Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

How does that square with many western nations whose population would be declining due to low birthrates if not for immigration?

Prosperity reduces birth rates for a variety of reasons.

One of the big drivers of population growth is being a poor farmer and preserving a legacy. Once you have some wealth, the incentives change.

My grandparents grew up poor in rural Ireland, my grandmother was one of 12 children and at least 16 pregnancies, born in the WWI era. 9 of the siblings made it to adulthood. They needed people to milk cows and catch fish, and needed living sons to inherit the land and take care of the elders.

Immigration in modern western countries fills the gap between productivity gains and the dearth of workers. It keeps salaries lower to reduce inflation and preserves the status quo. Remember that behind of all of these crazy debates is a need for certain stakeholders to maintain power.

> It keeps salaries lower to reduce inflation and preserves the status quo.

That doesn’t seem correct. Waves of Hispanic and Asian immigration has reshaped California from Conservative to _the_ most liberal state. CA also has high minimum wages and much better worker protections than most other states, due to the liberal leaning politicians that got elected.

Enter the right wing "populists".

Why do you think that these folks are so upset about immigration from Latin America and Asia? The old way was to exploit cheap immigrant labor... but after many years, you now have a situation where that immigrant labor is disrupting the status quo.

This has happened before. The same type language directed at Mexican and central american laborers was directed at Irish, Italian, Greek, Chinese and Jewish immigrants in the 19th century. Race, religion, supposed immorality, the same shit. See the Page Act, Chinese Exclusion Act and "Know Nothing Party".

It doesn't need to square with it. In some places population can increase, in others it can decrease; add them all up and there is some number, ΔP, that is either positive or negative. For a long time now, it's been an exponentially-increasing positive, which I contend is bad news, and I hope it reverses. If people move around, all that does is move the growth around.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact