Ethnic Segregation in Britain: Part 2

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In a recent post I commented on some research by Ludi Simpson and colleagues. I said I would return to the claim by Simpson that the main factor in the growth of the ethnic minorities in Britain is the age structure of their population, and not continuing immigration or higher fertility.

Simpson’s press releases say, inter alia:

After a couple of generations… the population growth of these groups [Black and Asian] will have slowed and probably stopped… Fertility [of ethnic minorities] has reduced rapidly from the high levels associated with immigrant families. It is the youthfulness of immigrant workers and therefore their low mortality which has caused population growth, not high fertility, and not further immigration.

A report in the Guardian says:

Immigration is not the reason for increased numbers of non-white Britons over the past decade… the increase in the number of non-white Britons is due to demographics rather than immigration. Ethnic minority populations are younger and have fewer elderly people than white communities. The number of Asian and black people is increasing because fewer die from old age and they have more women of childbearing age relative to white people. The author of the study, Ludi Simpson, said: “The common myth is that the growth of the ethnic minority population is due to immigration. That’s not true – it is more due to the growth of [ethnic minority] people born in Britain.”

These statements are unclear as to whether the growth of the ethnic minority population is wholly or just mainly due to the age structure of the population, and whether fertility of ethnic minorities has already fallen to average levels, or whether this is a prediction for the future. But taking all the statements together, it seems that Simpson’s position is as follows:

- the main factor in the recent growth of ethnic minorities ['over the last decade'] has been the age structure of the ethnic minority population, and in particular its relative youthfulness

- immigration has been only a minor factor

- fertility of ethnic minorities has already fallen substantially and can reasonably be expected to fall to replacement level.

Are these claims true?


First we need to establish the size of the increase in the ethnic minority population. In England and Wales (where most non-white ethnic minorities live), the non-white population increased by about 50% between the 1991 and 2001 Censuses, from 3.2 million (6% of the total) to 4.7 million (9% of the total). This is a very rapid increase for a single decade. Some small proportion of the increase may be due to the availability of a new ‘mixed’ category in the 2001 Census. On the other hand, it is likely that the 2001 Census understates the true increase, since there was substantial illegal immigration during the decade, and the Office for National Statistics has admitted that the Census total for 2001 is too low. The increase is also likely to have continued, if not accelerated, since then.

The increase can be attributed to three factors:

a. age structure

b. immigration

and

c. higher lifetime fertility.

Simpson’s statements imply that (a) is the most important factor, and that (b) and (c) are relatively minor.

British immigration data are poor. However, figures for grants of settlement suggest that in the first half of the 1990s immigration from Africa and Asia was relatively low and stable, at around 50,000 per year. But this still represents an inflow of more than 1% of the ethnic minority population in a single year, and an increase of cumulatively around 15% in a decade, which would be a significant proportion of a 50% total increase. Moreover, immigration from Africa and Asia increased rapidly after 1997 (see pp. 14-15 of the ONS Social Trends for 2005.) By 2003 it had increased to around 100,000 a year, representing more than 2% of the current non-white population per year. There is no sign of any slackening. One relevant factor has been abolition of the ‘primary purpose’ rule for the admission of spouses since 1997. Under the primary purpose rule, spouses of existing residents were not permitted to settle in the UK if the primary purpose of the marriage was assessed by the Immigration Service as being to obtain entry to the UK. The abolition of this rule (which admittedly was difficult to apply) has increased the number of arranged marriages with spouses from Pakistan or Bangladesh. Another factor in rising immigration is the large increase in immigrants from Africa, often in the guise of ‘asylum seekers’ from Nigeria or Somalia. It should however be noted that there has also been a large increase in white immigration from Eastern Europe in the last few years.

Overall, it seems likely that about one third of the increase in the non-white population over the last decade can be attributed directly to immigration. This is hardly negligible.

The third element to be considered is lifetime fertility, usually expressed as the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for women of child-bearing age. Ludi Simpson claims that fertility has already reduced rapidly from the high levels associated with immigrant families, and he suggests that it is likely to fall further.

I have not been able to find reliable recent ethnic fertility data for Britain (or England) as a whole, but there are some useful data for London in a study of ‘Fertility of Ethnic Groups in London’ by the Data Management and Analysis Group of the Greater London Authority in September 2003. This gives the following TFRs for women in London:

All…………………1.63
White……………….1.33
Black Caribbean………1.70
Black African………..2.28
Black Other………….1.51
Indian………………1.63
Pakistani……………2.76
Bangladeshi………….3.29
Chinese……………..1.12

It will be seen that most groups are below the replacement rate (just over 2 children per woman), the exceptions being Black African, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi. It is noteworthy that the Indian TFR is among the lowest, though not as low as White. It is also clear that the TFR for Bangladeshis and Pakistanis is still substantially above the replacement rate, and more than twice the level for Whites. This may reflect the fact that a larger proportion of women in these groups are first-generation immigrants (see the comments above on arranged marriages). However, Black Caribbeans and Indians, with low TFRs, are among the largest minority groups, so it may well be that the average TFR for all non-whites in London is around the replacement rate.

