From The Economist

Here are some recent excerpts from The Economist, which caught my attention:

More Muslims please:

Three things account for America’s relative security. The first is its distance from the Middle East; the second is decent law enforcement, especially by the FBI, which since 2001 has partly turned itself into the internal spy agency America lacked. Its counter-terrorism staff, whose number has grown by 2,000, are investigating links to IS in 50 states. By far the most important reason, however, is that American Muslims are less interested in being radicalised than their European counterparts.

They are richer, better educated and altogether better integrated into the mainstream. Though less than 1% of America’s population, they account for 10% of its doctors; in 2011, less than half said that most of their closest friends were Muslims.

What Europe gets wrong:

A series of problems, however, hinder the smooth movement of refugees into European workplaces. The first, and broadest, of these is legal. America generally lets in people it has already screened and recognised as refugees, and allows them to start work almost immediately. There are plenty of low-paid jobs waiting for them, and they typically integrate, and learn English, quickly. Europe mostly gets asylum-seekers, and keeps them waiting, sometimes for years, for refugee status. In this legal limbo they typically get welfare and shelter but are usually barred from work, and even from state-funded language lessons.

Europeans have been too slow to grasp that getting newcomers quickly into the labour market is “the only way” to integrate them, says Demetrios Papademetriou of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, DC.

A surprising data point from Germany:

Even before this year’s surge, western Europe had lots of immigrant students. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the proportion of 15-year-old schoolchildren in Spain who are foreign-born rose from 3% to 8% from 2003 to 2012 (though in Germany it fell by about the same amount).

And these students may help boost education standards in Sweden:

Most important, European governments need to treat refugee children as an opportunity rather than a problem. Driven by a desperate desire for a better life, they and their parents tend to be hard-working and ambitious. Europeans worried about migrants studying beside their children should take comfort: the most important predictor of pupils’ school results is their parents’ level of education, and about half of the refugees reaching Europe from Syria have university degrees, according to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency (though other surveys put this number far lower). “Sometimes I joke that Syrian children may help reverse [our decline in] PISA results in maths,” quips Ms Hadzialic. If they are integrated properly, she may be right.

The 50% figure is wrong, although of course if you get your news from the sludge media you’d assume they are all rapists.

Last year I pointed out that almost all the population growth over the next century would be in Africa.  That’s even more true today:

Alarmingly, population growth in Africa is not slowing as quickly as demographers had expected. In 2004 the UN predicted that the continent’s population would grow from a little over 900m at the time, to about 2.3 billion in 2100. At the same time it put the world’s total population in 2100 at 9.1 billion, up from 7.3 billion today. But the UN’s latest estimates, published earlier this year, have global population in 2100 at 11.2 billion—and Africa is where almost all the newly added people will be. The UN now thinks that by 2100 the continent will be home to 4.4 billion people, an increase of more than 2 billion compared with its previous estimate.

“Alarmingly”?  I’m not sure the Ethiopians are alarmed to be alive:

(Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most-populous country after Nigeria; by some estimates it has nearly 100m people.) Most women still have four or five children. The standard family plot has shrunk to less than a hectare.

Yet, despite these self-imposed brakes, Ethiopia’s economic progress has been spectacular. Its growth rate, if the latest official figure of 11% is true, is the fastest in Africa; and even the lower figure of around 8%, which the IMF and many Western analysts prefer, is still very perky. Social and economic indices are reckoned to have improved faster than anywhere else in Africa, albeit from a low base. Extreme poverty, defined as a daily income of under $1.25, afflicted 56% of the population in 2000, according to the World Bank, but had fallen to 31% by 2011 and is thought to be dipping still. The average Ethiopian lifespan has risen in the same period by a year each year, and now stands at 64. Child and infant mortality have dived. Protection for the rural poor in time of drought, which presently afflicts swathes of the north and east, is more effective than before. The government has “the most impressive record in the world” in reducing poverty, says a British aid official.

