March 19, 2011

The Solution for Everything

From the Washington Post:
Japan’s shrinking labor force could constrain the country’s ability to rebuild — thus forcing politicians and the public to confront its misgivings about immigration. Japan has long exerted tight control of its borders and makes it difficult for foreigners to live and work in the country. Among leading industrial nations, only South Korea has a lower share of foreigners in its workplaces. The foreigners now in Japan fall into various niches: highly skilled white-collar expatriates; low-skilled, often illegal, laborers; imported rural brides. Economists have long argued that Japan needs to welcome more workers to remain economically competitive. The imperative to rebuild housing and infrastructure on a massive scale could force this immigration challenge into the open.

Clearly, Japan isn't densely populated enough. It needs more people living in tsunami zones.

97 comments:

bjdubbs said...

Anyone notice the implicit imperialism in this argument? "Remain economically competitive" is really another way of saying "maintain a large GDP" not "maintain comfortable per capita GDP." How about invading Malaysia? Would that also "maintain economic competitiveness"? Immigration is just a new colonialism.

Anonymous said...

I was guessing, who would have been the firts to say this. They are so predictable...

Henry Canaday said...

On another favorite Sailer Japanese topic, there are now more than 400 companies that make robots (www.auvsi.org is the robot club). But, however ingenious, these are apparently all special-purpose gadgets, for stuff like vacuuming carpets or detonating IEDs in Afghanistan. Nothing that could actually go in and fix up a fast-melting nuclear reactor.

"Many are the wonders of earth,
But the strangest of these is man."

Sophocles, "Antigone"

Anonymous said...

Why is it always 'immigration as a solution'? Why not 'having more babies'?
Western liberalism opposes 'having babies' since it 'reduces' women to demeaning 'housewife' or 'seconddary' status. Liberalism says 'have fewer or no kids and live for yourself'. But then it says 'uh oh, we have a demographic problem, and so we must take in immigrants from non- or anti-liberal nations that still have lots of babies'.
So, modern liberalism leads to national demographic suicide and depends on anti- or non-liberal nations(where women still have lots of kids)to provide the labor force. The irony! But liberals never make any sense. 'Gay marriage' advocates say homosexuality is just as legitimate as real sexuality. But homosexuality cannot produce children, and so gays have to rely on real sexuality in order to have kids of 'their own'. Though the kids were created by heterosexuality, homos and liberals pretend as though 'gays had the kids'. Same BS with affirmative action. Liberals say it's 'racist' to say some races are smarter than others. Yet, it promotes affirmative action which is premised on the conviction that some races are indeed less capable than others. Liberalism is bullshit wrapped in a lie inside a dementia.
Since liberalism denies the reality of race and racial difference, we are supposed to believe that every Mexican or African is a potential Einstein or Henry Ford. But then, we are told that we need dumb dirty people from the Third World to do the work that smarter Americans won't.

Japan should have more children. Immigration for Japan isn't necessarily a bad idea, but Japan should be very selective--like Canada--, not indiscriminating like the US and much of Europe. (To be sure, Canada is geographically lucky. If it shared a long border with Mexico, it might be facing most of the problem of illegal immigration.)
But even selective immigration is not good for developing nations that lose their brains. If liberals really profess to care for poor countries, how is taking their best and brightest gonna help them develop economically and culturally? It's like doing brain surgery on a poor person whereby one cuts away the part of his brain that is most creative and rational. How is the poor person gonna rise up in the world?

Japan needs to have more children. Japanese leaders--political, cultural, etc--should use the example of the recent tragedy. They should replay the images of old and feeble dying in the crisis zone and the images of children who survived. The message? Future of Japan depends on children, not old people. If every child that was saved is the most precious thing in the world, then Japanese should have more precious children.
Also, some of the guys braving the danger around the nuclear zone should be used as an example to inspire all those 'herbivore' Japanese males to grow up and take adult responsibilities of husbandhood and fatherhood. Life is not a videogame.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Japan, John Dower's CULTURE OF WAR is an intersting book--if one can tolerate the leftist bias running throughout the entire book. His EMBRACING DEFEAT is a magnificent book about Japan's coping with defeat in WWII--, well, except the last 1/3, which is the usual leftist diatribe.

Chief Seattle said...

I suppose they'll need someone to run their media and finance as well.

Anonymous said...

I love the bit about how "economists" advise "more immigration" - hey if an unnamed 'expert' says so it must be true.

Of course, the real damage the MSM do on open-borders isn't the cheer-leading, its the refusal to cover the damage massive illegal and legal causes.

Henry Canaday said...

From the Robot Club Website:

"Reuters skewers Japan for leading the world in manufacturing robots and for having rescue robots but not having nuclear disaster robots. This is a bit unfair as pretty much no country has robots (or at least barely plural) for nuclear disasters- denial and spending the necessary R&D money for this very, very hard type of robot is not unique to the Japanese, the US is in similar shape."

