Why Italy Is More Like Japan Than Spain

Tyler Durden's picture

Italy has its own set of problems with huge debt loads, soaring unemployment, and a growing social revolt against the new normal austerity status quo but there is one issue that is not discussed much in the mainstream media that is as critical. Italy has the second fastest aging population in the world (and highest in Europe). Japan is the worst/fastest based on Bloomberg Brief rankings - driven by factors such as the speed of aging in one generation, concentration of seniors, the pipeline of elderly, and the number of seniors not participating in the labor force. As Niraj Shah notes, nine European nations make the world Top 10. Doesn't exactly bode well for Europe's future as dependency ratios are set to soar but it appears, sadly, that Italy is closer to Japan's dismal quagmire than Spain's based on demographics.



Chart: Bloomberg Briefs

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BeaverFever's picture

So it boils down to:
Rice noodles vs wheat noodles?

TBT or not TBT's picture

Wheat glutens vs rice glutens.

MoneyChasingReturns's picture

In Italy you have few employment oppertunities for older people and they live simply in a paid for home, with only food and basic needs.

In Japan you have very expensive housing, and the constant need to earn and support debts. Its not the same lifestyle.

Japan's aging people need much more government support, without a working class the government needs to print money into existance to balance.

Italy has a more sustainable healthy lifestyle, its truer to real retirement and pre-industrial ways. I choose italy anyday over Japan to be retired or a working young person.

shovelhead's picture

Bad Catholics or to much time hanging around the pizzaria back door?

paulie's picture

It's spelled pizzeria not pizzaria. If you are going to make fun of us, do it with the right words.

citrine's picture

 I could never understand, why Italy has found itself in such a dire situation.  It seems that demand for Italian shoes, clothes, cars (Ferrari, Maserati) is quite high, to name just a few. Couldn't you just supply a little bit more of those?

TBT or not TBT's picture

Ducati.... Lamborghini is selling well. As explained on an an apostate bog, that of mike Sherlock, QE benefits those who have first access to money. Those folks can afford to throw money into physical things of concentrated and lasting value, for which governments issue titles, like Italian luxury vehicles.

SteelRust's picture

Maybe (even) because the production of those elite items is, per se, of little impact on the total of working positions and, as in most other countries, most that little possible work is ousourced to workers of other places?

TBT or not TBT's picture

Italy is a post Christian nation, probably less catholic in practice than the USA is. Same conditions in France and Spain. They believe in the church of the state.

Don Diego's picture

No problem, Italians should import a couple million of fast breeding Somalis (former Italian colony) and everything will be fine....right?


people is people after all and interchangeable, what could possibly go wrong?

TBT or not TBT's picture

Lots of north Africans already there, as oriana fallaci explained some time ago.

Captain Willard's picture

And plenty of Chinese too.... go visit Prato and plenty of other places in Tuscany.

Italy assimilates immigrants way better than does Japan. When you factor in the huge Italian diaspora in the Americas, I really don't think demographics are a huge problem for Italy. People are available - ethnic Italians and willing immigrants.

The problems are broke banks, the Euro, sclerotic bureaucracy, over-regulation, corruption, etc. etc. .... all discussed ad naseum on this site and others.

If Italy really reformed, plenty of business people would show up to rebuild the country. But who would risk his/her capital in today's Italian business environment?

Albertarocks's picture

At least Japan is printing like a bunch of insane bankers, trying to collapse their currency in order to just be able to make the payments on their current debt because by golly they don't want to default.  Of course, collapsing your currency is exactly that, it's a form of default but they just don't call it that.  They simply call it "the Yen is sliding a little bit".  Unfortunately for Italy, with exactly the same problems Japan has, they literally do not have that printing option.  So....... default it must be.  There is no other way.  What part of 2+2=4 do investors not understand?  Meanwhile, the markets continue to climb at the insane rate of 88% per year and here's the chart that shows that degree of insanity oh so clearly:

I tried to link to the chart but it doesn't work here, so I have to point to the article itself.  Sorry about that but I don't make the rules here about which links will work and which won't.


TBT or not TBT's picture

Italy ask does not enjoy the same degree of ethnic and racial common identity as Japan does. Japan is way homogeneous in those regards, and Italy isn't.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

The problems in Europe Italy or Japan have nothing to do with demographics.


Ireland is the control


We have the highest birth rate in the EU


A quarter to non native mothers.........


Spain retires its people at 18 for FUCK SAKE.




THE ONLY SOLUTION IS FOR A TREASUARY TO PRINT MONEY THAT CANNOT BE LOANED OUT AGAIN (as this private credit creation is destroying real capital at a epic rate)

Totentänzerlied's picture

"The problems in Europe Italy or Japan have nothing to do with demographics."

Under the current welfare and pension systems funding scheme it does. Not to mentiont the whole net-saver vs net-spender thing.

Peachfuzz's picture

Hmmm... Demographics a problem? need more people? US Gubmint owe you money? Great, we'll trade our welfare recepients to anyone who holds our debt. Put them in gulags and let them work their way to freedom. There, now everybody wins. Just think, we could fill the ghost cities of china with our human trash and get out of debt at the same time!

   We don't have to be cruel about it either. After all these people were fine with having 7 year old chinese children stamping out iphones and whatever the fuck for them. Figure out a price for their freedom and let them earn it at $1.25 / day


sunnyside's picture

Why the /sarc ?  At least your plan is viable.  Right now, everyone will go down (excpet my wife, but that's another story).  No matter how good or bad your economic or social behavior has been the past couple of decades, you will be paying for the freeloading banksters and welfare queens and dregs of society eventually.  Doesn't matter that you didn't game the system, when it goes, we all go.  Sucks to have tried to do things right.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Freedom costs a buck oh five, not 1.25. Or has there been stealth inflation?

sunnyside's picture

20 cent bonus for promising not to commit suicide in front of the visiting cameras.