June 20th was the International Red Cross 'World Refugee Day'. Not that we have anything at all to celebrate.
In my January article (Population growth, climate change and refugees) I quoted the UN estimate of 51 million refugees worldwide. People looking for a home. The UN is now quoting a figure of 60 Million; this amounts to a growth of approximately 50 000 per day over the past six months, and the growth continues unabated. At this rate it won't be long before the figure reaches 100 Million.
Western (developed world) response
The response of the developed world has not in any way succeeded in stemming the flow of refugees, and the policies being considered are, in the long term, likely to be fruitless. Some examples:
- The European Union is having difficulty in persuading its members to formally accept 40 000 'official' refugees per annum. As one can see, from the refugee numbers quoted, it's almost as if they live in another world.
- There are thousands of people flooding into Europe. It is difficult to really understand the figures but there are at least 40 000 people a month, crossing the Mediterranean to Italy or Greece, with every intention of trying to move further north.
- Hungary is contemplating building a huge fence on its border with Serbia.
- Australia has 'stopped the boats'. For how long we don't know.
- The United States is reinforcing its border with Mexico and is trying to send illegals back home.
- The Japanese response to the crisis is as if it merely doesn't exist; they do not accept refugees in any numbers. This is despite the fact that the Japanese population is actually declining and will continue to do so. The Japanese population is already about one million lower than its peak in 2010 of 128 million and is projected to decline to about 65 Million by the end of the century.
Why this sudden increase in refugees?
Much of the increase is of course due to the conflicts in the Middle-East and Afghanistan. It seems unlikely that any of these conflicts will be resolved soon, so the number of refugees from this source will continue to grow.
There are two other reasons for the flood of refugees that are threatening to encompass the developed world Th first is the huge disparity in wealth between the first and third worlds.
To illustrate, listed below are GDP per capita (PPP basis. Ref IMF/CIA) of selected countries:
- United States $ 55 000
- EU $ 38 000
- Great Britain $ 38 000
- Japan $ 37 000
Various African Countries:
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