Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ukraine's Demographic Crisis Is an Economic Time Bomb - Russia Insider

According to a certain school of thought, Ukraine is on the verge of following the same path trod by successful post-communist reformers like Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. If it follows the established playbook, Ukraine can take advantage of, in Carl Bildt's entertaining formulation, "the convergence machine" that is the EU. For the optimists, including many of the people now running the government in Kyiv, Ukraine's "European choice" is a very straightforward one. Everyone knows the appropriate policies, primarily implementation of Washington consensus macroeconomic and financial reforms, and if Ukraine implements those policies, it will get dynamic market-driven growth. Ukraine, then, will rapidly converge with Western levels of economic development if it cleans up its act.

The problem with this happy tale of reform and convergence is a simple one: due to a withering, decades-long demographic crisis (one, incidentally, that has gotten much worse since the start of the Maidan protests) Ukraine’s population is structurally much older than Poland’s was when it first embarked upon its programme of liberalizing shock therapy.

Looking at the population pyramids below of Poland in 1989 and Ukraine in 2014 gives some indication as to the enormous magnitude of the differences.


Poland, in 1989, had essentially a “normal” age distribution: the older generations, on average, were smaller than the younger generations. Yes there was some skewing caused by the horrific impact of World War II, but it was basically what you would expect to see in a country recording a very modest level of natural population growth. Poland set out to reform its economy with a labour force that was expected to grow.

Complete story at - Ukraine's Demographic Crisis Is an Economic Time Bomb - Russia Insider

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3. Manufacturing Consent - Edward Herman, Noam Chomsky
4. Gladio - NATO's Dagger at the Heart of Europe - Richard Cottrell
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