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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Comments

Edward Hugh

I'm kind of ambivalent about this type of work New Economist. I think it is an interesting topic, but it is one which has tended to mislead economists in the past: it isn't the size of countries which matters, but their structure, more concretely their age structure. Obviously the US and Ireland are at opposite poles of the size continuum, but they do have a lot of things in common which favour growth, whereas Cuba and Nigeria are at opposite poles of size, but also share the property of being non growth-friendly.

Of course once you get to developed countries with a similar age structure - Germany and Finland for eg, or Singapore and S Korea - the question of relative size and strategy is interesting.

But I do wish these writers would spend half as much time investigating the much more fundamental issue of differences in age structure, and the reasons for these, as they do with this topic.

Edward Hugh

I have just been thinking about the demographic problem China is going to have, and I have just realised there is one very important advantage to being small: you can take advantage of immigration. China will not be able to leverage immigration to any significant extent to slow down its demographic crash. A smaller country can do this.

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you can take advantage of immigration. China will not be able to leverage immigration to any significant extent to slow down its demographic crash. A smaller country can do this.

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