Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Economics of jumping in front of a bus

Apparently we are in for some bad economic times ahead.  I know this surprises you.
However, it is not a financial bust, or an oil bubble, or just the fact they we have had not had a whole lot of growth since the 1970s that did not involve spending borrowed money.
It is demographics. 
Oh, that’s right!  We are getting older and we will soon have a country of 298,000,000 retirees trying to live off $2 million working people.
No not those demographics.
These demographics:
Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (Economix), 22 March 2012 (hat tip: Big Picture)
The economists who wrote the new paper, James Stock of Harvard and Mark Watson of Princeton, contend that the key reason for the faltering pace of growth is that the work force is expanding more slowly. Population growth has slowed, and so has the pace at which women are entering the labor market.
“These demographic changes imply continued low or even declining trend growth rates in employment, which in turn imply that future recessions will be deeper, and will have slower recoveries, than historically has been the case.”

I am sure they have all sorts of charts that mathematically prove their point.
I guess my question would be, why is population growth slowing.  Why are people (not just women) not entering the workforce.   It is a little like saying you were injured because you were hit while crossing the street without mentioning that you didn’t look where you are going and jumped in front of a bus.  The answer might be at least partly correct, but doesn’t seem to get you to where you really need to go.

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