London is not entirely representative of Britain as a whole. It is difficult for young married couples to afford housing in London, so there tends to be a high proportion of single people, including single parents in subsidised housing. But a large proportion of ethnic minorities in Britain live in London, so the London data on ethnic minorities cannot be badly misleading. If the average TFR for all non-whites is around the replacement rate, then Ludi Simpson may well be right in claiming that the overall increase in the ethnic minority population in Britain in the last decade has had little to do with higher fertility. I did not expect to find this result when I started digging, so I am obliged to draw attention to it. On the downside, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups, which are still increasing due to higher fertility, as well as other factors, are among those with the lowest employment rates and the worst educational performance. They are also those with the lowest rates of intermarriage with other groups. So the prospect of increasing concentrations of discontented, idle, Muslim youths, a la Francaise, cannot yet be entirely discounted.

47 Comments

  1. Britain’s ethnic situation is hard for us Americans to comprehend because we’re used to thinking in terms of white/black or white/nonwhite. Those London TFR figures, as well as employment and economic statistics I’ve seen elsewhere, make it clear that the real “ethnic” division in Britain is Muslim/non-Muslim.

  2. Britain’s ethnic situation is hard for us Americans to comprehend because we’re used to thinking in terms of white/black or white/nonwhite.  
     
    i think this is true for those who live in the eastern 2/3 of the nation. here on th west coast the ‘america black & white’ specials rang a bit hollow, as asian and latino groups are usually far more numerous.

  3. “here on th west coast the ‘america black & white’ specials rang a bit hollow, as asian and latino groups are usually far more numerous.” 
     
    That’s why I said that the American way of thinking is either white/black OR white/non-white.

  4. ok, cool, i read too quick :)

  5. The typical way to try to mislead people about the demographic impact of immigration is by saying that the total fertility rate of second generation or third generation women is much lower. 
     
    Of course, there are two flaws in this “logic:” 
     
    - First, that would be more persuasive if immigration was being shut off, but continually bringing in high fertility women from abroad just means the average for that group is going to stay high. 
     
    - Second, it is typical to ignore the existence of “demographic momentum” when trying to downplay the impact of immigration.  
     
    Even if a group’s fertility falls sharply by the second generation, population will continue to rise for many decades. 
     
    “Population momentum” is a little complicated to explain, but try thinking of it from a grandparent’s perspective. Imagine two neighbors comparing notes on who has more grandchildren. The one who lives on the north side of the street says, “My children each have two children in their families.”  
     
    The neighbor who lives on the south side of the street replies, “So do mine.” 
     
    The northern neighbor says, “Then you must have four grandchildren, just like me.” 
     
    The southern neighbor laughs, “No, I have eight grandchildren! See, you only had two children, so you have four grandchildren. But I had four children, so I have eight grandchildren.”

  6. The most striking sentence in this post is: 
     
    “I did not expect to find this result when I started digging, so I am obliged to draw attention to it.” 
     
    because it exemplifies how scientists think but seldom make explicit, which helps to explain why non-scientists so frequently misunderstand them.

  7. Ufortunately, *every* official pronouncement and statistic from the British Home Office on the issue of “race”, turns out, on later inspection, to be damned lie. 
    The reason for this is best known to the authorities who run the Home Office. 
    Furthermore,Most sociologists and “researchers” on race from Britain’s academic community tend to be Marxists, with political axes of their own to grind.Their reports and recommendations on the issue of “race” therefore are essentially worthless both as statistical figures and projections and in terms of policy recommendations.

  8. Of course, Steve is right to point out that the high fertility of immigrants has lasting effects. If in Generation 1 an immigrant group has high fertility, it will have an increased share of Generation 2, which in turn leads to an increased share of Generation 3, and so on, even if fertility falls to replacement rate after Generation 1. But with fertility at the replacement rate (and no new immigration!) the population will eventually stabilise, and not grow indefinitely. Of course, if other groups are shrinking, its *share* of the population will increase. 
     
    Incidentally, the TFR for ‘whites’ in London is substantially below the rest of the UK (currently around 1.8), probably for the reasons I gave in my post.

  9. Cultures that like to live with extended families sharing a house can take metropolises away from English-rooted cultures where nuclear families want to have their own homes, since the newcomers have more paychecks per household to pay the mortgage. Why do the English want to let foreigners price them out of London? Does England have any _other_ great cities for the displaced English to live in? Why should foreigners have all the fun of living in London?

  10. >>Cultures that like to live with extended families sharing a house can take metropolises away from English-rooted cultures where nuclear families want to have their own homes, since the newcomers have more paychecks per household to pay the mortgage.  
     
