13 May, 2013 10:00 ▪
Edward Hugh: young population exodus from Ukraine can be lethal for the country
“Now, as I say, this “want out” phenomenon can now be found in many countries on Europe’s periphery (here, here, here and here), but the Ukranian case is an extreme one. ...In all cases of low fertility societies young population exodus is a problem, but in Ukraine’s case it is well nigh lethal. The country has a little over 45.5 inhabitants and the population is shrinking by 330,000 per year. Besides the birth/death deficit emigration obviously contributes significantly to this sharp downward demographic trend...Obviously people aren’t leaving because the population is declining, but rather because the economy is not able to incapable of generating sufficient economic growth and sufficient jobs to encourage people to stay. There is a loss of confidence in the future of the country because the economic decadence becomes associated with degeneration in the political system,” Hugh claims.
“So where does all this lead. Well it leads me personally to ask the question whether it is not possible that some countries will actually die, in the sense of becoming totally unsustainable, and whether or not the international community doesn’t need to start thinking about a country resolution mechanism somewhat along the lines of the one which has been so recently debated in Europe for dealing with failed banks,” he underlines.
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“I expect (should I say “predict” in the Popperian sense, since this argument IS empirical, and is surely falsifiable) the first countries to die to be in Eastern Europe, with the most likely candidates to get the ball rolling being Belarus, Ukraine and Serbia. But then gradually this phenomenon will spread along the EU periphery, from East to South. Latvia’s own president said recently that if the net outflow of population was not stopped, within a decade the country’s independence would not be sustainable. I don’t think he was exaggerating.
So, as these countries “die”, we (the rest of the international community) will have to decide what to do about them. A country “resolution” programme should be considered. The scale of the humanitarian tragedy will not be small,” Edward Hugh states.
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