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A world of free movement would be $78T richer (economist.com)
286 points by deegles 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 371 comments

Open borders will, at first, cause downward pressure on wages, as the labor pool of workers able and willing to perform work for a lower price grows. The magnitude would be more pronounced than with what we've been currently able to observe with controlled borders, because the article proposes a scenario where welfare and public assistance would readily apply to newcomers too. In fact, there would be a growth in the lucrative industry of coyotes who offer transportation and relocation assistance, because their line of work would now be legitimate.

Increased demand for housing will cause costs to spike, which means that those most willing and able to pay larger amounts will live where they wish, and everyone else will be relegated to far outskirts, including nonimmigrants whose incomes fall further behind cost of living. In this scheme, generous profits will be made by landowners of high-demand locations, and shareholders of corporations who can take advantage of the influx of labor and the expanded customer base. It's not too different from our world's current direction, except within a particular state, the absolute numbers of the wage class and the underclass would be much larger.

>Because the article proposes a scenario where welfare and public assistance would readily apply to newcomers too.

FTA: “If the worry is that future migrants might not pay their way, why not charge them more for visas, or make them pay extra taxes, or restrict their access to welfare benefits? Such levies could also be used to regulate the flow of migrants, thus avoiding big, sudden surges.”

> why not charge them more for visas,

Because illegal immigrants do not use visas. So you would be hurting law-abiding people and encouraging circumventing the law - if you can't afford the visa anyway, the question of "should I just through the hoops to get legal visa or try illegal immigration" becomes moot.

> make them pay extra taxes

Why would they pay those taxes? They'd just work on black market and report zero income and apply for welfare. High tax burdens reliably breeds avoidance and lack of compliance, especially in population that is kinda on the sidelines of the law as it is, as it often happens with migrants. And of course it would also sell awfully in the press - imagine an article of how a migrant from Guatemala pays a higher tax rate taxes than a billionaire born in New Jersey - how that would look in next congressional debate?

> restrict their access to welfare benefits

You can do it, but then you'd get exactly what welfare benefits are created to remove - a large population of people who do not have access to basic services, and thus have high level of disease, crime, misery and human suffering. If you accept the idea that welfare benefits are necessary because we should not have too many people like that in our society, then denying people in the country these benefits because they were born in wrong place contradicts this idea. Gating the access to this system on immigration status contradicts the whole premise of having the welfare system. I don't think there's a logically consistent model of welfare state with open borders at all - unless we somehow postulate that welfare spending has a reasonably low upper bound, which I haven't seen proven anywhere.

> Such levies could also be used to regulate the flow of migrants,

Of course you could, but why charging lots of money for visa would be more effective in solving problems we have now than any other method that's been used?

> thus avoiding big, sudden surges.”

Big, sudden surges usually happen due to wars, famines, economic collapses and other such events, in which case I seriously doubt visa prices are going to change anything.

Easy solution to all this. End income taxes. Make consumption tax + national id system. With id you pay 4%, without you pay 15-20%. Make the consumption tax be on everything : Wages, Rent, Mortgage, Food, etc... if you spend money on something it's taxed at the point of payment. - By wages - I mean the company pays the tax. If a person or company pays money or exchanges money it's taxed. Shareholder dividends, CEO bonuses, all taxed.

You could then fund a guaranteed basic income (for citizens only), and just adjust the sales/tax yearly to balance the budget-- everyone pays taxes, no deductions are given, but GBI would guarantee people wouldn't live in poverty at all. It'd be easier to manage technically so we could dismantle welfare and handout programs as well as the IRS.

> Easy solution to all this. End income taxes.

With current political and budget system, I don't see any path to this ever happening. Maybe in theory that could be a better solution (I don't know, it would need thorough analysis) but I don't see how it could happen in reality.

> You could then fund a guaranteed basic income (for citizens only),

Again, same argument applies. If GBU is a benefit for society, there's no reason to gate it on citizenship - we'd be just limiting the benefit on irrelevant metric, it's like demanding to lower your own salary if your boss' last name begins with certain letter - it'd be irrational. If, however, it is not beneficial to society but is a wealth transfer which benefits one group while hurting another, because the former has more political clout - one should argue this should never be done at all, citizen or not.

I'd be for a universal gbi -- if it's built on blockchain, w/ tax system builtin via transaction fee, perhaps it's tied to an identity coin, and each identity has a 'score' on how unique that person 'appears' to the algorithm, and using a combination of biometrics (like iris scan), and social graph. The more 'unique' or seemlingly unique/trusted the person is as an individual the less transaction fee they pay per transaction.

Something like this could then be adopted as a global currency and have gbi paid out to all members monthly. Perhaps we could create a not-for-profit corp that creates small businesses where 100% of left over income goes back to consumers who use the store (think grocery) and workers who work in the store as a bonus.

A 4% consumption tax wouldn't be nearly enough to maintain current tax revenues. And consumption taxes are highly regressive; the poor have to spend almost all their income on consumption.

Consumption would include all money exchanged. If you invest in the stock market for example $ paid to broker, and money invested would be taxed as it leaves your hand. When you pull it back, broker/investment firm pays the consumption tax because it's leaving them, going back to you.

Anything a company pays money for goes to consumption including: Wages, Power bill, Land, Buildings, Planes, Trains, Transportation of Goods.

Poor would be offset by guaranteed basic income and universal healthcare. GBI would basically be a negative income tax, the 4% is variable and can be raised/lowered yearly whether the country's in the black/red - but only 1-2 points per year w/ congress's approval. Also 4% was just a number I pulled out of ass, could be 7 or 8% instead.

I don't see how poor would suffer under this if they have a guaranteed 30-40k income if they don't work one day the entire year. Sure they might spend all of that back in food, tax, shelter, etc..but they have food, and shelter which they may not have had before.

The only stipulation on GBI would be you must have a residence to collect. (If you want to remain homeless and spend all cash on Meth, that won't work, you need to at least get housing).

there could be a land/resource tax on top, for property owners. If you own land > $200k in value, you'd pay a specific tax on the land, if you use resources you pay a tax on that on-going including:Water, Coal, Natural Gas, Oil - if it comes from the earth, it'd be taxed.

I've heard of schemes that involve fully paying for GBI using ONLY land/resource taxes, but I think that wouldn't be enough to pay for things. But we don't need a military as big as we have, there's lots of places we can cut corners and spend less money.

WE need to explore our budget and use tech to lower costs across the board as much as possible and streamline things.

I've thought about that a lot (I'm pro open-borders). I think we should get rid of income taxes, instead move to consumption taxes (money out is taxed) examples: Paying for anything: Rent, Food, Wages, Shareholders/Dividends, Estate transfer, Boats, Trains, Planes, etc... If you exchange money for ANYTHING it's taxed on the payers' side of the transaction. -- Then create a fair-id system so every citizen has an id, if you go to the store and forget your id you pay 15% sales tax, if you have your id you pay 4%.

This would immediately make non-documented people and visitors with greencards pay a lot of taxes. It's their choice if they want to stay/pay or go and not-pay their share, but the republicans can stop whining about immigrants not paying their fair share if they pay 3 times the sales tax.

So go back to 99% of just taxing the poor (progressive taxes make taxes very low for very low incomes) ? And in the process create an almost absurdly large incentive for the black market to go back to the levels it last existed at centuries ago. Without deductions, owning a house is back to utterly impossible for anyone who doesn't currently own one. At those levels all other laws become ineffective too, as at that point sausages in the supermarket will have the same quality control as illegal drugs have today. Illegal production, dumping, ... all comes with enormous incentives under such a scheme.

Maybe do some research before suggesting something like this.

There is a deduction of sorts.. It's guaranteed basic income. Give everyone 3000 a month per household + 500 per dependent.

Those who own homes/land/property will pay more because they're expenditures are more.

Example: You earn 70k per year, you get 30k for gbi. That's 100k. Of that, you spend 80% on housing, school, food, clothes, toys, w/e, and invest 20% for retirement.

Of that 80% you spend 5% on taxes via sales tax. So roughly $4,000 a year in taxes.

If you earned 30k, and didn't work at all i.e. 30k from gbi alone, and spent all of it, you'd have spent 1500 on taxes, but still be able to feed/clothe/house a family in at least some comfort.

I don't see how that makes life unbearable for everyone? If you're an immigrant who isn't a citizen yet, you'd pay a bit more, but that's the price of coming to America, deal w/ it. At least you'll never be deported, or have your family ripped away from you, etc...

> restrict their access to welfare benefits

This is a libertarian pipe-dream that will never happen in the current political climate. They envision free movement and no welfare/safety-net (for at least alien immigrants). Even if that is federal policy, states and cities will pick up the slack.

The rest? Just another way to end up with millions of undocumented/illegal immigrants (like we have currently with impossible standards to meet for legal immigration). Can't force someone to pay "extra taxes" if they are working under the table for slave wages.

No doubt The Economist could care less if migrants pay taxes, for them they pay their way solely by providing cheap labor to businesses.

Estimates show undocumented immigrants are net contributors to welfare, they pay taxes but they can’t apply for most benefits that they’re paying into.

Half of undocumented immigrants pay taxes.

Source: https://itep.org/wp-content/uploads/undocumentedtaxes.pdf

Yeah, that is total BS. BTW they are not "undocumented" as if their dog ate their passport: they are illegal immigrants.

The total local, state, federal burden of all the benefits they receive, greatly outweighs the pitiful amount they pay in taxes. 2017 stats indicate $19B paid into the system, $135B in services taken out: a net $116B loss to America. https://www.scribd.com/document/359997156/Cost-Study-2017-We...

