Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Will Germany Follow Ireland or East Germany?

My guess is that this is the leading edge of a growing trend.

Koerber is one of 145,000 Germans who fled the fatherland last year amid record postwar unemployment, pushing emigration to its highest level since 1954, Federal Statistics Office figures show. Last year was also the first since the late 1960s that emigrants outnumbered Germans returning home from living abroad, the statistics office said.

Even more troubling to German officials and business leaders, many were skilled workers like Koerber. The loss of such people, they say, may threaten Germany's economic competitiveness in the future.

As more and more Germans leave and find success they lower the perception of risk in picking up your roots to relocate. They tell their family and friends how great it is and supply a base of support for other emigrants. If Germany doesn’t take drastic measures to improve its economy – lower taxes, relax labor rules, ease the burden of regulation – this trickle is going to become a river.

I shouldn’t have to explain what will happen to the German tax base and pension system when highly paid, skilled workers are replaced by uneducated immigrants, I only hope that German lawmakers are as smart.

The only question I have is will the response be to create a freer economy or a restrictive emigration policy?

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