Outmigration: Escaping Greece's Economic Killing Fields

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 5/08/2015 01:30:00 AM
Get the !@#$ outta Greece: the only hope for the future?
Oh, dear. Of all the woes besetting modern Greece, here's one that not many talk about but probably will have the greatest impact going forward: the mass exodus of educated young people continues apace. When they install some vainglorious, bald-headed action star wannabe as finance minister, you know that things have only one way to go in the near future: down. With EU membership (for now) guaranteeing freedom of movement, there really is no need for college graduates and other holders of advanced "human capital" to stick around:
A devastating brain drain is luring away the best and brightest of Greece’s workforce, several reports showed, with estimates varying between 180,000 and 200,000 well-educated citizens leaving the cash-strapped nation. At that rate, the exodus translates to about 10% of the country’s total university-educated workforce, said Lois Lambrinidis, a professor of economic geography at the University of Macedonia.

On a macro level, this movement is a clear brain drain, said Nicholas Alexiou, a sociology professor at CUNY’s Queens College who studies Greek immigration patterns. What differentiates a brain drain from other types of migrant waves is the high percentage of skilled and educated people who leave the country, Alexiou said.

In other words, Greece is losing its “youngest, best and brightest,” as a European University Institute study dated March 2014 noted. According to the study, of those who have left 88% hold a university degree, and of those, over 60% have a master's degree, while 11% hold a Ph.D. According to the EUI report, 79% of those who left Greece during the crisis were actually employed but felt that there was “no future” in the country (50%) or no professional opportunities (25%).
The brain drain is differentiated from other exodus in the smartest leaving, and affects all sorts of economic matters:
It has fiscal implications, affecting income and consumption taxes, among others. But the brain drain also deprives the country of the capacity to generate higher-value production, said Joan Vidra, a former Moody’s analyst who now heads the sovereign-ratings department at ARC Ratings. Even in tourism, despite the increase in the number of international visitors, total income decreased by 36%, according to a study by Endeavor, an international nonprofit supporting entrepreneurship.

Things could get even worse, as around 35,000 young Greeks are currently studying abroad and could decide to seek employment outside the country, the report noted. Not to mention the number of Greeks living in the country who are in the process of relocating. In January 2014, Greek newspaper “To Vima” published a study by Greek market research firm Kapa Research, which showed that 70% of Greek recent graduates wish to work abroad and 10% are already actively looking for a job in a different country.

So, where do these highly educated Greeks go? Overall, the most popular destination is the U.K., followed by Germany and the Netherlands, according to the EUI study. Endeavor’s study says that for those up to 35-years-old (and for moves strictly related to employment — excluding studies, family or other reasons to migrate), the most popular destination is Germany. Germany and U.K. are the most popular destinations accounting for more than 50% of the work-related immigration below the age of 35, said an Endeavor spokesperson.
It behooves me to classify Greece as a "developed" nation when its GDP has already shrunken by 25%, but hey, this remains a case of North-North migration using current country classifications. As the article later notes, one of the main beneficiaries of Greece's implosion in terms of human capital are the Germans, who can pick off the best and the brightest of them to work in the rather more secure confines of Deutschland--another unexpected consequence or regional integration.

In the meantime, the same advice that Ice T gave residents of LA ghettos in the early Nineties is perfectly applicable to Greece's situation as generation upon generations of them will likely pay for the mistakes of their predecessors:

No one wants to live in an urban war
You live there 'cause your parents were poor
They live there because theirs were also
Get yourself together 

Hit the gates bro!

The only ones left will be those desperate enough to think voting in nutcases like Syriza will fix Greece's woes. When sanity has left, you might as well, too.