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Topic: Why Western Europe Went Bankrupt
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 6, 2011 07:07AM)
It wasn't from defense spending and wars all over the third world, now, was it? [url=http://www.fyens.dk/article/1921877:Business-Fyn--Private-job-har-staaet-i-stampe-i-60-aar]A Danish business newspaper reports[/url] that there are 4,000 more jobs in the Danish private sector today than there were in 1951. But there are 683,000 more jobs in the public, tax-supported sector. In 1951, there were 13 privately employed taxpayers for each tax-eater in a government job; today there are only 2.3 private employees for each public employee. The welfare state has grown like a cancer, beyond the ability of the host to sustain it. The prognosis is dismal, and may be already terminal.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Sep 6, 2011 07:13AM)
Does that count "private" companies given monopoly contracts by the government?
Message: Posted by: Markymark (Sep 6, 2011 08:18AM)
Sorry Woland but the trillion's wasted on wars did not help the situation and it is very easy to pick and choose pages and statistics from
Swedan,Denmark or Finland that will support whatever 'evidence' you want to find.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 6, 2011 08:34AM)
Okay, Markymark, which European countries wasted "trillions" on wars in the past 30 or 40 years?
Message: Posted by: irossall (Sep 6, 2011 11:24AM)
All they have to do is borrow from the Chinese or print more money. What's the problem? Works for the U.S.
Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 6, 2011 11:46AM)
I have lived in your future

Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 6, 2011 12:19PM)
Yes, tommy, when you realize that the architect of the European Union was Alexandre Kojeve, you realize what it was all about, all along. But I'm pleased that you don't think that this is our future:

Message: Posted by: Magnus Eisengrim (Sep 6, 2011 12:33PM)
The article in the link doesn't quite say what Woland claims in the OP. Certainly there is no mention of "growing like a cancer" in the article--perhaps this Woland's comment.

(Disclosure, I read VERY LITTLE Danish, so I used an electronic translator.)

What the article seems to say is that Danish efficiency has made its modern welfare state possible and desirable. With changes to the workforce--largely people leaving work (I would guess due to age, mostly)--things will be difficult to maintain, even though needs are increasing. The economist they spoke to, Jan Rose Skaksen, says that prioritization of services and reduced expectations are likely to be the consequences of the changing demographics.

I welcome anyone who is actually fluent in Danish to check this out.

Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 6, 2011 12:46PM)

Yes, the comment about the growing cancer was my comment.

But the NUMBERS in the article don't require much knowledge of Danish to suss out. I gave them correctly. The article was sent to me by my brother, who is a resident and a taxpayer of the Kingdom of Denmark, and I assure you that the NUMBERS are correct. Forget about the fluff in the commentary:

- there are now in Denmark 4,000 more private-sector jobs than there were in 1951

- there are now in Denmark 683,000 more government jobs than there were in 1951

- in 1951, there were 13 employees in the productive economy for every government worker

- there are now 2.3 employees in the productive economy for every government worker

Let me add that the population in Denmark in 1950 was 4,250,000 and that the population of Denmark is now 5,500,000 - so for an additional 1,250,000 population, you have added only 4,000 productive jobs, and 683,000 additional tax-eating jobs.

These NUMBERS represent an unsustainable trajectory, no matter how you try to dress them up.

Message: Posted by: Payne (Sep 6, 2011 12:50PM)
And of course the recent world-wide housing bubble collapse had absolutely nothing to do with the current economic woes many coutries in Europe are now experiencing. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/business/worldbusiness/13iht-housing.1.11931770.html?pagewanted=1
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 6, 2011 12:58PM)
Au contraire, Payne, one of the major fuels pumping up the U.S. housing bubble was European money looking for a home . . . the lack of sufficient investment vehicles in Europe . . .
Message: Posted by: Payne (Sep 6, 2011 05:50PM)
On 2011-09-06 13:58, Woland wrote:
Au contraire, Payne, one of the major fuels pumping up the U.S. housing bubble was European money looking for a home . . . the lack of sufficient investment vehicles in Europe . . .

Wait, I thought the housing bubble was caused by poor people buying houses they couldn't afford because the government forced banks to make those bad loans. Now you're telling me it was because of Europians making bad real estate investments?

Either way I'll wager that private industry making criminally stupid investments in a recently de-regulated market had far more to do with our current economic woes than the ratio of government employees to supposedly "productive" workers in the private sector.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 6, 2011 06:17PM)
Both factors were important, Payne. By lowering standards for loans, lenders (loan originators) greatly expanded the market. That allowed (and was partially driven by) the eagerness of Europeans to invest in the loans. The ability to bundle and re-sell packages of loans, and the perceived governmental guarantees from Freddie and Fannie turned those two forces into a perfect storm.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 7, 2011 05:22AM)
It’s truly amazing to me that the little people down there on the common take it for real. They, the little people, have been told there is a big hole, called debt. A hole that exists, one which they have to fill with their money. “The hole has got bigger today!” so they are told. “Oh my God, say the little people, we need to tighten our belts even more!” :) The banker smiles up his sleeve, his £10,000 sleeve that is. Very magical, still...
Message: Posted by: gdw (Sep 7, 2011 08:19AM)
Woland, it wasn't that standards were lowered, it was that the govt said they would back up the loans. Among other things of course.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Sep 7, 2011 08:39AM)
Do you recall The Middle Ages? That is where we going anyway.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 7, 2011 08:50AM)
Sorry, gdw, but standards were lowered, and a trememdous amount of legal pressure was used to persuade banks to make loans to borrowers they would have previously refused. But once they got into it, with the (false?) promise of a guarantee, the banks liked it! The next significant factor was the re-packaging and unloading of the loans. When a local bank made a local mortgage loan on a local property, you can be darn sure they knew the value of the property, the credibility & credit-worthiness of the borrower, and had to be carefully convinced that a 30-year exposure to the risk was worth it. When the loan originators sold the loans within 48-72 hours, their exposure to risk was much lower, and they simply didn't have to worry as much about the soundness of the loans. Then, since the higher-risk, sub-prime mortgages offered considerably higher returns than the original mortgages, and since the big banks, including (especially!?) the European banks convinced themselves that there would be a government guarantee, and anyway, US mortgages had traditionally been a rock-soilid if low-yield investment, the stage was set for a massive bubble. All of these factors worked together. When Greenspan raised interest rates rapidly and substantially, adjustable-rate mortgages that folks could manage to pay suddenly became unmanageable and defaults started happeneing. The process snowballed. Now the market has 2 to 3 million excess houses, and demand is considerably suppressed. But cheer up, the housing bubble in China is, if anything, far worse.
Message: Posted by: gdw (Sep 7, 2011 09:13AM)
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply the standards were not lowered, just that it wasn't the key issue. Of course that point was kind of pointless when I added "among other things" to my post.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 7, 2011 09:48AM)
Understood. Many factors have to fall into place in order to create this sort of situation. There will be differences of opinion as to which issue was the "key." I agree that without the perception of a government guarantee, things would have been different.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Sep 7, 2011 10:18AM)
Never under estimate the value of stupidity and greed in any financial disaster.
Message: Posted by: Woland (Sep 7, 2011 10:28AM)
Those are essential ingredients . . . but are never in short supply!