Even if you say that "FAIR is biased", and discount the numbers by 50%, you still have a negative impact of over $50B a year.

California, ALONE, spends over $30 billion a year on services for illegals.

$10.6 billion in paid taxes: according to your link "overall effective tax rate of 6.4 percent". Explain how that is fair, please...

Most citizens are not net contributors to welfare. It sounds like you dislike welfare, not immigrants.

People who come here legally and illegally are just like you and me, wanting the same things, to work, live, and provide a better future for their children. They are human beings.

But I get it... freedom and markets when it benefits you and exclusion and socialism when it doesn’t.

I don't get it, "Estimates show undocumented immigrants are net contributors to welfare" yet "Most citizens are not net contributors to welfare". Is it because undocumented immigrants "pay taxes but they can’t apply for most benefits that they’re paying into" (even though in many jurisdictions they can and do)? Even if true, there are far more legal citizens in the US than alien immigrants, and most of those are not on welfare. I just can't square what you are saying here with your previous comment.

> People who come here legally and illegally are just like you and me, wanting the same things, to work, live, and provide a better future for their children. They are human beings.

That's great, but it still affects people already legally here who also want to "work, live, and provide a better future for their children". The H-1B program gets a lot of ire from these parts because it has a downward effect on salaries and job availability for US citizens in the tech sector. But I guess that's no problem when it's the same deal just for jobs none of us would ever consider.

I responded with facts, that showed your numbers are not based in reality. I don't dispute that they are human beings...

This is all very interesting and some of this makes sense, but like most economics practice, it's utterly impossible to predict the moves and motives of every party involved when change economic policy. In other words - this all sounds good, but people are irrational and it's hard to predict that irrationality on a global scale.

Source - Every economists research that either does or does not come true from proposed changes in economic policy.

>In fact, there would be a growth in the lucrative industry of coyotes who offer transportation and relocation assistance, because their line of work would now be legitimate.

This is true if you define 'coyote' as anyone who transports an immigrant to their destination country. Most people would just call them 'airlines', just as immigrants used to arrive on 'ocean liners'.

>Increased demand for housing will cause costs to spike

This is only true in the presence of severe restrictions on supply. These exist in some, but not all, areas of the United States with high immigrant populations. http://www.nber.org/papers/w13071.pdf

>It's not too different from our world's current direction, except within a particular state, the absolute numbers of the wage class and the underclass would be much larger.

For a thought-provoking modest proposal to realize these potential gains and ensure they are captured by current working-class Americans, see the Posner-Weyl Sponsor an Immigrant plan. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/13/immigrati...

Correct, the ones getting richer won't be the plebs.

That's inconsistent with the data, considering economic immigrants nearly always end up better off. Did you mean that the native plebs wouldn't be getting richer? That's at least arguable, but carries some interesting connotations.

I've been thinking a bit about this lately, and I think you could achieve this slowly in the US with an expansion of the visa lottery process.

My thoughts too, and the article sort of says this at the end.

If the worry is that future migrants might not pay their way, why not charge them more for visas, or make them pay extra taxes, or restrict their access to welfare benefits? Such levies could also be used to regulate the flow of migrants, thus avoiding big, sudden surges.

This is what the US does right now through the lottery system but it's just so restricted that no one in their right mind could call the US borders "open".

What do you mean? The lottery just gives you a green card. Once you have it, you can apply for naturalization in 5 years. Once you get your citizenship, you have pretty much all the rights and benefits as any other citizen, except you can't get elected president.

I was more referring to the big sudden surges part in that there is in fact a lottery acting to regulate the flow of migrants. I'd even go so far as to say that under many circumstances, a green card gets you many of the important rights and benefits as any US citizen (other than voting of course).

If this was true, then US being the biggest immigrant-friendly country in the world, would do so in a heartbeat. But neither the government nor corporations are advocating this. America currently has the biggest economy in the world, an average of $58,000 income, a low 3.9% unemployment rate while enjoying GDP growth rate of close to 5% in Q2, as well as close to 220,000 new jobs every month, and growth in wage increases. In some areas (like silicon valley), employees are offered 200k-300k salaries. It got to here by having a strong republic/democracy and rules and laws, support technologies in public and private sectors, limit immigration to skill-based, and recently choosing to lower corporate tax rate and reduce corporation regulations.

A lot of how we “got to here” has to do with being all the was left after WWII. Trying to pretend like all the things you advocate for are the reasons for prosperity is silly. Your statement is basically, “things are good now and they are good because <insert political platform>”

There are other periods of time that have been as good or better with a different political platform. In the 1950s (when America was “great”) the top tax rate was 90%.

Federal politics and the economy are linked, but not 1:1 and the net impact of changes to federal law often isn’t felt for years or decades (if at all).

Sure, and we could have blown the lead in the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s, the 10s, etc. But we didn't. We valued entrepreneurship, hard work, and being the best.

50s was an anomaly with a 36% growth rate, like you said, because we were all that were left. The economy currently is very stable, diversified, and fast growing still for its size, some 70 years later.

Where on the US Bureau of Economic Analysis' site do you find 5% GDP growth?


I keep seeing these overly optimistic GDP growth numbers, but I can't find them.

My point is that most of where we are today can be attributed to the post war advantage and not any specific policy decision. We are increasingly losing ground to China in terms of output and GDP growth and losing out massively to Europe in terms of quality of life.

Increased immigration of low-class workers is politically unpopular in the heartland. In fact, even importing certain skilled workers is unpopular among the rank-and-file, as casual criticism of H1-Bs shows.

Instead, since the 1970s, US thought leaders and business leaders of both parties long pursued similar trade policies that embraced deregulation and open markets, which allowed similar gains to be realized by US businesses operating in a globalized world (e.g. outsourcing, offshoring, integrated supply chains).

SV companies pay generously because dozens of companies flush with cash are all competing for the same pool of veterans of other companies. Any company that has less profit per employee (most small businesses) can scarcely afford to pay a premium for rank-and-file employees with domain experience; nor is there enough effortless mobility in specialty skilled manufacturing roles to make such escalating wages necessary.

How does the rosiness of this assessment jive with the UN’s report that 40 million Americans live in poverty? Perhaps they are an ancillary component of such a Republic?

if we look at this


it would appear US is in similar leagues with Canada, Norway, Sweden, New Zealand, etc, of having close to 0-1% in poverty. Check out the other countries in Asia or Africa if you really think America has it bad.

Theres only ~300 million people in the us, so the gp's source is claiming something like 10% poverty

Something's clearly misaligned with the definition of poverty between your sources; you're differing by an order of magnitude

That's a huge difference. I assume different sources did use quite different measures:



Is that relative or absolute poverty you are talking about?

The higher growth in q2 is temporary, because we juiced our economy with the tax cut for rich people and tax change to allow companies to bring money from overseas and pay it out to shareholders. In the 5-10 year period, we'll have significantly increased our national debt for this temporary cut.

"immigrant-friendly" thats very far from being accurate.

edit: strong lang.

Well, I guess it depends on each person's experience. but according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_d..., US has the most immigrants at 46 million, next closest is Germany at 12 million and Russia at 11 million.

The USA is the size of a continent, so perhaps a fair(er) comparison would be to add all the immigrants in Europe. That's ignoring the fact that most people don't migrate to the USA because it's immigrant friendly but because of other factors such as proximity, language, and economy, and ease of access. Living in the USA as an undocumented immigrant is not that great. The balance is also tipping at the moment (e.g. more people are leaving the USA than entering the USA, currently).

If you look at the figures for net migration per 1000 inhabitants[1], the USA and Germany are pretty much the same for the period between 2007 and 2012: 15.94 per 1K and 15.54 per 1K respectively. For 2017, the USA sits at 3.9 (Canada 5.70).

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_net_migra...

1) legal? 2) Historical laws vs current laws 3) Adjust for population size Even for say Software Eng. moving to US is a very f@#$up process, but pretty much any other country is trivial often with immediately being permanent resident or some visa that converts to PR in 1-2 years.

The link shows percentage numbers as well- relative to total world foreigner population as well as relative to each country’s population.

and point (1) ?

Its easier to get into the us than the eu so thats simply wrong. The us have way more ways too.

Have you tried to do either? I’d love to hear what you’re basing this claim on.

ive got into the us on an O1 and now have a EB1 green card. i also founded a fairly big agency in Denmark hiring people from around the world so yeah I would say i have experience :)

I think it depends on a lot of factors. i.e. how much money you have, education background, prior experience and very significantly the country you're coming from.

Not to discount your experience, i am sure you've been through a lot of paperwork (i know i sure have, and i'm yet to meet someone who enjoys immigration departments!) but the US is pretty damn tough if you are not a) wealthy and/or b) highly educated and in demand.

OK lets compare the process for Ireland, Poland, Germany to US. Especially time to PR.

You can get a J1 visa in 2 weeks which gives you 18months.

You can get an EB1 (greencard in 3 months if you qualify.

You can get an O/L/E visa in a few months same thing with H1b.

And you have way more ways to get in.

I think you are ignoring the time to PR part. EB1 current processing time is 8 month (and you have to have 1 mil) the requirements are very strict You can buy a 500K property in Cyprus/Portugal etc and become resident (latvia 250K)without any requirement to run a business or hire people etc. Cmon H1B is done once a year and there is lottery with 50% chance of wining (spouse can not work) E visa are business visas and only for people from treaty trader countries plus they do not convert to PR L visas you have to work for the subsidiary for 1 year there is a limit on L visa length In Czcech Republic, Estonia etc. you need 10K to get residency through business and there are no requirements to hire people etc.

