Economic benefits of immigration?

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I have just read a very clever argument by Greg Cochran at West Hunter questioning the economic benefits of mass immigration from low-IQ countries that we are always hearing about. This was the argument:

Imagine a country with a modern economy that has a population of 100 million people. All of them speak English, are reasonably well off, have an IQ of 100 and are educated to a reasonable level. Now imagine this country decides to take in 10 million immigrants from an almost identical country where the people speak English, bring capital with them, have the same secular social and political culture to the country they are going to. The question is, would this make the host country any richer?

As far as I can see all you have done is make your population 10% bigger but the GDP per capita stays the same so no one would be any better off. There might be a very slight increase in the country’s wealth due to economies of scale – it can now buy in bulk and still only needs one consulate in Panama – but these savings would be negligible.

Now, imagine if the host country had decided to take in 10 million immigrants, not from the country just described, but from a poor country where the people had low IQs, a low level of education, didn’t speak English, brought practically no capital with them but instead brought along their backward religious, social and political views from the home country. The question is the same: Would the host country become any richer? It is hard to see why it should be any stronger than in the previous scenario. In fact it would almost certainly not fare as well. If this is the case, why do economists constantly insist that immigrants from poor countries are a huge boon to wealthy modern economies?

One argument could be that holes exist in the job market that, if filled, could make the whole economy work more efficiently. But is an illiterate, religion-drenched, low-IQ peasant from Tequila or Islamabad who barely speaks English really the person modern economies have been waiting for? Or is this just politically correct, multicultural zealots lying to us once again? The latter strikes me as being the more likely explanation of the two.

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5 comments on “Economic benefits of immigration?

  1. Hello again.
    (Obviously I’ve recently discovered your blog…and I’m not shy!)

    I think this is relevant to your post!

    Dr Jordan B Peterson on IQ & employment: http://youtu.be/0ZUk9f2Ag_w

    Regards.

    • Hi, I watched the Jordan Peterson video and enjoyed it. However, it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. I am not someone you need to convince that intelligence exists, that it’s important and that IQ tests measure it fairly accurately. This video didn’t relate to the subject of my post, which was Greg Cochran’s specific argument that if immigration from high IQ countries doesn’t raise GDP per capita, why should immigration from low IQ countries?

      • Fair enough.

        I thought it proved his point, that importing <85 IQs into societies with NO jobs for <85's pretty much guarantees GDP Will not rise?

        Didn't mean to waste your time, sorry.

      • You didn’t waste my time. I enjoyed it. But Greg Cochran’s blog post, and mine, was about why economists continue to claim that low IQ immigrants are good for wealthy western economies. That intelligence is a real thing that IQ tests measure pretty accurately, that low IQ populations are bad for modern economies and that darker-skinned immigrants tend to be low-IQ was not at issue. Apart from that Jordan Peterson didn’t say a word about immigrants.

  2. Thanks, I’ll watch it in the morning (it’s late here in Japan).

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