    The Hindu joint family system has much merit to it. But as wages rise in India, more and more couples are going nuclear, and purchasing condominiums and even houses with money being doled out by GE finance and other estimable companies. So give a guy a little change and he’s off on his own–nothing is immutable. 
     
    >>Why do the English want to let foreigners price them out of London?  
     
    The English opened up immigration after Europeans blew themselves the fuck up in WW2. It wasnt exactly charity. And they are not foreigners. 
     
    Does England have any _other_ great cities for the displaced English to live in?  
     
    No. 
     
    Why should foreigners have all the fun of living in London? 
     
    Ah…white Britons are ENTITLED is it? Just another sign of the European decline. First, lose the God, then demand a shorter work week, then watch yourself be outbred, then agitate for a fun, cheap flat in London as its your… birthright. And get pissy because immigrants have a higher savings rate! 
     
    pshhhaw

  11. Pismire’s commentary: “then watch youself be outbred, then agitate for a fun, cheap flat in London as its your… birthright.” 
     
    “And they are not foreigners”  
     
    No? Then just how would you describe them, because they certainly aren’t *English*.  
     
    And yes, white britons are “entitled” to their English territory , all of it – aren’t they. 
     
    Pismire, you seem to delight at this, no? Well, Londonium is a great “western” city and would remain that way, but not if the Britgov is run by men who conduct affairs as defeated and dishonourable men do, as now; the population content of this great and ancient city should not be an issue of worry when administrated correctly, right? We aren’t pushing for the English to be smothered in droves from Hindustan, or for the emergence of a “Karachi in the west”, so why is it happening? Easy: lame, feel-goodie politics.

  12. London’s property bubble seems to have already burst or is on the verge of doing so. Perhaps the folks who sold their properties to these new residents will buy them back cheap, and move back to London. I have no idea what will happen to all the new people though. There could be a lot of discontent among the non-idle as well. I wonder what Britain’s bankruptcy laws are like.

  13. To return to my earlier post, the British government has a long tradition of “pulling the wool over the eyes” of the public with regards to the sheer scale of immigration. 
    For those who are old enough, the official line in the ’60s was that “it’s less than 1% of the population, hardly enough to fill Wembley stadium, old boy, nothing to get worried about”. 
    In 1973 Enoch Powell took delight in pointing out a glaring deceit in the official figures that under estimated immigration ten-fold. 
    London is now approximately half non-White to a quarter non-White, depending whom you speak to, personally I incline towards the former. 
    For a good, unbiased, objective analysis of British immigration policy see the website of http://www.migrationwatch.com.

  14. First off, Migration Watch UK is as biased as they get. Unbiased does not mean non-political and independent. Yes, they have lots and lots of facts but the organisation is quite obviously anti-immigration.  
     
    Looking at the figures from the government’s actuary department, it is quite obvious that the majority of projected population groth (2004-2031) stems from immigration and children born to immigrants (around 84% of the 6.1 million projected increase). The difference between fertility rates versus initial demographics seems such a pedanic divide…does it make Britons feel better to think that the growth in immigrant communities is because migrants are young when they get here? Is that better than discussing the higher initial fertility rates? Other than from a detailed understanding of population structures on an academic level, I do not see the utility of the distinction. 
     
    And then I must ask WHY EXACTLY the level of immigration to the UK gets everyone so irked. Does the UK not have enough money to incorporate new people? A serious problem with assimilation and cultural divides? Not enough jobs and houses for the locals?  
     
    Does it not occur to anyone that these are all problems that the GOVERNMENT should be working out. And that these are all problems which are EASILY BLAMED on immigrants. 
     
    Does it not matter that migrants pay MORE taxes and take LESS benefits on average than natives? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/frontpage/4487707.stm 
     
    It’s easy to get caught up in the statistics. But at the end, we are all dealing with our own sense of identity, entitlement, fear and jealousy. The math is merely a tool to support whatever case we choose to make.

  15. A key question is whether immigration benefits the local population. Data on this are hard to obtain, but it would seem that the effects are economically neutral. This is because an essentially unselective policy produces very mixed results. In crude terms, the Chinese and Indians do well, the Pakistanis/Bangladeshis and Afro-Carribeans do poorly. The best predictor is school results at 16. If one is looking for a rule of thumb, future immigration should be based on the principle that “immigrants are beneficial if they are better than the local average”.

  16. If one is looking for a rule of thumb, future immigration should be based on the principle that “immigrants are beneficial if they are better than the local average”. 
     
    sir, state your premises! there many who would take issue with the idea that somehow the influx of “better than the local average” immigrants is “good” for the native population. 
     
    a lot of this comes down to norms, what we value, and how we weight our utility maximization functions. 
     
    i strongly suspect that if this thread continues people will start talking past each other. 
     
