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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Does David Goldman Believe some PIIGS Are Doomed, and Not Just Financially ?

In his SEEKING ALPHA post, 'Southern Europe: Beyond a Demographic Point of No Return', Goldman argues that Southern Europe is rapidly aging, and as its native-born numbers sink, it will be overwhelmed by a tidal wave of emigrants who will transform its societies.
Between 2020 and 2045, however, the infertility of Southern Europe will catch up with it, and the elder dependent ratio will rise to over 60%–an impossible, unmanageable number. At that point the character of these countries will change radically; they will be overwhelmed with immigrants from North Africa as well as sub-Saharan Africa, who will not have the skills or the habits of civil society to maintain economic life. And their economies will slide into a degree of ruin comparable only to that of classical antiquity. Perhaps the Chinese will operate Greece as a theme park. Spain, which can draw on Latin American immigrants, is likely to be the least badly off.
The southern Europeans are doomed. They have passed a demographic point of no return. There simply aren’t enough females entering their child-bearing years in those countries to reverse the rapid aging.
Goldman isn't nearly so pessimistic about Ireland.
Ireland’s fertility rate still hovers around replacement. The Irish economy was far too dependent on offshore finance as a source of employment and suffered disproportionately from the collapse of the credit bubble in 2008. But this small country also has high-tech manufacturing and other industries, which make the eventual restoration of prosperity possible.

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