I have just read a very clever argument by Greg Cochran at West Hunter questioning the economic benefits of mass immigration that we are always hearing about. This was the argument:
Imagine if America took in 10 million Canadian immigrants. Canadians, of course, speak English, are educated to the same level as Americans, worship the same god or none, have the same IQ scores and their culture is pretty much the same as that of Americans. The question is, would this make Americans better off?
As far as I can see they would be neither richer nor poorer. GDP would rise a little because the population has grown a little but the more important GDP per capita would stay the same.
Now, imagine if America took in 10 million immigrants, not from Canada, but from Somalia, where the people often don’t speak English, are poorly educated, worship different gods, have low IQ scores and have a culture very different to that of Americans. Now the question is the same as before: Would America become any richer? In the best case scenario the Somalis prove as productive as the Canadians but they almost certainly would not be more so. It’s much more likely that they and their families would need more social assistance, social housing, English classes plus their crime rate would almost certainly be higher than that of Canadians.
If all the above is true, why do economists constantly tell us that immigration from poor countries is a huge boon to modern western economies? As far as I can tell that is a downright lie.
I suppose one argument could be that poor immigrants do the jobs rich westerners won’t do. Yet I think westerners would do those jobs if they were offered more money. If their were no Third World immigrants ready to do jobs for a pittance, employers would be forced to offer a wage high enough to entice unemployed westerners off the dole. This would mean fewer people being a drag on society, less inequality because lower-paid jobs would pay better and society would be less ethnically fractured.
So either I am missing something or economists are lying through their teeth. I can’t decide which is more likely.