This excellent article in The Economist points out that, throughout the developed world, minorities are rapidly integrating into the native population. Residential segregation is falling fast.  I’ve never believed that whites would become a minority in America (although I hope I’m wrong.)  One reason is that intermarriage rates are very high:

In London whites and black Caribbeans marry or cohabit in such numbers that there are now more children under five who are a mixture of those two groups than there are black Caribbean children. Marriages between whites and Asians are growing, too. America is mixing just as quickly. In 2014, Mr Frey calculates, 19% of new American marriages involving whites and 31% involving blacks were mixed-race. The share for both Hispanics and Asians was 46%. The children of such unions can be hard to deal with statistically. So in the future the numbers will probably underestimate the speed of desegregation.

My daughter is has a white dad and an Asian mom, and is generally regarded as “white.”  In the future, there’ll be millions more like her.  In the 22nd century, America will be beige, unless by then genetic engineering allows each person to pick their skin color.

Unfortunately, Puerto Rico just died of SIIDS (sudden infant industry death syndrome):

Federal investment and tax breaks helped Puerto Rico develop from a sugar-based economy to a pharmaceutical-manufacturing hub. But once producers like Ireland and Singapore began to compete and the tax preferences expired, the island did not develop a new comparative advantage. As part of the United States, Puerto Rico could not devalue its currency, and the national minimum wage inflated its labour costs. But being American offered benefits as well. Residents could move to the States to find work, and were eligible for federal welfare payments if they stayed. Meanwhile, the government could issue tax-exempt municipal bonds, prized by mainland investors.

As a result, the economy slowly hollowed out. The population has fallen from 3.9m to 3.5m during the past decade, with young workers accounting for much of the exodus. Those who stayed tended either to depend on the state—as students, public employees, pensioners or recipients of federal largesse—or to fall into the sprawling underground economy and bustling drug trade. Candidates from across the political spectrum have won office by keeping the gravy train running: more than a third of Puerto Rican schoolchildren are classified as having special needs, inflating the teacher-to-pupil ratio, and the island’s health plan for the poor would be the envy of any American state. A paltry 40% of working-age boricuas are in the labour force, and just 57% of personal income in Puerto Rico comes from formal private jobs, compared with 76% for the 50 states, according to José Villamil, an economist. Investment has collapsed, from 27% of GNP in 2001 to 13% today. Yet retail sales have held steady since 2008. The only way to maintain consumption was via massive borrowing: during the past 15 years, the government’s nominal debt load has tripled.

Just wait until the US mainland gets that $15 hour minimum wage.  Perhaps our unemployed poor can then move north to Canada.

On a lighter note, the annual Holiday double issue was as delightful as always, with the three standout articles discussing Tibetans, Gujaratis, and master/slave dynamics on a desert island.  Here’s an excerpt from the Tibetan articlewhich erases any doubts about the evil nature of China’s government.  (It discusses the boom in a medicinal caterpillar.  But read the entire issue.):

Caterpillar fungus has also been a direct cause of violence among Tibetans, and between Tibetans and caterpillar-poaching Hans. In parts of the plateau, the annual rush for fungus is Klondike-like. In a report by the Communist Party committee of Nangqian county in Yushu, a village official says: “Caterpillar fungus has turned people bad. It has made them think only of money and caused them to lose their sense of family, friendship and humanity.” Complaints abound about Tibetans frittering away their caterpillar money on gambling and booze (there are few opportunities for Tibetans to find decent work in cities, where jobs usually go to Hans or Huis).

Mr Mayong, the guide, insists that in his experience, fellow villagers are courteous to each other in their collective scramble. That is not how it works between rival villages, however, or when caterpillar poachers invade a village’s territory. In 2013 two people were killed in another part of Qinghai when villagers shot at rivals. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, said fungus-fuelled fighting had caused “disgrace to the Tibetan people” and a “crisis” on the plateau.

During this year’s harvest season, security forces in some parts of the plateau warned that the task of “stability preservation” was “grim”. In Shangri-La, a Tibetan town in Yunnan province (so named in 2002 in order to attract more tourists), police told residents to give up any hidden guns as the season approached. In one county of the TAR, villagers were told they would be banned from harvesting caterpillar fungus for a year if they used any outsiders to help—an attempt, partly, to curb the kind of violence that has sometimes broken out between Tibetans and Han fungus-gatherers.

