In global terms the current European chaos is little more than a side-show. Whether Britain leaves or remains pales into insignificance when look at the ‘big cogs’ of world evolution.
Life expectancy worldwide has increased by 50% in the last 50 years according to the UN and, as a result, the global population has increased by 50% in just 25 years. That is two and a half billion extra people looking to make their way in our world – over four times the total population of the European market, so it is hardly surprising that all countries are ‘feeling the squeeze’. Some in these countries see the route to a better life lying overseas and are prepared to travel to find it – they are enterprising, often educated and increasingly well informed. Thanks to the internet they know of the relative prosperity in the US, Europe and other developed economies and would like a share. Last year Germany extended welcoming arms to nearly a million migrants – but what about the other 2499 million extras?
What can be done? – well, putting up the ‘full’ sign is no more an option than an open door policy. What is needed is to find ways to share the prosperity we enjoy in ways that will create opportunities globally and this can be done.
Our focus needs to be on the world beyond Europe, understanding the issues and challenges faced in the countries that have experienced unprecedented population growth, and working with them to find solutions. We should encourage more migration – but with a difference. Rather than just welcoming migrants who are escaping economic and political hardship and war, lets us encourage those who are seeking solutions to the challenges they face at home, let them come to learn and prosper, and when the time is right let them return to share what they have gained. The Philippines have done this for decades, the Polish and doing it now. In earlier times the Scots and the Irish did the same.
Europe is aging rapidly, our continued prosperity depends on building better, more equitable, relationships around the world and not just focus on the 8% of the world population in Europe.