I am not ignoring anything. I have tried both hiring into the EU and from EU to the US.

Also you need to make the proper comparison with EU not just cherry pick a few countries. I can cherry pick countries to where it's very hard (try Denmark for instance).

My claim was EU vs US again 11 million illegal immigrants living here and for a large part contributing to the economy that alone would never happen in the EU.

And you don't need 1Million for a EB1. It's a merrit based greencard (just like O1 visa is)

A resident of any Shengen country can work and live in any other Shengen country that's why I cherry picked. Sorry confused EB1 with EB5.

Thats not the argument i made though. Thats like saying a resident of any state in the us. We are talking about coming from outside the EU.

Exactly coming from outside of EU you can become a resident of EU state that has simplest procedure and yet after that you are able to work and live in any EU state which makes immigration to EU trivial compared to US.

Again it's harder to get into the EU than the US. I have dealt with both for several years now.

You can also work in any state the second you are in the US.

You've got be kidding the only realistic option for US is H1B majority of EU countries have simple visa's for Software Eng. with no quotas. My former employees from Ukraine are in Germany, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic (and outside of EU Australia, Canada) the process was 2-3 month on avg. for EU countries and they become residents pretty quickly with no quotas.

theres no quota on an O visa and you have L visas and a bunch of others on top of H1B plus the lottery plus 11 million illegal immigrants living and often working here even paying taxes. I can assure you IAm not kidding and that you should learn a little about just how open the US is compared to the EU.

How having 11 million illegal immigrants is being open :)? In Ireland it would take 2 month to get work visa that becomes PR after 2 years. L1 is only for transfers anyone that can qualify for US O visa are welcome anywhere in the world.

How many illegal immigrants are working in the EU. You don't just get a work visa. Believe me I have dealt with it as the owner of a company in Denmark hiring people from outside the EU.

In EU fewer because they actually let people settle. There was about 1 mil iligal workers from Ukraine alone but now poland is handing out visas even to unskilled workers so people mostly enter EU legally

You mean by keeping them in Turkey or turning them away in the waters so they drown?

I think you got the wrong information here.

You gonna pretend US border patrol is welcoming mexicans in US? That whole 0 tolerance thing is escaping your attention?

If they are legal yes and thats the discussion here. I repeat, its easier to get into the us legally than the eu. You want to count how many drowned to get into the eu? The EU isnt any better and 11 million people living illegally in the us on top of how many of them are immigrants the last 80 yearsshould be an indication of just how absurd the claims about the us immigration politics are.

>"but pretty much any other country is trivial often with immediately being permanent resident or some visa that converts to PR in 1-2 years."

Not at all. I know a couple that tried to move to Canada after Trump got elected but were shocked to find out they'd have to deposit 250k USD with the Canadian government for 5 years in order to be considered for permanantly residency.

Not only that, the demand for people to move into the US is tremendous so the competition is obviously very steep compared to less desireable places.

If they are from US and for some very strange reason can not get enough points to pass the simplest route is 1 person from the couple goes to college in Canada (even the cheapest one) the second person can get work permit based on being spouse of a student (student can work half time too) With 1 year of work experience and a Canadian degree they will have enough points for PR.

Giving up years of your life for school isn't trivial by any means.

We are comparing US and Canada. If person already has a degree a similar degree can be chosen that will require 1+/- year of study at a cost below 10K. The spouse can work during this year and the student can work halftime. This will be enough to get PR. In US the spouse will not have right to work the student can work on campus the minimal cost will be in 30K range, after getting the degree the former student (if the degree is appropriate) can work for 1-2 years in US if employer applies for H1B and the lucky former student wins the lot. he will be able to continue working and US employer can apply for GC (subject to far more req than in Canada) minimum time to GC in US in this scenario will be 4-5 years (realistically 6-7 provided the student was not from China or India) and in Canada about 2.

If they get enough points (which is trivial) you get PR even without job offer.

edited: strong lang.

Would you please edit the uncivil snips like "BS" and "You've got to be kidding" out of your comments here? We're trying for a bit better than internet median, and taking little shots like that lowers the discussion quality and encourages worse.


Done sorry for anyone that had a pleasure of going through US immigration system the notion that it is "friendly" will steer up a lot of strong feelings.

But it is difficult because demand is so tremendous and there are reasonable quotas. Not because it's difficult for difficulties sake.

Here's what is happening large companies tired of dealing with this system have setup offices in Ireland, Canada etc. When they want to hire people from outside US they move them to Ireland, Canada etc. and than will either keep them there or move them to US on H1B (if they win the lot.) or GC (takes 2 years+). So outside of loosing 2 years of tax revenue (or all future years of tax revenue based on them staying in satelite office I am honestly confused of what is exactly the benefit to US.

It's pretty accurate if you consider immigration overall, and for one simple reason: US has the most extensive family immigration eligibility, at least among developed countries. In Canada, for example, you can't sponsor your grandparents for permanent residence; but in US, you can. This is also why US is the only developed country dominated by family rather than skilled immigration, by the way.

Sure you can and if grandma is in good health she might survive 10-15 years wait time for this category. "In Canada, for example, you can't sponsor your grandparents" https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/se...

I stand corrected wrt this particular category and Canada. It's not the case for most other countries, though. And it is still the case that more family members are eligible in US than most other places. That US has a lot more family immigration compared to others is also an objective fact.

In UK you can and also in most(all?) EU countries and without 10-15 years wait time.


Sort by Net Migration Per 1,000 Inhabitants Australia 45.01 Canada 33.84 US 15.94

A world of free movement will not have a single welfare state.

Even after decades, and generations, immigrants from certain regions have absolutely abysmal rates of employment in more developed countries they have settled in. How would an even larger scale of immigration flip the trend we can already witness, a complete 180 degrees? Many seem completely content on living on benefits alone, or fully unable to find employment with the skill set they have gathered, even when they have born in the country where the natives fare much better. The way I see it, the money that is being spent on these people could be spent with a far better interest elsewhere.

78 trillion, truly, is a fantasy pulled from a behind.

I don't know where you got your information from. It's half true. No, immigrants do not have abysmal rates of employment. The unemployment rate for foreign-born persons in the United States was 4.1 percent in 2017 compared to 4.4 percent for native-born persons (Dept of Labor, Labor Force Characteristics of Foreign-born Workers Summary). Immigrants do use more entitlement than native-borns, but that's because immigrants tend to have more children. Given how low the fertility rate for native-borns is, the entitlement that immigrants use to bring up their children probably pays itself off once the children grow up and contribute to the economy.

> No, immigrants do not have abysmal rates of employment

I think it depends on the specific form of migration to that country. For example the USA or Switzerland have very high skilled people coming to their country. In Germany too, but there was and is also a large influx of very uneducated migrants. Currently 55% of all welfare recipients in Germany are people with a migration background which shows that the opportunities/capabilities are not equal.

I do think though that welfare can still work with free movement, it is just that there would need to be a similar level in all/many countries.

Most immigration into USA is through the family track rather than the skilled worker track.

>"A world of free movement would be $78 trillion richer"

...A world where everyone's mother is a prostitute would be considerably more economically active.

Its a shame the economy is seen as a end rather than a means.


I would also like to ask to whom would the majority of that increase in wealth go? I would argue it wouldn't be to the people doing the moving. It would be to the people driving them to move.

The increase in wealth from someone moving from a poor to a rich country is massive, and far more than the marginal benefit to an employer from hiring them rather than a slightly more expensive alternative person.

Actually, in the proper context, it isn't. In fact, it's pitiful compared to the increase in wealth resulting from focusing on turning the poor country into a rich one. THAT'S the biggest economic story of the last several decades; and to first order, immigration is only relevant to the extent that it facilitates more rapid development of China/India/Rwanda/etc. The US electorate is still more annoyed by predominantly Mexican/Central American illegal immigration than the combination of reverse-mercantilist trade policy, foreign student education and practical training, outsourcing, and tech transfer that the US has deployed to facilitate the development of China, India, and many countries before and after them. The total positive impact of the latter is easily >20x as large as the former, higher-cost policy.

You don't get to discount China/India/etc.'s growth as "inevitable catch-up growth" on one side of the equation, yet fully count it on the other side.

As a consequence, I support reverse-mercantilist trade policy, foreign student education and practical training, outsourcing, and tech transfer, especially for countries like India which both have a lot to gain and are strategically highly aligned with the US (I acknowledge that China is now a more complicated case), to the extent that Americans can continue to bear these things. (Canadians and Australians seem to be fine with continuing these practices indefinitely, while also letting a pretty high number of skilled nonwhite foreigners from poor countries settle permanently.) And I violently oppose the grossly inefficient mass-low-skill-immigration policy that threatens to turn Americans, Germans, and others against the overall project while accomplishing so little.

Wealth to who?

An immigrant will capture a much smaller share of the value they generate, otherwise why use them, than a native born citizen.

This means that while theoretically 'wealth' is increasing it is increasing in such a way that those who are in the position to pay wages keep more of them and those in the position to receive them get much less.

In short then what's the point of an average in a power law distribution which by definition does not have a defined average?

Or to put it even more dumbly would you rather live in a world of 100 units of wealth distributed between the 5 quintiles as [80.0, 16.0, 3.2, 0.64, 0.128] or one of 20 units distributed as [6,5,4,3,2]. For 2/3rds of the people in the world the second would be better.