The environmental fallout has been considerable, too. For a time before the earthquake in Yushu, the horse festival (which includes yak races—a perilous sport for the riders) offered a clue to one aspect of this. It was in the elaborate traditional costumes that rural Tibetans like to wear on special occasions. Enriched by caterpillar fungus, some took to augmenting their garb with the skins of leopards and tigers smuggled from India through Nepal.

Local officials in Tibet were of little help in stopping this. According to Emily Yeh of the University of Colorado at Boulder, they wanted to encourage festivals as way of attracting tourists from the rest of China; exotically dressed Tibetans were seen as crowd-pullers. Counties in some parts of the Tibetan plateau “competed to show off their wealth and development status through the hyperbolic display of jewellery and pelts on the bodies of their Tibetan participants [at festivals], often so much that participants had trouble walking under their weight”, she said in a paper published in 2013. Popular singers began sporting pelt trims on their music DVDs. This surprising—and tragic—side-effect of demand for a purported aphrodisiac came to an equally unexpected end. In 2006, at a prayer ceremony in India attended by thousands of Tibetan pilgrims, the Dalai Lama called on Tibetans to cease wearing animal furs. The impact was immediate. From across Tibet reports emerged of Tibetans piling up their furs and burning them: given the garments’ huge value, an extraordinary display of devotion to the Dalai Lama. Anxious Chinese officials tried to ban such bonfires and arrested the organisers. In some places they even ordered Tibetans to wear their furs at festivals.

But the Dalai Lama’s injunction held firm. Despite a stepped-up campaign by the government to vilify the exiled Tibetan leader since the unrest in 2008, Tibetans appear largely to have heeded him. India’s tiger population fell from 3,642 in 2002 to a low of 1,411 in 2006. Since then it has climbed back up to 2,226. Your correspondent did not spot any furs looking like those of rare animals at this year’s festival in Yushu. In the privacy of Tibetans’ homes, the Dalai Lama’s popularity is evident. One yak-herder, in her tent on the 4,500-metre pastures of Lanweilaha Mountain, gets out her box of recently harvested caterpillar fungi. She keeps it under a portrait of the Dalai Lama (banned in some parts of the plateau) which has a strip of yellow cloth draped over it as a symbol of respect.

Only China’s government would order people to wear tiger skins.

PS.  The Gujarati article makes me more pessimistic about India—can you guess why?



29 Responses to “From The Economist”

  1. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    17. January 2016 at 14:54

    Wow, great post about Muslims being doctors. Certainly, integration into the economy is crucial. Europe is so, well, stupid.

    Puerto Rico was screwed by the American government. Tax breaks were taken away by congress and that was a big mistake. The US dropped the ball in favor of Ireland and Singapore? What d-bags congress is when it comes to Puerto Rico.

    PR’s big mistake was not to shower a decadent congress with money.

  2. Gravatar of Nirav Nirav
    17. January 2016 at 15:28

    The Gujarati article says rest of India is unproductive?
    Or Indian businessmen need to go abroad to make money?

  3. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    17. January 2016 at 16:19

    Hmm. I’d be curious if anyone has already done a study where they compare immigrants with similar socio-economic factors from the same country, but immigrating to different host countries. This may be impossible given the lack of good records on education or income in most third world countries, but it would be interesting to see how, say, Nigerian immigrants to Dallas compare to Nigerian immigrants in London 5 years, 10 years out, with the same education and wealth coming over. It would be interesting even just to compare Nigerian immigrants in Dallas with Nigerian immigrants in Baltimore, to get an idea of comparative mobility between states.

    Scott Sumner: “I’ve never believed that whites would become a minority in America (although I hope I’m wrong.)”
    This strikes me as a very bizarre sentiment. From a racial perspective, I would think we would aspire to be indifferent to the racial breakdown of the country (both whites desperate to preserve the majority and ethnic minorities eager to see whites become the minority frighten me).

