No babies, no Germany
We've all read about Europe's birth rates, or I should say their low birth rates.
It's a problem that most politicians don't want to touch, although they will have to deal with the consequences. I guess a lot of modern politicians don't want to say that couples should have more babies. At the same time, we need for couples to have more babies.
The latest analysis focuses on Germany, and it's not pretty:
Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan's by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy.
A study by the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI) found that the average number of births per 1,000 population dropped to 8.2 over the five years from 2008 to 2013, further compounding a demographic crisis already in the pipeline. Even Japan did slightly better at 8.4.
“No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young migrant workers. Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without a strong jobs market,” warned the institute.
The crunch is aggravated by the double effect of a powerful post-war baby boom followed by a countervailing baby bust – the so-called “Pillenknick”. The picture in Portugal (nine) and Italy (9.2) is almost as bad.
The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into “decline spirals” where shops, doctors’ practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious circle.
In the past, those of us who've spoken about the collapsing Euro birth rates have been dismissed as religious fanatics or other stuff that I can't share in a family blog.
Yet this is not about religion. It's about reality. You cannot have a future without babies. In other words, at some point you run out of people.
There are other impacts, such as having to rely on immigrants to keep up your population. Will these immigrants integrate and adopt their new culture? Or will they assume majority status and impose their own culture? I don't know the answer, but those "no go zones" in Paris offer a glimpse of a future that isn't very French.
Also, the aging population will require more health care. Will younger immigrants be willing to pay the taxes to support all of those social programs created by people that they have no cultural connection to?
It's a complicated subject, but the bottom line is simple: no babies, no future!
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