> An immigrant will capture a much smaller share of the value they generate, otherwise why use them, than a native born citizen.

Why not use them, if they're more qualified?

The only reason why employers can fleece immigrants in US today, is because immigrants are effectively "locked in" - e.g. if you're on H1-B, you can't change employers without going through a bunch of paperwork; and if you get fired, they just kick you out of the country. Which, obviously, means that you can't negotiate from the same position of strength as a native. But remove those, and why do you think an immigrant would demand to be paid any less? We're not stupid.

>But remove those, and why do you think an immigrant would demand to be paid any less? We're not stupid.

Because you're poor. An Indian in India makes 1/20th the wage a US citizen makes in the US. If they get 1/15th you have just received a huge raise and are happy.

You forget that if you live and work in US, your cost of living is also the same as any native. 1/15th would only be attractive to person in India at Indian prices.

Besides, why would someone take 1/15th, if they can have the whole thing? I mean, by a similar logic, you'd expect people in US readily undercut each other at 1/2th, 1/4th etc in a race to the bottom. But we don't.

People in the US have to support a family at US living standards. Indians on the other hand either have their family in India or are used to living in conditions that Americans balk at, multiple people per room, no lawn, one car or less per family.

Listening to the dumps some of my co workers live in I can see why median hourly wages have not increased in the last 40 years.

This is political economy 101. One of Malthus's suggestions for reducing the mortality rate was getting exotic materials to become staples of life so food wouldn't be the limiting factor of population.

Extending that analogy to corporate entities, you imply that anyone with competing offers from Google and local Arco AM/PM Gas Station is better off choosing the latter one, even if Google’s offer is more competitive? Because, after all, Google is likely to extract more wealth out of that careet stint than Arco, and implicitly screw the employee over?

Your confusing the locally optimal choice of a single member within a system to apply to a description of a more globally optimal state of the system overall.

That is not what I wrote. Please re-read it.

Supposing this is true, does it matter, if the overall size of the pie increases? Isn't everyone better off? Would you rather the poor stay poor so that the rich don't get richer?

I think all you have to do is look at modern American income disparity in the United States over the last 50 or so years and you have your answer. Sure, the poorest did become moderately better off financially in terms of wages. Yet did there quality of life increase? I would argue that the size of the pie is irrelevant past the point of what is required for basic survival. What truely matters is the relative size of the pieces. Especially in a country where we have equated money with speech.

The income disparity is the game of numbers. When Jeff Bezos’ income increases due to the work of his US employees, people notice. When Saudi Arabian King’s net worth increases due to the work of his US employees (and employees of any affiliated companies controlled by Saudis), people don’t notice it as much, since the King does not file a personal tax return with IRS.

If you were to strip everybody in the Forbes 1000 list of their US citizenship (someone like Singapore or Monaco would surely step up to provide them with a valid passport), relieve them of IRS personal income filing duty, but allow their money to stay in the US economy, the economy would look the same and act the same. But the income disparity numbers would look much brighter.

You rightly point out that income disparity metrics can be manipulated, but changing the calculation (eg by ignoring Bezos) does nothing to change the actual disparity, it just makes it harder to detect... So what exactly is your point?

That the stat is not only subject to manipulation, it’s pointless.

If every American shopped on Rakuten vs Amazon, bought Samsung vs Apple, searched on Yandex instead of Google, banked at Barclays vs Chase, took a Didi vs Uber, if every hedge fund manager was based in Zurich vs Greenwich, US income disparity would not be so jarring, as the wealth would accrue elsewhere, exporting the income disparity with it.

Would the US economy be better off?

> Yet did there quality of life increase?

You seriously think poor people's quality of life hasn't increased in the last 50 years?

Go drive around "working poor" neighborhoods right after Christmas and see how many huge flat-screen TV boxes are curbside waiting for "big trash day" (small hint: a lot) or see how many people don't have smartphones.

I would argue that Wallyworld did more to bring up the standard of living for poor people than the last 50 years of social engineering but I know how much people like the downmod button...

I think you confuse the proliferation of techno-toys with quality of life. The same could be said of the proliferation of radio, automobiles, etc.

If they have the disposable income to purchase "techno-toys" then obviously they have the means to support their basic needs.

I'm actually curious what quality of life metric you're judging by that's declined in the last 50 years?

The cost of huge flat-screen TVs has plummeted. Meanwhile, the cost of housing and healthcare is going through the roof in most of the western world. It very much does not follow that people who have the disposable income to purchase techno-toys can support their basic needs.

The cost of most things has plummeted since 50 years ago which, arguably, improves people's lives.

And, btw, I wasn't proposing some new measure of Quality of Life through the size of the living room TV but using it as an illustrative example of technology becoming more accessible to more people at lower costs. Same with the smartphone reference, having the sum total of human knowledge at your fingertips seems like a quick and easy way to improve one's lot in life.

I do wonder if people would complain if Walmart managed to decrease housing and healthcare costs using their aggressive bargaining tactics like they've done with generic prescription drugs?


Forgot a requisite huffpo link praising Walmart for prescription drugs prices (whoops, wrong link the first time around) --> https://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-a-london/a-way-to-save-b...

cost of housing proportional to wages, cost of healthcare proportional to wages, access to education and the quality of that education, overall life expectancy, likelyhood of incarceration, etc.

>Go drive around "working poor" neighborhoods right after Christmas and see how many huge flat-screen TV boxes are curbside waiting for "big trash day" (small hint: a lot) or see how many people don't have smartphones.

Perhaps the hedonistic acquisition of inessential physical goods is not necessarily commensurate with a higher standard of living?

While there has been progress in the past 50 years, there has certainly also been much regress. When measuring the advancement of a civilization, it seems something other than the pervasiveness of bigger, cheaper screens for reruns of Baywatch (et al.) should be the yardstick.

> Wallyworld did more to bring up the standard of living

The quality of food Walmart sells is abysmal. The pressure Walmart put on food manufactures to drop prices played a significant role in the malnutrition and obesity in the us. TVs and smart phones are a very small part of Quality of Life. Having fulfilling work, good health, and a clean environment are more important aspects that Walmart worsen.

> The pressure Walmart put on food manufactures to drop prices played a significant role in the malnutrition and obesity in the us.

Making food less expensive is bad? Never really understood that argument but maybe it's just me...

There are studies on the percentage of income a family spends on food today vs. some time in the past (with "time" depending on whatever study you look at) and it has steadily declined. Less money spent on food == more money to spend on some other necessary thing to live a quality life.

Also, I'd put more blame on the USDA[0] for "obesity in the us" than Wallyworld selling people what they want to buy. People grow up believing in the Food Pyramid and end up becoming overweight through a "well balanced diet" dreamed up through regulatory capture.

[0]https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-bailor/obesity-epide... -- note: #1 result on the google for "food pyramid obesity" is the huffpo so it has to be true...

> Making food less expensive is bad?

Making equivalent food lower cost is good. Reducing food quality to reduce price is bad.

So many people miss this point. Most things in economics are positive sum games. But most people treat things like zero sum games (if someone gains something then I have less/am able to get less). But people produce products, people produce value. This is exactly why we have an economy. And it grows (meaning positive sum). We've left so much money and value on the table because of this.

> So many people miss this point.

I'd be careful making assumptions about the reasons people don't agree with you.

Taking the grandparent comment: "Supposing this is true, does it matter, if the overall size of the pie increases? Isn't everyone better off? Would you rather the poor stay poor so that the rich don't get richer?"

I don't disagree with this point because I believe economics is a zero some game, I disagree with it because it's wrong (it takes "everyone being better off" for granted), and I will be on guard to oppose any other initiatives (say, open borders) suggested by a group that thinks like this.

There's a very good SMBC comic that addresses the "greater pie" fallacy. [1] To summarize: the total economic pie growing and individual slices shrinking are not mutually exclusive.

[1] https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2012-04-03

Even with a larger pie, the people with an ever diminishing share have less control over their lives, more stress, and more uncertainty. There is too great a power disparity arising as a result of inequality.

That's a pretty disingenuous argument. If the pie gets bigger, cost of living also goes up, and so does income inequality.

Someone quoted something on this site a while ago to the effect of "a measure that becomes a goal is no longer a good measure"

That’s known as Goodhart's law.

A world where we printed $78 trillion dollars and gave it out to whomever would also be $78 trillion dollars richer.

That isn't how it works. Inflation is a thing.

No idea why this is getting downvoted, as you're entirely correct (obviously). OP is talking about real economic growth as massive amounts of wealth are created. A change in the money supply would create nominal growth, but no change in the underlying quantity of wealth.

For those confused as to the difference between the two, reread pg's essay on How to Make Wealth. http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html

Yeah, but the writer of the article doesn't get that either.

This an interesting article because it reframes current immigration discussions from humanitarian issues to economic ones.

I'd like to see more modelling on wage depression to see why this wouldn't have a widespread negative impact.

Additionally this seems like a weird point:

>Unskilled migrants care for babies or the elderly, thus freeing the native-born to do more lucrative work.

If lucrative work were available, wouldn't native-borns already be doing it?

Have you tried getting adequate and affordable child care? Fortunately our kids don't need it any more.

It hugely restricts available options. Either from hours available, lengthy waiting lists or simply finding that after paying childcare work is no longer making economic sense.

Hmm, seems like there may have been a reason for the old traditions after all.