Anonymous said...

Japan needs Mexicans!
One question, though: what is a "rural bride"?

Anonymous said...

"Economists have long argued..."

Since economics is not a science, most economists do not feel constrained by facts or logic. They argue whatever their sense of the prevailing winds or their private political allegiances tell them to argue. Economics never has and never will produce an iota of knowledge that is both true and non-obvious to laymen. It is worse than astrology since an interest in the heavens was always capable of and eventually did lead to the discovery of things that are both true and non-obvious to non-specialists. I strongly suspect that such an advance will never be possible in economics.

It's one thing to advocate a political goal. It's another to say that you advocate your goals because "economics" told you that they're valid. That sort of behavior is up there with "an angel appeared to me as I was praying in order to tell me that I'm right and that you're full of crap." Such claims inevitably drag down discussions to a lower intellectual level.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Perhaps they need some Somalis and Hmong?

Mr. Anon said...

I think the best way for Japan to "remain economically competitive" would be for them to destroy our naval forces at Pearl Harbor, and then conquer south-east asia, so as to insure their supply of raw materials. Or perhaps they could apply their incredible organizational talents to cornering the world's business in prostitution and illicit drug distribution. Or perhaps they could buy up the Washington Post, close it down, sell off the presses, and fire everyone. That would be the best idea of all.

Anonymous said...

I would think that the tsunami would demonstrate the benefit of remaining a homogenous country.

Japan won't open up the immigration system. Ever year, some commission or politician calls for a more open system - and every year the issue is silently shelved. Even during the economic boom of the 1960s-1980s, efforts to bring in guest workers never gained acceptance. Most Japanese politicians and people instinctively understand the drawbacks to opening up their country to the rest of the world.

Japanese businesses, for the mosy part, also dislike hiring foreigners. Japanese corporate culture is very insular and conservative, and there's a belief that foreign workers can't fit in. Recently dozens of American CEOs called on the government to triple (yes, triple) the number of H-1B tech visas handed to foreign programmers - that wouldn't happen in Japan.

Japanese political and business elites are united with commoners, in their desire to keep out foreigners.

Anonymous said...

This is the BIG LIE -- the idea that the economy can ONLY be maintained by importing millions of people into a country.

The question is, why do they keep pushing this lie? What is their goal? Why is it so important to the Washington Post (and all liberals) that Japan import millions of foreigners into their stable and highly successful society?

Anonymous said...

I saw the same article and I knew their immigration policy would take a hit.

bjdubbs - good points. Japan has a low unemployment rate. From what I gather the Japanese enjoy a nice lifestyle. But economists say they need more immigration to be a dominant actor in the world. It's funny that a probably leftist writer would take such imperialist assumptions without any questioning.

RKU said...

Well, as regular commenters here know, I'm hardly an anti-Immigrationist. But MSM arguments like these seem just as "peculiar" to me as to anyone else...

carol said...

Gee, what about the Americans teaching English in Japan? That seems to be the fallback job for unemployed lib arts majors and JDs.

Whiskey said...

The WaPo article could easily be matched by the one from The OC REgister "Don't fear population shifts."

Money quote: The Register also found: "The only thing different in Orange County was the size of the numbers. The county lost about 15 percent of its white population (about 226,000 people) but gained nearly 80 percent more Hispanics (nearly 450,000 people) and more than 120 percent more Asians (more than 290,000 people) since 1990."

Although some people pound their desks worrying about these demographic shifts, they don't bother us. For one, nothing can be done about it. For another, Orange County seems just as pleasant as it was in 1990 or earlier. Why do we generally get along so well?

For us, the key factor always is individual liberty – to judge persons as individuals, not as members of groups. We believe that freedom is so contagious that it can take root anywhere, anytime, be it here or Asia or North Africa. The desire for liberty is written on every human heart.
-------------
This is typical, a post-Christian belief in magic pixie dust that makes everyone Middle Class White Americans, guilt over American success, etc. Japan lacks this, so it will never follow our folly.

Anonymous said...

So, can you (a white American) be accused of xenophobia, nativism, racism for opining against immigration to Japan? Can someone check with the SPLC. My gut feeling is that yes, you are racist/xenophobic/nativist for holding such thoughts even though your race and country are not at stake. But I would still like to hear someone condemn you for it for the irony of it.

Anonymous said...

"Liberalism is bullshit wrapped in a lie inside a dementia."

That's a T-shirt waiting to be made.

Anonymous said...

". . . every one of the East Asian and European nations that scored highest on the international tests for math and science has a fertility rate that assures an aging and shrinking population.

Where is world population growth to come from?

Between now and 2050, Africa's population will double to 2 billion. Latin America and Asia will add over a billion people.

