The case for immigration: the secret to economic vibrancy.There is a contradiction at the heart of our globalizing world: while goods, services, and capital move across borders ever more freely, most people cannot. No government except perhaps North Korea's would dream of banning crossborder trade in goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. , yet it is seen as perfectly normal and reasonable for governments to outlaw the movement across borders of most people who produce goods and services. No wonder illegal immigration "Illegal alien" and "Illegal aliens" redirect here. For other uses, see Illegal aliens (disambiguation).
Illegal immigration refers to immigration across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country. is on the rise: most would-be migrants have no other option.
This is perverse. Immigrants are not an invading army; they are mostly people seeking a better life. Many are drawn to rich countries such as the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. by the huge demand for workers to fill the low-end jobs that their increasingly well-educated and comfortable citizens do not want. And just as it is beneficial for people to move from Alabama to California in response to market signals, so too from Mexico to the United States.
Where governments permit it, a global labor market labor market A place where labor is exchanged for wages; an LM is defined by geography, education and technical expertise, occupation, licensure or certification requirements, and job experience is emerging: international financiers The international financiers or international bankers may refer to international finance institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, or national investment banks. cluster in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of and London, information technology specialists in Silicon Valley, and actors in Hollywood, while multinational companies scatter skilled professionals around the world. Yet rich-country governments endeavor to keep out Mexican construction workers, Filipino care workers, and Congolese cooks, even though they are simply service providers who ply (mathematics, data) ply - 1. Of a node in a tree, the number of branches between that node and the root.
2. Of a tree, the maximum ply of any of its nodes. their trade abroad, just as American investment bankers Investment Banker
A person representing a financial institution that is in the business of raising capital for corporations and municipalities.
An investment banker may not accept deposits or make commercial loans. do. And just as it is often cheaper and mutually beneficial Adj. 1. mutually beneficial - mutually dependent
dependent - relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed; "dependent children"; "dependent on moisture" to import information technology services from Asia and insurance from Europeans, it often makes sense to import menial MENIAL. This term is applied to servants who live under their master's roof Vide stat. 2 H. IV., c. 21. services that have to be delivered on the spot, such as cleaning. Policymakers who want products and providers of high-skilled services to move freely but people who provide less-skilled services to stay put are not just hypocrites, they are economically illiterate.
From a global perspective, the potential gains from freer migration are huge. When workers from poor countries move to rich ones, they too can make use of advanced economies' superior capital and technologies, making them much more productive. This makes them--and the world--much better off. Starting from that simple insight, economists calculate that removing immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. controls could more than double the size of the world economy. Even a small relaxation of immigration controls would yield disproportionately big gains.
Yet many people believe that while the world would gain, workers in rich countries would lose out. They fear that foreigners harm the job prospects of local workers, taking their jobs or depressing their wages. Others fret that immigrants will be a burden on the welfare state. Some seem to believe that immigrants somehow simultaneously "steal" jobs and live off welfare.
Governments increasingly accept the case for allowing in highly skilled immigrants. The immigration bill before the Senate would tilt U.S. policy in that direction, establishing a points system that gives preference to university graduates. Such skills-focused points systems are in vogue: Canada and Australia employ one; Britain is introducing one; and other European countries are considering them.
For sure, as the number of university graduates in China, India, and other emerging markets soars in coming decades, it will be increasingly important for the United States to be able to draw on the widest possible pool of talent--not just for foreigners' individual skills and drive, but for their collective diversity.
It is astonishing a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. how often the exceptional individuals who come up with brilliant new ideas "New Ideas" is the debut single by Scottish New Wave/Indie Rock act The Dykeenies. It was first released as a Double A-side with "Will It Happen Tonight?" on July 17, 2006. The band also recorded a video for the track. happen to be immigrants. Twenty-one of Britain's Nobel Prize winners Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel
1969 Ragnar Frisch Jan Tinbergen
1970 Paul A. Samuelson
1971 Simon Kuznets
1972 Sir John R. Hicks Kenneth J. arrived in the country as refugees. Perhaps this is because immigrants tend to see things differently rather than following the conventional wisdom, perhaps because as outsiders they are more determined to succeed.
