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October 11, 2008

Comments

Roger Conrad

I don't see a pretty future for Europe. The demographics are not favourable with not one country being at or above the replacement rate of 2.1. Germany is at 1.34, Spain at 1.37 and Austria at 1.4. Without a drastic turnaround many of these may very well cease to exist. Increased levels of immigration are only bandaid solutions as they could not realistically make up the shortfall in the long run. With the economic dislocations that are now starting to take effect that option will be off the table in any case. The anti-immigrant sentiments now being manifested in Italy, Spain and Austria will likely spread throughout Europe as the economic supports of the welfare state are eroded. Far right governments may be not such a long time away from taking power.

Abiola

Fears of nations "disappearing" are extremely overwrought. The fact is that various European states have seen extremely low fertility rates before - e.g. France from 1800 right up to the 1930s - and yet not a single European country has vanished from the map for such a reason.

As for what you say about anti-immigrant sentiments and the welfare state, the evidence I see doesn't really support any such connection. The Swedish welfare state is larger than Austria's, its immigrant population is relatively bigger, and yet there is virtually no immigrant-bashing sentiment there to speak of. No, a simpler explanation for Italy, Spain and Austria is that these are all countries with histories of fascist, xenophobic government, and the same cultural factors which predisposed them to such political histories continue to remain in place. Both of Haider's parents were early and enthusiastic Nazis, and Austrians were always disproportionately represented in Nazi organs like the Waffen SS;

http://www.doew.at/thema/thema_alt/justiz/nachkriegforsch/warcrime.html

neither immigrants nor a supposedly tottering welfare state could be to blame for Austrians' election of Kurt Waldheim and their subsequent defense of him in the face of a supposed "Jewish conspiracy" against their country ...

Ross

Speaking of imagined Jewish conspiracies, how long do you think it will be before Mossad gets the blame for Haider's crash?

Abiola

What do you mean "How long?" It's already begun!

http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?q=mossad%20haider&hl=en

The usual cockroaches never waste any time in grinding out their nonsense on occasions like this.

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