Le più grandi sciagure dell’umanità sono state originate da chi ha voluto semplificare la vita pianificando il mondo.

Giovannino Guareschi

sabato 24 novembre 2012

What balance?

A young tightrope walker, in a suit and tie, precariously balanced on the earth revolves, is held upright with a barbell whose ends are attached two weights, one in the form of euro and one in the shape of a dollar. This is the image, successful, appearing on the cover of the XVII Report on the global economy and Italy presented yesterday in Milan at the headquarters of Assolombarda by Prof. Mario Deaglio.

The report, taken by the major Italian newspapers, the Corriere della Sera Il Sole 24 Ore, describes a situation in the world economy is constantly changing, but not dramatic. The scenery changes dramatically when the focus is on Europe and then narrows it down to Italy. Here it is evident that there are problems, they come from far away and are far from being, do not say solved, but still addressed.

Prof. Deaglio in the report, consisting of over 200 pages, analyzes thoroughly the causes of stagnation reigns supreme in our beautiful country and the rest of all the papers have spoken extensively today. I press here to highlight an aspect of the relationship that has not been taken by any press report, the demographic aspect. The relationship between population growth and GDP growth is now widely known and accepted by many economists. Although the study by Prof. Deaglio confirms it.

If we compare the population growth between Europe and the United States from 1980 to today, we realize that, while in 1980 the U.S. and Europe had more or less the same percentage of young people (ages 0-14): 21.2% Europe and 22 6% of the United States in 2011 for the same age group (0 - 14) Europe sees a 14.5% while the U.S. a 20.1%. For the age group over 65, the comparison is still in favor of the United States than in Europe: there are 17.6% of Europeans over 65 compared to 13.3% of U.S. citizens. Result: while Europe must divert large share of its resources to treat the elderly, the United States can invest in training and education for young people. These investments will eventually lead to innovations in products and processes. Now if we look at the graph of GDP growth from 1980 to today, we realize that in the United States, growth was higher, while Europe seems to lag.

From this point of view, all the major European countries are almost zero population growth. If you want to aim for growth, you need to set national and European policies that go in the direction of help and practical support large families. So far we have used as a surrogate for growth failure immigrants, but it is not the same thing. The risk we take in fifty or a hundred years, because the demographic policies can not be improvised, is to have a Europe populated mostly by Arabs, Turks, South American where Italian, French and German will be ethnic and linguistic minority. Mind you, it is not science fiction, unless we change the policy in favor of families, the future will be very different, but especially economic growth and Europe will hardly have an increasingly marginal role in the balance of world power.

Possible that European politicians are not aware of this huge problem? Negative outcome for now ongoing negotiations to approve the new European budget does not seem that there is to be happy. Of course, countries like Italy, France and Germany should be united on the guidelines to be proposed to the European or the image that Europe offers to the whole world comes out further damaged. The theme of European political unity, not only economic, then, is certainly the key issue that will determine the future of Europe, for better or for worse. I do not want the next few months they spent in a state of "coma" European political pending elections this autumn in Germany. It would be a waste of time that Europe, all of us, we can not afford.

Prof. Deaglio last night pointed out as in German, the word schuld translates the word debt and guilt. For the Germans have a debt (and fail to honor) in a sense equivalent to feel a sense of guilt (National). The etymological meaning of words is always connected to the root, the deep feeling of the people who use that language. Europe needs to help Germany to understand how the policy of rigor that has "imposed" until now with other countries, alone is not sufficient to overcome the crisis and revive the economy. We need to focus on investment, especially in support of families and young people who will form families of tomorrow.

Otherwise, the future is already written in the graphs.

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