Historian Niall Ferguson, once said that “if young Americans knew what was good for them, they would all be in the Tea Party”.
If young people in Britain know what is good for them, they will get on the next plane out of the country. After all, emigration is the path to prosperity for those stuck in stagnant countries.
And England is not so stagnant as to be petrified. Fifteen years of anemic growth means that the purchasing power of wages is still below its 2008 peak – there are people in their 30s who have seen their entire careers go by without seeing significant wage growth.
The result is that the countries we used to consider our peers have grown ahead.
Our GDP per capita, adjusted for real purchasing power, is closer to Slovenia than to Denmark or Australia.
America’s level of prosperity is so out of reach that we need an economic Apollo mission to bridge the gap between us; the manager of a Buc-Ee gas station in Texas is paid more than our Prime Minister.
With the election tough, Rishi Sunak may regret giving up his US green card.
Economists think of migration as driven by a combination of push factors, the things that pull you away from your country of origin and the things that pull you toward your destination.
If you’re under 50 it’s time to jump ship
We’ve become accustomed to stories of doctors working life-saving shifts in NHS wards for higher pay and fewer hours in Australia, or financial professionals moving to Dubai.
The danger for Britain is that this trend is now becoming widespread as a toxic mix of economic stagnation and increased growth elsewhere lures young people.
Not that the driving aspect is lacking. The housing market has gone beyond dysfunction and into disaster. Record numbers of adults are still living with their parents, trapped by high rents and unaffordable housing prices.
Those who go on strike can spend more than 20 percent of their income on housing costs, double the rate baby boomers spent when they were younger. The average deposit on a family home will take around 19 years to save, compared to three years in the 1980s.
Young people who want to start families find that things that previous generations took for granted are not readily available.
It is difficult not to attribute this disruption to the low birth rate. Fertility rates—the number of children women want to have—are roughly at replacement levels in the UK, even as the number of children they actually have has fallen.
To the extent that it is no longer possible for many to have the family life they dream of in England, that is reason enough to leave.
If you’re under 50 it’s time to jump ship
It doesn’t help that the government prefers to impose Scandinavian tax rates to provide public services at the American level. The tax burden is creeping towards a post-war peak of 37.7 percent of GDP, while the NHS, untransformed and perhaps untransformed, looks set to fall apart.
International comparisons rate healthcare highly for being free at the point of use and treating people equally. The problem is that preventing people from dying is bad.
At the same time, other countries are becoming increasingly attractive. We are used to young people from Central and Eastern Europe coming here to work.
But Poland is now growing so fast that if you predict a pre-pandemic growth rate, it will overtake us in terms of output per capita within ten years.
At the same time, there are several other benefits offered to young people, including exempting those under 26 from paying income tax.
This is a very attractive proposition if you can find a way to work marginally for London wages while paying Warsaw prices.
However, the best reason not to go is because other countries are richer or growing fast.
That’s because Britain seems incapable of solving its own problems, and if anything, they look set to get worse.
England has been an old country for centuries, but it is getting old. People who live longer are definitely good. The problem is that, along with decades of low birth rates. These improved life expectancies have turned the population pyramid upside down. The percentage of the population over 65 has risen from 15 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2022. And is expected to reach nearly 30 percent by 2070.
The result is that caring for the elderly
The UK will become a burden for a growing working-age population. The record tax burden in 2027/28 was received.
We don’t need to reach these heights to live in a stagnant economy with rising taxes to be unattractive. Especially when cuts are likely to be reduced towards the end of this period. To spending meant to benefit today’s wage earners.
German economist Albert Hirschman sees the choice of consumers faced with declining quality. As a choice between upvoting and leaving: staying and trying to improve things or moving to a better alternative. For young people in the UK, ‘voice’ seems to be lacking. There is precious little political pressure to fix either of these problems.
Successive governments have found planning to be the straight line of politics. The NHS is run almost like its own private empire, handing out tax demands from ministers . Who can’t really get involved in running it; neither party really wants to belittle the country.