I think encouraging a policy of significantly increasing US immigration to people unlikely to cause a drain on the public system should override more selective policies like the "startup visa," as further general immigration can only continue to help America's cause.
I find it frustrating that a country that admits 1.2 million immigrants a year is so often accused of being "anti-immigrant" because it does not adopt the unique policy of unlimited immigration.
I'm also a little surprised to see the economist describing immigration as a ponzi scheme, even if they do call it one that works. Ponzi schemes always appear to work for the first few iterations.
The USA is anti-immigrant, not because it doesn't open the floodgates, but because it has zero organized system with which to import foreign talent that is needed domestically. You have policies to allow existing immigrants to sponsor family members, and a myriad of other methods by which people that the country has no dire need for get in, while talented people demanded by local industries are locked out.
In this way the US is far, far, far behind every other developed western nation.
That said, I absolutely disagree that this makes the US "anti-immigrant." In some ways, it makes the US more pro immigrant - we're more likely to give people a chance to prosper who wouldn't otherwise have had it. Sure, we'd benefit more by only allowing in top engineers, physicians, lawyers, and bankers, would would that really make us pro-immigrant?
>"What makes it right for skilled people to get into a country more easily than unskilled?"
Prudence. Theoretically, skilled immigrants can create a positive economic externality. Through enterprise and innovation, they can add more value to the national economy than what they consume. Current US residents benefit from skilled immigration along with the immigrant. Since the immigrants may not have had an opportunity to produce this value in their home country, the whole world may experience a net benefit as well.
On the other hand, the act of importing unskilled immigrants is unlikely to generate such positive externalities. To the extent they depend on public welfare or bring with them social problems associated with poverty, unskilled immigrants may even function as a negative externality on our society. It is unlikely that an unskilled worker will generate much more value than what is necessary for subsistence.
The average wealth of a society correlates highly with how pleasant it is to live there. As an experiment, I suggest the author spend two weeks living in the impoverished southeast side of Washington DC along the green metro line. If he survives, I then suggest he spend two weeks living on the well-to-do west side along the orange line. At the conclusion of the experiment, the author should report to us which lifestyle he prefers. It is likely that this experiment will have shaken the author's expressed egalitarianism.
To some extent, we are choosing between these two societies when we frame our immigration policies.
Keep in mind when shrughes wrote "what makes it right", he was responding to someone who called the USA "anti-immigrant" because it doesn't prefer highly educated and skilled immigrants over low skilled, low educated immigrants. I find that argument strange too - it's a basis for claiming the US is kinda dumb about immigration, but taking 1.2 million immigrants a year that most other nations don't really want is definitely not "anti-immigrant", it's immensely pro-immigrant.
Easily another hundred million people would move here if they could. That would be disastrous.
If you imported 100 million Einsteins and Catherine Zeta-Jones', then the positives of mass immigration would be fairly obvious. The negatives, less so. But even when the quality of immigrants is high, you have issues. For instance, there are large numbers of Chinese in Malaysia, the Philippines, etc, and they are exactly what you'd think you'd want: They're smart, hard-working, entrepreneurial. The effect, however, is resentment and affirmative-action-style laws against them. They certainly improve the GDP of the geographic areas they live in, but it's the per capita rundown of that GDP that matters to the natives. European immigration to America really did improve the place a lot, unless you're on a reservation. It's not unusual.
In practice, however, you aren't going to get your dream migrants, but a hit-and-miss assemblage. Entrepreneurs and professionals, yes, but also servants for the UMC and peasants for big agra and chicken-packers for Tyson, as well as criminals and parasites.
There's plenty of empty housing stock
Think twice when you say, essentially, "Well, we have shit to sell so let's import some customers." Very bad thinking there. The houses were built by companies making a bet on future demand. They bet wrong. It is absolutely unacceptable to manipulate demographics (and keep prices far too high) in order to backstop a gambler.
City infrastructure would be stretched to the breaking point. There is already too much traffic in some areas with no solution in sight. It is also unwise to turn all your possible arable land into farms. States like California have experienced water shortages that aren't going to be magically fixed with a couple million workers, they are going to get worse.
Of course speaking to the entrepreneur crowd here none of this matters to you personally because it would be to your advantage to be able to exploit foreign labor, make your millions, and then move to the suburbs or emigrate to a tax haven before the situation gets out of hand.
