Friday, July 07, 2006

Agreeing With Steve

Actually, a double agreement. Yes, I think he’s right here that the argument that we can somehow contrive a way to let immigrants in without letting them draw down on the welfare state is ludicrous. I don’t think it was a closely guarded secret that Poles have kids.

More to the point, I also think he’s right about the cultural angle. It all very well for economists to concoct models in which atomised, cosmopolitan individuals skip round the globe, each carefully maximising his economic advantage, but life ain’t like that. Mogadishu is not Madras and it isn’t Melbourne either. Supposed justifications for immigration that treat people as spare parts slotting in and out of each country are absurd. Frankly, as long as their models rely on this absurd premise, economists have ruled themselves out of having any sensible contribution to make to the debate.

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