Saturday, 2 June 2012
Woody Allen wrote a gag which I have remembered through the decades:
"The food here is terrible!" - "I know, and such small portions!"
I was reminded of this when reading the estimable Mark Steyn, who always makes the point, when writing about Europe, that it's one thing having an expensive social and welfare state, but quite another when you also have an ageing population and the unemployed youngsters have given up breeding. To re-write Woody:
"The people aren't paying their taxes!" - "I know, and there aren't enough of them!"
The demographics are important, yet no one apart from Steyn mentions them. If there really are only 42 Greek or German grandchildren per 100 Greek or German grandparents, the system is irredeemably buggered. You may say that the shortfall will be made up by immigration, and you may be right. But, putting this as delicately as I can, these immigrants may come from cultures even less inclined to pay their taxes than the Greeks, if such cultures exist.
This, truly, is what it all comes down to: if the current crop of Germans are loath to pick up the tab for those people in Europe who don't get up in the morning, how is the next, smaller generation of Germans going to feel about it? And the next, smaller one after that? Perhaps most Germans will be Turks by then. I wonder what the future Frau Ataturk, Chancellor of Germany, will say to Monsieur Mohammad, President of France, or to Mr Lukanov, president of Greece (but Bulgarian by origin, of course), as they discuss who picks up the tab for welfarism in 2050s Europe?
Don't worry, it'll all have blown up by then.We're headed back to a pre-WW2 Europe, with the same living standards.
création d' idle at 11:09 am