    (see this letter to VDARE to see what i am talking about james)

  17. The author of that vdare piece must be smoking crack. Jindal an affirmative action beneficiary? An Asian-American? 
     
    HELL no.  
     
    Jindal also received the support of the Christian Coalition. He has deeply held–if calculated– Evangelical views.

  18. >>Well, Londonium is a great “western” city and would remain that way, but not if the Britgov is run by men who conduct affairs as defeated and dishonourable men do, as now; the population content of this great and ancient city should not be an issue of worry when administrated correctly, right?  
     
    And: Easy: lame, feel-goodie politics. 
     
    Londonium–ah, eternal city!–is probably the least white place in England. 
     
    I believe half of all minorities (or 4% of the total minority population in the UK) reside in the vicinity of London. 
     
    That would make London at least 30% non-white. 
     
    Ethnocentricism and the politics that issues forth from it is quite passe in Europe. (Who was the last great fascist Europe produced? Please, not that tawdry shadow Slobodan Milosovich!) So until one sees evidence of a mass revolt against minorities and democratic institutions generally, it is quite unlikely that immigration will be altogether abolished. 
     
    That will remain the wish of the white fringe, as it is here in the United States. 
     
    Its better to have conversations about integration, and not throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

  19. He has deeply held–if calculated– Evangelical views. 
     
    he’s roman catholic FYI, though his pandering to creationists during gubenetorial race might have confused you. my point though is that by the essential nature of who bobby jindal is there will be those who don’t believe he should be in this country. his intelligence, his adherence to traditional western religin and values, are irrelevant. in the mainstream discourse this attitude is disregarded a priori, but i don’t think one should necessarily ignore it, the fact is that its saliency for some points to bigger issues of what a ‘good society’ is.

  20. my point though is that by the essential nature of who bobby jindal is there will be those who don’t believe he should be in this country. his intelligence, his adherence to traditional western religin and values, are irrelevant. in the mainstream discourse this attitude is disregarded a priori, but i don’t think one should necessarily ignore it, the fact is that its saliency for some points to bigger issues of what a ‘good society’ is. 
     
    Okay those are good points.  
    I remember how some data on Indian “success” in Britain incited a rather negative repsonse in an anti-immigrationist on another thread  
     
    But glass half full perspective: 
     
    Jindal nearly won, in a badass “red” state, and that too with a non-white Indian wife at his side. 
     
    Asians can win. Look at Gary Locke, an Asian-American governor in overwhelmingly white Washington. 
     
    The conception of a good society varies with interest groups. In Europe, the far right parties occasionally capture 20% of the vote, but to me, thats not enough to start worrying. Even if a far-right group could squeek into power, their agenda would be significantly hampered by coalition partners unwilling to accede to extremism. Thats a good thing about democracy.

  21. pismire, 2 points 
     
    1) the public can be capricious. i’ve gone to the south many times over the past few years, but 25 years ago to most people (and possibly still some) i’d just be a nigger. so for me, it is the elites that matter. 
     
    2) even if the public and the elites support proposition X, it does not by definition imply that X is good. the definition on your premises about what a ‘good society’ is.

  22. To elucidate a little; part of the problem with this discussion is that there are mainly 2 types of immigrants – the high-value, high IQ, highly educated ones and the low-value, low IQ, poorly educated ones – just as there are 3 types of anti-immigrationists – the ones that oppose the low-value, those who oppose high-value, and finally those that oppose all immigration. 
     
    I am in favor of high-value immigration – hell, I myself am such a person – and against low-value. People like Bush and others favor low-value immigrants and are against high-value.  
     
    The reality is that in 20-50 years, or maybe much sooner, we will have a pretty much level playing field as regards access to high quality education across the globe, due to the ubiquitious Internet. Even as I write, MIT and others have released their much vaunted courseware into the commmunity as open source, and freely available to all. So if I had access to the Internet in Vietnam and a modicum of English, I could download the PDF’s for the most advanced MIT courses in electronics or computer science. The upshot of this is that there will be more potential high-value immigrants. The coming drawback to all this is that as countries modernize, China in particular comes to mind, many of their nationals will increasingly not feel the neeed to leave and go to the US. Right now the US is heavily dependant on foreign high-value immigrants to keep its economy growing. The time will come soon when these high-value workers will not want to immigrate – what will the US do then? I predict there will be a day when the US, and many other countries, Germany and Italy come to mind, will pay out hard cash to lure these high-value immigrants to their countries. It would be in a similar vein to Ireland, offering everything but the kitchen sink to companies to relocate to Ireland a decade ago. What country wouldn’t want high-value immigrants, they integrate well, pay far more taxes than their equivalent local, and in a generation or two are fully assimilated into the populace. 
     
    Low-value immigrants are a different story altogether. They may initially gain employment as farm-hands or catering assistants, but over time they will breed a surplus of their kind, and there will be no jobs for them with the coming of more mechanized industry in the coming 50-100 years time period. Japan is endevoring to fully automate many industries, like automobiles, with robotics, so that they don’t have to import low-value workers from overseas. They have decided that they would prefer economic loss in the short term for social stability in the long term. 
     
    I think commentors should specify which broad category of immigrant they are referring to, when they are pro or com immigration.

  23. I should add that I posted an article to the GNXP Forum last week, that Dubai is setting itself up as a Mecca (pun intended) for high-tech workers, Right now it is trying to lure the management level staff of many Indian high-tech companies to come live in luxury in Dubai. They are offering many incentives for them to do so – this is just the beginning of such trends. 
     
    Countries will need to learn to compete on likestyle, amenities and culture, to be able to market themselves to high-value knowledge workers if they are to grab enough of them to survive!

  24. It was unimaginably short-sighted of Russia to not try and stem the flow of knowledge workers that left for Israel and the US a decade ago. They were more focused on the extraction and sale of expendable natural resources, like oil and gas, to make short term profit, rather than look to the future. 
     
    Today high-tech flourishes in Israel and the US because of Russia’s lack of foresight, and disregard of the value of a segment of its populace. 
     
    Google co-founder Sergey Brin is a Russian Jew, who was part of this mass exodus, which has greatly enriched this country.

  25. which has greatly enriched this country 
     
    enriched how? how do you measure quality of life?  
     
    i actually agree that elite geographic mobility and modern technology are overwhelmingly for the good. the fact is that i don’t care, for example, that all the educated doctors in ghana are fleeing the country and leaving that nation bereft of medical expertise. i’m more interested in the quality of life of a ghanaian doctor than a ghanaian peasant. but, i am expressing a particular skew of values here. there are people out there who have a different set of values. i disagree, but i’m not going to pretend as if they don’t exist, as is the norm in the elite discourse. 
     
    the fact is that there isn’t a point in arguing with those who put ethnic priorities front and center. there are certain principled blocks in that case to any discussion because no utilitarian arguments really matter.

  26. By enriched, I meant that Sergey Brin’s and Larry Page’s efforts via Google, have resulted in jobs for 4,100 people thus far (as of June 2005). That represents a significent achievement in just a few short years, and has added billions of dollars to the US coffers. 
     
    Not to mention enabling the Internet for 100′s of millions of people the world over, which is far more difficult to quantify.

  27. there isn’t a point in arguing with those who put ethnic priorities front and cente 
     
    Well, I would disagree, on economic grounds.  
    Do people who oppose high-value immigrants, based on ethnic priorities, want to return to levels of prosperity of the 1950′s in the US?? 
    If high-value workers can’t emigrate to the US and the US education system can’t turn out enough of their own, the only recourse is to farm out those jobs overseas, and enrich overseas economies and economic competitors.  
     
    Japan has taken that course of action, and has put ethnic self interest above economic self interest – the result is 15 years of “stagflation”. So, there are real consequences to taking this course of action, not just theoretical ones. They have gambled that they can automate production to eliminate the need for low-value emigrants, and ramp up their technological and patent output enough to eliminate the need for high-value emigrants. Only time will tell if this was a prudent course of action.  
     
    But it is certainly an option the US, and more particularly Germany, Italy and a few other countries could take – so long as they are prepared for lots of belt tightening and a reduction in their current standards of living.

  28. My guess is if the US adopted similar policies to Japan – and given that the US population is very mobile compared to European and particularly Asian ones – and it resulted in 15 years of stagflation, that a significent proportion of the high-value US workers, whether foreign of native born, would pack up and emigrate themselves! 
     
    Ireland is targeting US high-value workers right now and attempting to lure them to Ireland, where wage rates are about 80-90% of the US going rate, but quality of life is much higher!

  29. Pconroy: 
     
    All good points, and cogently argued.  
     
    However, I fail to see how one makes a case for a (non-utilitarian) ethnic nationalism in the US, which is 70% white (themselves a product of scores of “ethnic” groups), 13% Black 13% Hispanic and 4% Asian. 
     
    Japan, in contrast is 99% Japanese.

  30. “Japan has taken that course of action, and has put ethnic self interest above economic self interest – the result is 15 years of “stagflation”. So, there are real consequences to taking this course of action, not just theoretical ones” 
     
    The “stagflation” was caused by a collapse in the property market, and inept government and central bank policies thereafter. ( I put stagflation in quotes as Japan was in fact deflating, there was no inflation). 
     
    Can you blame lack of immigration for Japan’s woes? I doubt it. Unskilled immigration is of little benefit to any economy: much of that work can be mechanized. And long term you get ethnic enclaves: even for the educated classes. ( The story of Cupertino, for instance). 
     
    This is a story which will have a result in a half century, a clear winner and loser in ideologies as dissimilar as communism and capitalism: multi-culturalism and ethnocentricism. 
     
    Which will be more stable in 2050: mono ethnic and mono-cultural Japan( or China); or multi-cultural Europe and America? I suspect there will be continuing race riots, sectarian riots and possibly low level civil war across the West ( which we begin to see already). In the US California will be Mexican predominately. Will it have separatist movements? Of course. Quebec is separatist. Ethnic tribes group together. A localised ethnic majority always wants to separate from the larger national majority.  
     
    i know where my money would be on this bet. This last great utopian experiment will fail, and maybe bring down the West. We are the new communists, blind to human nature: the new anabaptists wishing to be born again. 
     
    My point is not nationalist. Any country should soak up the largest number of razib’s it can get. The lessons to be learned from history are that you let the best migrants in, stop it and let them assimilate ( encourage it if need be*) , and then start again after a decade. Oh and dont let your ethnic neighbors become a majority since then they would have a claim – and a rightful one – on your territory. Particularly if they had that territory before you. 
     
    * the exact opposite of multi-culturalism as practiced today.

  31. Razib, your reference to V-Dare has somewhat lost me. My premise is that immigration is primarily based on economic advantage: people emigrate to advantage themselves, and other countries let them in because they in turn seek some advantage. Low skill immigrants make immediate gains in wages, help take over unpleasant jobs, but vary in their ability to rise up the value chain. High skill immigrants contribute far more value, and as such benefit the host country considerably. Yes, all immigration imposes a “translation” cost, because different cultures have to put energy into understanding each other, and multi-culture can be a dangerous brew, though the US has done better than most at making it work. In the UK I think that immigration was unselective, short term, and based on a naive belief that all immigrants would “aculturate” by exposure to the weather. There was no nationalistic policy of integration, and until very recently, no ceremony surrounding “being British”. (The concept still causes embarassment). But yes, the Japanese can say that being Japanese is best, and that stagflation at a very high standard of living is an entirely acceptable policy, with a settled and peaceable society.

  32. Any country should soak up the largest number of razib’s it can get.  
     
    though i generally concur with the thrust of eoin’s comment (though i’m more optimistic about the future of west than he, not too hard!), i am not sure if it is in my personal (as opposed to genetic) interest to let in a large number of me-clones into the country. the market for brown heterodox roark-wannabes is a small one, though i’m trying to make a good go of it. i don’t want it saturated, my personal value would decrease as supply might start to exceed demand. 
     
    james, you missed my point. what “value” do high skill immigrants bring? consider the case of a medium income country that is strongly roman catholic which is faced with the prospect of an influx of highly educated secular jews. no doubt they would bolster said nation’s academic and entrepenurial culture, but, being secular jews they would also likely introduce ideas and values antiethical to roman catholicism. if a uniform roman catholic polity is your goal, the high skill level of secular jews (or religious protestants, or areligious fujianese) is irrelevant. similarly, there are those who wish to preserve the special cultural character of ‘englishness,’ which would be disrupted large waves of newcomers (ah, the days before curry was the national dish!). and then there are those who wish to preserve the racial-genetic character of englishness, for which even the minimal amount of immigration would be disruptive (remember how quickly migration between populations, even small amts, can equilibriate gene frequences!). now, i am not saying i agree with the details of these perspectives, but they exist. that is all.

  33. “But it is certainly an option the US, and more particularly Germany, Italy and a few other countries could take – so long as they are prepared for lots of belt tightening and a reduction in their current standards of living.” 
     
    I am not so sure that ethnic self-interest as the basis of economic policy is a viable course of action for the first two countries – it seems to me that the first is still far too beholden to Enlightenment values, as well as too heterogenous already.  
    I know S. Sailer speaks at length of being a citizenist – I think that what he proposes is perfectly sensible and prudent. But I am not sure if it is strong enough to weld together the complex and disparate mass of interests and affiliations that characterise any pluralistic society.  
     
    Germany still suffers tremendous guilt for its actions during the Second World War, and I tentatively conjecture would be pretty averse to or troubled by any undue emphasis upon tribal self-interest.  
     
    There’s also the problem that all first world countries suffer from – low birth rates and an aging population.  
     
    Some Japanese comic (I am not a fan of anime or manga but a friend mentioned it to me) advocated the use of robot butlers to ameliorate problems associated with an aging population, and a diminishing active work force.

  34. I agree with your previous post Razib – the relative benefits or deleterious effects of immigration will depend upon the national aims or priorities of the host population. 
     
    Economic prosperity and a high GDP are not the be all and end all of a nation state. Nor are nation states simply impersonal economic and administrative units – they harbour symbolic significance whether we like it or not. And the integrity of that symbolic worth may be of far greater value to denizens than soaring economic indexes.

  35. White ethnic groups rioted throughout the nineteenth and tweentieth century. I just read in “Working Towards Whiteness” how Polish-Americans rioted against black housing projects built too close to their own residential areas in the 40s. 
     
