atans1

Low birth rates do not cause serious economic problems

In Economy on 21/07/2018 at 11:12 am

This is a follow up to Average S’poreans smarter than scholar ministers where I pointed out that having children doesn’t help in getting the 5Cs:: the PAP is wrong to asset that low birth rates cresult in serious economic problems, even if it is conventional wisdom.

Demographic decline does not imply falling prosperity, however. If anything, it is easier to improve average lifestyles with shrinking populations. Without population growth, there is less need for expensive investments in housing, infrastructure and capital goods.

True, a higher portion of the smaller populations will be elderly people who need pensions and labour-intensive assistance. Even so, there are already well-developed systems to provide them with money, healthcare and specialised residences. The forthcoming shift in age groupings will mostly mean more of the same.

Some people worry the shift will be unbearably large. They expect a shortage of care workers and recommend more immigration. That sounds excessive. It should be possible to rebalance service sectors to match needs. The rapid pace of job destruction from automation should help.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-economics-breakingviews/breakingviews-hadas-global-case-of-baby-fever-is-easily-cured-idUSKBN1K813Z

So far so good but here’s the problem. Taxes got to go up to support us oldies

What is true is that governments will have to do some serious governing. One task is to persuade citizens to pay higher taxes to support people too old to work.

Then there’s the need for higher state debt

Some financial muscle also will be necessary. If nominal GDP growth stops or turns into a decline, money for debt payments is bound to be in short supply. Governments may have to maintain economic confidence when debts go bad.

That could be a lot of work, and politically problematic. Mature markets, where the demographic challenges are greatest, have been building up trouble. Between 1997 and 2017, the ratio of debt to GDP increased from an already worrying 266 percent to a stunning 382 percent, according to the Institute of International Finance.

In theory, though, the task should be manageable. After all, powerful governments can give financial regulators and central banks all the authority they need. And it should be easier to rearrange the money system than to push up birth rates.

Any multinational deleveraging will undoubtedly be socially challenging. That just means now is a good time to start figuring out how to deliver more practical solutions than babies.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-economics-breakingviews/breakingviews-hadas-global-case-of-baby-fever-is-easily-cured-idUSKBN1K813Z

  1. then why india and philippines have high birth rates ?

    • Over the next 30 years these 2 countries will beat the pants off Singapore.

      Vietnam, Indonesia & Bangladesh are other high potential candidates.

  2. Does not quite apply from the debt servicing perspective….. but does raise the question as to the point of reserves accumulation if the new generations will be smaller in numbers. Turning the Reuters opinion around – is that not a symptom of lazy policy making?

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