Garrett Jones lays out the (classical) liberal caution in regards to indiscriminate immigration. Here’s the question:
But what happens in the very long run? As immigrants shape the culture of their new homelands, will they import more than just new ethnic cuisines? Will they also import attitudes and policies that wound the golden goose of first-world prosperity? Ultimately, will migrants make the countries they move to a lot like the countries they came from?
Among much treasure, this is of special interest to XS:
Economists have long known that some of the strongest statistical predictors of long-run national prosperity have been “percent Confucian” and “percent Buddhist.” A famed paper coauthored by Xavier Sala-i-Martin demonstrated that conclusively. It’s time for scholars to investigate whether, for most countries, a pro-Confucian migration policy is a good option.
This would stir things up (just a little):
The blog obviously isn’t coming from where Scott Aaronson is, and the title of this post isn’t even centrally his question, so I’m asking it.
If you were trying to discredit a demographic policy that discriminated against Islamization, the thing rolled out by the US administration looks like a good way to do it. Shouldn’t selecting against Salafism be the policy core? Such a stance could be easily based upon solid American precedent. This looks like something else entirely. (It’s a dog’s breakfast, which is to say hastily hashed-up populism food.)
ADDED: The flip-side to Scott Aaronson’s concerns (from his own comment thread).
When liberals insist that only fascists will defend borders, then voters will hire fascists to do the job liberals won’t do.
(No one’s listening, but historians will.)
The final words (already implicit) are also good: “Angela Merkel and Donald Trump may be temperamental opposites. They are also functional allies.”
The dark tide:
Ultimately, democracy itself will be called into question. A remarkably small number of people will be contributing anything in terms of technological progress or economic growth. In the post-work world, the vast majority of people will simply be consumers, passively absorbing increasingly degraded cultural products which cater to their worst instincts. But because of universal suffrage, these masses will still have the political power to direct more public goods their way, even as the entire System becomes financially unsustainable. A major crisis is all but inevitable. …
Nick Rowe on the economics of immigration:
“Total Factor Productivity” is not some geological feature like the Canadian shield. There has to be a reason why some countries are rich and other countries are basket cases, and unless you are lucky enough to find yourselves sitting on great reservoirs of oil that someone else will pay you to pump out of the ground, that reason seems to have something to do with social/economic institutions, and social/economic institutions seem to have something to do with people.
(If you want to be a format purist, treat the second sentence as the target, and the first as the lead-in — the emphasis has been juggled to help.)
John Podesta (!) [Ummm, no], link:
What makes for successful immigration? […] It’s no brain surgery, but the media have long failed to provide a clear credible answer. They are unable to come up with an answer or don’t like the answer that’s staring them in the face. The main reason behind successful immigration should be painfully obvious to even the most dimwitted of observers: Some groups of people are almost always highly successful given only half a chance (Jews*, Hindus/Sikhs and Chinese people, for example), while others (Muslims, blacks** and Roma***, for instance) fare badly almost irrespective of circumstances. The biggest group of humanity can be found somewhere between those two extremes – the perennial overachievers and the professional never-do-wells.
If mainstream discussion could get to this point, it would be great:
For the record, I am not an open-borders libertarian. I accept that most people value cultural cohesion, which is a perfectly legitimate preference. I also think that it should not be considered a ‘hate crime’ to suggest that some cultures are more easily compatible with one another than others. So no, this is not one of those virtue-signalling diversity-is-wonderful-and-you’re-all-racists articles. All I’m saying is that if your aim is greater cultural cohesion, clamping down on migration from culturally very similar countries does not strike me as the smartest way to go about it. […] As for the economics, I have always found arguments about whether ‘immigration’ is ‘good for the economy’ or ‘…the public finances’ a bit tedious. People come here from very different places and for very different reasons, so when we talk about ‘immigration’, the level of aggregation is simply too high.
Scott Alexander treads the lip of the abyss:
The one place where Clinton is higher-variance than Trump is immigration. Clinton does not explicitly support open borders, but given her election on a pro-immigration platform and the massive anti-Trump immigration backlash that seems to be materializing, it’s easy to see her moving in that direction. If you believe that immigrants can import the less-effective institutions of their home countries, lower the intelligence of the national hive mind, or cause ethnic fractionalization that replaces sustainable democratic politics with ethnic coalition-building (unlike the totally-not-ethnic-coalition-based politics of today, apparently?), that could potentially make the world less functional and prevent useful technologies from being deployed.
I consider this one of the strongest pro-Trump arguments …
(Don’t worry — he doesn’t fall in.)
Twitter’s ‘improvements’ have made it hard to reproduce tweet-storms, but this one is really worth your time: