Friday, August 5, 2016

The Existential Question of Our Age

It can be illustrated first by a quotation from Ha-Joon Chang’s 23 Things they Don’t Tell you about Capitalism:
“Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the ‘free’ labour market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80–90 per cent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants. Immigration is largely settled by politics.”
Chang, Ha-Joon. 2011. 23 Things they Don’t Tell you about Capitalism, Thing 1: There is no such thing as a free market.
True free market capitalism, as imagined by Rothbard here or other libertarian ideologues, would result in the demographic replacement of a large percentage of the population of a First World nation, reducing the original citizens to a minority.

Even though, mercifully, we do not have Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism or some extreme small-state libertarianism with no national borders, the neoliberal governments of the Western world are gradually doing the same thing, but in a slow and steady manner, by their pro-big business, mass immigration policies (since big capital, without any doubt, loves mass immigration), their deeply-flawed multiculturalism, and obsession with refugees (many of whom turn out to be economic migrants or, if genuine, refugees who could be better helped with humanitarian aid from the West to settle in safe countries where they are culturally compatible).

Continued mass immigration to the First World, in the face of the declining birth rates for the original citizens falling below 2.1 (the replacement level), means demographic and cultural suicide in the long run.

It’s that simple, once you understand it.

For example, what is Denmark? What is it, if it is not a homeland for the Danish people, with a distinct language and culture, for the people whose ancestors have lived there for hundreds if not thousands of years?

This does not mean that Denmark cannot have immigration; nor does it mean it cannot have some have ethnic minorities. Or a small and reasonable inflow of genuine refugees, especially if these refugees agree to return to their home countries once those countries are safe again. But there needs to be strict limits and controls, and Denmark needs to remain a country where the majority of people are Danish.

For those on the left obsessed with open borders or mass immigration, these leftists don’t understand how the majority of ordinary people feel. You can’t even begin to build a popular left-wing movement, with sensible economic programs, if the vast majority of people see a left utterly divorced from reality on such an existential issue.

And this is why the left will implode unless it quickly – and honestly – admits that democracy requires accepting the political will of the people, especially given how more and more people are becoming distressed, upset, and angry at the economic, demographic and cultural effects of mass immigration.

25 comments:

  1. Suicide? Really? That analogy is really bad.

    Why not call it something less apocalyptic and more realistic: evolution.

    This is not to say we shouldn't control the rate of evolution. But if the people prefer to have low birth rates, bringing in workers from abroad makes sense. Yes, immigrants can bring down wages, but less-pro-big-business policies can prevent that.

    The first world melting pots have a long history of absorbing immigrants well, despite nativist (who were also formerly immigrant) groups claims of impending catastrophe from "subhuman" immigrants: freed slaves, Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Germans, Jews, Latinos, ad nauseum.

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    1. "But if the people prefer to have low birth rates, bringing in workers from abroad makes sense. "

      In the present conditions, with mass unemployment, virtually all over the Western world, of the young, and through the workforce in general, and with many people who could be brought back in to the labour force because they are discouraged workers, it makes no sense at all to endlessly import people from the Third World on such a scale.

      This madness is very much part of the disastrous neoliberal program that is wrecking economies and communities, because it has strong support from the cultural left, a part of whom is neoliberal, and the other part of whom may be more left-wing on economics but are pushing a ridiculous, unrealistic multiculturalism.

      Modern multiculturalism is NOT the traditional melting pot liberal nationalism that you speak of here. I happen to support the melting pot liberal nationalism idea, where it's worked. But it needs to (a) be gradualist (you can't just open the floodgates) and (b) people need to be, broadly speaking, cultural compatible.

      Nobody here is claiming immigrants are subhuman. Of course they are people.

      But the people being brought into Europe now from the Middle East generally have a very different culture from that of largely secularised Europeans or liberal Christians.

      It's causing catastrophe and the rise of the populist right. If it's not halted, you may get things far worse than the populist right or Trump in the Western world. This is why people voted for Brexit. Why many people flock to Trump. Why the Sweden Democrats soared in the polls last year. Why Le Pen may become President of France.

