Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
Then make the most of Germany’s generous parental benefits and job protection for parents on baby leave, and take time off to procreate. That’s at least the message coming from a leading economist in Germany, who is urging the government to do even more for young families, and echoing loudly in the German media.
It may seem counterintuitive — traditionally, birth rates are seen falling during downturns, as people fear for their jobs, worry about a fall in income and seek to reduce costs — but some politicians and researchers say using the recession to have children could be advantageous for all: individuals, companies and the future economy.
Not only does parental leave help avoid being discharged, but you might also be doing your small part to defuse a demographic and economic time bomb, as low birth rates mean average ages are creeping up and putting pressure on the pension, health and welfare system.
And your temporary absence may be good for companies too, many of which are implementing shorter working hours to keep on qualified staff while adjusting to the current slide in demand.
Climate health costs: bug-borne ills, killer heat
Tree-munching beetles, malaria-carrying mosquitoes and deer ticks that spread Lyme disease are three living signs that climate change is likely to exact a heavy toll on human health. These pests and others are expanding their ranges in a warming world, which means people who never had to worry about them will have to start.
Moving a 17-metre high monument to Christopher Columbus 100 metres down the road is how the Spanish government is interpreting the advice of John Maynard Keynes. The economist once argued it would be preferable to pay workers to dig holes and fill them in again, rather than allowing them to stand idle and deprive the economy of the multiplier effect of their wages.
George Alogoskoufis is a hardly a household name outside Greece and EU financial circles. But the newly sacked Greek finance minister could yet become a poster child for politicans struggling to fight off economic decline and banking industry collapse. His demise was in large part due to a public perception that he was helping out the banks but ignoring rising joblessness.
Greece, of course, is a special case at the moment, still recovering from riots over the police shooting of a teenager. But finance ministers, central bankers and other responsibles are probably not immune from Alogoskoufis Syndrome. Balancing the need to bail out the finance industry with rising economic misery among everyday people is not easy. Fat cats are not exactly in favour at the moment.