I do find your jaded anti-entrepreneurial comment to be unnecessarily vicious and ignorant though.
I am wrong? Where is your proof, or did you just pull this idea straight from thin air as I find many HN readers doing these days to support their delusions?
Here is my proof.
So you are going to compare 3-5% foreign born population as something significant compared to 17-26% in areas like Florida and New York? Keep in mind that the total population in a state like New York is several magnitudes larger than these "Midwest" and "Great Lakes" states.
The illegal immigration chart points out that the only great lakes state on the top 10 immigrant states is Illinois which is unsurprisingly home to the massively crowded city of Chicago. None of the other types of cities you state rank in the top 10 where the last 10 is a measily 2%. Compare this with California (25%), Texas (14%), or Florida (8%), and there is simply no comparison.
We can find incentive's (or simply create regulations) to encourage immigrants to specific locations.
Ok, you and your unproven incentives can magically force immigrants to move into jobless areas where xenophobia is high. Great logic.
How is it vicious and ignorant? This is the logical conclusion, and knowing other entrepreneurs like myself, this is the current evaluation of the system. The system does not favor native employees.
Next time I suggest checking your reasoning before making unsubstantiated claims, despite how badly you want your beliefs to be true.
You just made my claim for me. %5 is nothing to sneeze at. Further, the US is more than a "top 10" list. You cannot simply discard vast portions of the country because they don't appear in the top 10 list and thusly don't support your argument.
Meanwhile, why would all new immigrants will automatically go to the largest existing community? Do you have any evidence to support this claim? Has someone conducted a poll asking potential immigrants where they'd like to be, and found that these are the most likely states?
Regarding xenophobia, Texas has a significant immigrant population and is also anecdotaly considered a very xenophobic state. Can you resolve your claim that immigrants won't go to xenophobic areas with the reality that is Texas? How about Southern California, which has struggled with race and immigration fears for over a decade?
And what kind of person suggests that the entire inner corridor of the US is xenophobic anyway? Are you seriously claiming that every town from Ohio to Nevada to Louisiana to Idaho is xenophobic? That is a stunningly offensive, unfounded, and unsupportable argument.
"Next time", I suggest not lecturing others about "next time" in the middle of a conversation. It implies that you believe you have "won" the conversation (which, being a reasonable person having a reasonable discussion, you wouldn't do, right?), it doesn't make you sound like a particularly pleasant person, and it doesn't add to the conversation.
Because you just called me "very wrong", as well as "unnecessarily vicious and ignorant".
%5 is nothing to sneeze at.
It appears that you didn't even bother to read. Illinois is home to Chicago, home of one of the largest cities in the US. There is nothing rural about it not to mention having one of the highest murder rates in the nation.
Meanwhile, why would all new immigrants will automatically go to the largest existing community? Do you have any evidence to support this claim?
I presented to you 2 pieces of evidence from the US government, while all you have done is produced anecdotes and refusals to believe the facts. By now it is clear that you are trying very hard to ignore all the evidence, so I am done conversing with you.
Freshwater issues alone dictate a fall in the standard of living with further population increases.
The US got away with rather open immigration during the Ellis island wave by having virtually no safety net or public assistance. Over half of Italians who tried to make it here went broke and went home. If you want to kill every form of social welfare, public school included, maybe we can consider highly liberalized immigration. But not before.
Not all, but I bet a reasonable percentage would take the option. For example, the UK (hardly a poor country) alone had 400,000 emigrants in 2008 - I'd doubt that many were poor.
Speaking from experience, there are several reasons for British emigration:
* Older people often move to Spain, Malta, etc. to enjoy the better climate in their retirement (or before). I don't know precisely how big a portion that is, but it's non-trivial. (It would be nice to see a demographic breakdown of that 400,000.)
* House prices and the cost of living in the UK are insane, particularly alongside the heavy tax burden (an inevitable consequence of the enormous welfare state). I make two or three times the salary in the US than I would in the UK, and can actually afford to buy a home. This is not poverty per se, but there is a huge difference in how achievable are your life goals, and that's a motivation to move. As a young, then-unmarried man, there was nothing holding me back.