      Don't you think hat should be prevented by common sense?

      The really tragic thing here is that what I just said should be a straightforward, common sense opinion on the left. But common sense is gone now.

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    2. Also, you might consider that the left was once vehemently opposed to mass immigration right down until the 1960s, precisely because it was a vicious weapon of class warfare against working people, their wages, their working conditions, their communities.

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    3. Tiberius GracchusAugust 5, 2016 at 2:06 PM

      Mike,

      The most successful melting pot societies have been ex-colonial settler states in the Americas, not the ancient ethnic societies of Europe. I don't think what works for the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina will necessarily work for Europe.

      Plus, there is a strong argument that multiculturalism decreases solidarity and support for progressive economic policies. People resent government policies that they see as mostly benefiting “others.”

      Most of the Western Hemisphere settler societies are highly unequal and have a tendency toward polarization. So even these melting pot societies are only qualified successes.

      Finally, at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I think that the neoliberal elites know that multiculturalism reduces solidarity and they welcome immigration in order to create a future voting bloc that will side with them against the native working class.

      The neoliberal Left is an alliance between affluent, socially liberal whites who are protected from the negative economic and social effects of mass immigration and racial/ethnic minorities.

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    4. Also, you might consider that the left was once vehemently opposed to mass immigration right down until the 1960s, precisely because it was a vicious weapon of class warfare against working people, their wages, their working conditions, their communities.

      Yes, and even today Bernie Sanders opposes open borders. In the past, none other than Cesar Chavez was in favor of restricting immigration whether legal or not.

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    5. The collapse of Sweden:

      https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/8619/sweden-asylum-seekers-violence
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      Horrifying.

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    6. LK, considering that we're saying more or less the same things (with slightly different emphases) and are very much agreed on opposing neoliberalism, it is strange to me that you seem to be responding as if I am dead wrong.

      TG, I think we are also in agreement about what you wrote, largely because I don't think there is any perfect political solution to anything. Reasonable people can disagree by placing different emphases on costs and benefits that are mutually agreed upon.

      But I think "madness", "catastrophe" and "suicide" are a bit over the top, and blanket denunciation of the unqualified term "multiculturalism" throws out babies with bathwater. It starts to sound more like phatic language than I like.

      And the solution to reactionary populism probably lies more with (dare I say it) good Keynesian policies to ensure less unemployment, less resentment, and less inequality. Immigration does have to be regulated, but can be maintained at fairly high levels.

      I don't really think most people care that others have different cultures as long as there doesn't seem to be unfair advantage. The right wing has always attempted to stir up such resentment.

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    7. “Immigration does have to be regulated, but can be maintained at fairly high levels.”

      No, it can’t be “maintained at fairly high levels.” It needs to be reduced to low levels.

      I’m not sure why you can’t see the truth here. Presumably you can see that free trade can be very bad. Presumbly you wouldn’t say: “oh, yes, free trade is very bad and needs to be controlled, but of course we can still have high levels of free trade!”

      Mass immigration is deleterious for the foreseeable future.

      If you want to restore the type of prosperity and high wage economy that existed after WWII in the US, you need to close down illegal and legal mass immigration, to implement labour market protectionism.

      What’s the point of full employment Keynesian policies, if you just defeat it every year by bringing in millions of migrants, causing overpopulation, housing shortages, more unemployment?

      "I don't really think most people care that others have different cultures as long as there doesn't seem to be unfair advantage. "

      Perhaps you hadn't looked at Europe and the culture of violent migrant misogyny there and mass sexual assault of women and girls.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-unspeakable-truth-about-rotherham/article20335529/

      http://www.breitbart.com/london/2014/09/07/islamic-rape-gangs-rotherham-is-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/

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    8. Maybe I weary of people describing their opinion as "the truth".

      Maybe I weary of people speculating about what I would say as a backhanded putdown.

      Maybe I weary of people who imply their hobbyhorse issue was responsible for an era of national prosperity.

      Maybe I weary of people tar brushing entire cultures with sensational crimes, without numbers or comparison to home-grown horrible crimes.

      Maybe I weary of people who will not admit to hyperbole, but simply add innumerable other arguments of dubious merit.

