The left wing are beginning to doubt themselves in the face of losing power.
“Block 1 Around 40 per cent of the population of poor countries say that they would emigrate if they could. There is evidence that suggests this figure is not a wild exaggeration of how people would behave. If migration happened on anything approaching this scale, the host societies would suffer substantial reductions in living standards. Hence, in attractive countries, immigration controls are essential.
Block 2 Diasporas accelerate migration. By “diasporas”, I mean those immigrants and their descendants who have retained strong links with their home societies, rather than cutting loose and integrating into their host societies. These links cut the costs of migration and so fuel it. As a result, while diasporas are growing, migration is accelerating. Diasporas continue to increase until immigration is matched by the rate at which immigrants and their offspring are absorbed into the general population. A crucial implication of this interconnection is that the policies for migration and diasporas must be compatible.
Block 3 Most immigrants prefer to retain their own culture and hence to cluster together. This reduces the speed at which diasporas are absorbed into the general population. The slower the rate at which they are absorbed, the lower the rate of immigration that is compatible with stable diasporas and migration. By design, absorption is slower with multicultural policies than with assimilative policies.
Block 4 Migration from poor countries to rich ones is driven by the wide gap in income between them. This gap is the moral horror story of our times. The difference in incomes is ultimately due to differences in political and social structures: poor countries have political and social systems that are less functional than those in rich ones. Their dysfunctional systems persist in part because they are embedded in the identities and narratives of local cultures. Migrants are escaping the consequences of their systems but usually bring their culture with them.
Block 5 In economic terms, migrants are the principal beneficiaries of migration but many suffer a wrenching psychological shock. As far as can be judged from the net effect on happiness, the economic gains and psychological costs broadly offset each other, although the evidence on this is currently sketchy.
Block 6 Because migration is costly, migrants are not among the poorest people in their home countries. The effect on those left behind depends ultimately on whether emigrants speed political and social change back home or slow it down. A modest rate of emigration, as experienced by China and India, helps, especially if many migrants return home. However, an exodus of the young and skilled – as suffered by Haiti, for example – causes a haemorrhage that traps the society in poverty.
Block 7 In high-income societies, the effect of immigration on the average incomes of the indigenous population is trivial. Economies are not damaged by immigration; nor do they need it. The distributional effects can be more substantial but they depend on the composition of immigration.
In Australia, which permits only the immigration of the skilled, the working classes probably gain from having more skilled people to work with. In Europe, which attracts many low-skilled migrants, the indigenous poor probably lose out through competition for social housing, welfare, training and work. The clearest effect on the jobs market is that new migrants compete with existing migrants, who would consequently be substantial beneficiaries of tighter controls.
Block 8 The social effects of immigration outweigh the economic, so they should be the main criteria for policy. These effects come from diversity. Diversity increases variety and this widening of choices and horizons is a social gain.
Yet diversity also potentially jeopardises co-operation and generosity. Co-operation rests on co-ordination games that support both the provision of public goods and myriad socially enforced conventions. Generosity rests on a widespread sense of mutual regard that supports welfare systems. Both public goods and welfare systems benefit the indigenous poor, which means they are the group most at risk of loss. As diversity increases, the additional benefits of variety get smaller, whereas the risks to co-operation and generosity get greater. Each host society has an ideal level of diversity and hence an ideal size of diasporas.
Block 9 The control of immigration is a human right. The group instinct to defend territory is common throughout the animal kingdom; it is likely to be even more fundamental than the individual right to property. The right to control immigration is asserted by all societies. You do not have the automatic right to move to Kuwait; nor do the Chinese have the automatic right to move to Angola, although millions would if they could. Nor do Bangladeshis have the automatic right to move to Britain and claim a share of its social and economic capital.
It sometimes makes sense to grant the right to migrate on a reciprocal basis. Thousands of French people want to live in Britain, while thousands of Britons want to live in France. Yet if flows become too unbalanced, rights derived from mutual advantage can be withdrawn: Australia, for instance, withdrew them from Britain. The expansion of the EU has created these unbalanced situations and the original reciprocal right may therefore need modification.
Block 10 Migration is not an inevitable consequence of globalisation. The vast expansion in trade and capital flows among developed countries has coincided with a decline in migration between them.
These ten building blocks are not incontrovertible truths but the weight of evidence favours them to varying degrees. If your views on migration are incompatible with them, they rest on a base too fragile for passionate conviction.
Once accepted, the building blocks still leave plenty of room for disagreement as to their application to particular societies at particular times. Yet they do not leave room for existential confrontations between polarised positions. Liberal intellectuals want to combine rapid immigration, the multiculturalism that entitles migrants to remain within a distinct cultural community, and an egalitarian society. This is a noble vision but unfortunately the desirability of a policy combination does not ensure that it is technically possible.
In economics, there is a well-known “impossible trinity”: the attempt to combine open capital accounts with targets on exchange rates and interest rates is doomed to fail. I fear that the open door, multiculturalism and generous provision of public services may be the social policy equivalent – another impossible trinity. This is because the major social risk posed by rapid migration combined with multiculturalism is not that the society polarises but that it atomises. It’s not that England would descend into violence but that our tacit norms of co-operation and generosity would gradually be undermined.
British society depends on these norms that, for the most part, we take so much for granted that we are barely aware of them. The weight of the evidence suggests overwhelmingly that if a society fragments between an indigenous population and a variety of diaspora communities, co-operation will weaken. More surprisingly, diversity even appears to weaken co-operation within the indigenous population: as indigenous networks are disrupted, people withdraw into more isolated lives.
The evidence for these adverse effects of diversity is partly analytical, partly statistical and partly the results of experimental games. In a magazine article such as this, however, there is not enough space to present it all, so you will have to make do with a practical example of a social convention that could be threatened by immigration.
A diaspora is not a race; it is a cultural network. It only becomes synonymous with race if there is no cultural absorption. Multiculturalism, as its name implies, is about culture, not race. Its objective is to slow or prevent the absorption of diasporas into mainstream indigenous culture. In so doing, it reduces the rate of migration compatible with a stable diaspora and hence with stable migration.”
Close. Genes generate culture.
Sharia law wouldn’t take too kindly to the likes of Stephen Fry.