Just six nations, Muslim and poor -- Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey -- are expected to add almost 500 million people to their combined populations by 2050.

If demography is destiny, the sun is not only setting in the Land of the Rising Sun. The sun is setting in the West."

Nanonymous said...

RKU said...

Well, as regular commenters here know, I'm hardly an anti-Immigrationist. But MSM arguments like these seem just as "peculiar" to me as to anyone else...

That's because you are turning around. You are smart enough to know that you were wrong about it. A little more time and you will have the courage to admit it aloud.

Anonymous said...

"This is the BIG LIE -- the idea that the economy can ONLY be maintained by importing millions of people into a country.

The question is, why do they keep pushing this lie? What is their goal? Why is it so important to the Washington Post (and all liberals) that Japan import millions of foreigners into their stable and highly successful society?"

You ask the million dollar questions. If we knew why...I mean really knew why, we could cure these idiots, couldn't we?.

Oh, that we could simply drop a few tons of a pixie dust cure over 90% of US academia.

Anonymous said...

Theocracy cannot abide heresy.

Even a heresy that does not assume an aggressive or hostile posture towards the theocracy is a threat and challenge to the theocracy.

Its mere existence undermines the theocracy's authority.

A theocracy "knows" what is "right" and "wrong," and imposes its belief through argumentation and enforcement. It cannot allow genuine experimentation (i.e. the formation of heresies) to take place.

Japan and any other modern, decent homogeneous society is a threat to the globalist theocracy currently controlling the West. It is a heresy, an example of experimentation. It undermines the authority of the theocracy. Those both subjected and not subjected to the theocracy can look to the experimental examples, ignore or supplement the argumentation imposed by the theocracy, and start drawing their own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Japanese ought to look into cloning. Take the most beautiful Japanese woman and clone her million times. Every Japanese guy will want to marry her and have kids with her.
And clone the most intelligent Japanese guy and clone him million fold. Many Japanese women will want to marry him.
Or have the million clones of the most beautiful Japanese woman marry the million clones of the most intelligent Japanese man.
Now, that's good thinking.

Anonymous said...

Is there nothing immigration can't solve? The snake oil of our age.

Anonymous said...

Too bad Japan wasn't invaded and raped by Europeans like the natives of Latin America and too bad Japan didn't import 300,000 African slaves like the United States. How 'racist' of the Japanese to resist such diversity-creating historical deeds.
To be sure, Japan did try to on the Asian mainland what the Spaniards and Portuguese did in Latin America, but weren't we told it was a very evil thing?

So, liberals celebrate the diversity produced by Latin imperialism in the New World but condemn the diverse order that the Japanese tried to create in Asia.

Svigor said...

Japan has long exerted tight control of its borders and makes it difficult for foreigners to live and work in the country. Among leading industrial nations, only South Korea has a lower share of foreigners in its workplaces.

...and we know from certain quarters that the Japanese and Koreans are the Master Race. Superior.

So, if we admire them, shouldn't we emulate them? Doesn't ethnocentrism come with the Superiority package?

Or is this another case of "do as I say, not as I do"?

Help me out here guys, I'm confused. Are tight border controls, an extremely low share of foreigners in the workplace, and ethnocentrism Cognitively Elite, or not? Are the east Asians Cognitively Elite, or not?

Svigor said...

I suppose they'll need someone to run their media and finance as well.

Tiger Mom breeding program?

Svigor said...

Let's not forget that (AFAIK) the vast majority of foreign workers in Japan are what I would call racially compatible with the Japanese: other east Asians.

Svigor said...

It's funny that a probably leftist writer would take such imperialist assumptions without any questioning.

More grist for the "who? Whom?" mill. Leftists are generally willing to throw their other, ostensible principles out the window at a moment's notice.

This is typical, a post-Christian belief in magic pixie dust that makes everyone Middle Class White Americans, guilt over American success, etc. Japan lacks this, so it will never follow our folly.

Well, that and the reverse-Inquisition that will burn you at the stake for heterodoxy. But yeah, sure, blame Christianity. That's orthodox.

That's because you are turning around. You are smart enough to know that you were wrong about it. A little more time and you will have the courage to admit it aloud.

That, or an instinctive grasp of the fact that the Tiger Mom breeding program is still in its early stages.

Theocracy cannot abide heresy.

He beat me to it.

Japan and any other modern, decent homogeneous society is a threat to the globalist theocracy currently controlling the West.

False note: what about Israel? We never read about how Israel would be improved by diversity, open borders, or a not-blatantly-racist immigration policy.

Alexandra Wallace with epipheny said...

Having lived in Japan I can tell you it needs fewer, not more people. Especially with both technology and globalization which increasingly requires fewer and fewer, higher and higher IQ workers in 1st world economies.

