Sunday, May 3, 2009

Europe's future, and maybe our own

From Spenglers new blog, a link to an article in the Daily Telegraph that looks at the problems of high deficits and an aging population. It is generous of Europe to blaze the trail for us. Maybe we can change direction if the road they (and we) are on leads to disaster.

The EU "dependency ratio" will soar: there will be two workers to support each person over 65, compared to four today. It will be worse if Europe fails to attract enough immigrants, all too likely given the catch-up under way in the developing world.

Faced with this future, Britain and Europe need to slash debt and salt away investment wealth in the rising East. Instead, public debt is exploding. Brussels has laid it bare: we will need hair-shirt discipline once we emerge from this recession. It may be our last chance.

What are the odds that they will be able to sustain "hair-shirt discipline?"

Update: Here is a long article on fertility and population predictions from

A similar upturn is under way in the United States, where the fertility rate has climbed to its highest level since 1971, reaching 2.1 in 2006, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. New projections by the Pew Research Center suggest that if current trends continue, the population of the United States will rise from today’s total of some 300 million to 438 million in 2050. Eighty-two percent of that increase will be produced by new immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants.

By contrast, the downward population trends for southern and eastern Europe show little sign of reversal. Ukraine, for example, now has a population of 46 million; if maintained, its low fertility rate will whittle its population down by nearly 50 percent by mid-century. The Czech Republic, Italy, and Poland face declines almost as drastic.

And Mark Steyn responds, arguing that Europe will become Muslim.
If you have a million people, 90 per cent of whom are ethnic European and 10 per cent immigrant - and the 90 per cent have a fertility rate of 1.3 kids per couple (the Euro average) and the ten per cent have a fertility rate of 3.5 (the Euro-Muslim estimate), the 90 per cent will have 380,250 grandkids and the 10 per cent will have 306,250.

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