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Here’s why Europe really needs more immigrants

If Western Europe wants to keep its social benefits, the countries of the EU are going to need more workers. No place in the world has an older population that’s not into baby making than Europe. No wonder policy planners are doing what they can to encourage immigration.. Eastern Europe is old. The UK’s median age is approaching a mid-life crisis, currently at 40.5. With fertility rates expected to hit zero in Europe in the next decade, the only way the European Union can keep its expensive entitlement programs is to either increase

Even Eastern Europe is getting old, and surely older than the US, which has a median age of around 37. The UK’s median age is approaching a mid-life crisis, currently at 40.5. With fertility rates expected to hit zero in Europe in the next decade, the only way the European Union can keep fight elderly poverty and maintain its expensive entitlement programs is to increase immigration. Another option is to provide incentives to convince 20 and 30-something-year-olds to have more than one baby.

Maybe it’s easier to call it a humanitarian crisis. This way you can convince apolitical voters that supporting migrants is simply a nice thing to do. Migrant arrivals into Europe, many from failed state Libya and Syria (Washington and NATO’s hands in both), have made for divisive politics. It’s become easier for politicians and their highly paid party strategists to just paint the other as being too “kumbaya” progressive, or a xenophobic racist.

There’s a more complicated truth here, perhaps: math. The numbers do not add up for Europe. They are going “extinct.”

This puts Europe in a pickle. The idea of opening its borders to eastern Europe was a way to expand European capital and labor markets. They increased the labor pool, driving down wages in working class manufacturing towns to come on par with that of Poland and the Czech Republic. They also got an educated workforce who had a long history of European customs. The one thing they did not get from the old Warsaw Pact nations was youth.

Poland’s median age is 40.3. Czech Republic is 41.7. New euro zone member Lithuania in the Baltics is even older: 43.4, according to the CIA World Factbook. Despite the fact that many young people (say under 40) from the Baltics have moved to richer Western European cities like London and Stockholm, Sweden’s average age is still higher than the U.S. at 41.2.

Today’s migrants into Europe are coming from countries where Europeans spent most of the last two generations…destroying. That includes Iraq, where the U.K. and Spain were part of the Coalition of the Willing. It also includes Libya, where the U.K. sided with Washington war hawks in adding them to the list of failed states in the Middle East. The median age in Iraq is 19. In Libya, 24. The average European country is importing their future children.

Without them working, whether it’s in hospitals or as public transportation workers, Germany’s pension plan will be in trouble, according to data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).

World population growth in 2040 will be higher only because of the least developed regions on Earth, namely Africa. Population growth there is predicted by the United Nations to remain higher over the next 20 years. These are countries where a combination of tribal and religious warfare, coupled with natural disasters that have made it harder to work the land have people living on less than a dollar a day. Many human rights organizations will point out how poor countries in Africa, like Ethiopia and the Congo, are taking in more refugees than the US and Europe. That’s because they cannot get to the United States and Europe and are basically walking across borders with everything they own on their backs. Others, who get a bit

Many human rights organizations with an agenda to push will point out how poor countries in Africa, like Ethiopia and the Congo, are taking in more refugees than the U.S. and Europe. That’s because these people cannot get to the United States and Europe and are basically walking across borders with everything they own on their backs. Others, who get a bit luckier, come to Europe.

Demographic trends from lower income countries (including lower labor rate countries) are one of the main causes of rising inequality within a country, a BIS report released this month states.

Immigration has led to political upheaval in Europe.

The Brexit vote revealed a demographic divide in Europe. Middle age and older voters chose Brexit. Younger segments of the population chose to remain. They didn’t choose remain because they thought the U.K. should keep its borders open to Polish and Italian fintech workers. Nor was any side thinking about demographics; it surely was not part of the general debate in the political press. Instead, it was an emotional, politically driven argument; a with us or against us vote and nothing more. Brexit remains in limbo because beyond getting a vote against open borders on the record, lawmakers there had no plan for what to do next.

The smart debate about immigration is a debate about lackluster income growth among low to medium-skilled Europeans, and how to absorb the new wave of immigrants from poor countries, who are just going to keep driving those wages lower but are needed to make up for near-zero fertility rates in the future.

“The political divide of the future will be over the elderly protecting their social safety net and the working age population protecting their real post-tax incomes,” report authors Charles Goodhart and Manoj Pradhan wrote. If there are not enough working-aged people paying taxes, there is not enough money to pay for social security. Either taxes have to go up to make up for that, or countries need to find a way to expand their tax base.

Europe is better off than Japan, at least. That’s because Japan is mostly a closed society. So is South Korea. Their populations will be hard to replace without the domestic population having more children. Japan’s median age is 47. South Korea’s is 41.2.

In Western Europe, Germany needs all the young it can get. If it means bringing them in from places who may not fully appreciate where they are, bring them in they must. The demographic picture for Europe, meanwhile, with an average age of 42.7, is not looking good.

Europe’s Middle Age Crisis

Here’s how old Europe has become.

Sweden & France

41.2

Portugal

41.8

Switzerland

42.2

Spain

42.3

Finland

42.4

Holland

42.5

Austria

43.8

Slovenia

44.1

Italy

45.1

Germany

(forbes)

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