    From an economic perspective, I would think we would hope Latin American and East Asian countries would develop to the point of more or less being our economic equals, which would end large scale immigration from them.

  4. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. January 2016 at 16:54

    Nirav, I recall that when Modi was elected, people pointed to his skill in boosting the Gujarat economy. This article made me wonder if Gujarat’s success was due to other forces, in which case maybe we cannot expect a replay of that success at the national level.

    Mark, I’m half joking, but I suppose I’m serious in the sense that an America that looked like the rest of the world would be more interesting, less boring. Of course you could say that race isn’t really the issue there, and I’d have to agree. It’s not even clear what “white” means, many Hispanics view themselves as white (Rubio, Cruz, etc.) What about Arabs, Iranians? Indians? Pakistanis? It’s a fuzzy set.

  5. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    17. January 2016 at 17:39

    “Mark, I’m half joking, but I suppose I’m serious in the sense that an America that looked like the rest of the world would be more interesting, less boring.”
    Oh ok. As far as big countries go, I think we’re a pretty diverse one. Of course one of the biggest reason’s I’d like to live in a big cosmopolitan city like New York is to be close to a Chinatown, a Little Italy (though Bensonhurst is now the real Little Italy), a Koreantown, a Little Odessa (Brighton Beach); if I lived there and had the money I’d eat a different country’s cuisine every day.

    I thin “white” has a lot to do with economics. Italians weren’t considered white when they came over until they became largely middle class. I think the same will happen to a lot of hispanics and Arabs, and to some extent is already happening with East Asians; I mean, their loan approval rate is even higher than it is for white people; not that I’m complaining or blaming that on ‘Asian privilege’, haha.

  6. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    17. January 2016 at 18:18

    I agree with Scott. The US should open its borders to those who have an above average score on the MCAT. But then one must ask: What does the US government say to the vast majority who wish to immigrate but who fall short of this standard? And how does the government ensure that those it gives entry to won’t turn around and rape and kill the natives? Do not the natives deserve this protection from their government?

    Immigration is desirable when the immigrants add value to the society they are joining. There is no guarantee, at least none that I know of, that this will happen with mass immigration. The open border immigration of Europeans to America in the 16th – 18th century did not add value to the native America population. Of course it did add value to the newly settled European population and they won and made the rules. For a common sense reading on immigration I highly recommend this post by Ross Douthat:

  7. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    17. January 2016 at 20:17

    “In the 22nd century, America will be beige, unless by then genetic engineering allows each person to pick their skin color.”

    -The Chinese aren’t beige (except in some southerly parts). And, as Razib pointed out, even with noise, you always end up with a lot of diversity in skin color.

    “One reason is that intermarriage rates are very high:”

    -The one-drop rule makes those people nonwhite by many Americans’ standards.

    “And these students may help boost education standards in Sweden:”

    -And I say they won’t.

    “The 50% figure is wrong, although of course if you get your news from the sludge media you’d assume they are all rapists.”

    -If Rotheram is anything to go by (not Syrian, but still very traditional Islamic), I strongly suspect there are more rapists among these migrants than persons having the intellectual capability of typical German Ph.Ds.

    “Last year I pointed out that almost all the population growth over the next century would be in Africa.”

    -See; that’s really sad. I’d prefer the most fertile countries in the world today be the least, and the least, most.

    ““Alarmingly”? I’m not sure the Ethiopians are alarmed to be alive:”

    -Yes; “alarmingly”, by any standard, this is a dysgenic trend. Ethiopia would be better off if immigrants could make a greater difference on its fate.

    My guess is the Gujarati article makes you more pessimistic on India because of this:

    “Most fundamentally, those Gujaratis who turn to business say that they are constitutionally unsuited to working for other people.”

  8. Gravatar of Brett Brett
    17. January 2016 at 22:07

    Speaking of your daughter, Prospect had an interesting article about how we’re probably under-counting the number of people who are “white” in America. Children of mixed marriages – like yours – automatically get counted as non-white minorities until they reach adulthood, at which point they can present themselves as “white” in Census measurements if they choose to.