The Economist's point is weird/wrong for another reason. Immigrant women have babies too. They can't be both looking after their own children and looking after other people's simultaneously. Expensive childcare doesn't seem like the kind of problem you can permanently fix by just allowing tons of immigration from third world countries.

> They can't be both looking after their own children and looking after other people's simultaneously.

The lady who lives and babysits across the street from my sister does exactly this.

I guess you’d be surprised by reality buddy, because that’s exactly how my nanny did it when I grew up...she took care of her two kids and me at the same time...it’s like people who have three kids, totally possible and being done everywhere.

Sure, but we're not talking about an additional place here or there. When people say childcare they tend to mean professional daycare, no? That's very much people bottlenecked. But if immigrants are more fertile than the locals, which they usually are at least for a while, then if the Economist was right about immigrants being well employed in construction jobs and hairdressers such, you'd expect an sudden influx to put more pressure on childcare, not less.

> When people say childcare they tend to mean professional daycare

There is a professional daycare on my block. I see the lady who runs it at our corner coffee shop from time to time. Her kids were in there with everyone else’s. (This was a point she marketed.) She’s an immigrant from Kenya.

> When people say childcare they tend to mean professional daycare, no?

Negative. As a child, of a poor family, my childcare was some combination of aunts, cousins, and family friends.

As a parent, while in the military, we often used professional childcare in the form of a daycare. Now, as an engineering, our nanny watches our children along with her own children.

So, personally, childcare has rarely referred to professional childcare.

> When people say childcare they tend to mean professional daycare, no?

No, not necessarily. It's more about availability. Even if you do assume it's "professional" childcare in some manner, it's one of the easiest small businesses to start. The regulations are strict, but the requirements are cheap beyond location and food.

My wife ran a daycare out of our house for a short period when our children were small, as it was more cost effective than having two children in daycare elsewhere.

The Israel kibuttz model would worK for many.

So you support constant work without maternity leave? I mean you know immigrants go through pregnancy and recovery, right?

Interesting to see how the rights people usually fight for become unimportant when it benefits you. I hope your nanny got at least minimum wage too.

>They can't be both looking after their own children and looking after other people's simultaneously

Why not?

I've typically seen in the developing world that the nanny looks after her kids as well, but families tend to prefer childless nannies for obvious reasons. Very often in such cases the host family will help with some of the child related expenses of the nanny. Much like some kind of communal family.

>>Have you tried getting adequate and affordable child care? Nigerian or Mexican immigrants doing that in USA would face the same high rent and expenses as US workers. They might charge a little less and that's it.

That is exactly it. The fixed costs are identical.

Isn’t this a good thing though? That elderly care and childcare is as valuable as otherwise “lucrative work”? Or perhaps what this stage of capitalism has defined as lucrative work isn’t so lucrative.

Proper child care means a high level of interaction with well-educated people who speak crisply perfect English.

For the child, this is a time when they are developing language and cultural habits that will have a lifelong impact, ultimately impacting the quality of their employment and spouse. Immigrants will not provide that. It's hard enough finding non-immigrants who can provide it.

Why do they need to speak perfect English? Are you worried the child will develop an accent or something? Unless the child is spending 24 hours a day with this person for months I don't think that's going to happen. And what "cultural habits" are you worried the child is going to pick up or not pick up from spending time with an immigrant?

Many children grow up fine in families where both parents are immigrants and cannot speak English well. The key point is "a high level of interaction" rather than the competency of the language they speak.

Nonsense. I speak English with a strong Scandinavian accept. My ex speaks RP ("posh" English). Our child minder speaks with a very noticeable South London accent.

Want to guess who he's taken after? His friends. He has a much more neutral accent than either one of us.

That's not to say your interaction or the childminders will have no impact, but if any single person has such a substantial impact on the way your child speaks, then you should be more concerned about their isolation than the English skill of one specific person they're interacting with.

>with well-educated people who speak crisply perfect English

Source? Personally, i'd rather my kid have an immigrant baby sitter speaking and teaching my child in their native language. Plenty of studies around long term intelligence of children learning second languages early on....

> Plenty of studies around long term intelligence of children learning second languages early on....

This in itself may be a myth:


What about the research indicating improved cognitive capabilities in adults who became multilingual as children? Isn't it just as likely that children who grow up exposed to multiple cultures end up better able to maneuver through a complicated, multi-cultural world?

Hearing nothing but "crisply perfect English" as children robs them of this gift, and normalizes exclusion to them — at the level of awareness that all of the lessons we learn at that tender age: too deeply even to notice, let alone change, without considerable effort, or some specific motivating factor or event (which, having internalized exclusion, is structurally less likely to happen, in the first place).

To me, that's improper child care.

> Proper child care means a high level of interaction with well-educated people who speak crisply perfect English.

So 95% of children aren't cared for properly? Elitist bull.

What do you have against striving to be elite? Being elite is admirable. One should strive to rise in society, not sink. Success beats failure.

It's a matter of degree of course, and there is no perfection, but that doesn't mean one should be complacent with less than the best.

Just as a matter of logistics, very few people can have that version of "proper" child care because only so many people are qualified to give it, and there are competing uses for those resources. Feel free to strive for the best, but "the best" is not the only proper thing, lest "proper" be meaningless.

I dunno. I was at the mercy of semi-literate, chain-smoking trailer trash, and I turned out alright. The bar is very low in childcare.

One reason is that people have different ideas what "lucrative" means.

Native-born workers often have advantages (such as speaking the language and understanding the culture) that let them mostly-realistically aspire to better jobs. Even when out of work, they aren't going to decide to be, say, farmworkers, which looks like a a hard, low-paying, temporary, dead-end job to them. Their aspirations have priced them out of the market.

Of course this isn't universal. Immigrants sometimes compete with other people who have a strike against them. Here's an article about the challenges hiring line cooks:


Once there was a time in Europe when every fief couldn't be more happy to get more subjects for free, and the usual travel restriction was on leaving your place, not moving to a new one.

It was the first world war that changed everything.

Things like migration control, passports, visas, formal institute of citizenship, all traces to the time when the imaginary no. 1 boogyman was not Ben Laden and "angry Arab guys," but the German Kaiser and "angry Prussian guys"

The system of rigid citizenship, closed by default borders, and enslavement to a piece of paper called passport was forced onto the world under pretext "if you would not let us do this, the scary Kaiser will be upon you"

This day, it is the permanent surveillance state being pushed into mainstream buy the very same sort of people, and it will be upon the Western countries in no time if that party will not be punched hard in the face with all resolve.

This sounds like the kind of interesting perspective one picks up from a good book or podcast series. Do you have one to recommend on this subject?

Well, this is all my own, near life long, research: what is power, how modern state came to be, and how one can manipulate it.

Few interesting factoids from it:

Did you know that theocracy vs bureaucracy was not a decided topic in Europe until mid 19 century?

It was a single letter of a British envoy to China that shocked the crown so much as for it to institute the His Majesty Civil Service modelled after Chinese model of professional institute of career bureaucrats. Something that is traced to first Chinese states in known history.

My grandpa said that every modern state is made by "the 3 grave sins of Chinese people:" 1. Invention of paper, 2. Invention of money, 3. Invention of gunpowder. Indeed, without those there will be no career bureaucrats, no central banks, no conscript armies, and no modern state.

And on Prussians, rulers of the old Europe were not as much afraid of Prussian people themselves, than the spread of ideological "Prusianness." Today, the most relevant comparison to them are members of Ikhvan ul Muslimin in the middle east, and how Arab gerantocracy, and nobility is afraid of them as fire.

Just as with Prussia, Qatar is not as scare to Arab rulers than "Qatariness" - the virulent Qatari identity. An identity of people who are not afraid to demand their rulers to be rightful, and reward them with great loyalty for that.

I wish I had a grandpa like yours.

Any links on any topics mentioned that you can share? Prusianness in particular.

I can't name anything in particular. I think pretty much any piece of writing on European history of this period mention something on it.

A lack of good child care options pulls half of all reproductive people out of the workforce.

people looking after their own children are:

1. providing good child care

2. adding value

> 2. Adding value

Don’t you think that a PhD in their thirties would add more value if they instead focused on their studies subject?

No. It's not exponential.

Caring for her own children, she would instill her values as they grow. Her children would most likely get a love of knowledge and a determination to accomplish long-term tasks. Since she can produce many children, the number of people with these values experiences exponential growth from generation to generation.

If she instead outsources love to an immigrant from the third world, that other person will instill third-world values in the children. The likelihood of the children taking after their mother is greatly reduced, down only to any influence of DNA. The culture is not passed on. When fewer than two of the children take after the mother, there is an exponential decline.

In general, your direct impact on the world in nothing compared to the impact that your children can have. This likely applies even to the greatest scientists, and without question it applies to a random ordinary PhD.

>third-world values

What does this even mean? Please elaborate your hierarchy of cultures and their “values.” What about all the wildly successful and educated children of immigrants from these countries who are in the US now?

What's more valuable than raising happy kids? Submitting some paper to arxiv?

> What's more valuable than raising happy kids? Submitting some paper to arxiv?

Yes. This world would benefit from having less kids, no doubt. Also less helicopter parents and more science.

Do you have anything to support any of these claims? And how does the number of children I choose to have impact my likelihood of being a "helicopter parent" or my ability to contribute to "more science"?

If you think nothing is more valuable than "raising happy kids", have you committed to that position? Do you have a job, or are you a full-time stay-at-home parent? If not, why?

