11/21/06

Breakthrough soon ?

Forewords: I am not an economist nor a demographer. However, this theory behind economic breakthrough makes sense to me and it gives me hope about the future of Madagascar and Africa in general. Apologies if I bore you to death over the next few lines. I can promise it's not too long and I do have a point....eventually. :)

I could dwell on the abundance of gloomy news in the developing countries or have a "pity party" over the sad state of the world. You know, with news such as this: the Stern Report from the World Bank (via Tony Karon) : "an average increase of 2 degrees due to global warming would lead to 32 inches raise in sea level which in turns could lead to 30-200 millions at risk of starvation and 60 million more exposed to malaria"
or such as this: the HIV pandemic situation is actually getting worse.
Or more mundane news such as "The Malawian biological father of Madonna's baby did not have enough money to raise his child but he is now getting married and having another baby."
Or that "the cost of the modest Cruise's wedding is probably enough to take care of ___(fill in here with the funding-starved cause of your choice)".
I could go on and on but I won't because 1st) you heard it before and 2nd) we don't need another reminder of how unjust things are in the real world.
Instead, we can focus on what is being done and the positive future prospects. Here is one perspective of view that I especially like (although it was not written for the developing countries)

The dependency/ratio theory (via M. Gladwell):

This theory is mostly illustrated by the economic boom in Ireland in the 90's. Ireland was the black sheep of Europe in terms of economic prosperity from the 60-'s to the 80's. Now Ireland is one of the most prosper nation of Europe with growth rate double the rate of the rest of Europe. Why ?
One possible explanation is the dependency ratio theory.
In short, it's the relation between the number of people who aren’t of working age and the number of people who are.

As explained by Gladwell: "In Ireland during the sixties, when contraception was illegal, there were ten people who were too old or too young to work for every fourteen people in a position to earn a paycheck. That meant that the country was spending a large percentage of its resources on caring for the young and the old. In 2006 Ireland’s dependency ratio hit an all-time low: for every ten dependents, it had twenty-two people of working age. That change coincides precisely with the country’s extraordinary economic surge.[..] Demographers estimate that declines in dependency ratios are responsible for about a third of the East Asian economic miracle of the postwar era [..]Dependency ratios may also help answer the much-debated question of whether India or China has a brighter economic future"

Obviously, it takes more than just demographic analyzes to forecast the economic future of a country. However, the coincidence between dependency ratio and economic boom is intriguing.

So what is Madagascar's dependency ratio ?
A definite answer is difficult to have because the proportion of working people for each age category is very variable (child labor, unemployment etc...). However 45% of the population is under the age of 15 which makes Madagascar the 5th youngest nation in the world with a ratio of 10 dependents per 12.5 working people. Ouch, In other words, we are in Ireland situation 25 years ago or worse.
I am hopeful that 25 years from now, the kids will do us proud, grow into productive "assets" and pull us out of perpetual poverty.
It could happen, it's got to start now, the onus is on us. This was my "pep talk" for the courageous ones who are planning projects for a return home and the ones who are already there. :) Kudos to all of you for contributing to the increase of active workers.
(I am not going back yet so this is in no way, shape or form a judgment on those who choose to stay abroad. We've got to make things work from wherever we are and soldier on from there. )

On a totally unrelated note, this space is been up for almost a year now. Amazing how time flies. What is the legal age for a blog to start drinking anyway ?

PS: 1) Obviously dependency ratio for senior citizens is also a factor to be considered but in western Europe, not in the southern regions.
2) This "theory" amounts to zero, ziltch, nada.... IF most of the kids don't ever make it to the workforce because of various illnesses. ( Cela va sans dire mais ca va mieux en le disant ).
3) There are very qualified people in the blogosphere who could discuss this with much more expertise. So is this theory total bollocks or is there an actual basis for hope ? :) (Assuming the dependency ratio is significantly lower in 20 years and that none of this nonsense is to happen again).
update:
BBB's article about managing the dependency ratio here.



8 comments:

  1. hey , ça donne envie de faire un telo-telo contre l'équipe de gladwell (toi maka an'i gladwell :))

    Si cette théorie à déjà fait ses preuves, ce n'est pas du bollocks et je suis certains que ça pourra marcher chez nous...

