24grammata.com/ αγγλικά / Λόγος
Michael C. Geokas, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D.
(EM)Professor of Medicine and Biological
Chemistry, UC, Davis School of Medicine,
πηγή: www.demokritos.org (έγκυρος και προτεινόμενος ιστότοπος)
A study by a special interparty Committee of the Greek Parliament has identified a serious Demographic Problem in Greece. The Proceedings (PRAKTIKA VOULIS) of February 11,1993 tell the story. The Total Fertility Rate (TFR)-births in a year in terms of the implied average number of children per woman over a lifetime-and Population Growth or Rate of Natural Increase (RNI)-birth rate, minus the death rate-in Greece, were at non-replacement levels, at 1.4 and 0.1 per cent respectively. Furthermore, there was steady aging of the population, with people over 65, at 13 per cent of total.
At the year 2015 the population of Greece will be reduced by 500,000, at about 10,200,000. Greece has the lowest TFR from all other countries in the Balkans. However, Italy and Spain have a TFR of only 1.2. In sharp contrast, the 15 countries and the two regions of the Middle East (Gaza and West Bank) maintain a high TFR (from 2.9 for Israel to 8.1 for Gaza) and a high natural increase of their population (from 1.5 for Israel to 5.0 for Gaza).
Their total population in 1996 was 219.8 million and it is projected to increase at 413.1 million in 2025. Complete data for each nation and the two regions are found in the attached Tables (Population and Vital Rates Middle East).
There is high TFR and high Population growth in Turkey, with 2.7 TFR and 91.8 million people expected by 2025. Albania by 2025 will have about 12,000,000 people (Including Moslems in Kosovo, Skopje and Bulgaria), which will be 20 per cent more than the population of Greece. At 2025, Greece is projected to have about 10 million people with 20 per cent of them over 65, whereas people in Turkey and Albania will be much younger. Precise Demographic data concerning various minority groups in Turkey are incomplete.
Turks however, make up less than 80 per cent of Turkey’s and 25 per cent of Iran’s populations. Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East and in 1990, 27 million lived in a mountainous region that spreads into Turkey (14 million), Iran (7 million), Iraq (5 million) and Syria (1 million). The proportion of Turks in Turkey is declining because the Kurds in that country have higher birth rates. Thus, at 2050 about 44.4 per cent of Turkey’s population will be Kurds. The shifting shares among ethnic groups (Kurds and others) in the Middle East, are expected to have important, social, economic and political implications.
The problem is very low fertility, immigration and relatively high mortality due to population aging. These are the three factors, that control population growth and Demography (a Greek word) means the study of populations. THE DANGER OF WAVES OF ILLEGAL MIGRANTS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS IS REAL DURING THE COMING TWO DECADES.
Over one million immigrants, today, most of them illegal, into a Demographically weak country like Greece, an outpost of Europe at the tectonic line separating two different civilizations is extremely worrisome. ESPECIALLY, WEAKENING OF THE ARMED FORCES DUE TO REDUCTION OF DRAFTEES IS CONSIDERED UNACCEPTABLE.
Some of the specific reasons for zero population growth in Greece are: The extensive use of contraception and the liberal use of abortions (300,000 yearly, which amounts to self-inflicted genocide) and sterilization, as the means of family planning. The precise effect of Mediterranean anemia (800,000 to 1,000,000 people in Greece are afflicted) is unknown.
Immigration (1954-1971) accounted for 1,439,000 people leaving Greece, mainly young couples with children. Some people returned during the energy crisis but not enough to make an impact.
Motor vehicle fatalities and injuries are a scandal, with up to 4,000 deaths and 38,000 injuries per year. Traffic control is very ineffective, most accidents are head-on collisions, and the young refuse to wear protective helmets, despite the existing rules. There is some paralysis of law enforcement. Aggressive driving is a scandal.
In American terms it means 100,000 deaths (4,000 x 25) from motor vehicle accidents per year. However in America with the known astronomical number of motor vehicles and the endless freeways, there were only 41,467 fatalities in 1991.
Socioeconomic factors cited by the Greek Parliament as responsible for low fertility are: Housing shortage (32% of people live in small apartments); the low per capita income ($6230 per year), coupled with high costs of education and childbearing; the high expectations among the young; the lack of day care centers; loss of traditional values concerning marriage, family and children; the excessive materialism, consumerism, drug abuse, AIDS epidemic and other factors.
The Greek Governments have periodically adopted some pronatalist measures, which have proven to be very inadequate in reversing the looming demographic disaster in Greece. Very recently, a five-year plan was proposed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare. In my view these measures alone and the way they are financed, will not solve this very expensive and seemingly intractable Demographic Problem.
GREECE CANNOT AND WILL NOT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM BY HERSELF WITHOUT HELP FROM DIASPORA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION. THE NEEDS OF THIS PROBLEM CANNOT COMPETE WITH NEEDS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND AUSTERITY MEASURES REQUIRED FOR THE MONETARY UNION.