Yes. I was a full-time-home-parent, and now I'm just remoting from home. That being said, there are many valuable things I'm not doing - they don't become less valuable by that, only I do. (for example, it would have been valuable to complete my code now instead of writing this reply)

If your children are now fully grown, why are you not raising more? You could always adopt some kids.

If you're doing anything with your life right now that isn't full-time child-rearing, then you don't really believe what you said.

If you're doing anything right now other than eating, you don't really believe it's necessary for survival.

I appreciate the trolling, thanks. That was answered above.

It depends. As we know intelligence is highly heritable and an extremely large component of one's productivity, it may make more sense, in terms of having an impact, for extremely high-IQ people to focus on have a large number of children, especially considering how rare having a large number of children is among those with high IQs.

I think the “intelligence” we are talking it is more a mix between nature and _nurture_.

So it is not enough just for people with high IQ to have many children.

The adult needs to follow their passion/dream/work to develop the intelligence and contribute back to the society.

If intelligence is a mix between nature and nurture, why not support both? Good child care and good education...

Smart people having more kids is not the full solution, but it is a part of the solution, and a neglected one. People already talk about improving education a lot. But it seems that education can only go so far -- some children get better results unschooled than other children get in schools.

If the marginal income tax rates were lower sure, but once you add in how much gets taken off the top by the government and how much child care costs, it really doesn't justify most jobs that make less than 6 figures.

What % of people is this? Vast majority this isn't the case. Many degrees are worthless so don't lump them in.

A lot of people are terrible at looking after their own children.

At the same time, they're not earning income. They're also losing out on experience in their field, putting them at a disadvantage when they do go back to the workforce.

Add 10% to the economy, let's imagine for once it's passed onto wages, also up 10%.

Rents up 10%. Everyone working longer for the landlords.

Gains go to land under the current system. We already added women to the workforce more, rents went up.

The proposition that all gains in productivity are absorbed by rental charges sounds completely off to me. How would that even work?

Just imagine: If housing were that great of an investment, everyone would get enough credit to build, making effectively everyone a landlord.

It depends how tight the rental market is, if there is a lot more demand than supply it is possible that the full increase would be absorbed in rental increases.

Which is the case in most urban centres, where most people are.

>This an interesting article because it reframes current immigration discussions from humanitarian issues to economic ones.

I think that's exactly right, but also an unfortunate reflection on the way it needs to be framed to make people pay attention.

How can they if they have to work full time to take care of their babies?

Part of the problem with today's economy is that it's basically impossible for a middle-class woman to have a child and work. There needs to be a large population of unskilled laborers to do these kinds of low-level jobs that a person with a college degree won't do.

This is why data shows areas with a large population of lower-class have a higher fertility rate.

Your model strongly predicts that fertility of preexisting natives would be higher in areas with more unskilled immigrants. The opposite is true, and the effect is not small.

It is safe to reject your model. Moreover, if you do not adjust your beliefs in response to contrary evidence, it is appropriate to presume that you are arguing in bad faith rather than trying to figure out the truth, and dismiss everything else you say on this subject. (This principle is equally applicable to someone arguing the other side of this particular issue in similar bad faith, of course; reversed stupidity is not intelligence.)

Your model strongly predicts that fertility of preexisting natives would be higher in areas with more unskilled immigrants. The opposite is true, and the effect is not small.

It seems like you have a lot of confounding variables to work through to make this case with such confidence, if you have research that makes this case I would like to see links to it.

Yes, there are confounding variables; population density in particular jumps out. But once you acknowledge that population density has enough negative causal impact through various channels on native fertility to be worth explicitly controlling for, you've already rejected mozumder's model: what effect does immigration have on population density?

Why would one acknowledge that population density has a "negative causal impact" without evidence of such? You can argue that density and fertility are correlated, sure, but causation is a much higher bar. Why would you restrict the model such that you assume that any increase in density at any starting level of density would decrease fertility? Why would you assume that without evidence?

Okay, I was assuming you had at least a little bit of familiarity with the field.

There are a lot of papers which cover this. Starting with a Google search on population density and fertility rate, without including "causes" in the search, the top academic results I get are: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030438781... https://www.jstor.org/stable/27503981 http://paa2004.princeton.edu/papers/41719

The population density-fertility rate assumption was not made without evidence.

Did you have (even a vague) source for this - I'm willing to search for it given even a vague gesture? I think this indeed sounds like it could be strong evidence, so I'd love to see it. Indeed, I would also think that a high skill population living mixed with a low skill population would have a higher birth rate than a high skill population NOT near a low skill population.

You can start from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territ... and its list of sources, and drill down from there. Remember to subtract births to recent immigrants from the numerator, and number of recent immigrants from the denominator. It won't take long to verify my claim.

Data shows the opposite of what you say. I guess that means you are arguing in bad faith?

I am interested in what the data does say, but we should articulate what this discussion is about. I take your post to mean that:

  - access to affordable childcare increases fertility rates
  - inflows of lower-skilled workers to an area would increase access to affordable childcare
  - a way to increase the quantity of lower-skilled workers would be through immigration
The 3rd point above I think is trivial to accept, I am inclined to believe the other two points but would want to see the evidence that this is actually how things shake out.

See my comment above. I've pointed to data that backs up my conclusion. You have not, and I predict that it will be trivial to tear massive holes in whatever source(s) you end up citing.

That’s why they aren’t having kids and the population is declining.

>If the worry is that immigrants will outvote the locals and impose an uncongenial government on them, one solution would be not to let immigrants vote—for five years, ten years or even a lifetime.

This is actually an interesting idea worth thinking about more. If the concern for those on the right is that more immigrants to the US would cause a permanent electoral Blue Wall by flipping Texas in a couple election cycles, and those on the left see economic migration through a humanitarian lens, then re-thinking what Citizenship means and the rules for participating in a democracy could be on the table as part of a compromise. I imagine a sizable percentage predicate their reason on wanting to come to the United States on earning money, not voting in elections (though I could be wrong, but I don't think I am and I doubt this question gets asked to newcomers). The natural reaction to such a proposal would be that we'd be creating tiers of citizens (Native Born vs Full Citizens vs residents or something along those lines). I don't have a problem with that, per se, but I can see how a lot of people would.

No taxation without representation is a huge part of the culture of the US. I'm guessing suggesting open immigration without voting rights will have a large amount of detractors for this reason. Unless the immigrants aren't taxed, which is kind of the current situation anyway for illegal immigrants.

First of all, the system as described in the article is already effectively in place: once you get your green card, you have to wait 5 years (3 if it's through marriage) before you can naturalize. In that time - or more, if you don't apply immediately - you pay taxes etc, but you cannot vote.

It's even more amusing with non-citizens who aren't green card holders, because not only they still pay all the taxes, but they're denied most of the benefits those taxes fund (so e.g. you still pay social security on your wages, but you don't get to actually claim any payments when a citizen could).

So I don't think there's any insurmountable political obstacle here.

But even beyond that, "taxation without representation", as originally used, didn't actually mean voting rights per se. The complaint, rather, was the lack of anyone specifically representing the interests of the colonies, because they were basically arbitrarily assigned to districts in Britain proper for the purposes of parliamentary election. So not only colonials didn't vote, but their MP would typically never even set foot on the territory he supposedly represented... which is why it was pointed out that it's not really representation.

However, representation was not equated to vote - keep in mind that the original franchise wasn't even universal among white males. However, those that couldn't vote were still deemed to be represented, on the basis that they lived in the same district as the voters.

Even today this principle still applies: while only citizens vote, the number of congressional seats, electors etc is calculated on the basis of the entire state population as of the last census, which doesn't distinguish citizens and non-citizens. So areas with large non-naturalized immigrant populations effectively award more voting powers to their resident citizens to "represent" the rest of the district. And this practice was explicitly blessed as valid by the Supreme Court in Evenwel v. Abbott.

Many illegal immigrants do pay taxes. They can't get almost any job without an ITIN and paying taxes. Their employer needs an SSN or ITIN for the paperwork:


But that's already the case for immigrants who don't naturalize.

Ask Germany how trying to import a class of non-citizen workers worked out for them.

How did it go though? I've seen a large number of politically charged statements about it, but little actual fact (I've done some research, and would appreciate a competent citation)

Germany originally planned to bring Turkish guest workers for two years at a time on a non-immigration basis. Maintaining that temporary status proved impossible. In the oughts, Germany had to change its naturalization laws to provide a mechanism for permanent residency and citizenship. But decades of living as second-class non-citizens resulted in lack of assimilation: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/turkish-immigrat....

(The integration part is a touchy subject in Germany. My point more directed at the idea that you can have a country with a permanent class of non-citizen immigrant workers. You probably cannot do that in a liberal Western democracy.)

Details? I dont know a german to ask!

I lived in Germany for a few months so I got to have a few conversations. Most of their transport network was built by Turkish men that were imported. That's why Turkish street food is everywhere. They also were not able to bring their families as migrant workers but I think lots slowly migrated in the late 80s to early 00s.

They also have had issues with "assimilation" for every ethnic culture but lately MENA has caused a divide. It resulted in them limiting their intake. You can read a lot about it via the recent refugee crisis. There were stories of gangs of migrants roaming the streets, I only heard about a case of rape but there might be more. I don't think its right to throw everyone together in the clump referenced. However, from talking with folks there — their collective German culture and German ways of doing things is very important to them. If you don't act or think German you certainly are an outsider. I also never got the vibe it was ever a skin color thing, but it is a language and cultural assimilation thing.

