Tuesday, June 03, 2003


Irwin Stelzer has a piece at The Weekly Standard website on the global economy and where it's heading, according to various economists and other experts. Generally, things look good, according to this pundits, and that includes W's re-election chances, regardless of the state of the economy in '04.

What caught my eye in particular, though, was the diagnosis given to a number of countries individually, and that given Germany in particular. Stelzer writes,
    Germany is considered a basket case, its economy shrinking and its population declining to the point where it will be "economically irrelevant," in the words of one observer, within the next several decades. All of which is made worse by a soaring euro that is reducing the international competitiveness of Germany's already high-cost industries.
I can personally vouch for the declining population bit, as I have a brother-in-law who is married to a German and lives near Munich. He and his wife receive somewhere around the equivalent of $500 per month, per child, until the kids reach a certain age. The German government is doing whatever it can to promote childbearing, even going to these lengths of paying out considerable sums of cash to families having kids. Of course, not many native Germans are having kids, so the total outlay for the program probably isn't as high as one might imagine. Nonetheless, the very fact that they are taking such action indicates the seriousness with which the government is approaching its population problem, and it ain't the problem Paul Ehrlich (repeatedly) predicted.

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