This type of anti-Japanese immigration bashing by our elites is like anti-Swedish socialism bashing by the more capitalistic branch of the elites. It's not intended so much for the Japanese or Swedish, but for Americans.

The idea is to constantly reframe important issues to promote the elite position that is increasingly at odds with the facts, common sense and lying eyes. These propaganda pieces tell the unwashed what the "decent", "informed" and "expert" opinion is and helps keep the masses on the farm.

Anonymous said...

Western liberalism opposes 'having babies' since it 'reduces' women to demeaning 'housewife' or 'seconddary' status. Liberalism says 'have fewer or no kids and live for yourself'. But then it says 'uh oh, we have a demographic problem, and so we must take in immigrants from non- or anti-liberal nations that still have lots of babies'...

If you're healthy, well-educated, wealthy and free, you have fewer children because it makes economic and evolutionary sense. This is much bigger than 'liberalism'.

eh said...

Albeit tiresomely predictable, this kind of article is not without its own certain brand of logic. Logic based on a hugely flawed premise, not to mention what seems to be willful ignorance, but logic nonetheless.

Japan has the same problem that many European countries have: a large and growing public debt, and a population ratio of retired to working people that is also growing. There's no way to pay for all those entitlements without boosting (taxable) economic activity significantly.

Much of the developing world has, on the other hand, the problem of a rapidly growing population with too many young people and too few jobs.

Media and policy talking heads are not big believers in HBD. So they see all those third worlders as blank slates who could come and contribute to the high value added economies of Japan and western Europe.

It never seems to occur to them that maybe they ought to investigate, eg, how the large number of Turks have fared in Germany (where they'e lived for several generations now): How well do they do in school? What kind of jobs do they get?

False premise, willful ignorance.

Expect more of the same.

Difference Maker said...

If you're healthy, well-educated, wealthy and free, you have fewer children because it makes economic and evolutionary sense. This is much bigger than 'liberalism'.

I'd conspire to have 100 children.

Anonymous said...

May I address a polite question to RKU?

RKU, I have studied the immigration issue extensively.

My main concerns are
(a) taking good care of white American citizens that happen to be born with IQ under 95 and
(b) maximizing the success of America as a nation

In my humble opinion, the best way to serve both of my objectives is to invite 10 million ultra high IQ people from Japan and Korea to immigrate to the USA. Larger numbers of ultra high IQ people increase the demand for low IQ people, so more ultra high IQ people means higher wages for native born white Americans.

At the same time, I believe in zero immigration to the USA of anyone with a low IQ. I don't think this point of view will get any argument here at Isteve, we all know that immigrants with low IQ compete with native born whites with low IQ. Much of the reason native born whites earn so little today is the flood of low IQ immigration.

RKU, I would ask if you share my intense concern for the wage levels of White american citizens born with low IQ. And I would further ask if you share my concern, do you agree that zero immigration of low IQ people to the USA is a good way to help low IQ white citizens?

Finally, may I ask if you agree with me that encouraging 10 million additional Japanese and Koreans with ultra high IQs to immigrate will genuinely help the people in the USA with low IQ?

Basil said...

If demography is destiny, the sun is not only setting in the Land of the Rising Sun. The sun is setting in the West.

The above is a quote from Pat Buchanan Can Japan rise again?. Steve, you can make the New York Times look foolish all day long. They offer you no challenge. But Buchanan, who is a man to be respected, raises a larger issue that the Sailersphere cannot satisfactorily answer: why are smart people no longer breeding at replacement levels? Some of the usual answers -- Mestizo immigrants, the Jewish media, the Black underclass, liberal guilt -- do not apply to Japan. What's going on?

James N.S.W Australia said...

Immigration is a lazy man's imperialism. Instead of conquering distant territories and people's, immigration allows imperialists to order them on amazon.com and ship them right to their door.

There was a paper awhile ago about the ratio of retirees to the employed in Japan released by the United Nations. It found that in order to maintain a stable ratio, Japan needs something like 560 million immigrants by 2050. South Korea needs 5 billion. It sounds like immigration is a real viable way to solve this 'problem'.

Svigor said...

If you're healthy, well-educated, wealthy and free, you have fewer children because it makes economic and evolutionary sense. This is much bigger than 'liberalism'.

Explain to me how having fewer children makes "evolutionary" sense for Bill Gates or anyone else with 100 million + in the bank. P.s., putting "economic" and "evolutionary" sense next to one another as you have makes no sense.

E.g., it makes "economic sense" to have 0 kids. It makes "evolutionary sense" to have lots of kids.

The first thing "evolutionary man" wants to do when "economic man" starts giving him advice is punch him in the face.

Svigor said...

The question is, why do they keep pushing this lie? What is their goal? Why is it so important to the Washington Post (and all liberals) that Japan import millions of foreigners into their stable and highly successful society?

