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Europe’s lost generation?

There is an interesting feature article over at Reuters about how, as a result of the financial crisis and the rigid labour market laws of much of the continent, millions of young Europeans leaving school and college face a bleak future over the next few years. Even during the relatively prosperous period of the Nineties and much of the ‘Noughties, youth unemployment in nations such as France was shockingly high, sometimes into double figures. Europe’s failure to create a large number of private sector jobs remains one of the most damning facts about the continent’s economic record over the past quarter of a century.

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15 comments to Europe’s lost generation?

  • Paul Marks

    And sadly the move in most European countries is towards even greater government spending – presented as “stimulus packages” (supported by that source that the mainstream media love to cite “most economists”). And even more regulations – defended on the, false, grounds that the financial crises that spread from the United States was caused by “lack of regulation” (in reality even bonus structure was mandated by government regulations).

    So the crises statism caused (via the expansion of the credit money supply by the Federal Reserve and by the specific policies that were spread by such politicians as Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, under the name of the “affordable housing” policy) is being used as an excuse for even greater statism – both in the United States and in most of Europe.

    It is unfortunate.

  • Laird

    “Unfortunate”?

    I guess that depends upon where you stand. To the statists it’s a dream come true. Rahm Emanuel let the cat out of the bag with his “you don’t ever want a crisis go to waste” remark.

    For the rest of us it’s a disaster.

  • kentuckyliz

    It’s so sad that America is voluntarily traipsing down this primrose path under the awesomeness of our Dear Leader.

    Small businesses are scaling down or closing. New businesses aren’t starting up. The works are seizing up because of the utter economic ignorance that is the basis of Obamanomics.

    Dear God help us all.

    Oh well, looking forward to another wave of punk music to come out of this. Angry, nihilistic, permachav.

  • andyinsdca

    Do you know what happens to young men who don’t have a job, (and won’t get married) and are educated?

    Ask Egypt. Or the guys who crashed airplanes into buildings 8 years ago. Etc…

    I’m not trying to be flippant, but be aware that it’s a real possibility.

  • Chris H

    Is it not now very easy to compare the political and economic systems of countries that are doing well with those who are failing? I know that the issue is likely to be very complex but it must now be possible up to a point to work out what works and what doesn’t and at least make an attempt to emulate the succsessful ones.

  • I’d have more sympathy for unemployed French youth if they didn’t march in support of the very laws which keep them unemployed. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas.

  • guy herbert

    Jonathan,

    Not really “Europe’s failure to create a large number of private sector jobs” surely? More Europe’s preventing the creation of a large number of private sector jobs.

  • Alice

    Private sector jobs are not jobs for life — never can be. How many people do you know working in the private sector have worked for only one employer most of their lives? The reality of the private sector is that it responds to a dynamic market — one day you are making the finest slide rules in the world, the next you are an unemployed slide rule maker looking for work in a world of electronic calculators.

    The only way to give these prime working age French people the stability that they apparently seek it to give them government jobs. And it looks as if French politicians would love to please them.

    Unfortunately, some day government jobs will also turn out to be transient, when government runs out of the ability to borrow money. C’est la vie”

  • Nuke Gray!

    I would chortle at Europe, but we Australians have something similar going on here, called Minimum Wage Laws. If you get a job, you get great conditions…. but getting that first job is becoming harder and harder… still, the Labor Government has the support of the unions sown up! They’re not as big as they once were, but their support still matters!

  • Paul Marks

    The job for life idea in France may hark back to the idea of peasant economics – one farms one’s own land.

    However, people can not really make a living with penny packet sized farms (even with protectionism) so the idea does not work.

    I am told that in Bavaria people try and square the circle by farming part time and doing a second job (in manufacturing or whatever) to make ends meet.

  • Paul Marks

    Although a free market libertarian I have a lot of sympathy for the owner occupyer farmer and the independent craftsman – indeed I suspect that a lot of their problems are not just due to “economics of scale” problems (after all there are diseconomies of large scale also – management problems get worse and worse as scale goes up), but are also due to taxes and regulations.

    A corporation can have a whole department of people to deal with tax law and regulations – a “one man band” can not hope to deal with such things and so goes backrupt or goes into the illegal economy (not a good option – contrary to what some people think).

  • Eric

    Do you know what happens to young men who don’t have a job, (and won’t get married) and are educated?

    Ask Egypt. Or the guys who crashed airplanes into buildings 8 years ago. Etc…

    Don’t fall for the Marxist trap of simplifying everyone’s motives to a struggle for money. The 9/11 hijackers were people from middle class or wealthy families. Some of them were married. These were not people without futures – quite the contrary.

  • Eric

    I’d have more sympathy for unemployed French youth if they didn’t march in support of the very laws which keep them unemployed. Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas.

    Different people. The ones you see demonstrating in support of the current system are the ones who benefit from it. They’re going to top colleges and will get cushy government jobs when they graduate.

  • FromChicago

    The system is broken. Millions of young adults spend immense sums of money to get education that does not seriously improve their skill set. They do this to “send signals” about their ability to learn new things on the job to potential employers.

    The age of apprenticeships was more efficient and did not permit “nonsense studies” majors.