* The UK is an awful, freedom-crushing, oppressive, depressing police state where photographing national monuments is illegal, carrying a pocket knife can land you in jail, and defending your family against an intruder will net you a longer sentence than the burglar. I would never willingly move back.
Should I be granted US citizenship, I will be encouraging my brother to follow me off that sinking ship. Add two or three to that four hundred thousand.
Edit: actually, it appears that the official figure for the Mexico City metro is 21M; I'd thought it was over 30M. Still true for Australia, though. :)
EDIT: I actually read the whole article now, and he actually mentions Canada and Australia as threats to the US near the end.
The economist article did a good job of showing that an open and tolerant America is good at getting people to come to the US and eventually blend in. It was also very relevant to the America of today, and suggested that despite some of the bad sides of America that are often amplified in the foreign press, because people have to work they're more likely to blend in.
From what I read on wikipedia the 170 text does a very good job of explaining the nature of democracy in the US, and makes a number of predictions that pan out regarding party politics, but in your view is it still relevant for the America of the 21st century?
I guess the angle I'm tacking from is the cultural aspects of integration versus what imo appears to be a treatise just about democracy (albeit what appears to be a classic).
Basically, it describes how the American society and political system arose, and how they function. It analyses all of these seeming contradictions between freedom and dogmatic moralizing, etc. I think it’s probably the best book I’ve read about how popular government operates, and how it differs from exclusive elite government.
Also, many of the differences Tocqueville finds between European and American society are still relevant today. If you want to know how the conditions described in this Economist article arose, and how these various features interact – what the “character” of (even contemporary) America is – in a deep way, I can’t think of a better book.
It is. DiA provides a very good picture on the character of the early American republic. It's very interesting to see how that character has progressed to the present day.
All this talk about importing "talent" is highly disingenuous. The bulk of current immigration is low skill and puts pressure on low-end wages, and many government services budgets.
The history of immigration in America is a handful of waves interspersed by much longer periods of assimilation with close to zero immigration. The current wave, beginning in 1968, is absolutely unprecedented in volume and length.
By your yardstick, the UK should be considered to be positive heaving, yet immigrants currently make up a majority of the population increase. I'm not going to complain - it keeps my house value up :-)
Now that's of course massaging the numbers. People/area still puts the EU ahead, ~300 vs. ~500 p/mi^2 (got this by putting "mean" in front of the above searches) but the Eastern US is not "through the floor" by comparison. It's roughly equivalent to France.
Now if you lump the whole Western US in there then yeah you drop that number into the basement (Alaska is bigger than Germany+France+Spain) but if I take a big chunk of Africa or Russia and call it part of the EU then I can do the same over there, which is more-or-less the same thing from a geological, hydrological and climatic perspective.
On a regular working man's salary my grandfather could rent a house on a pristine, practically undeveloped beach for a month a summer a short drive from a major east coast city. You are arguing it's a good thing that population growth has made this no longer possible.
In your grandfather's time - let's assume 50 years ago - living in such a place wouldn't even be comparable to now. Most likely no convenient place to buy groceries, poor communications, poor amenities generally. The value of that land is significantly improved now - not just because of evil moneygrabbing property owners like myself, but because it's significant better to live in remote places thanks to modern technology, so it's under heavier demand.
I could argue that in your grandfather's time, you could have bought land at bargain rates in Orlando or Las Vegas whereas now the prices suck.. but it's not comparing two compatible realities.
One example of this is a place my family has vacationed since I was an infant: Crosslake, MN. Crosslake started as a small, sleepy fishing town with gorgeous views, nice people, lots of fish, and lots of wilderness--basically heaven for a Minnesotan. Because it was heaven, people started moving there in droves and drove the property prices to absolutely absurd levels. It went from a place where your grandfather might own a little fishing cabin, to a place littered with multi-million dollar estates that have $250,000+ boats parked in front of them.
This had nothing to do with technology. Only recently (within the last decade or so) has the town started getting "modern". This didn't prevent people from flocking there.
And don't forget that other technological trend : the camera. Ever since a photo could show the beauty of a natural place, the visitors followed. Arguably it was the photos of Yosemite that sparked the initial nationwide interest in visiting such a place. I could theorise that this same trend has worked it's way through into every beautiful piece of wilderness - many people will visit a place simply because they've seen a picture of it. Some of those visitors will choose to stay as residents.
