Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The IMF opens its mouth on demographics, unfortunately.

The IMF (along with the OECD) covered itself in glory at the height of the crisis by advocating austerity in the middle of the crisis.

The latest bit of nonsense from the IMF is that tired old idea that immigrants help alleviate the ageing population problem: in particular that refugees from the Middle East can solve the ageing problem in Germany. The flaw in that idea has been set out over and over. But I wouldn’t expect the IMF to know anything about that.

For the umpteenth time, the flaws in that idea are as follows.

1. Muslims are far and away the least productive section of the population in Europe, and a significant proportion of refugees from the Middle East (or economic migrants posing as refugees?) are Muslims. As for the significant proportion of those “refugees” who are from Pakistan (and who are thus quite clearly economic migrants), they’re almost exclusively Muslim. (In the UK, the proportion of Muslims going out to work is around 45% as compared to about 65% for Jews.)

2. Immigrants (revelation of the century this) are human beings, and eventually grow old. What then? Import even more migrants?

3. As will be obvious to anyone who is not totally innumerate (and relatively few lefties ARE numerate) the latter fact means that using immigration to deal with the ageing problem to any great extent results in an exponential increase in the population. The latter exponential problem has actually been studied in some detail and the results are dramatic: turns out that if immigration alone is used to deal with the alleged ageing problem, the population approximately doubles every thirty years.

4. The ageing problem is not actually all that serious. Obviously an increased number of old people ALL ELSE EQUAL means an increased burden on the young. On the other hand that effect is moderated by economic growth. (See “Is there a Demographic Time-Bomb?” in “The Future of the Welfare State”, 2006, editor: Bent Grieve. Incidentally yours truly authored a chapter in that book.)

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