An Australian Reader Critiques The Economist; Peter Brimelow Comments
November 08, 2002, 04:00 AM
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A Reader Warns Of A Lame Duck Stealth Amnesty

Steven Meyer writes from Melbourne, Australia.

See also: The Economist Magazine on Immigration, by Peter Brimelow (March 11, 2000); The Economist`s Review of Alien Nation

The Economist may be the most influential publication in the English-speaking world. It has been consistently pro-immigration. The latest issue (November 2nd - 8th 2002) carries a leader article [= editorial] on immigration and a Special Survey of migration. Here are some excerpts:

"Race and religion must be part of the discussion of migration." (Leader article, page 11.) This is the first time I have seen The Economist state that race and religion should be part of a discussion about anything.

"On balance, host countries benefit only slightly from immigration, whereas immigrants benefit hugely." (Survey, page 12.)

"It [immigration] does not seem to increase unemployment among the native-born, although it may reduce their pay." (Survey page 14.) This may be the first time The Economist admits that migration may have any adverse consequences for the native-born.

"...some of the children of Germany`s Turks, Britain`s Pakistanis and France`s North Africans seem more attracted to Fundamentalism than their parents are. (Survey page 4.) This is the first time I have seen an admission on the august pages of The Economist that sometimes even the children of immigrants may have difficulty integrating into the society of the host country.

"Newcomers without high-school education not only drag down the wages of the poorest Americans...their children are also disproportionately likely to fail at school." (Survey, page 5.)

"In Germany ... only 8% of Turkish children pass the Abitur, the tough German high school-leaving exam, compared with 12% of the children of all foreigners and 30% of Germans." (Survey, page 10.)

"Petty crime is linked to immigration," admits Claude Bertrand, deputy mayor of Marseilles." (Survey, page 10.) This is the first time I have seen The Economist concede, albeit indirectly, that there could be any link between crime and migration.

"For instance, what moral values and rules of behavior should modern society insist that people share? (Survey page 9.)

What rules indeed? The Economist makes plain what its concerns are when it goes on to ask:

"In the name of protecting freedom of speech and religion, should they tolerate incitement to violence by Imams?"

So now our basic freedoms need to be curtailed to keep migrants in line?

I do not want to leave you with the incorrect impression. The writers of The Economist`s Survey of Migration argue that migration is both necessary and good. It just needs to be managed better. They even make some suggestions that have merit.

But, for what may be the first time, they are pointing out some of the dangers.

The analysis contained in The Economist`s survey is still deeply flawed. But that`s another, longer, letter!

Peter Brimelow adds: I am personally amused to see The Economist`s subsection on the economics of immigration, although itself flawed, is headed "A Modest Contribution – On Balance, Host Countries Benefit Only Slightly From Immigration, Whereas Immigrants Benefit Hugely." This is exactly the point I made in the August Commentary Magazine, responding to Tamar Jacoby`s long article in April. (The cheapskates want you to pay to download this exchange, but you can read VDARE.COM`s dissection of her original article here for FREE.)

She huffed in response that

"I am, in any case, very familiar with the National Research Council (NRC) study Mr. Brimelow cites— and which, by the way, he completely mischaracterizes. Far from positing "no significant net economic benefit" from immigration, the report calculates "a significant positive gain," perhaps as large as $10 billion a year…"

The Economist, which is at least numerate, rightly dismisses this as "chickenfeed in an economy of $10 trillion."

America, in other words, is being transformed for – nothing.

Perhaps ungallantly, I continue to believe that Tamar had never heard of the NRC study until I mentioned it.

After all, she has all those Manhattan cocktail parties to attend.

November 08, 2002