    Ethnocentrists lamented the adultration of American bloodlines through the mass influx of Southern Europeans. 
     
    The percentage of whites in the United States has declined from a high of 90% to 69% or so today, and yet the US is more hegemonic–in so many ways–than its ever been. 
     
    So I don’t buy the death of the West through immigration scenarios. 
     
    And then: 
     
    And the integrity of that symbolic worth may be of far greater value to denizens than soaring economic indexes.  
     
    Could we have some specificity here? What is the symbolic worth? And what does immigration do to it?

  36. By “symbolic worth” I am referring to the sense of national identification or affinity, whether derived from a common language, religion, values, history or ethnicity, that nation-states are supposed to embody. This is why I stated that nation-states aren’t just mechanistic, economic and political units.  
     
    Immigration imperils such symbolic worth, if the immigrants do not correspond to the established, pre-existing form of national identification.  
     
    I do not want to give the impression that I condone strident jingoism or obdurate and unwavering attachment to national identity, or national identity described within narrow, circumscribed confines. Such sentiments are of no benefit to my family in Australia, who are of Fujianese origin.  
     
    But I do think it vital to acknowledge that such attachments are irrefutable and recurring human tendencies. And that nation-states, in order to prevail as meaningful and effective entities, need to rely on some sense of affinity and shared identity.

  37. And that nation-states, in order to prevail as meaningful and effective entities, need to rely on some sense of affinity and shared identity. 
     
    yes, i strongly believe that. i do not believe that a nation as a contractual obligation between freely consenting adults is enough. there needs to be biasing throughout the range of ideas, people and values which characterizes our species so that some ‘attractors’ exist within the diffuse soup of national identity to give it some body and character.

  38. Which is why multculturalism, promoted with such fervent zeal in my country of birth during the 80′s and 90′s, is so thoroughly misguided.

  39. Razib – I now see that you appear to propose two main measures of the benefits of immigration to the host country: the purely economic and the “ethno-cultural”. A stranger may contribute to the former but detract from the latter. The clever Jew of your example boosts wealth but diminishes the “we are all Catholics together” feeling of the Catholic majority. This would be an entho-cultural loss. For example, London is full of strangers, and it is very difficult to share a joke, because of linguistic and cultural barriers. Therefore, the sense of being a Londoner, and having shared social capital, is dimished, even destroyed. People may retreat to same race, same class enclaves, and see the city as alien space. However, as others have observed, the only answer would be to require public mono-culturism as a condition of citizenship.

  40. PConroy, 
    During the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when Britain lead the World in technology there was precious little immigration to Britain. 
    During the second World War when Britain needed to develop advanced technologies to survive (eg radar, sonar, aircraft , weaponry of all types, computers etc etc), there was very, very little non-European immigration.

  41. >>By “symbolic worth” I am referring to the sense of national identification or affinity, whether derived from a common language, religion, values, history or ethnicity, that nation-states are supposed to embody. This is why I stated that nation-states aren’t just mechanistic, economic and political units.  
     
    Okay. Well, there is more to chew on here. I certainly agree that there need be a common language, but I am skeptical whether that common language need be the only language. There are succesful nation-states (in the sense that they are abiding, relatively stable entities) with multiple languages. In multilingual India, citizenship is premised on Nehruvian secularism. The only competitng ideology with the populist support to win power is Hindu (and thus religio-cultural) nationalism.  
     
    Religious practice in the United States has been characterized as a personal quest that may or may not conform “normative” Christianity. For example, a recent Beliefnet survey showed that some 80% of Americans believe that salvation  
    is available to Non-Christians. Unless one were running for political office, being “Christian” doesn’t mean much (at least in the Northeast, where I live), and even so, Jews win political office in numbers disproportionate to their poupulation. I have never been proselytized to (at?) once by a mainline Christian. The only people that have tried are Jehova’s Witnesses. 
     
    Whether other values, like the so-called Protestant “work ethic” are derived from Christianity is another matter. It is safe to say that non-Christians have succesfully adopted it while some Christians have not. 
     
    Regarding history, I think we all should have some understanding of how the Republic was founded and the premises upon which it stands (though your average American could not pass the citizenship test). But aside from that, what do we have in common besides the immigrantion experience itself? Our backgrounds are too dissimilar for there to be anything else. Most of us are not Sons of the American Revolution. 
     
    When Americans interact, most talk about professional sports or pop culture (in my experience). How long does it take to learn the rules of football? :-) 
     
    That leaves economic betterment. To me thats enough of a commonality to build a nation or an empire.

  42. I certainly agree that there need be a common language, but I am skeptical whether that common language need be the only language. 
     
    perhaps the only language given legal and social sanction? there are dozens of dialects in italy which are practically distinct languages from standard (florentine-derived) italian that are purely colloquial. 
     