Because any developed and insufficiently diverse territory (other than Israel - they're willing to take the hit for that, for reasons that vary depending on identity) is like a black eye to leftists. Once again I find that word, "leftist," and all its substitutes insufficient; what's the word for "everyone but ethnopatriots of European descent, and a handful of Paleos, race realists, HBDers and such"? Stormfronters call them lemmings, a word I didn't really take up - maybe I should reconsider.

Svigor said...

May I address a polite question to RKU?

May I address a polite question to the guy asking if he can address a polite question to RKU (Kato, or his fellow traveler)?

Isn't your plan undermined by the fact that the people you laud as high-IQ are too dumb (or otherwise disinclined) to carry it out for their own benefit?

Svigor said...

Some of the usual answers -- Mestizo immigrants, the Jewish media, the Black underclass, liberal guilt -- do not apply to Japan. What's going on?

Feature, not bug. Next!

Alexandra Wallace with epiphany said...

Is there nothing immigration can't solve? The snake oil of our age.

Or....

Immigration. It's a dessert topping and a floor wax!

Anonymous said...

Basil said: "...why are smart people no longer breeding at replacement levels? Some of the usual answers -- Mestizo immigrants, the Jewish media, the Black underclass, liberal guilt -- do not apply to Japan. What's going on?"

Secularism. Some smart people do breed above replacement levels even today, but most of them are religious. On the level of groups these are Mormons, the Amish and Hasidic Jews. On the individual level, if one looks at celebrities one can come up with names like Antonin Scalia (9 kids), Larry Wall (4, if I'm not mistaken), Mel Gibson (8), Mitt Romney (6) and a few others. All of these are both smart and religious. Pretty much the only smart people who have a lot of kids these days are the tiny minority of smart people who are fundamentalist, literalist theists.

In the past everybody, smart and dumb alike, was religious. J.S. Bach, a genius if there ever was one, had 20 kids with 2 women. Tolstoy had 13 with a single wife.

So it seems that the rise of atheism had a major role in the ongoing undoing of civilization.

What's the mechanism? Perhaps it's nihilism (I'm not Lucious by the way, but I agree with him on this). If there's no higher purpose than the self, then why not live for pleasure, why not be hedonistic? For women especially, having and raising kids is hard work.

The smart are more vulnerable to secularism than the dumb. It takes brains to imagine a world moved by cold, impersonal forces. Speaking generally, perhaps the only way for an advanced civilization to survive is to quickly stamp out secularism wherever it appears.

Anonymous said...

Larger numbers of ultra high IQ people increase the demand for low IQ people

Spoken like a low IQ person.

Anonymous said...

Recently dozens of American CEOs called on the government to triple (yes, triple) the number of H-1B tech visas handed to foreign programmers

Because, you know, there's such an incredible shortage of programmers in America.

This is fascism - a corporate/government synthesis - in action.

Svigor said...

and a few others.

Costner has a pretty solid brood.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous, I don't know if that many economists are really arguing for Japan to import foreigners en masse. Economists have probably just pointed out Japan's rapidly aging population will bankrupt the nation, which will probably happen if it doesn't have either more babies or foreigners. I don't imagine George Borjas is arguing for Japan to do too itself what the U.S. is doing, but maybe a Canadian-style immigration system might help alleviate labor shortages. Economists have discovered non-trivial and true things, they have just made the mistake of believing they could match the accuracy of chemistry and physics, which they cannot, but compared to a lot of other social sciences such as sociology, cultural anthropology, or psychoanalysis, economics has done some good.

Anonymous said...

Svigor said: "Feature, not bug. Next!"

Do you mean that low birth rates are a feature in Japan because they reduce overcrowding? Perhaps I misinterpreted you. Anyway, whether they're a feature or a bug there depends on whether graduates of Tokyo U outbreed Yakuza members. Perhaps someone who knows Japan might enlighten us on this.

Average Joe said...

I guess Japan needs immigrants to do the looting that the Japanese won't do.

Anonymous said...

"Economists have discovered non-trivial and true things..."

Can you give an example? Can you summarize some of these things in your own words?

Anonymous said...

Yes, a group of American CEOs proposed tripling the number of H-1B technology visas allocated to foreign computer workers. This is on top of the hundreds of thousands of intracompany transfer L-1 visas that foreign outsourcing contract firms use. This is also in addition to a number of other visas, including the increasingly utilized B1 visa.

We already approved or renewed 276,000 H-1B visas last year.

Anonymous said...

Los Angeles area Jewish groups are proposing a compromise with Latinos. In return for Jewish groups supporting amnesty, Latino groups will increase their support for pro-Israeli legislation. Check Vdare.com for more details.

All I can say...... Sounds like a good compromise to me. right Svigor?

