Open Up, Europe! Let Migrants In. By PHILIPPE LEGRAIN MAY 6, 2015… What if Europe — or the United States — took a different approach: allow people to come and go freely?Just like Puerto Ricans. That’s worked out superbly well, hasn’t it?
But if there were a big increase in immigration, either through an open-door policy or because more foreign workers and refugees were admitted, what would its impact be? The sudden arrival in Israel in the early ’90s of many Russian-speaking Jews after the collapse of the Soviet Union provides an extreme example. These migrants mostly didn’t speak Hebrew, had no experience of capitalism and moved for political reasons rather than because their labor was in demand.The newcomers raised Israel’s working-age population by 8 percent over just two years, and by 15 percent over seven. This would be equivalent to 50 million foreigners of working age arriving in the European Union. Did unemployment soar and wages collapse?No; after seven years, the unemployment rate was lower and wages were at their previous levels. This is because there isn’t a fixed number of jobs to go around, and new arrivals create additional demand for others’ work. The labor influx also stimulated an investment boom that soon restored wages. …
As well as letting in a lot of highly educated Soviet Jews and Soviet near-Jews, Israel also let in a lot of Ethiopians to please liberal American Jews over proving Zionism wasn’t racism.
May 1: Alert the SPLC, cossacks on horseback are intimidating black civil rights marchers! The fundraising junk mail writes itself. (Oh, wait, this is in Jerusalem? Never mind …)How’s that working out lately?
Better still, diverse and dynamic newcomers can help spark the new ideas and businesses that would lift Europeans’ living standards. In Britain, migrants are nearly twice as likely as locals to be entrepreneurs. Like starting a business, migration is a risky venture that takes hard work to make it pay off. …Philippe Legrain, an economic adviser to the president of the European Commission from 2011 to 2014, is the author of “European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics Are in a Mess — and How to Put Them Right.”