MENA = Middle East & North Africa, apparently

It’s already like that. An Indian H1B will never get a green card but their US born kids will be citizens.

Right, what I'm suggesting is that in a "globalized" world with free movement birth right Citizenship no longer makes much sense - if it did in the first place.

> we'd be creating tiers of citizens

Other than violating many Constitutions you mean? It's bad enough to have invisible castes as is, now enshrining it into law would be a regression.

The law already differentiates between “citizens” and “permanent residents”, so even if it is a regression, it had been codified a while ago.

The United States for the first century or so had open immigration, but citizenship was restricted to "free white person(s)" of good character. The distinction between citizen and resident is therefore quite old, but originally open immigration was simply taken for granted. Immigration police didn't exist, nor police generally. So on the one hand, there wasn't even a hope of enforcing an immigration law, there also wasn't much in the way of government services. We've always had a distinction, but it was originally pretty arbitrary, racially biased, and mostly irrelevant, and the context has entirely changed. I'm not sure what conclusions may be drawn from that.

There's a lot more to that problem than mere political vote flipping or blue waves.

Importing Latin American politics by way of culture would be a terrifying disaster. There is hardly a place on earth with less stable government systems or human rights protections.

Transparency International ranks Latin America as the worst place on earth for corruption, only rivaled by a few parts of third world Africa.

Latin America is the most violent and corrupt large region on earth. People that think the US has a high murder rate, have never been anywhere near a typical Latin American country. The US has a non-murder violence rate comparable to developed Europe; Latin America's rate of non-murder violence is comparable to a war zone (and its rate of murder is best described as a war zone).

London's explosion of acid attacks, stabbing murders, and extreme violence problems are a crystal clear example of how you have to be very careful when you import foreign culture. Cultural adjustment & acclimation is very difficult and takes a long time.

Very few countries in Latin America function at all. They roll from one civil war, dictatorship and disaster to the next. The reason for that is cultural (and no, trying to blame the US for every problem in Latin America doesn't actually work as an excuse; unless you're going to credit the US for Canada's success and any successes in Latin America as well).

If the US is going to import a vast number of people from Latin America, it's also very important to not import the failed cultures of Latin America that have led to extreme murder rates, extreme poverty, extreme violence, and endless failed political systems.

Latin American Socialism is one of the great political and cultural failures of the last two centuries. It needs to die in Latin America, the sooner the better. Turning the US into a Venezuela, Bolivia or Brazil through cultural import is the worst possible outcome.

I am open to your theory that the US hasn’t had a significant influence on Latin American corruption...

But I’d need more than a base assertion... can you address specifically the theory that the U.S. has deliberately propped up corrupt governments sympathetic to US corporations to the exclusion of democratically elected ones?

If you take voting off the table, Democrats won’t be seen as quite so humanitarian and Republicans won’t be seen as against unskilled immigration.

I love this idea. I think it should be applied to all jurisdictions in the US. If I move to another town or state my vote should count as 1/X increasing by 1/X per year until it's 1/1. I shouldn't have the opportunity to vote at a full 1/1 until I've assimilated to that locale. If I'm moving somewhere I presumably like the status quo there so much that I shouldn't have much need to change things.

Assuming my taxes are applied at an equal percentage. I pay thousands to the state of California and I just moved here. I have a right to my vote if the state has a right to my tax dollars.

All the H1-Bs working in California also pay thousands to it. They also pay taxes for federal social programs (social security etc) that they aren't even eligible for. Do they have a right to vote?

And because of prop 13, new homeowners pay obscenely more in taxes than long-term residents.

Having someone count as less than a full citizen for electoral purposes has some disturbing historical connotations. I think it’d be difficult to get past that.

Yeah, we probably sholdn't use X=5.

I think tying it to time should work out ok though since the value would increase over time by doing nothing. Everyone wants newcomers to have less say. At the federal level your vote would always be 1/1. As far as historical connotations go, that's for representation in congress, those people couldn't vote.

Fractional voting seems like an unnecessarily complicated solution. Leaving it binary looks to me like a better option.

This would be a very shitty world to live in unless you were very rich.

It's efficient because it reduces the bargining power of labour to nothing, and those that gain are the owners of capital. With no bargining power, benefits will disappear and everyone will be non permanent except those in very secure positions or in very specialist jobs.

People will no longer have a home - a place to belong, they'll either break up families with parents working on other countries, or children will endure an existence of jumping from place to place eroding the chance for normal development.

Society will be broken and the ability to self organise to build political movements will evaporate.

This will not be a nice world to live in for 99.9pc of the population.

I'm not entirely sold on the idea of cramming the vast majority of the world's population into the subset of countries that are relatively wealthy and well-run. In practice, the cramming continues within those countries into the most favoured cities.

If we are thinking of pie-in-the-sky ideas like open borders, then why also try to think of a way to spread good government and wealth across all parts of the world? I.e., spread the best practices so they become universal.

Some ideas in the past, like Europe colonising and controlling much of the world, are obviously out of fashion today. Yet ironically many people have voted with their feet (or would like to, if given the opportunity) and moved to Europe.

I like the idea of open borders, guaranteed basic income (only for citizens), getting rid of income taxes, making all citizens pay a national sales tax instead (gbi would offset some of this), having a national id (with id you save 10-15% on sales tax without you pay a lot more, say 4-5% for citizens, 15-20% for migrants/travelers from abroad). -- This would make immigrants legal or not pay 3x the taxes, and I think a lot more people would be fine with that.

Sales tax would be more of a consumption/outbound tax -- all outbound expenses would be taxed if you buy or pay anyone it's taxed on payers side. So example a company pays wages they pay a sales tax on the wage, they buy office supplies, pay dividend to shareholders, pay ceo a bonus or golden parachute, buy land, etc... People would be taxed for paying rent, buying food, buying houses, buying land, etc.. on the purchase/exchange of money.

GBI would paid out to all citizens and sales tax could be adjusted yearly to balance the budget if there's a surplus/deficit from previous year.

Welfare/IRS can be dismantled completely and everything automated via technology. Saving billions. We'd need a lot less accountants, and tax workers. Tax software for consumers wouldn't be needed, etc.. It'd shore up a glut of industry we don't need.

As an immigrant I feel sufficiently discriminated against already: pay the same tax rates as anybody else, but ineligible for various government benefits and unable to vote. All because of a technicality: I don't have a parent born in the country I live in.

But you'd never have to fear being kicked out or deported, I think that would be better at this juncture in history than having a higher tax rate.

GOP'ers claim they hate immigrants because they don't pay their fair share, or will take their jobs. If they paid more than their share of taxes then it would get rid of that entire argument, and is the basis for my idea.

There could be tiers perhaps.. Citizen, ALmost a Citizen, Visiting w/ Work Visa temporarily, No documentation. W/ the last segment having the highest tax bracket. I mean no offense, but you'd then just need to choose does living in America = worth it by paying the extra taxes. At least you wouldn't be pushed out..

Maybe they could have another level Not-citizen but has voting privileges (of course that might come with a higher tax bracket in exchange for the privilege to vote..this would be up for debate obviously... ).

How would you collect sales tax without an IRS, and wouldn't a GBI that's high enough to live on cost a fortune? Tax rates may need to be higher than you suggest.

Businesses would pay sales tax, using the same local systems they use now to pay their local sales tax. The sales tax system would then split out what belongs to local govs and which to federal and divvy it out equally. Then we'd expand the sales tax reqs to other areas/expenditures that it normally doesn't apply like wages, dividends, land/home purchases, etc.

GBI wouldn't cost a fortune, if we get rid of existing handout programs, and streamline a lot of systems, also having a sales tax that we could alternate yearly to easily keep money 'balanced' would help with rolling out new features and testing scenarios to make sure we can afford something like gbi or universal healthare.

A lot of the systems can be automated, IRS does a lot of audits on citizens to make sure they're paying income taxes - we wouldn't do that anymore, we might still need a small agency to enforce that businesses are all in compliance, or that could just be on local/states to figure out.

The fact that there's no tax rebates/refunds would mean everyone pays taxes including the formerly in poverty now collecting GBI. GBI would essentially be their reimbursement/help. But it makes everyone a contributing actor, and if we need to raise sales tax to 15% before we can afford reasonable GBI, that makes sure everyone has a roof over their head, then it would still be worth it.

I think from a technical standpoint we also need to cut/streamline government in a lot of places. Healthcare, omnibuses, etc.. One thing I'd like is a github like format for bills, where you commit smaller bills, that are repealable, so big huge omnibuses are outlawed. It doesn't make sense that to get one small piece you as a senator want you have to vote for 10 pieces you don't want. Everything needs to be in smaller pieces so if something works we can keep it, if it fails we can revert the change like we would a bad commit on git.

The problem is the systems we use all require thousands of people to run, when they don't really have to, we could automate tons of stuff in the government but we don't because of all the jobs that would be lost. W/ gbi that wouldn't be a concern. I can't wait for robots/ai to take away 50%+ of jobs over the next decade freeing up mankind for more creative endeavors.

I'd love to see more interest in experimenting with alternative economic models. I could also come up with at least one. I'm not sure how this is ever going to happen though, given the politics of the world we live in now.

If I were myself rich, and able to hire a dev team, I'd build a global full-proof identity system (iris scanning maybe?) to guarantee identity 1:1, and a crypto coin with guaranteed basic income built in.

Then I'd build a not-for-profit grocery chain/and other businesses, where all fiat/crypto go back evenly to users of the coin. I'd buy up homes rent them below market rent values to try and drive rents back down instead of up.