Yet most innovation nowadays comes not from individuals, but from groups of talented people sparking off each other--and foreigners with different ideas, perspectives, and experiences add something extra to the mix. If there are ten people sitting around a table trying to come up with a solution to a problem and they all think alike, then they are no better than one. But if they all think differently, then by bouncing ideas off each other they can solve problems better and faster. Research shows that a diverse group of talented individuals can perform better than a likeminded group of geniuses.
Just look at Silicon Valley: Intel, Yahoo!, Google, and eBay were all co-founded by immigrants, many of whom arrived as children. In fact, nearly haft of America's venture capital-backed start-ups have immigrant founders. An everincreasing share of our prosperity comes from companies that solve problems, be they developing new drugs, video games See video game console. , or pollution-reducing technologies, or providing management advice. That's why, as China catches up, America and Europe need to open up further to foreigners in order to stay ahead.
Diversity also acts as a magnet for talent. Look at London: it is now a global city, with three in ten Londoners born abroad, from all over the world. People are drawn there because it is an exciting, cosmopolitan place. It's not just the huge range of ethnic restaurants and cultural experiences on offer, it's the opportunity to lead a richer life by meeting people from different backgrounds: friends, colleagues, and even a life partner.
Yet it is incorrect to believe that rich countries only need highly skilled immigrants, still less that bureaucrats can second-guess through a points system precisely which people the vast number of businesses in the economy need. America and Europe may increasingly be knowledge-based economies, but they still rely on low-skilled workers too. Every hotel requires not just managers and marketing people, but also receptionists, chambermaids, and waiters. Every hospital requires not just doctors and nurses, but also many more cleaners, cooks, laundry workers, and security staff. Everyone relies on road-sweepers, cabdrivers, and sewage workers.
Many low-skilled jobs cannot readily be mechanized mech·a·nize
tr.v. mech·a·nized, mech·a·niz·ing, mech·a·niz·es
1. To equip with machinery: mechanize a factory.
2. or imported: old people cannot be cared for by a robot or from abroad. And as people get richer, they increasingly pay others to do arduous tasks, such as home improvements, that they once did themselves, freeing up time for more productive work or more enjoyable leisure. As advanced economies create high-skilled jobs, they inevitably create low-skilled ones too.
Critics argue that low-skilled immigration is harmful because the newcomers are poorer and less-educated than Americans. But that is precisely why they are willing to do low-paid, low-skilled jobs that Americans shun Shun
In Chinese mythology, one of the three legendary emperors, along with Yao and Da Yu, of the golden age of antiquity (c. 23rd century BC), singled out by Confucius as models of integrity and virtue. . In 1960, over half of American workers older than 25 were high school dropouts; now, only one in ten are. Understandably, high-school graduates aspire to aspire to
verb aim for, desire, pursue, hope for, long for, crave, seek out, wish for, dream about, yearn for, hunger for, hanker after, be eager for, set your heart on, set your sights on, be ambitious for better things, while even those with no qualifications don't want to do certain dirty, difficult, and dangerous jobs. The only way to reconcile aspirations to opportunity for all with the reality of drudgery for some is through immigration.
Fears that immigrants threaten American workers are based on two fallacies This is a list of fallacies. Formal fallacies
Formal fallacies are arguments that are fallacious due to an error in their form or technical structure.
Those who work in a foreign country without initially intending to settle there and without the benefits of citizenship in the host country. Some are recruited to supplement the workforce of a host country for a limited term or to provide skills on a are direct substitutes for American ones. Just as women did not deprive men of jobs when they entered the labor force too, foreigners don't cost Americans their jobs--they don't just take jobs; they create them too. When they spend their wages, they boost demand for people who produce the goods and services that they consume; and as they work, they stimulate demand for Americans in complementary lines of work. An influx of Mexican construction workers, for instance, creates new jobs for people selling building materials Building materials used in the construction industry to create .
