Demography and economic growth in Europe
Edward hi, thank you for your response,
and let me please put you more in details.
As to the demography of Europe as the whole and Eastern Europe in particular, you are very right. Once I quoted in my blog the following;
“Demographic problems rise when a population grows to the point where there are too many children to feed or when it declines and there are too many old people to be taken care of. But I know of no country that its demographic situation is balanced. A largely elder population is a problem if they enjoy a pension system based on deficit; a young population is a problem if the country lacks the resources to educate them.”
If to compare the demographic situation in countries like Czech Republic and Israel, it is like an economic laboratory. While in Czech Republic the population is stable, and it also happens due to enormous increase in life expectancy by almost 10 years!!!, since the fall of the Communistic regime, in Israel is high natural growth of the population and with it relatively young population. While I assume the education level of these two countries is comparable, their economic dynamics is not. Yes Europe’s economic problems are very much a result of its demographic changes, but also of mentality of “leisure” in Czech Republic, compared to mentality of alertness that prevails in Israel and probably in US also. The aging society is not only problem of statistics and deficit in the pension system; it is also a problem of national mentality. I am not expert on this sociological-psychological phenomenon, and probably there have been done researches in the academy on the subject. (If not it could be a great subject for economic-sociological-psychological research, to find out how the economic, social and psychological behavior differs in a society with growing young population, compared to an aging society.)
To be practical, Czech Republic and Europe as whole, has to do something about the demographic development. Since I don’t see change in birth rates, the only solution is immigration. The main problem with immigration is that if the immigrants come from very different cultural, social and political background, immigration endangers the social and political structure of Europe. So the solution is immigration from countries with relatively similar background. The only candidates for it are the population from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus or other post Soviet countries. Of course their population is also on process of demographic depletion, but this process seems to me irreversible.