Grocery stores would sell products cheaper, and profits would be split between gbi coin holders who live in that area, and workers at the local businesses we run. Execs at all companies we build would be capped at 100x worker salary. They'd also be not-for-profit (opposed to non-profit), meaning ALL money has to be paid at end of fiscal year to improvements of business, or to wages/bonuses/charity/etc.

I don't have faith in government to be the change we need, we're going to need to think outside the box and create self-sustaining government agnostic solutions.

> guaranteed basic income (only for citizens)

Unsustainable because their children are automatically citizens. You are merely postponing the problem for some 20 years at most.

When they get their own household, they can start collecting gbi, by then hopefully they go to school, and start contributing to society. They will still be paying taxes though regardless, and their parents will still be paying immigrant level taxes, so they would've paid their fair share so their kids could have a better life, that extra income to taxes makes up for a lot.

Either way, doctors, lawyers, delivery drivers, truck drivers, and 40% of other jobs will go away, replaced by AI. So, something has to fill the void to make it so people don't riot. GBI is the only thing that could possibly do that, unless you have a better solution. Instead of saying 'that won't work' I'd like to see you say, that's not sustainable, how about we do 'this' instead and offer up a suggestion that will work.

So what's stopping poor trailer park whites (at least a significant portion of which have been poor for generations) to become "contributors to society"?

Why do you think illegal/undocumented migrants would do better than those supposedly born into privilege?

Why would they also do better than african americans or hispanics, who are already at least 2nd generation migrants (and most are probably much more "rooted" than that) and are still not doing so hot?

Both them and poor whites are at least native speakers and share the same culture with the majority of the country.

> by then hopefully they go to school, and start contributing to society.

That's a pretty big if. It also assumes a utopian world (or at least an utopian country) that is crime free and that by extension, ethnic criminal organizations also do not exist.

Yes, I've often thought we can't all live in North America* but we could all live like Americans if the freedom loving peoples of the world were given a chance to import the better parts of our culture. E.g., what if the Mexicans who thought that becoming an American would be better than remaining Mexican all moved to northern Mexico, seceded and tried to live like they were the 51st state. They could adopting the U.S. Constitution, etc. and make friendly overtures. Even if the U.S. didn't annex them they could probably pull favorable trade status and military alliances while retaining local self-government.

*This is a little melodramatic but it gives one a good sense of the scale of the problem with trying to bring everyone to western countries: https://youtu.be/KCcFNL7EmwY

I think that would lead to a nasty civil war in Mexico; it would be unlikely to leave many people better off.

As this sort of thinking becomes more and more popular, I wonder how close to some kind of singularity we truly are. If the people of the world are really so eager to transform the planet into a single global monoculture, then some sort of technology-driven unification of all human consciousness can't be too far off. Me, I personally like a world of true diversity, where people of different physical regions are allowed to have unique local cultures.

Complete and total globalization of everything on the planet (and perhaps beyond) might be inevitable, but I don't trust the people who are trying to make it happen right now to have any common peoples' best interests in mind, because I'm not naive to human nature (plus I've read up on them).

> people of different physical regions are allowed to have unique local cultures.

Freedom of movement doesn't prevent anyone from choosing any culture that they see fit, though. No-one is "disallowing" anything. If cultures end up blending into one, it would be a natural, voluntary process. So why is it inherently bad? Because of the loss in diversity? But if we can't maintain diversity as a species without use of force (which is what restrictions on movement are - at some point you have to forcibly prevent people from moving to implement that), then it would seem that we don't consider it all that important.

> then some sort of technology-driven unification of all human consciousness can't be too far off

If that happens, then the unified consciousness would be incredibly lonely.

This in contrast to when cells assembled into humans, and at least the humans had other humans to talk to.

> Me, I personally like a world of true diversity, where people of different physical regions are allowed to have unique local cultures.

I think free movement is likely to amplify culture, not mute it. Right now I have to go through tons of hoops to live in Taiwan. The culture is precisely my aesthetic. I've spent untold hours studying the language. There are lots of Taiwanese-culturally-minded Americans and Dutch and South Africans who don't feel at home in their birth culture. Making it a big hassle for them to live in a culture that reflects their values just smears out culturally-Taiwanese across those countries.

Surely the hoops you have to go through to live in Taiwan despite not being a native prevent the country from being overrun by people who are culturally incompatible with the local populace? It sucks you have to go through hoops and can't just fly there and move in tomorrow I guess, but in a world where you could do that, so could I, and I can't speak any Chinese or Taiwanese, I don't know anything about their culture, and my only connection to the country is an aunt who married into the family. What if a bunch of people like myself moved there suddenly for some random reason, and the local culture was essentially eradicated as we altered it to suit our desires? with global open borders, this sort of thing would happen constantly, all over the place, and with the advent of the Internet, most of culture would merge into even more of a ubiquitous monoculture than the world already is.

I suspect you underestimate how massively disruptive it is to move to another country, particularly one that doesn't speak any language that you speak. Maybe America would pick up a lot of random people, being huge and wealthy, but everywhere else, I would seriously doubt it would get this kind of drive-by immigration you imagine.

Do you have any evidence to back any of that up? Personally I'm seeing a lot of mass migration across the world--not all of it wanted by the citizens of the countries being migrated to--right now, even without globally open borders. Why would having globally open borders do anything but increase this rate?

It's also interesting that you think globally open borders would only affect the culture of America, but you're okay with that, presumably because whatever Americans consider to be their culture currently is meaningless in your eyes compared to the glorious no-nations-no-borders future world you envision, which conveniently has no negative consequences and is only a positive thing for everyone (except Americans who like their country and culture more or less the way it is now but eh tough luck for them I guess)

There are some numbers right there in the article about that, including some examples with open borders (e.g. within EU).

How would you enjoy Taipei with 25 million Filipinos in it? More, or less?

If you wanted that, would you not live in Manila?

I am ok with selective immigration. But open borders is truly crazy idea at this point. If we open borders like suggested next thing we know will be - developed countries becoming like garbage dumps we see in other countries. There is a reason why some countires fall into downward spirals. If u get its people en mass without filters, you get that mentality too.

Why dont we experiment in smaller scale with liberal companies like facebook/google/microsoft opening its employment where anyone from anywhere can come and say i want to be employed here and goog/fb/msft have to take them in? Lets even throw in a restriction that person should be cs degree holder from anywhere in the world. Lets see how it goes.

Isnt that how the Facebook/Google/Msft works right now with visa sponsorship and their remote hiring/working policies?

My friend working for Google moved later to Paris, France because she could and is still working for Google in France, I think companies like Facebook (in Ireland and certain European countries) or Google (literally everywhere in Europe) or even IBM (IBM has quite a few major offices in Asia, not sure why) already practice open border policies as part of a much wider remote working policy and have people from different countries working in different countries (aka somebody Spanish working in US while someone from US working in Ireland for example).

They're limited by the H1-B quota.

And remote work usually pays local rates (proportionally better than average, but still), not what you'd get in US.

You can have open borders or a good social safety net. Pick one.

Explain please? Immigrants pay into safety nets just like anyone else who pays into them.

If 10 million poor people with no employable skillsets move into Europe, they would be withdrawing vastly more from the tax pool than they would be putting into it. People who do not contribute to production would just move wherever the local government will give residents the most resources.

> If

If, yes. All this is conditioned on your racism that tells you that all foreigners are uneducated (and uneducatable)/lazy/freeloaders.

In addition, all of the tax money paid out would immediately be spent by these alleged freeloaders on meeting their needs for food etc., so it would flow back to producers of useful stuff and a lot of it come back as taxes.

That's not a racist 'If'. There's a massive backlog of unskilled rejected immigrants from poor countries that would be way better off living on the US social system than the one in the country they originate from.

Immigrants aren't magic, the ones that want to leave the most to come to the US are the ones from countries with bad education systems and bad social safety nets. Why would someone leave a good social safety net for a worse one?

>In addition, all of the tax money paid out would immediately be spent by these alleged freeloaders on meeting their needs for food etc., so it would flow back to producers of useful stuff and a lot of it come back as taxes

Except for all of the loss incurred by the things they consume. The only thing that comes back in taxes is a fraction of the profit on whatever they consumed.

Unless someone is producing more economic value than they consume, they are a net loss on the whole economy. There is a limit to how many people like this an economy can support before it will collapse.

It's just another insurance market like any other. The premiums coming in (tax rev) have to be more than the payouts (safety nets).

Anyone making minimum wage isn't actually paying into safety nets. The massive backlog that would be allowed in with open borders are unskilled laborers that would be making minimum wage (or less illegally).

> Anyone making minimum wage isn't actually paying into safety nets.

Anyone making minimum wage isn't necessarily using the safety nets either (depending on those nets, and how much minimum wage is), so /shrug/.

More to the point, as the original article also points out, we have had this exact natural experiment in the EU with the recent eastward expansions. Almost all poor people in poor countries stayed where they were. The ones that did emigrate to work... do work.

According to EU law, while there is freedom of movement for work (or whatever other purpose, as long as you are self-sufficient), there is no freedom of movement that allows you to go to another EU country and live off benefits. The "flooded by immigrants who live off of benefits without ever having payed into the system" scenario is exluded by law, and this works in practice.

Other countries could easily copy this system while opening their borders.

You can have both, if social safety net does not automatically apply to every resident.

“If enough of them came, they might vote for an Islamist government...”

Given the rate of expansion of islam, i would say when not if.


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