    Puerto Rico just makes me sad. That place should be Florida 2.0, with a booming tourist and retiree-driven economy due to it being a tropical island location you can visit without a visa if you’re an American (and without as long of a flight if you live in the eastern US and don’t want to fly all the way to Hawaii).

    Ethiopia’s boom has a lot in common with China’s, in that the government has been on a massive expansion of basic infrastructure. A country like that needs just about everything in terms of infrastructure, plus the systems to maintain it. And as China shows, just getting that and some basic macroeconomic policies right can lead to a massive boom.

  9. Gravatar of Brett Brett
    17. January 2016 at 22:11

    Oh, and I definitely think we’ll be genetically modifying our kids if it’s affordable by the 22nd century. That will probably include lightening their skin, unless beauty standards shift drastically over the next century. Hair is another matter – it’s just really easy to already change hair color to whatever is in fashion.

    Of course, plastic surgery might be so good in the 22nd century that you can look like whatever you want without genetic engineering. Are you a short black guy who wants to be a statuesque blond man (or woman), or vice versa? There you go.

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. January 2016 at 05:51

    Brett, I’d add that even though Ethiopia has done better than some other African countries, the Economist article points to lots of ways they could do much better–they still have lots of stupid economic policies. In absolute terms they are still extremely poor.

  11. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    18. January 2016 at 09:44

    Brett, Puerto Rico is a fantastic economic success story. The majority of its Real GDP per capita gap with the United States is probably due to its low IQ.

    All land belongs to the state, so it cannot be used as collateral for borrowing, which is one reason why commercial farming has yet to reach Lalibela. Consequently supplies of culinary basics are spotty. Local chickens are too scrawny. The government will not yet allow retailers such as South Africa’s Shoprite or Kenya’s Nakumatt to set up in Ethiopia, let alone in Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Bookings at Ben Abeba are tricky to take, since the internet and mobile-phone service are patchy. Credit cards work “about half the time”, says Ms Aitchison. Imports for such essentials as kitchen spares are often held up at the airport, where tariffs are sky-high: a recent batch of T-shirts with logos for the staff ended up costing three times its original price. Wine, even the excellent local stuff, is sometimes unavailable, because transport from Addis, two days’ drive away, is irregular and private haulage minimal. The postal service barely works. Fuel at Lalibela’s sole (state-owned) petrol station runs out. Visitors can fly up from Addis on Ethiopian Airways every morning, but private airlines are pretty well kept out.

    -This makes me more pessimistic about Ethiopia. It might have the fastest-growing economy in Africa over the past decade, but its government is clearly taking a very state-based, monopolistic approach to things. Of course, it could have been worse; before 2002, its economy was very stagnant.

    And despite the fact Kenya may be more wired and banked, it still clearly has very slow economic growth.

  12. Gravatar of HW HW
    18. January 2016 at 09:45

    If anything, immigration has contributed to the decline in PISA scores in Sweden. This OECD paper shows immigrant students in Sweden tend to underperform relative to native-born students. (page 73 for maths differences).

    There is also a Swedish paper (in Swedish) that finds that the increase of foreign-born students contributed 29% of the fall in PISA scores for Sweden between 2000-2012.

    There is very little evidence that refugee immigration to Sweden will raise education standards.

  13. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    18. January 2016 at 09:47

    a revolutionary regional party that originally drew its inspiration from Enver Hoxha’s Albanian brand of communism

    -That explains it, I guess.

  14. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    18. January 2016 at 11:53

    By comparing the US and the EU you see several things:

    – A strong border control is really important. Open borders end in a disaster. A country with an open border close by an instable neighbor does not stabilize its neighbor but gets destabilized instead.

    – Spy agencies are really important.

    – Law enforcement is really important.

    – Immigration is important but it needs to be controlled. Low-skilled migration must be limited.

    – Culture is important. Numbers are important. 1% Muslims are easy. Go to X percent low-skilled Muslims like in France/Marocco/Egypt/whatever and it might not be so easy after all.