Anonymous said...

Japan has a low birthrate, but at least its maternity wards are full of Japanese mothers. In Texas and most of the southern states, the NAMs are taking over... one baby at a time.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter how religious a culture is, it matters how effective their birth control is.

Anonymous said...

I live in Japan. I cannot imagine anything that would unsettle people here (especially in the rural coastal plain north of Tokyo where the quake struck) more than telling them that on the advice of foreign experts their central government, same one that falsified nuke reports for years, has decided to import thousands of Chinese males to help with reconstruction.

Jay said...

"Anonymous said...

Of course, the real damage the MSM do on open-borders isn't the cheer-leading, its the refusal to cover the damage massive illegal and legal causes."

Can you please be more specific about the damage they cause?

jack strocchi said...

Steve S. quoted:

Among leading industrial nations, only South Korea has a lower share of foreigners in its workplaces.

That explains South Korea's desultory economic performance. And Finland's for that matter.

Oh, wait a minute...

Anonymous said...

What you never,ever read in silly little puff-pieces like these (gosh, how wonderful is the US economy doing with its mass immigration policy?), is that the vast bulk of Japanese land territory (I forget the percentage), is actually so mountainous as to be completely useless not only to settlement but also agriculture of any kind.Therefore you have a mass population of a small island actually squeezed into an even tinier fraction, which as Steve points out is always vulnerable to tsunamis.
The story of Japan over the last century has been the story of coping with this fact of life (ie too many people too little land).Previously conquest for lebensraum was the answer, then it turned into conquest by exports.
Adding yet more bodies (non-Japanese and therefore replacing Japanese), goes against the grain.

M said...

So, modern liberalism leads to national demographic suicide and depends on anti- or non-liberal nations(where women still have lots of kids) to provide the labor force.

"Parasitic liberalism" is the academic term for this (and other similar phenomena).

What these people say and the social ideal they offer is never so bad (having your only goals as hedonic pleasure, reducing human suffering and eliminating the hierarchical status posturing that stresses primates out, unsurprisingly, achieves a lot of human suffering reduction and creates a lot of happiness, even if it makes some things worse by pursuing short term, short sighted quick fix solutions like sex and drugs and videogames and wild parties in favour of helping people adapt to their situation and lead actual adult lives).

But it isn't self sustainable. Especially without Liberals taking a cut in their standard of living and leisure that would leave their Liberal society worse off than a Conservative society, in material (and most likely emotional) terms.

What's more, it means that the traditional society of the West (and to an extent the Far East), which probably offers the best possible compromise we've seen and had seriously articulated between human freedom and liberation and the ability to sustain itself, is rapidly eliminated in favor of alternative societies that frankly aren't so nice.

Baloo said...

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none of the above said...

The bigger problem with this argument isn't that it's wrong (it seems wrong to me, but maybe the NYT/US elite consensus is right and I'm wrong). It's that the elites seem to demand a worldwide monoculture. The US is pursuing a particular kind of immigration policy, one with costs and benefits. There are smart people worth listening to who think what we're doing now, tweaked to be even more liberal, is the best policy. (Think someone like Tyler Cowen.) It's possible they're right.

But it's also possible they're wrong. Suppose every country on Earth redesigns its immigration policy, polution regulations, financial regulations, civil liberties and law enforcement, antidiscrimination law, antitrust law, etc., to be the same, following the "best practices" of the Anglo-American world. And then, suppose there's some part of that package that's disastrously wrong, that will lead those who follow it off a cliff--as many of us suspect may be true for our immigration policy. In a monoculture world, the whole world goes down together. In a world where big and wealthy countries do things very differently, some countries will weather each kind of storm better than others, which means there will be some stable, funcitoning countries both to help out and to serve as working examples for other countries.

Armor said...

A commenter: "requires fewer and fewer, higher and higher IQ workers in 1st world economies."

1st world economies don't need high IQ workers. It's not the economy that needs people, it's people who need the economy.

Anonymous said...

'If you're healthy, well-educated, wealthy and free, you have fewer children because it makes economic and evolutionary sense.'

If you are talking to middle-class generally educated couples talking about when/how many etc children they decided to have, you get the distinct impression that you are talking to CPA's or the head of mergers at a Wall Street law firm. It's all about jobs, leave, saving for college, Sean being out of college before Emma is in, etc. Planning down to a fine science.

These are the same people, who, by not overburdening themselves with kids, are taxed to the max to help pay for the less responsible ones for whom children are sort of like rain storms in April - they just happen.

Also the length of a generation matters. Folks who start at 30 and have 2 kids who in turn have 2 kids starting when they are 30 and so on have 6 decendants when they die at 85. Folks who start at 18 and have 2 kids who in turn have 2 kids starting at 18 and so on have 30 decendants when they die at 85. Folks who start earlier than 18 and have more than 2 kids etc have a villiage by the time they die at 85. Many of these last 2 groups will never succeed at being net tax payers.

