. It’s being bailed out by Germany – a nation with marginally less insane social programs but just as fatal demographics. Here’s the way to look at it: How many banks would lend money to nonagenarians living beyond their means and riddled with lung cancer, heart disease and tertiary syphilis? That’s the EU bailout.