Do welfare states always end by eating their young?As Greek employers in the public and private sectors trim wages and payroll, the younger generation has less and less reason to stick around. NPR discusses Greece’s crisis of the young:
The financial crisis gripping Greece is having a major impact on the country’s young people. A two-tier labor market that favors the older generation and draconian austerity measures have triggered a record high jobless rate among those under 35.And now, the economic upheaval is undermining the traditional family structure and pushing the young to leave their homeland for better prospects…Greece’s large and growing pool of skilled as well as unskilled workers is attracting headhunters from abroad. The Australian Embassy in Athens is already organizing work fairs in search of doctors and dentists as well as plumbers and home care workers. Even Germany is putting out feelers for doctors and engineers.
The Greeks are driving the best and the brightest of their youth into exile but this is nothing new. As in Ireland, generations of young Greeks have left their country in the past and built new lives abroad. The US, Canada and Australia are among the countries who have benefited from hardworking Greek immigrants who had to leave home.In the old days the youth fled because overpopulation and the collapse of traditional farming created rural unemployment — or, as in Ireland, because a natural catastrophe like the potato famine made migration necessary. But these days young people must flee countries where population is stagnant or dropping because poorly designed, over-generous welfare states and imprudent governments have created dysfunctional economies.Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal: all countries where children are increasingly rare, and all countries where the younger generation can’t find work. Something has gone badly wrong.