Arguing for (or against) immigration purely on economic grounds is not as simple as it might seem. A 2004 paper by David Coleman and Robert Rowthorn ("The Economic Effects of Immigration into the United Kingdom") concludes (my emphases):
"This article has examined the impact of immigration on citizens of the United Kingdom. The claim that large-scale immigration will be of great economic benefit to them is false. Some will gain, but others will lose. With respect to the existing population of the UK and their descendants, the purely economic consequences of large-scale immigration could be negative or positive, but either way they will be small. Two earlier reviews of the economic effects of immigration to the UK came to carefully argued conclusions that stopped far short of a clear endorsement of its advantages, despite being presented in collections that otherwise served to underpin the new policy (Findlay 1994; Kleinman 2003). Immigrants are the only unequivocal economic beneficiaries of migration. There is no guarantee that anyone else will be, not even the sending countries from which the migrants come.
"The more important effects of sustained large-scale immigration on the UK are demographic, social, and environmental: provoking unexpected renewed growth in population and in housing demand and risking new and intractable social divisions and a corresponding weakening of national identity and cohesion, with the prospect of an eventual eclipse of the population receiving the migrants and of its culture..."
In a self-indulgently showy phrase ("filling a demographic gap created by sterile, murderous British selfishness"), I added another dimension to the debate, namely the impact of abortion and birth control in the UK, and was challenged on it by "Wolfie". But I think I can show that this has made a difference, in more ways than one.
To help me answer, I've used Wikipedia's article on the UK's demography, and Johnston's archive on abortion statistics. The latter stops at the year 2010, so I've assumed that for the following three years the number of abortions was the same as in 2010 (i.e. 208,935). If that is so, then since 1968 (i.e. the year after abortion was legalised) there have been over 8 million "terminations". The rate of slaughter increased over the decades:
It's said that 98% of abortions are carried out for "social" reasons, so we'll assume that in all cases the children would otherwise have survived, though obviously a percentage would have died at some point (but not a very high one, in our country). Now because the overwhelming number of terminations happened in the last 50 years, all those individuals would be of working age or younger, and here is how the demographic might have looked:
This opens up a can of worms, as they say. For example, I don't know whether if an aborted child had been allowed to live, its mother might have chosen not to conceive another later on.
But other things being equal, we would now have a population of 71 million rather than 63 million. Or possibly not, since we would have hit a housing crisis much earlier and presumably public policy on immigration would been different.
And getting the balance between young and old isn't enough. For although there would have been an extra 4 million people of working age, that doesn't automatically mean that there would be another 4 million jobs for them to do. So policy on globalisation would have had to be rethought.
Instead, the government develops its theme of seeing people as inconvenient, and seeks to adjust the demographic equation by slaughter of the old, to boot. The Liverpool Care Pathway, the creeping program to decriminalise assisted suicide, and now the £50 bribe to GPs to save the NHS £1,000 by denying patients the ambulance ride to terminal care in hospital.
Just as, surrounded by CCTV and cyberspies, we are still told that this isn't "1984", we are sliding into dehumanisation while being reassured that we're not Nazis. My father could have spared himself the trouble of fighting the latter in North Africa and Italy; they're back, and winning.
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