Monday, May 10, 2010

The womb of the West...

Greece's problems are a hard demographic lesson, according to this article by Clemens Kownatzki.

The Greek crisis and the populist backlash are a wake-up call, not just for Greece and Europe but also for the US and most other developed nations. The current government budget deficits and the overall debt burden may be frightening but they pale in comparison to the scale of unfunded liabilities for pensions and healthcare. ... In my view, the root of the problem (in addition to the obvious irresponsible spending habits of most government officials) is demographic in nature....

Put simply, the more old people there and the fewer babies there, the more the shrinking numbers of the young have to work to support the swelling ranks of the older.

Kownatzki also writes about Japan with less than unbridled optimism:

A completely untenable development is under way in Japan. Currently, almost 10% of all men and 14% of all women are 70 and older. By the year 2050, those figures are forecasted to reach 24% (men) and 33% (women). If those projections are somewhat close to reality, the current fiscal imbalances are child's play.

This ties in with what I reported about Japan a few days ago.

I find it interesting that in the same way Greece was the foreunner and casting mold for so much of the past 3,000 years in Western civilization, it may now be a harbinger of much worse things to come in that civilization's erosion. If the seeds of the West were planted in Greece, perhaps the seeds of the coming demographic winter are most evident there too.

1 comment:

mightygreekwritingmachine said...

I don't have time to expand on this now, but Greeks and Greece gave us everything...the Alpha and Omega of all that has led to the democratic way of life, which we so avaricely have gobbled up with our ideas about bad ideas. America, the U.S., is truly, unequivocally a Greek the formation of democracy, the implanting of socialist aids for the people over time, the bastion of thought for most of the world, and the destroyer of worlds through various sinister relationships with the rotting empires of many totalitarian regimes. Greece is falling with our money and Europe's money, and, like the Parthenon, it will crumble in exact time with America. Maybe not next week, but within the next five or 10 years. Greece has seen democracy, socialism, communism, and back to social-democracy, and into chaos. No country is too big to fail. As Greece went, so went the world.