In Greece youth unemployment is c60%. Ditto Spain. In Eire 30%. But these figures dramatically understate, yes I repeat understate, what is going on and it is the Euro that is to blame. An entire generation across much of Europe is being pulverized, systematically smashed and it is the Euro worshipping leaders of the same countries who are to blame. This is almost a crime against humanity.
Why the understatement? Emigration. Last year 90,000 people left Ireland. Nearly all were young people without jobs. Young Spaniards, Greeks, Italians have all flocked to North America, Australia and above all to London in search of work. I have noted before that not a day goes by when I do not have five or six young Southern European walk into my restaurant with a perfectly typed CV asking for work. If the young folk of the PIIGS nations did not have the ability to seek work outside the Eurozone then youth unemployment in Spain and Greece would be 70% or higher and in Eire it would already be at 40% plus. And in all cases the numbers rise day by day. There are just no jobs going.
The austerity measures imposed as a condition of bailouts means that life is getting worse. Youth unemployment and emigration numbers will both climb again in 2013. And of course it is the brightest and most driven youngsters who are emigrating. The long term implications for economic growth in these countries of this generation specific diaspora are truly dire. It is, incidentally, great news for the economy of London.
To inflict on almost an entire generation a choice of family break-up or poverty and forced idleness is a crime. Just like State sponsored theft is a crime. In Cyprus that is via bank robberies. In Eire it is by a draconian tax on all properties, even those which are now virtually worthless and unsellable. Perhaps 10% of Eire’s houses are now on tumbleweed developments. With a rapidly declining population no-one will ever live there. They are 100% unsellable and unrentable. You cannot even sell them for £1 because the new property taxes (needed to meet Euro bailout conditions) will make the negative yield so enormous. They will become a lifetime negative annuity – the price of being Irish.
What would Michael Collins have said had the British imposed such a scheme on his people? Had they imposed policies which sought to destroy a generation in just two or three years? What the hell was the point of throwing one Imperial master out if it has all come to this?
There is another way. Albania and Iceland faced the same problems as the PIIGS within the past ten to fifteen years. Bad bank debt had become unsupportable national debt. The answer is simple. Default on your national debt. Leave the Euro and establish a floating currency that will crater in value. But once again your economies will be competitive. Yes asset values will fall by 40% at a stroke. But as we are going the combination of state theft of assets and austerity will wipe another 40% (and more) from asset values within the Euro. It is just that the pain will go on for years.
Albania and Iceland took the pain quickly but have not looked back since. With their floating currencies they have enjoyed years and years of economic growth. Folks are happy.
The people of the PIIGS nations want a plan B before their society as well as their economy is completely destroyed. But the pan European political elite is determined, at any cost, to drive ahead with the Evil Empire's political project.
This is not ending happily.