The Clear Vision of Ronald Reagan

Wolf ODonnell
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 06:51 am
georgeob1 wrote:
France, Belgium and Germany in particular must face up to the unsustainability of their current social welfare programs - with or without China. Their protectionist policies are hurtful to themselves and their new EU partners in Eastern Europe.

You mean, like the US protectionist policies?

This one on Chinese textiles? (which admittedly is a result of a pegged Chinese Yuan)

How about this response to the US' own protectionist policies?

And I haven't even included the policies the US took to protect its out-dated steel industry.

Let's face it. Even the US is guilty of protectionist policies that have been far from the ideal of free trade.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 11:04 am
Wolf_ODonnell wrote:

Let's face it. Even the US is guilty of protectionist policies that have been far from the ideal of free trade.

I agree, and note that I did not suggest otherwise. I don't know of any nation in the world that is entirely free of such prectices. The U.S. does it far less than does Europe. However, that is not the point.

The cited nations in Western Europe are pursuing protectionist policies of a kind and to a degree that they will not be able to sustain for long, and which are significantly threatening their ability to compete in a changing world. Moreover they are depopulating at a rapid rate. This is a pernicious combination that cannot endure.
0 Replies
old europe
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 01:30 pm
georgeob1 wrote:
Moreover they are depopulating at a rapid rate.

Everything else aside, this statement is not quite true. If you take immigration into account, the population remains stable, with a minimal increase.

So again, the question is whether immigration is desirable or not, or how much immigration a society can handle.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 04:56 pm
You are correct in that population is currently stable as a result of immigration and an increasing life span. The latter can't continue very much and it increases, not decreases the relative demand on social welfare systems.

Consuder the following 2003 data from the CIA world factbook

--------- %< 15 ---- % >65 -- Median Age -- Female Fertility
Germany ---14.9 -------19.8------- 41.3 ------------1.37
Spain -------14.4 -------17.6--------38.7-------------1.26
Italy --------14.0 -------18.8------ -41.0 ------------1.26
France ------18.6--------16.3------ -38.3-------------1.85
USA --------20.9--------12.4---- ---35.7------------ 2.07

A fertility of about 2.05 is generally accepted as the value for equilibrium. The immigration rate in the USA is about 6 to 10 times those for the listed Europeean countries. Overall France is in decidedly better shape than the others. Spain, Italy and Germany are on the brink of rapid decline, and France will follow more slowly.
0 Replies
old europe
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 05:24 pm
Just to broaden perspectives a little bit: Do you think population density might be a factor?

people/sq. km

USA: 27
Spain: 78.4
France: 107.8
Italy: 193.1
Germany: 234.8

Apart from the problems an aging society poses in regards to social welfare systems - is a constantly growing population really desirable?

And take a look at Japan:

median age: 42.9 years
people/sq. km: 327
female fertility: 1.39

Nevertheless it appears Japan is faring quite well.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 5 Aug, 2005 05:51 pm
I'm sure population density is a factor in the equilibrium value of population.

However my focus was on the dynamic aspects of the problem. The differences in median age are an indicator of past reproduction deficits. (Life expectancies in all these countries are very close) The differences in fertility indicate what is happening now. The differences in the % of the population under 15 years is an indicator of the size of the oncoming cohort of of reproducing pairs. The data strongly indicate an incipient depopulation in Germany, Spain and Italy (and others). (This problem, by the way is even worse in Russia.)

Japan appears to be doing well now, but they too have an ageing and declining population, and I wouldn't bet on their long term prospects vis a vis China.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2005 06:03 pm
Hi george and others,

Here's something to get our minds off politics for a while:


Bernie's had a heart attack, but he's doing much better now. It was very frightening, but we got very very lucky.
0 Replies

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