October 31, 2013
AS SOUTHERN EUROPE LAY DYING:
Italy: The Nation That Crushes Its Young (BEPPE SEVERGNINI, 10/31/13, NY Times)
[I]taly is special. Old-age pensions swallow 14 percent of the country's gross domestic product and 57 percent of all social spending. No other country in Europe spends so much on making its past comfortable.And the future? Unemployment among people ages 15 to 24 is a record 40.1 percent, while the number of people 55 or over who are still working has ballooned to 3.5 million from 2.8 million in just five years. Italy is no country for young men, apparently.Italy is still one of the world's most attractive countries, a land graced by the arts and blessed by the weather; it is sumptuous at table and abounding in elegance. But clearly this is not enough. Many young Italians have begun to flee their iconic, pythonic homeland.It would be sad if Italy's emigration went back to the way it was in the 1950s, when people had to leave for Northern Europe, the United States or Australia to feed their families. And yet that seems increasingly likely. About 60,000 move abroad every year, seven out of 10 taking a college degree with them.Almost 400,000 graduates have left Italy in the past decade, and only 50,000 similarly qualified foreigners have arrived. This is not the healthy, free movement of people that the European Union was set up to encourage. This is a nation on the run.
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 31, 2013 7:30 PM