Thomas Sowell On Economics And Immigration
January 29, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Thomas Sowell, who wrote Migrations And Cultures, has some generally positive things to say about the benefits of skills-based immigration in his book Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide.

For example, the everywhere in the world except England and Denmark, the local breweries were founded by immigrants from Germany, not only are there German breweries in Australia, Brazil, and Argentina, but the fellows who opened the Tsingtao Brewery in China in 1903 were Germans. The American Busch family who brew Budweiser came from a place called Budweis, in what is now the Czech Republic. (They call it České Budějovice now, but I say it's Budweis, and I say the hell with it.) The point is that if you want breweries, it helps if you import good brewers. But as you might guess from reading his syndicated column, Dr. Sowell knows it's not all good.

It would be misleading, however, to assess the economic impact of immigration solely in terms of its positive contributions. Immigrants have also brought diseases, crime, internal strife, and terrorism. Nor can all immigrants be lumped together. When only two percent of immigrants from Japan to the United States go on welfare, while 46 percent of the immigrants from Laos do, there is no single pattern that applies to all immigrants. There are similar disparities in crime rates and in other both negative and positive factors that immigrants from different countries bring to the United States and to other countries in other parts of the world. Everything depends on which emigrants you are talking about, which countries you are talking about and which periods of history.