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Friday, June 08, 2007

Reasons not to be cheerful

It is Friday, the weekend beckons, the sun shines, skyrocketing property prices have made you that bit richer but you might (if are a European) be in danger of drifting one more day closer towards the economic abyss. That’s the conclusion if you believe an article (Europe’s productivity challenge) in the McKinsey Quarterly. Sorry subscription only.

Much rubbish is written about the ageing population ‘problem’ but you don’t need a Nobel prize in economics to understand why, in varying degrees, European countries are sleep-walking into a pit of social and economic problems.

So read this quote- depression inducing stuff. But as Mr Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice says: “It will pass away soon enough.'' The outcomes of mega trends take ages to materialise and if our politicians aren’t bothered about such issues there is little point in us fretting away.
The “old” continent (Europe) appears rich, socially progressive, and culturally exciting. It has an impressive crop of global companies. But far from catching up with and overtaking the US, Europe is finding that the economic cracks in the facade may be getting wider. A huge effort is now required not just to realize the full potential of Europe but also to ensure that an aging population doesn’t overwhelm what it has already achieved. The consequences of failure would be relegation to the second economic division and a blow to Europe’s self-esteem.
Dick Stroud

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