  15. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. January 2016 at 12:35

    HW, I actually agree, but I thought it was an interesting counterintuitive argument. In the US I’d guess that Muslim immigration has raised test scores.

  16. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    18. January 2016 at 12:48

    “In the US I’d guess that Muslim immigration has raised test scores.”

    -I say this is an interesting unanswered question. It’s not clear either way. There are a lot of low-scoring Muslims in America, but also some high-scoring ones. My guess is on “lowered”, but not anywhere near as much as Mexicans. The top universities in America are crowded with East Asians and Hindus, not Muslims. The Muslims I’ve seen in my experience are rarely extremely smart, though sometimes, they might be.

  17. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. January 2016 at 13:09

    E. Harding, I don’t doubt that your personal experience is much more meaningful than the fact that 10% of America’s doctors are Muslim, despite being just 1% of the population.

  18. Gravatar of Airman Spry Shark Airman Spry Shark
    18. January 2016 at 13:38

    Scott, given that the overrepresentation of Muslims in medicine occurred under the existing immigration regime, we would need to evaluate the impact of the marginal Muslim immigrant under each proposed alternative policy rather than leveraging historical averages.

  19. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    18. January 2016 at 13:58

    “E. Harding, I don’t doubt that your personal experience is much more meaningful than the fact that 10% of America’s doctors are Muslim, despite being just 1% of the population.”
    Haha, maybe he fraternizes with a lot of Muslim and has an extraordinarily high value of ‘n’ for his personal experience?

    In my personal experience, I’m pretty sure every Muslim I know is either a doctor or in medical school. Admittedly, the same is almost true for the Hindus I’ve known. Some become engineers instead. Not many seem to waste their time (or more importantly taxpayers’ money) getting degrees in things like the History of Polynesian Sexuality or Baroque Finnish Literature the way American students often do.

  20. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    18. January 2016 at 14:19


    “I don’t doubt that your personal experience is much more meaningful than the fact that 10% of America’s doctors are Muslim, despite being just 1% of the population.”

    -Of course it’s more meaningful. Doctors comprise a tiny minority of America’s Muslim population, just like they comprise a tiny minority of America’s population as a whole. It’s hard to make generalizations about these sorts of things. There are whole areas in America dominated by dozens upon dozens of Muslim chain-migrants, probably unskilled (I’ve heard about this phenomenon firsthand from Muslims twice, once from a Pakistani and once from a Lebanese).

    “Haha, maybe he fraternizes with a lot of Muslim and has an extraordinarily high value of ‘n’ for his personal experience?”

    -Closer to the truth than you might expect. 🙂 I would say that my personal experience with every group of people is kinda low, but with ethnic/religious minorities, it’s highest with Blacks and Hindu/Sikh Indians, with Muslims being a distant third, tied with Chinese.

    The percentage of Muslims who are reasonably smart is certainly much greater here than in the Muslim world. I can clearly see that.

  21. Gravatar of ChrisA ChrisA
    18. January 2016 at 21:30

    @ Christian “A strong border control is really important. Open borders end in a disaster”. I was on holiday in Switzerland and France over the New Year. I went several times between the two countries with no passport checks whatever (in fact we could not even tell when we drove from one to the other). Neither country appeared to me to be a disaster, Geneva was as blingy as ever, and France was the usual culinary paradise – the market in Annecy was amazing, all those cheeses! You have to be really careful about filtering the media you watch and read – it will focus largely on bad things and you will get a distorted view of the world. Europe in general is in pretty good shape.

  22. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    19. January 2016 at 03:17

    You took my quote out of context. I was talking about stable and instable countries. A stable country cannot have an open border with an instable country. Or in other words: Countries with enormous GDP differences. Schengen is working fine as long as you strictly control the external borders of the European Union. The EU cannot have an open border with Africa or Turkey. Turkey cannot have an open border with Syria. The US cannot have an open border with Mexico. And so on.

    The European Union is ignoring this simple fact right now. There’s no effective border control at many external borders of the EU right now. Merkel is pretty much ignoring the problems. You can already see that Schengen is getting really instable because of this. Do nothing against it and Schengen is breaking apart, maybe even the EU and maybe even some democracies.

