Niels Jensen’s Absolute Return monthly newsletter raises one of the major structural impediments to growth in Europe:
As [economist Woody Brock] pointed out when in London, ageing has only had a modest impact on GDP growth and inflation so far. Governments have ruined economic growth in Europe; demographics haven’t. If employment laws are such that employment is virtually for life, companies stop hiring. If you can’t fire, you don’t hire, as Woody pointed out….
Similar impediments are evident in Australia. If developed economies want to compete in global markets, they need to get their house in order. Raising barriers to free trade is not a sustainable alternative but will instead destroy any remaining semblance of competitiveness. Trade barriers result in a limited choice of products, forcing customers to pay higher prices and accept inferior quality. Lack of competition leads to the death of innovation. Quality deteriorates and we soon face another zombie industry dependent on government support. A prime example would be the motor industry — in Europe, North America, even Australia — over the last half-century.