    Dans la foulée j'ai trouvé ça:
    « Dans une société cohérente et vivace, il y a de tous à chacun et de chacun à tous un continuel
    échange d'idées et de sentiments et comme une mutuelle assistance morale, qui fait que l'individu, au
    lieu d'être réduit à ses seules forces, participe à l'énergie collective et vient y réconforter la sienne
    quand elle est à bout. » disait E. Durkheim dans le suicide (1897, p. 224).

    Dans le même ordre d'idée que "phénomène du petit monde" ?
    En tout cas merci d'avoir linker Gladwell, il est enorme ;)

    What is the legal age for a blog to start drinking anyway ?moi j'étais punch drunk-blog ce week-end et je sais que je ne blogerai plus de la même façon. bonne ou mauvaise, je ne sais pas mais ça ne va plus être pareil :( ... maximisons les retombées :)
    bonne soirée Lova

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  2. Salut HJK,

    Encore insomniaque :) ! J'aime beaucoup le passage que tu as retranscrit. Fihavanana, Ubuntu,..bp plus que de simples paroles, it's happening :).
    Le lien pour le phenomene du petit monde ne passe pas .. :(.
    Quand tu dis que tu ne blogueras plus pareil, je comprends ce que tu dis mais ne change pas trop car "hjk is hjk" :)
    Peace, mate.

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  3. grosse fatigue de fin de journée hier soir...
    je voulais faire un lien sur l'étude du petit monde qui fait reférence au « The Tipping Point » (le point de déclenchement, de saturation) de Malcom Gladwell que j'ai découvert hier soir grace a toi. (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tude_du_petit_monde)

    Aussi, je viens de rajouter un lien sur ton article de l'Ubuntu sur mon dernier article ... erreur de Rookie :))

    Atao ahoana fa ny fanirina hi-dunk ngeza dia ngeza nefa hoza-pe tsy maharaka e!
    peace out à toi aussi

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  4. Hey Hjk,
    Gros coup de pompe ici aussi :( La nuit qui tombe a 5h du soir et un vent glacial n'arrangent pas les choses. Merci pour le lien, je ne connaissais pas la terminologie en Francais.
    Sans exaggerer, "Tipping point" a radicalement change mon point de vue sur les choses. Bonne lecture et Happy thanksgiving ;).

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  5. rakotomalala monique3:58 PM

    tres interressant le dependancy ratio..mais ca on savait et c'et peut etre pour ca que enfin a mada il ya un ministere de la sante et du planning familial...qui en passant ne peut reussir que si les femmes et les filles sont eduquees et par la meme auront le choix eclaire de faire un,deux ou plus d'enfants ,a la mesure de leurs moyens economiques...droit fondamental a l'education et a la sante, prerequis pour le developpement! cas de l'Irlande d'il ya vingt ans!

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  6. Eureka ! Envoyons les jeunes de moins de 15 ans dans les mines et on aura un workforce de disons de 30% de plus.
    Le ratio va s'inverser ! (Mince, ILO c'est foutu hhhhh)

    Sérieusement, pas mal cette théorie. Elle nous montre, qu'à moins de travailler 2 fois plus, on n'est pas prêt de nous en sortir. C'est plutot mal parti. Ce n'est pas le plein emploi qui nous sortira du marasme.
    J'avais un prof d'éco qui disait tjrs: "Nous basons notre éco sur la consommation comme nous l'impose l'Occident". Alors qu'avant, on doit produire, donc il faudrait rebâtir toutes les théories à partir d'une éco de production... bref, à côté de la plaque quoi.
    Heureusement, qu'il y a d'autres facteurs (éducation, infrastructure, ...). Ceci dit, je ne pense pas que dans 20 ans, on aura la prospérité de l'Irlande. Pessimiste, moi ? euh non, peut-être un nouveau défi ? hh

    ps: Sinon L'Irlande, c'est moins de 5 millions d'habitants sur 84000 km² hhh

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  7. > Salut O Mounite, :)

    Je savais que ca allait interpelle quelque part le depedency ratio :). Avec un petit coup de pouce a la cause des femmes :). Au fait, la phrase: " The Development of Africa will be led by women or will not be" c'est Peter Piot ?

    @ Marc,
    Atteindre le niveau de l'Irlande est certes un peu ambitieux mais c'est un bon point de repere ;).
    Base notre economie sur une logique de production serait preferable mais on sera helas encore dependent de la consommation etrangere, mondialisation oblige.
    5 millions de Irish seulement ? Il y a au moins autant d'Irlandais a NY et Chicago reunis :)

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  8. update BBC on birth control and MDG
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6219922.stm

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