So my theory is that because of the technology and the demographic trends, people populate areas that were once considered remote, and it was increasing awareness of the beauty of remote places that drove the visits in the first place.
Incorrect on all points. We're not talking about a remote place. We're talking about a one hour drive from a major city.
Come off it. A spacious and fairly pristine spot on the beach was once affordable. Such a spot would now be worth millions because of overpopulation. There is no interesting twist to do with technology.
I'll also add the fish and crabs were plentiful, where now they are quite scarce.
A bigger issue for that scenario would be that most people don't get a whole month off in the summer.
This is directly related to the population and labor supply issue.
I call hooey on your claim it's still possible. Quintupling the drive and substituting for nice house right on the beach a condo on a densely developed block is not what I'm talking about. There are barely any beaches that aren't over-developed on the entire east coast, anyway.
I guess what you really meant was that your mythical working class man could afford a condo in a skyscraper on the beach, since that's what would be within an hour.
No it's not. The American 'working class' never really got a whole month off in the summer. You are idealizing a non-existent past.
And this ignores that one income supported a stay at home wife.
Housing is cheap and conveniently located for purpose in, say, Nebraska - and even the poor have easy access to nature. Same applies to the majority of the Canada, Africa, or Asia land masses.
Where there are no jobs (or means of production), there are no people. There are plenty of people conducting business and making livings even in deepest Nebraska, Wyoming, Africa, Canada, or wherever.
You seem to be attaching special importance to the types of jobs and "culture" that massive congregations of people produce, while complaining that the number of people in those locations is too high ;-)
Why not? People strain the environment wherever they are--increased population density and urbanization can often reduce that per-capita strain.
this seems to be a good ecnomist article, but its filled with propagada.
america ranks below for tolerance not because of religious reasons, but because its a police state where the people have no means of contesting acts and policies of some obscure gov branchs.
right now im on the verge of moving to there, but im scared as shit of the random people dispearing for ties with terrorism. Fair its still a small number, and they even might be terrorists, and more importantly its no one you know. But that there are cases, that are.
Give me a break. People in America have all kinds of “means of contesting acts and policies.” There are problems with the justice system, as anywhere, but the courts and the political system are more accessible in America than anywhere I know.
One thing I was surprised about was the ability of UK officer to question a child (about 13) without anyone else present. This is definitely illegal in the US. Easily the most surprising was the turn of a familiar phrase, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you do say can and will be used against you." In the UK: "You have the right to remain silent. However, if you do remain silent, your silence can be used against you in court."
Edit: Also, the dress of the Crown Prosecution looks absolutely ridiculous and it's hilarious. Apologies to friends across the pond.
but i agree that i got the most difficult, and extreme, example of the dozen i could have used.
As far as I know, America invented the modern incarnation of a country with "means of contesting acts and policies of...govt."
The fact that America's faults are bandied about for all the world to discuss, dispute and analyze just goes to show how good of a government it is. It's like an open source version of government.
For example consider the 4th amendment protecting us from unreasonable search and seizure. As http://www.aclu.org/national-security_technology-and-liberty... points out, 2/3 of the country lives within areas where the border patrol both can and sometimes does periodically set up spots where they randomly stop and search whoever they want. In pursuit of the "war on drugs" courts have come to accept that if your belongings are directly sued that you personally have no standing to contest the lawsuit, and your protections against unreasonable seizure is null and void. Telecom companies at the request of the Bush government made virtually everything tappable with no oversight. This activity has continued, and telecom companies have by special act of Congress (the current President voted ye on this) been given immunity for their violation of our privacy.
We are not an extreme police state. But we are well on our way. As a random example, in the last several years at every job I have worked at I was unable to enter or leave my place of employment without a security badge. Just 30 years ago this kind of widespread use of pervasive security systems was considered unthinkable in this country, and people were proud of it.
Can you give me an example of some place with a more accessible system? (And if you can, maybe you can think of a reason or two why that might be so?)
oh sorry, you're not black to remember that. As you're probably not muslin to remember the missing persons in 2001.
now, which one will be the next to be forgotten?
> right now im on the verge of moving to there, but im scared as shit of the random people dispearing for ties with terrorism
You almost got it right. You will be plagued by unaccountable bureaucrats who have the full power of the state behind them, but few of them are under the "fight terrorism" excuse.