    But aside from that, what do we have in common besides the immigrantion experience itself? Our backgrounds are too dissimilar for there to be anything else. Most of us are not Sons of the American Revolution. 
     
     
    this might not be true. i suspect there is a large underreporting of the ‘settler’ (as opposed to post-1776 immigrant) stock in the census. a lot of them are probably reporting as ‘american’ (common in the south). i also know many people who are 1/4 or 1/2 german and the other half is anglo-saxon who would identify as german because that is more ‘ethnic.’ as for backgrounds being dissimilar, i think a respect for enlightenment traditions, liberty, individual rights and fair play should unite americans. it is/was the dominant narrative for many of the WASP elites, and became the narrative for later immigrant groups. the modern multiculturalist ‘diversity’ paradigm though blocks the assimilation to this norm by later arrivals. also, reducing the numbers of immigrants would allow greater assiimilation because it would pull them out of their ‘safe’ cultural enclaves more quickly.

  43. as for backgrounds being dissimilar, i think a respect for enlightenment traditions, liberty, individual rights and fair play should unite americans. it is/was the dominant narrative for many of the WASP elites, 
     
    These values are not racial, at least not anymore, and they are shared by many countries and cultures (at least rhetorically). An Indian secularist may well have said the same thing you did if you asked him to elucidate his “values”. 
     
    In the end it is a good thing that America is a jumble of bloodlines, disparate backgrounds, and nebulous antecedents (1/4 Jewish, 1/4 German, 1/4 Allah know what!). 
     
    We don’t run into the ethnic nationalist problems of Europe where immigrants are still viewed as “foreigners” and “strangers” (from this thread). (The discourse here in contrast is vastly attenuated, and is based on some skecthy conception of “whiteness”).  
     
    That leaves us to the business of economic betterment, which is the goddamn reason why our parents came here in the first place. 
     
    God Bless America!

  44.  
    These values are not racial, at least not anymore, and they are shared by many countries and cultures (at least rhetorically). An Indian secularist may well have said the same thing you did if you asked him to elucidate his “values”.
     
     
    certainly. but, then you conclude: 
     
     
    That leaves us to the business of economic betterment, which is the goddamn reason why our parents came here in the first place.
     
     
    are economic reasons the primary ones we should want immigrants to come here? your first statement did beg that question. as a matter of practicality, i think it can be argued economic reasons have been primary drivers to a great deal of immigration to the USA, but, not universally or totally. i.e., eastern european jews and gentile germans in the 1850s were fleeing political dislocations and turbulence (small fact: some lutherans emigrated to the USA from germany when the monarchy forcibly merged the reformed and lutheran churches into one protestant umbrella denomination).  
     
    i don’t think there are simple unmodulated answers to this, either on the blott & volk side or the nation of immigrants side. ergo, i don’t think this follows: In the end it is a good thing that America is a jumble of bloodlines, disparate backgrounds, and nebulous antecedents (1/4 Jewish, 1/4 German, 1/4 Allah know what!). i think that unadulterated diversity for its own sake is not necessarily good, even if it is not necessarily bad. 
     
    again, we need to go back to first principles, state your premises….

  45. That economic betterment is the principal driving force for immigration–from the Indian HIB worker to the Mexican cotton picker. 
     
    That the US has created the conditions (at least up till now) to actualize the aspirations of many. 
     
    That the racial or ethnic basis of the national culture is less entrenched than it is in Europe, and that that’s a good thing for immigrants. 
     
    That economic betterment creates the a loyalty to the state–in this case the US–that facilitated it. My parents, who did well here, are fervently American. That loyalty is not the result of ascribing to unique values, which are shared by many (mostly Western)cultures.  
     
    Thats all…

  46. That economic betterment creates the a loyalty to the state 
     
    i think the key though isn’t betterment on an absolute scale, but over the long term a relative scale (to the rest of the population).

  47. Dr James Thompson: ?I now see that you appear to propose two main measures of the benefits of immigration to the host country: the purely economic and the “ethno-cultural”? 
     
    A third measure of the ?benefits of immigration? that I believe gets too little attention is the social, cultural, economic, political bonds that form between nations as immigration between those nations increase. E.g., I believe the illegal immigration of poorly educated Mexicans hurts the US economically and ethno-culturally. But the long-term outcome may be a super-state that extends over the entire American continent. (Even while the present nations continue as political entities.) That outcome may be better for present US citizens than an isolated, fortress US contending with the growing economic and cultural influence of China and India. 
     
    To a lesser degree, immigration between Europe and the US, and from India and China to the US creates ties that I believe lessen the chances of major conflict. When your cousin lives in America, I suspect the US appears less threatening. 
     
    (Flow of criminals and terrorists across borders has to be addressed. Also too much immigration without integration could fragment US culture. I don?t believe there are simple, non-risky solutions.)

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