This is why, after an extensive research study, I have prepared independently a Comprehensive Proposal and have submitted it to the Prime Minister and to other members of the Government.
A SPECIAL PROPOSAL CONCERNING A PILOT PROGRAM FOR THRACE HAS ALSO BEEN SUBMITTED TO THE GOVERNMENT.
So far, there has been no positive response to my Proposals despite strong written support by many distinguished Americans including, the Presidents of SAE (Council of Greeks Abroad) and my extensive publishing in the Greek Press, my T.V. appearances and the plethora of Lectures to large audiences in Greece, in addition to periodic personal discussions with members of the Greek Government.
KEY POINTS OF MY PROPOSAL
I suggest a Global definition of the Demographic Problem (this is a problem for the people of Greek origin everywhere, not only for the people of Greece); emphasis on fund raising within and outside Greece to support the program with a SUPERFUND; emphasis on a Mammoth Educational campaign for the people of Greece and for Hellenes of Diaspora, with the participation of the Media, the Church, the Armed Forces and others; formation of a Task Force of top experts from Greece and from the United States, to finalize a Comprehensive Plan of Action; and development of a new National Policy concerning Abortions, similar to that adopted by the German Parliament.
Wellness programs and Preventive Medicine measures especially for Cancer and Cardiovascular diseases in Greece; Draconian rules for Traffic Control and reduction of Motor Vehicle accidents; the boosting of fertility and the reduction of abortions, with counseling and with strong financial incentives.
The development of a network of Day Care Centers; financing of marriage at early age, together with generous subsidies for Mothers and Children; reduction of spinsterhood with financial support to young Women; development of a National Center for injury control, similar to the Center in Atlanta Georgia; development of a Private Institute (not a Public Institute, which will be another bureaucracy) as the Center for Demographic Research, Education and Fund Raising. Development of a Ministry for Demographic Affairs.
The pursuing reverse Migration from abroad with financial and other incentives; pursuing Counterurbanization (people going back from the cities to rural areas) by boosting smaller cities in the provinces; pursuing the development of new Water resources with reservoirs, to be used during the dry summer months for irrigation and recreation. The development of strong expertise on Gene Therapy which will help people with Mediterranean Anemia and other diseases. Young Greek doctor-scientists should be send to United States right now, to study Gene Therapy.
The attracting of Greek-American and other Retirees from the United States to settle in Greece, especially in the Islands, by providing appropriate incentives.
Finally, I wish to harness on behalf of Greece, the enormous scientific talent that exists in America on population issues, as well as the enormous energy of the Greek-American Community.
I N SUMMARY : I wish to raised the alarm on this issue which is vital to Hellenism. The Population Growth at 0.1 per cent and the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 1.3, in Greece, with 300,000 abortions and about 100,000 live births per year, are unacceptable and should be modified. The United States, with a population of 265 million has only 32,000 abortions for 100,000 live births per year and Turkey has only 18,000 abortions. Only Russia, with 147 million people has 302,000 abortions for 100,000 live births. Population like nature abhors a vacuum and is compelled to move from high-growth to low-growth areas, especially if there is a pull-factor of economic advantage.
This is exactly what is going to happen at the beginning of the next Century: waves of illegal migrants from North Africa, the Middle East and other areas, will flood the Countries of the European Union, including Greece. In 1996 700,000 illegal migrants entered Italy alone, from Africa and other third world areas.
THIS IS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE TO THE GREEK NATION AND TO ALL HELLENES SINCE MARCH 25th, 1821. For the Greeks, to do nothing or little, about this problem right now, it will mean the collective suicide of the Greek Nation, beyond the year 2050.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEADERSHIP AND PEOPLE OF GREECE, CO-SIGNED BY 20 AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS OF HELLENIC ORIGIN, BY A CALIFORNIA SENATOR AND BY A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER, AS WELL MY RECENT OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER MR. SIMITIS, HAVE FALLEN ON DEAF EARS.
Greece needs a strong Program for achieving replacement rate fertility (2.1).
I have proposed such a long-range pronatalist plan for brisk Population growth in Greece. My plan will combine Scientific Talent from Greece and from abroad; and will utilize the resources, of Greek origin everywhere. This is the only effective answer to the Demographic issue. THE SUPERFUND IS EVERYTHING.
FINALLY,THE FIVE-YEAR PLAN, JUST PROPOSED BY THE GREEK MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND WELFARE WILL NOT INCREASE THE FERTILITY RATE IN GREECE. FOR A PLAN TO SUCCEED, IT SHOULD BE BIG, VERY COMPREHENSIVE AND VERY EXPENSIVE INDEED. ONLY MY PLAN CONTAINS ALL THESE ELEMENTS. NOW IS THE TIME AND NOW IS THE HOUR TO TAKE ACTION, because….
“Life is short; and the art long; and the right time an instant.”
Hippocrates (460-370 BC).
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