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    9. Maybe you should give evidence for how well you can maintain mass immigration of people with entirely different culture and cultural base (and no i am not speaking about irish germans and italians dont count as entierely different culture).

      Without hurting the well being of the working class and without causing serious social and crime problems?

      The burden of proof its on you in this case .

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    10. Mike- of course you are right. You are right to be weary. I mean, I would be OK personally chatting with someone who said "I don't want immigration because I'm a racist." At least he's logical. I don't think there is anything particularly wrong or racist about restricting immigration, or particularly wonderful and heroic about open immigration. But the problem here is worse than talking to logical racists. For some reason, immigration makes many forget everything they know about economics and rational disputation.

      LK: What’s the point of full employment Keynesian policies, if you just defeat it every year by bringing in millions of migrants, causing overpopulation, housing shortages, more unemployment?

      Just how does immigration (or free trade, for that matter) defeat full employment Keynesian (Lernerian, MMT) policies? It doesn't. The cause of housing shortages and unemployment is not the immigration, but the explicit decision to have a housing shortage, to have unemployment. To not use the wealth - above all the labor - of the country, which is daily increasing, for the people of the country, old and new arrivals. That is why the piddling immigration we are seeing in Europe now is "causing" such problems. That's how TPB want it. If you decide to have full employment, you won't have unemployment. That ridiculously trivial theory works just fine in practice, immigration or not. As usual with bad arguments, the flaw is in a bizarre, false assumption (immigration defeats full employment) which is considered to be to obviously true to even state.

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    11. "Just how does immigration (or free trade, for that matter) defeat full employment Keynesian (Lernerian, MMT) policies? It doesn't."

      We're talking about endless *mass* immigration here.

      Markets do not equilibrate to full employment. If you keep bringing in millions of people every year, the market will not magically create good (or even bad) jobs to employ everybody. The government must perpetually spend to create the AD and employment programs necessary to employment people. Then it must spend to alleviate housing and social services undersupply.

      This is like smashing a large hole at the bottom of a bucket and then pouring in the water, expecting it to full up.

      You've also ignored the issue of overpopulation; not to mention of cultural and social cohesion.

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    12. We're talking about endless *mass* immigration here.
      I don't think we are. Nobody reasonable talks about endless mass immigration as there aren't endless people to immigrate. What we are or should be talking about is realistic prospects for immigration to country A on planet Earth rather than worrying about what will happen if everybody in India decides to move to Mongolia tomorrow. Realistic examples might include - open immigration to the UK from the EU, as now. Open immigration from anywhere to big-ass countries like the USA, Canada, China, Brazil, etc. It has been a long time since peak immigration flows to most such countries, which have often had completely open immigration, which was the norm everywhere forever until about a century ago. The catastrophes predicted by bad economics did not occur. As I said, whenever immigration is broached, careful thinking about the relevant economics often stops.

      The government must perpetually spend to create the AD and employment programs necessary to employment people. Then it must spend to alleviate housing and social services undersupply.

      Yes. Governments for bigger populations must do more stuff than governments for smaller populations. So what? They have more people to do it with. Although the "employment programs", the "create the AD" and the "spend to alleviate housing and social services undersupply" are not three different things. My point is that "undersupply" as in housing undersupply in the UK right now is not a bug, but a feature. The UK decided to stop building public housing a long time ago, before increased mass immigration from the EU. That is the cause of undersupply, not the immigration.

      You've also ignored the issue of overpopulation; not to mention of cultural and social cohesion. On purpose, as I hoped was clear above, because my point is that the usual purely "economic arguments" against open immigration or free trade are worthless against a country which simply decides to have no unemployment. Overpopulation & much else is self-regulating - people move from "overpopulated" countries, not to them.

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  2. If this problem isn't dealt with the working class and other segments of the population will turn to dangerous far right nationalist parties. We will go from open borders to closed borders and that is not the appropriate reaction.

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    1. I think the populist right would come to power first in Europe. But only if they failed to solve the problem, and the mainstream parties continued the neoliberal assault, would it get very ugly and maybe the far right parties get traction.

