How pressing problems can help to renew Europe


Just as rising resource prices may be both a curse and a
blessing, in that they encourage saving and innovation,
demographic change need not mean the Decline of the
West, indeed it may even hold potentials. European
populations will age, with some even shrinking, and
the European nations will increasingly use immigration
as a means to close their demographic gaps. This
will not always be possible without conflict. But the
demographic crisis will also induce us to look at longneglected
problems in new terms and to tackle them
with an entirely new creativity.


Even before — in the last century — a broad discussion
got underway on low fertility rates and rising life
expectancy, there was no doubt that the healthcare and
education systems of many European countries were
in need of fundamental reform, that migrants are often
poorly integrated, and that the tax policies in place in
many countries work to the disadvantage of people with
children. The process of demographic change did not
generate these problems. But it did exacerbate them.




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