Yesterday, Joseph Stiglitz spoke at a conference in Barcelona. He noted that the euro zone is designed in such a way that when young people from Greece, Ireland, etc. emigrate, they are no longer liable for the debts accumulated by previous generations. This emigration shrinks the tax base and makes it harder to service public debts.
Just how many Europeans are working?
A typical employment-to-population ratio measures the share of a country’s working age population that is employed. This chart looks at the share of the country’s total population that is employed.
In this context, cuts to old-age pensions and unemployment benefits and increases in student tuition shift the burden of adjustment onto the non-working population, but do nothing to end the recessionary spiral.
The employment situation in Greece, seen in a historical perspective, is even more dramatic.
The fall in employment will be even more dramatic as the data is brought up to date. Greece is on track to have the same total employed population in 2013 as it did in 1983, 30 years beforehand.
This is the picture of a drastic failure brought about by mistaken policies.
The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that neo-Nazis are roaming the streets and parliament of Athens. This is not a normal or acceptable state of affairs.
The lack of a response reminds me of Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. How much worse does it have to get before we get a proper reversal of policy?