These categories of materials and products are used by and construction project managers to specify the materials and methods used for . , as well as for interior designers. Thus, while the number of immigrants has risen sharply over the past twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. , America's unemployment rate has fallen.
But do some American workers lose out? Hardly any; most actually gain. Why? Because, as critics of immigration are the first to admit, immigrants are different to Americans, so that they rarely compete directly with them in the labor market; often, they complement their efforts--a foreign child-minder may enable an American nurse to go back to work, where her productivity may be enhanced by hard-working foreign doctors and cleaners--while also stimulating extra capital investment.
Study after study fails to find evidence that immigrants harm American workers. Harvard's George Borjas claims otherwise, but his partial approach is flawed because it neglects the broader complementarities between immigrant labor, native labor, and capital. A recent National Bureau of Economic Research The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is a "private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization" dedicated to studying the science and empirics of economics, especially the American economy. study by Gianmarco Ottaviano and Giovanni Peri finds that the influx of foreign workers between 1990 and 2004 raised the average wage of U.S.-born workers by 2 percent. Nine in ten American workers gained; only one in ten, highschool dropouts, lost slightly, by 1 percent.
Part of the opposition to immigration Immigration in the modern sense refers to movement of people from one nation-state to another, where they are not citizens. Opposition to immigration is present in most nation-states with immigration, and has become a significant political issue in many countries. stems from the belief that it is an inexorable, once-and-for-all movement of permanent settlement. But now that travel is ever cheaper and economic opportunities do not stop at national borders, migration is increasingly temporary when people are allowed to move freely. That is true for globe-trotting businessmen and it is increasingly so for poorer migrants too: Filipino nurses as well as Polish plumbers.
Britain's experience since it opened its borders to the eight much poorer central and eastern European countries which joined the European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community in 2004 is instructive. All 75 million people there could conceivably have moved, but in fact only a small fraction have, and most of those have already left again. Many are, in effect, international commuters, splitting their time between Britain and Poland. Of course, some will end up settling, but most won't. Most migrants do not want to leave home forever: they want to go work abroad for a while to earn enough to buy a house or set up a business back home.
Studies show that most Mexican migrants have similar aspirations. If they could come and go freely, most would move only temporarily. But perversely, U.S. border controls end up making many stay for good, because crossing the border is so risky and costly that once you have got across you tend to stay.
Governments ought to be encouraging such international mobility. It would benefit poor countries as well as rich ones. Already, migrants from poor countries working in rich ones send home much more--$200 billion a year officially, perhaps twice that informally (according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Global Commission on International Migration)--than the miserly mi·ser·ly
Of, relating to, or characteristic of a miser; avaricious or penurious.
Adj. 1. $100 billion that Western governments give in aid. These remittances are not wasted on weapons or siphoned off into Swiss bank accounts; they go straight into the pockets of local people. They pay for food, clean water, and medicines. They enable children to stay in school, fund small businesses, and benefit the local economy more broadly. What's more, when migrants return home, they bring new skills, new ideas, and capital to start new businesses. Africa's first internet cafes were started by migrants returning from Europe.
The World Bank calculates that in countries where remittances account for a large share of the economy (11 percent of GDP GDP (guanosine diphosphate): see guanine. on average), they slash the poverty rate by a third. Even in countries which receive relatively little (2.2 percent of GDP on average), remittances can cut the poverty rate by nearly a fifth. Since the true level of remittances is much higher than official figures, their impact on poverty is likely to be even greater.
Remittances can also bring broader economic benefits. When countries are hit by a hurricane or earthquake, remittances tend to soar. During the Asian financial crisis a decade ago, Filipino migrants cushioned the blow on the Philippines' economy by sending home extra cash-and their dollar remittances were worth more in devalued de·val·ue also de·val·u·ate
v. de·val·ued also de·valu·at·ed, de·val·u·ing also de·val·u·at·ing, de·val·ues also de·val·u·ates
1. To lessen or cancel the value of. Filipino pesos. Developing country governments can even borrow using their country's expected future remittances as collateral. Even the poorest countries, which receive $45 billion in remittances a year, could eventually tap this relatively cheap form of finance, giving them the opportunity of faster growth.
