Drivers of our futures: High levels of youth unemployment

9 Jul

Here´s a report on the top ten countries where young people cannot get a job.  A driver of shorter-term political instability, longer-term economic challenges, and social alienation: youth unemployment is an issue that European politicians pay lip service to, but seem to ignore the importance of.  Perhaps they think that though it is one of the drivers of political instability internationally, that Europe seems to have some magical protective factor.  We should definitely not take this protective factor for granted.  Hirschmann´s thinking on inequality (in particular the traffic lanes described in “The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic Development”) is still relevant and more helpful than many current socio-economic-political discussions.  An important driver of tolerance for inequality is perception, namely individuals´ expectations whether their welfare will improve. So its not just the absolute degree of inequality but cultural factors around fairness, identity, distribution shape of the impact of austerity, etc.   And time.  Basically, don´t assume that just because you ain´t seen nothing (much) yet, it won´t happen in the future.

UK PM Cameron floated the idea to cut benefits to certain under 25 year olds – another narrowly-conceived hyper-short-term politically cynical move that is tone-deaf to even the short-term UK national interest.  The political class in UK and Europe need to understand, to care (and communicate they care), and to radically change how the current situation is affecting the youngest third of our population.

% Youth Unemployment:

  • Lithuania 27.7%
  • Latvia 28.1%
  • Ireland 28.1%
  • Bulgaria 29.2%
  • Italy 36.2%
  • Portugal 36.4%
  • Slovakia 38.8%
  • Croatia 41.6%
  • Greece and Spain tied 52.1%

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