Friday, April 26, 2013

The death of Bulgaria

A little while on, we will get to a review of Albert Brooks, 2030: The Real Story of What Happened to America.  One of his major themes is the growing tension and difficulties between an aging population and the increasingly put upon youth.
So while I was looking for a Friday post to fill the gaps between reviews, I thought this one was appropriate.

The Shortage of Bulgarians Inside Bulgaria
Edward Hugh, A fistful of Euro, 24 February 2013 (hat tip:  NC)
Young people are moving from the weak economies on the periphery to the comparatively stronger ones in the core, or out of an ever older EU altogether. This has the simple consequence that the deficit issues in the core are reduced, while those on the periphery only get worse as health and pension systems become ever less affordable. Meanwhile, more and more young people follow the lead of Gerard Depardieu and look for somewhere where there isn’t such a high fiscal burden, preferably where the elderly dependency ratio isn’t shooting up so fast...
According to the 2011 census, Bulgaria has lost no less than 582,000 people over the last ten years. In a country of 7.3 million inhabitants this is a big deal. Further, it has lost a total of 1.5 million of its population since 1985, a record in depopulation not just for the EU, but also by global standards. The country, which had a population of almost nine million in 1985, now has almost the same number of inhabitants as in 1945 after World war II. And, of course, the decline continues.

This shifting of populations has gone on a lot in the United States, but the problems in the "left behind" zones is somewhat toned down by Federal Government transfer payments.  The author of the piece above noted that this is also what happened when West and East Germany reunited after the cold war.
For myself, I don't see the Europeans being all excited about cross government transfer payments (versus "loans") that don't bring back some sort of direct benefit to themselves.
Back in the bad old pre-industrial days, this is how countries, if they didn't go into a bloody revolution,  recovered from overpopulation.  They went through an aging bulge until the situation got better.  We are not that patient.


PioneerPreppy said...

However the reverse is true in Greece where people have been migrating back to the areas they left because the cities had more opportunities.

Gonna be interesting.

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: People have been returning to the countryside in Greece. WSJ had a piece on it a while ago.

But in net, you would think that Greece will loose population to countries with more opportunities, which would accelerate their decline. In countries that have an overpopulation problem this loss can be welcomed relief on the need for services/infrastructure, even if it causes long term problems. I don't know if there is any European country that within the current economic framework (a big caveat) are overpopulated.

Anonymous said...

still cranking out quality articles old friend. stopped by to say Hi! the rat

russell1200 said...

M. Rat: Still trying.