Friday, 4 December 2015

The Independent: Immigration is good for growth, so why is the public so hostile to it?

The Independent: Immigration is good for growth, so why is the public so hostile to it?


"Economic growth isn’t everything, but it is terribly important for meeting expectations of higher living standards. The Japanese birth rate is so low that the overall population is declining. Without a baby boom or a burst of immigration, its population is set to contract by a quarter by the middle of the century, creating an array of economic nightmares such as the hollowing out of entire communities and a lack of workers to care for the extremely old. Germany is facing a similar challenge.

If people think that high migration and a rising population are an economic problem, they should consider the alternative.

Economic growth isn't everything but it is notable also that popular anxiety about immigration usually takes expression as a complaint about its impact on native jobs and wages. It is often said that while immigration might be good for rich people (who, for example, can employ cheaper cleaners), it hurts the living standards of everyone else. Yet there is no evidence of immigration holding down wages, beyond those at the very bottom – and even there the effect is negligible. Despite May’s assertions about displacement, there is no evidence of people being pushed out of the workforce either. Immigrants seem to fill gaps that would not otherwise be filled. So why the public hostility?"

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