Why Germany Needs Refugees: It’s About The Birth Rate

WHY DOES GERMANY WANT SO MANY REFUGEES?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Germany will take 800,000 refugees this year and 500,000 annually over the next several years. Merkel no doubt will receive acclaim for humanitarianism, while nations that balk at taking refugees will be denounced.

I don’t doubt that there is a humanitarian component to Merkel’s decision, and in some respects her willingness to take in so many refugees is a feel good story. But keep in mind that Germany has an economic interest in bringing in young workers, and that this interest isn’t mirrored in many other EU member states.

Germany faces a severe labor shortage, both short-term and long-term. A study by the Robert Bosch foundation suggested that Germany’s workforce could shrink by about 6 million by 2030.

The main cause of the labor shortage is, as one would expect, population decline. This summer, the Telegraph reported:

Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy.

A study by the World Economy Institute in Hamburg (HWWI) found that the average number of births per 1,000 population dropped to 8.2 over the five years from 2008 to 2013, further compounding a demographic crisis already in the pipeline. Even Japan did slightly better at 8.4.

“No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young migrant workers. Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without a strong jobs market,” warned the institute. . . .

The German government expects the population to shrink from 81m to 67m by 2060 as depressed pockets of the former East Germany go into “decline spirals” where shops, doctors’ practices, and public transport start to shut down, causing yet more people to leave in a vicious circle.

Population decline in Europe isn’t confined to Germany. As the Telegraph suggests, however, Germany represents a special case.

In France, the population is growing. And while the population in Eastern Germany spirals downward, only a few miles to the east, Poland’s population is growing.

Moreover, short-term labor shortages don’t plague most of Europe. To the contrary, many European countries struggle with high unemployment rates.

It’s fair to question, therefore, whether Germany is motivated primarily by altruism in agreeing to take in millions of immigrants and whether it is being reasonable in expecting other nations, especially struggling ones, to take in a significant number of them.

It is also fair to question Merkel’s bargain from a German point of view, though the answer must be supplied by Germans. Yes, the immigrants will help solve the labor and population shortfall. But they will also transform the nature of Germany, as Merkel acknowledges.

Do Germans want the transformation that’s in store?

Don’t be surprised if this question becomes a central one in German politics. And don’t be surprised if, while it’s being debated, the transformation continues apace.

Bombing Won’t Stop the Islamic State

So we sent planes and cruise missiles to create photo ops that show our resolve in stopping ISIS. All it did was create the false image that we actually did something important. We didn’t. At the same time the 47 cruise missles were flying, ISIS troops over ran and annihilated an Iraqi infantry brigade, and made further territorial gains against the Kurdish Peshmerga, the best hope we have there.

After the intensive bombing of German industry in WWII, a survey after the war discovered that German industrial output, the target of the bombing, peaked in late 1944, less than six months before the end of the war. By contrast, the Russians did not engage in strategic bombing, or the bombing of industry, as they focused their considerable airpower on German troops in a tactical bombing effort. They followed the tactical bombing by placing boots on the recently bombed areas.

That’s what works, boots on the ground. The belief that strategic bombing via atomic bombs caused Japan’s surrender has been debunked as Japanese records show that there was no panic to surrender after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as our strategic bombing had actually done more damage to other Japanese cities. What triggered the Japansese surrender was the Russian declaration of war and invasion of the Northern Japanese Islands at the end of the war. The Russians seizure of Sakhalin Island, the northern most, former Japanese Island, and the Kuril Islands, where there is still dispute as to the ownership, caused the Japanese surrender. Sakhalin is part of Russia today.  The Japanese government made a decision that bombs were ok, but that Russian boots in Tokyo were not. The same rule will apply to ISIS (ISIL?). (for an ISIS/ISIL distinction, look Here)

Boots on the ground will win, but 40 cruise missiles will not. We need to get this right.  Obama’s generals know what to do, but he seems to be photo op oriented, we’ll see how it turns out.