    @Airman Spry Shark
    Very good point.

  23. Gravatar of Derivs Derivs
    19. January 2016 at 03:50

    “France was the usual culinary paradise”

    Le Taillevent is in the banlieue?

  24. Gravatar of ChrisA ChrisA
    19. January 2016 at 09:57

    @ Christian, you said you can’t have open borders between “Countries with enormous GDP differences. ” Romania has a PPP GDP less than $10k, Luxembourg had a GDP more than $100k. Open borders borders between the 2 of them, nothing to stop a Romanian from taking all the Luxembourgers jobs right?

    The EU did a very interesting experiment a few years ago when the brought in free movement of labor. Surprisingly people did not immediately move from the poorest to the richest countries, and countries like the UK, which participated in the experiment did not end up with huge amounts of lost jobs by the locals. Actually this was not surprising, it could be predicted, after all poor people in say rural Alabama don’t move en-mass to New York, where salaries are massively higher. Most people don’t really want to move away from the homes and families and the ones that do, generally move for better, not worse opportunities.

  25. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    19. January 2016 at 12:21

    ChrisA, there’s a reason the Countries 404 (Moldova and Ukraine) aren’t allowed in the E.U., and it’s not just because they have Russian-backed occupations in tiny parts of their territory.

    “Luxembourg had a GDP more than $100k”

    -Exceptional case due to its enormous trade surplus in services. Discount that, and it’s as rich as France.

    “Romania has a PPP GDP less than $10k”

    -No, it doesn’t.

    “Surprisingly people did not immediately move from the poorest to the richest countries”

    -Yes, they did. Romania’s population is the same as that in 1969. Estonia’s population is still declining, despite the fact it’s one of the best-off post-Communist countries.

    “nothing to stop a Romanian from taking all the Luxembourgers jobs right?”

    -Nope. But most jobs immigrants take are newly created for them.

    “Actually this was not surprising, it could be predicted, after all poor people in say rural Alabama don’t move en-mass to New York, where salaries are massively higher.”

    -And when it does happen, it’s called Detroit.

  26. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    19. January 2016 at 14:29

    Airman, I completely agree that these data point may not be representative going forward. I was just trying to address a misconception about immigration in general.

    BTW, I’m in favor of a more balanced system, by which I mean a higher fraction of high skilled immigrants, as they have in Canada and Australia. I favor more total immigration, but not at the expense of low-skilled American workers.

  27. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    19. January 2016 at 16:28

    “BTW, I’m in favor of a more balanced system, by which I mean a higher fraction of high skilled immigrants, as they have in Canada and Australia. I favor more total immigration, but not at the expense of low-skilled American workers.”

    -I used to be a huge fan of that idea, and, to some extent, I still am. The problem is a lot of those immigrants are going to vote for Sanders and Clinton, rather than Trump (or, as a second-best, Cruz). I’m not sure how to deal with that. Extending the residency requirement for citizenship to ten, twelve, or even twenty (though that might be excessive) years would be a good idea to get the best of both worlds.

  28. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    20. January 2016 at 06:34

    E. Harding, How they vote is none of your business. It’s certainly not a “problem” Are you the judge of which votes are correct? If so, why bother having a democracy?

  29. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    20. January 2016 at 10:30

    I wrote a post on just this recently:

    ssumner, so you think foreigners should rule America? Isn’t that imperialism? How they vote is not just my business; it’s the nation’s.

    “Are you the judge of which votes are correct?”

    -Are you the judge of which monetary policy is correct?

    “If so, why bother having a democracy?”

    -Because autocracy is more variable and less predictable in its results, as you’ve pointed out for Mao v. Switzerland. But I have no regard for the democratic principle in and of itself, but only for its often (though by no means always; cf., Belarus v. Ukraine) beneficial consequences. But Singapore and Hong Kong aren’t democracies, so I doubt the existence of even these benefits of democracy.

    “It’s certainly not a “problem””

    -Poor politicians are much worse a problem in the long run than poor monetary policy. Look at Greece.

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