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  3. But LK, Western countries can not be allowed to preserve an ethnic majority of their traditional inhabitants. That would be racist! White people have viciously oppressed people of colour for thousands of years. The only solution is for the oppressive social construct known as the "white race" to be destroyed through never-ending non-European immigration and left-wing cultural critique. Only when the pernicious "white race" is a distant memory will the utopia of world brotherhood and equality become a reality. In the meantime, we must support any and all means to reduce the prevalence of whiteness in the world.

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    1. Your trolling would be more convincing if you didn't have that picture of bloody Enoch.

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    2. The trolling also runs into the issue of the United States. The ancestors of the blacks who descend from slaves were in the country before the ancestors of most white Americans. They've also made pretty significant contributions to American culture.

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  4. Hey LK,

    Just wanted you to know that despite our differences over Foreign Policy and Muslims, i do appreciate the Economic education here. I actually just won a debate - as in the guy had nothing else to say but "Great argument," after telling me "Keynesian economics didn't do shit" LOL I used your link about the New Deal you did recently, but I also has some stuff by my own brain power as well.

    Again thanks & keep up the great work on Economics!

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    1. lol, glad you won. I miss my spats with libertarians. There's tons of New Deal stuff in various posts here:

      “Lionel Robbins and the Myth of Hayek’s Prediction of the Great Depression,” February 5, 2012.

      “Hayek and the Stock Market Crash of 1929: So Much for His Predictive Powers,” December 28, 2011.

      “Smoot Hawley and the US Contraction of 1929–1933,” February 26, 2011.

      “Herbert Hoover’s Budget Deficits: A Drop in the Ocean,” May 24, 2011.

      “Roosevelt’s Record on Unemployment: The Myth and Reality,” June 10, 2011.

      “Debunking Catalán on the Recession of 1937–1938,” August 16, 2011.

      “What Hoover Should have Done in 1931,” January 26, 2012.

      “Steven Horwitz on Herbert Hoover: Mostly Misleading,” February 20, 2012.

      “Another Austrian Fable,” September 25, 2012.

      “More Fake History of the Great Depression,” September 28, 2012.

      “Robert Murphy’s Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression, Chapter 1: A Critique,” November 20, 2012.

      “Robert Murphy’s Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression, Chapter 2: A Critique,” November 22, 2012.

      “Murphy on US and Canadian Unemployment during the 1930s: A Critique,” December 8, 2013.

      “US and Canadian Private Investment 1929–1939,” December 8, 2013.

      “Herbert Hoover Rejected Keynesianism,” April 9, 2013.

      “That ‘Liquidationism’ Passage in Hoover’s Memoirs,” April 9, 2013.

      “US Unemployment in the 1930s,” July 3, 2013.

      “Herbert Hoover Myths?,” July 17, 2013.

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  5. Most of the people who feel this way are old and will die within a few decades. The younger generation doesn't care about immigration.

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    1. They will soon, once they see, say, even its economic consequences. The millenials' cultural leftist multicultural nonsense will fall away.

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  6. Robert Skidelsky has an excellent piece on migration.

    Although the movement of peoples has been a constant feature of human history, it has been relatively bloodless only when it was into scantily settled or developing territories. A classic case was the nineteenth-century emigrations from Europe to the New World. Between 1840 and 1914, 55 million people left Europe for the Americas – much larger, relative to population, than migration since WWII. Nearly all the movers were economic migrants, pushed out of their countries by famine and agricultural depression and pulled to the New World by the promise of free land and a better life.

    As the world industrialized and filled up with people, the flow of people from developed to developing areas reversed. Poverty and starvation still pushed migrants off the land in poor countries; now, however, the pull factor was not free land, but better jobs in developed countries.

    ...

    This historical perspective suggests three conclusions. First, anti-immigrant sentiment is not based only on prejudice, ignorance, or political opportunism. Anti-immigrant language is not just socially constructed. Words are not mirrors of things “out there,” but they have some relation to such things. You cannot manipulate something unless there is something to manipulate. We have little chance of changing the words unless we alter the realities to which they refer.

    https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/07/failure-free-migration/

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