The Corner

Where Have all the Germans Gone?

Since Derb brought up the remorselessly shrinking German population – few people have ever been less in need of lebensraum – I might point out that the cheesecake pic of the valykyrie-like Heidi Klum that accompanies that news story is not entirely gratuitous. Who leaves countries? Mobile people, young people. Which brings me to The Asia Times, and Spengler’s take on the subprime fiasco:

Germany’s President Horst Koehler has denounced the world financial market as a “monster” using “highly complex financial instruments” to make “massive leveraged investments with minimal capital”. Koehler, formerly head of the International Monetary Fund, seems perplexed about the causes of the present crisis, but I can explain them in a way any German can understand.

And he does. In essence, Germany does not have enough young people for its old people to lend money to. So its financial institutions went to where the young people are: America. As Spengler says:

There is nothing complicated about finance. It is based on old people lending to young people. Young people invest in homes and businesses; aging people save to acquire assets on which to retire. The new generation supports the old one, and retirement systems simply apportion rights to income between the generations. Never before in human history, though, has a new generation simply failed to appear. 

Those who think demography bores such as myself are peddling archaic theories of no relevance are missing the point. Yes, medieval farming communities assume large numbers of children in order to function. But the modern global economy and all advanced societies assume sufficient numbers of children in order to function.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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