By keeping kids in school, paying for them to see a doctor, and funding new businesses, remittances can boost growth. A study by Paola Guiliano of Harvard and Marta Ruiz-Arranz of the International Monetary Fund finds that in countries with rudimentary financial systems, remittances allow people to invest more and better, and thus raise growth. When remittances increase by one percentage point of GDP, growth rises by 0.2 percentage points.
John Kenneth Galbraith Noun 1. John Kenneth Galbraith - United States economist (born in Canada) who served as ambassador to India (born in 1908)
Galbraith, John Galbraith said, "Migration is the oldest action against poverty. It selects those who most want help. It is good for the country to which they go; it helps break the equilibrium of poverty in the country from which they come. What is the perversity per·ver·si·ty
n. pl. per·ver·si·ties
1. The quality or state of being perverse.
2. An instance of being perverse.
Noun 1. in the human soul that causes people to resist so obvious a good?"
Part of the answer is that people tend to focus their fears about economic change on foreigners. Other fears are cultural; more recently, these have got mixed up with worries about terrorism. Mostly, this is illogical: Christian Latinos Latinos and Hispanics are predominantly Christian in the United States. Specifically, they are most often Roman Catholic. Roman Catholicism
The Spaniards took the Roman Catholic faith to Latin America, and Roman Catholicism continues to be the largest, but not the only, are scarcely likely to be a fifth column of al Qaeda operatives, as Pat Buchanan This article may be too long.
Please discuss this issue on the talk page and help summarize or split the content into subarticles of an article series. has suggested. But logic scarcely comes into it. Psychological studies confirm that opposition to immigration tends to stem from an emotional dislike of foreigners. Intelligent critics then construct an elaborate set of seemingly rational arguments to justify their prejudice.
In Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity, Harvard academic Samuel Huntington warns that Latino immigrants are generally poor and therefore a drain on American society, except in Miami, where they are rich and successful, at Americans' expense. Ironically, when he shot to fame by warning about a global "clash of civilizations The Clash of Civilizations is a theory, proposed by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, that people's cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. ," he lumped Mexicans and Americans together in a single civilization; now he claims that Latinos in the United States threaten a domestic clash of civilizations. He frets that Latinos have until recently clustered in certain cities and states, and then that they are starting to spread out. Immigrants can't win: they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Rich-country governments should not let such nonsense define their policies. Opening up our borders would spread freedom, widen opportunity and enrich the economy, society and culture. That may seem unrealistic, but so too, once, did abolishing slavery or giving women the vote.
Determination to Succeed
It is astonishing how often the exceptional individuals who come up with brilliant new ideas happen to be immigrants. Twenty-one of Britain's Nobel Prize winners arrived in the country as refugees. Perhaps this is because immigrants tend to see things differently rather than following the conventional wisdom, perhaps because as outsiders they are more determined to succeed.
In Who Are We: The Challenges to America National Identity, Harvard academic Samuel Huntington warns that Latino immigrants are generally poor and therefore a drain on American society, except in Miami, where they are rich and successful, at Americans' expense. Ironically, when he shot to fame by warning about a global "clash of civilizations," he lumped Mexicans and Americans together in a single civilization; now he claims that Latinos in the United States threaten a domestic clash of civilizations. He frets that Latinos have until recently clustered in certain cities and states, and then that they are starting to spread out. Immigrants can't win: they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Philippe Legrain Philippe Legrain is a British economist, journalist and writer. He writes about globalisation, migration and European issues. He is a contributing editor to Prospect magazine and from September 2007 he will be a Visiting Fellow at the European Institute of the is a British economist, journalist, and writer. Previously trade and economics correspondent for the Economist and special adviser to the director-general of the Worm Trade Organization, he is the author of Immigrants: Your Country Needs Them (Princeton University Princeton University, at Princeton, N.J.; coeducational; chartered 1746, opened 1747, rechartered 1748, called the College of New Jersey until 1896. Schools and Research Facilities
Press, August 2007).