It doesn't take too many of these 'villiages' to sink a first-world civilization.

ben tillman said...

"This is the BIG LIE -- the idea that the economy can ONLY be maintained by importing millions of people into a country.

The question is, why do they keep pushing this lie? What is their goal? Why is it so important to the Washington Post (and all liberals) that Japan import millions of foreigners into their stable and highly successful society?"

You ask the million dollar questions. If we knew why...I mean really knew why, we could cure these idiots, couldn't we?.


Same as it ever was: world empire. Isaiah 60:12. You can achieve in two ways: (1) expand the territory of the empire to bring people into the empire (invade the world) and (2) bring the residents of territory the empire doesn't control into territory the empire does control (invite the world). Moreover, one way to bring territory under the empire's control is to weaken the target country with demographic conflict.

ben tillman said...

Media and policy talking heads are not big believers in HBD. So they see all those third worlders as blank slates who could come and contribute to the high value added economies of Japan and western Europe.

Horseshit. They are absolutely fanatical believers in HBD. Every last one of them. That is why they -- without fail -- deposit their paychecks into their own bank accounts. They obviously believe there are significant differences among people and that it matters who gets the resources. Their personal behavior invariably indicates that they believe that humans are not fungible.

Yet their policy recommendations are to the contrary. Who can explain that?

ben tillman said...

Immigration is a lazy man's imperialism. Instead of conquering distant territories and people's, immigration allows imperialists to order them on amazon.com and ship them right to their door.

Very perceptive. Invade-the-world & invite-the-world are two sides of the same imperial coin.

Anonymous said...

"In my humble opinion, the best way to serve both of my objectives is to invite 10 million ultra high IQ people from Japan and Korea to immigrate to the USA"

Won't that hurt Japan and Korea? What do you define as high IQ, 120,130 and above? We don't need a bunch of 105 Iq immigrants.If it's 130, you would never get that many people to come here.

Anonymous said...

"Mel Gibson (8), Mitt Romney (6) and a few others. All of these are both smart and religious. Pretty much the only smart people who have a lot of kids these days are the tiny minority of smart people who are fundamentalist, literalist theists. "

Mel Gibson? I wish I could be that religious and bang a bunch of women before I am married. Now the supposedly religious Mel knocked up his girlfriend after his divorce. If his is really religious according to his own beliefs, he would never have sex again.
I guess the religious person can have sex as long as he thinks it's wrong while he's doing it.

Anonymous said...

People can't have beyond replacement lever births in the West because if will lead to overcrowding. How many people can live in Great Britain or Japan? The economic system must be designed for a stable population. Economists are idiots to think that constant population growth is sustainable and any economic system built on it will lead to disaster. Do we want 50 billion people on the Earth?

Anonymous said...

"has decided to import thousands of Chinese males to help with reconstruction."

I am sure our elites would be against that. Chinese are Asian so they don't count. They would have to import blacks,mestizos or Muslims to satisfy our crazed elites.

Bob said...

"why are smart people no longer breeding at replacement levels?"

In fact Steve has written quite a bit about this in his articles about affordable family formation. Whites in areas with low population density, like much of the USA and Canada, are above replacement levels.

Outside of the Paris, French whites are also at or above replacement birth rates, and rural France has the lowest population density, lowest COL, and highest QOL in Western Europe.

France's baby subsidies/paid maternity leave, short work-week, cultural pride, and high taxes on the superrich also all help.

Here is a map of French and German birthrates by province:
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=139319:

Anonymous said...

"E.g., it makes "economic sense" to have 0 kids. It makes "evolutionary sense" to have lots of kids."

Schonehauer I think said if having kids were rational the human race would die out. Well, it's more rational now,especially for smarter people. And they have the means to do it.

Nobody really thinks in evolutionary terms do they? People just had sex because it was instinctual. They didn't do it to have more kids. There was a time when people didn't even know sex caused kids. I would have liked to have been there when someone figured it out. Then they started to think about not having kids so relgion made it a sin to have sex and block having kids because people would want to use birth control and therefore the human race would die out. Maybe this was evolution in action even though the religions didn't even know about evolution.

Anonymous said...

"The question is, why do they keep pushing this lie? What is their goal? Why is it so important to the Washington Post (and all liberals) that Japan import millions of foreigners into their stable and highly successful society?

You ask the million dollar questions. If we knew why...I mean really knew why, we could cure these idiots, couldn't we?."

..........

This is obvious. It's just like why 1.0 Marxist pushed for international socialism. The system will not work unless everyone partakes in it. Imagine if 20 Us states limited citizenship and to natives, but the rest didn't. Citizens in the states and the states themselves that had the limits would have a competitive advantage. For example, the states could indefinitely exclude numerous out of state welfare applicants and encourage it's poorer fraction to migrate to the more generous states.

On a more general level. Once all states give up sovereignty over their borders, they will be economically forced to give up sovereignty on other matters. Just as in the EU. A global federal government will be needed.

This of course ties back into the race issue. If Japanese knew that certain immigrants, on average, would have a negative effect, they wouldn't want them. After reading ( Jones (2008)*, who wouldn't want to be selective about their immigrants?

Once the mixing has been complete -- and the global commerce clause is established, of course, it won't matter. But till then, the idea is rather dangerous to the liberal, globalist, progressive idea.

One reason all of the above were so excited about the "democratic revolutions" in the middle east, is because it proves (in their mind) that all peoples can assimilate equally and are functionally identical.

For the same reason, there is also concern about China. Will thy work towards a greater, more integrated global nation or will they embrace provincialism.

*IQ in the Production Function: Evidence from Immigrant Earnings )

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion, the best way to serve both of my objectives is to invite 10 million ultra high IQ people from Japan and Korea to immigrate to the USA.

Compared to just trading with them, seems to me that gains surprisingly little. Personal income taxes maybe, but that's only a benefit if you see redistributive taxes as a good (rather than merely money that invariably ends up being squandered) and even still maybe you'd do better with tariffs anyway (which are really no worse or no better than any other taxes - they're both about equally unacceptable to neoliberalism and equally a fact of life).

Having said that, the advantage of importing people rather than trading with them might be the gains made from increasing population density and the economies of scale that accompany it. I'm pretty sure though, that in the context of the USA (or really, anywhere that's above a simple) that's a diminshing return and that the gains from densification can increase without importing a new people. And those gains from density may be more dubious than economists suppose (particularly in terms of factors of quality of life that economists treat as externalised costs).

Plus, what are we talking about when we talk about "maximizing the success of America as a nation"? Not a bad goal of course, but success at what?

Hopefully not merely making sure most discoveries are officially "American" rather than discoverd in other nations? To what end? Or some kind of force projection capability over foreigners that's probably anti-democratic and costly?

If we're defining success as anything other than a high median and per capita level income, happiness and technical capability then we're looking a pointless barometer for success for a nation. Absolute size is not a good barometer for success (maybe if you're obsessed with your nation being "the biggest" in some kind of archaic fashion, but sane people shouldn't have such a concern). Also, what's the "American nation" if it is changed in character through absorbing tons newcomers? What's the point of being successful and no longer being yourself?

Anonymous said...

"Outside of the Paris, French whites are also at or above replacement birth rates..."

Is it really possible to come up with such data? I've read that the gathering of racially-specific statistics is illegal in France. The maps you linked to, while interesting, only show overall TFRs, not white TFRs.

Svigor said...

Sounds like a good compromise to me.

http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2011/03/19/la-jews-offer-hispanics-deal-support-israel-get-amnesty/
L.A. Jews Offer Hispanics Deal: Support Israel, Get Amnesty

Cute, real cute.

Do you mean that low birth rates are a feature in Japan because they reduce overcrowding? Perhaps I misinterpreted you.

No, I meant that the fact that societies tend to reproduce less as they become wealthier is a good thing.

Japan has a low birthrate, but at least its maternity wards are full of Japanese mothers. In Texas and most of the southern states, the NAMs are taking over... one baby at a time.

Yyyep.

What's more, it means that the traditional society of the West (and to an extent the Far East), which probably offers the best possible compromise we've seen and had seriously articulated between human freedom and liberation and the ability to sustain itself, is rapidly eliminated in favor of alternative societies that frankly aren't so nice.

Nothing new there, people have been pointing out for years that "liberalism" (lemmingism?) carries the seed of its own destruction, but your comment does suggest a good soundbite:

Liberalism: it's not sustainable.

Any time you can use ostensible "liberal" principles against "liberalism," that's a good thing.

The bigger problem with this argument isn't that it's wrong (it seems wrong to me, but maybe the NYT/US elite consensus is right and I'm wrong). It's that the elites seem to demand a worldwide monoculture.

Yyyyep. That's the problem, and that's our primary line of attack against lemmingism. Fact is, I don't want to argue with lemmings over whose ideas are right and whose are wrong. I want them to acknowledge my right to disagree, and live accordingly. The hegemony baked into lemmingism is what we should be attacking.

suppose there's some part of that package that's disastrously wrong, that will lead those who follow it off a cliff

Any similarities between this argument, and my switch to the term "lemmings" and "lemmingism" are purely coincidental. :)

"Monoculture," nice word choice btw. Just the sort of thing that puts lemmings on the defensive and causes them cognitive dissonance.

Svigor said...

I am sure our elites would be against that. Chinese are Asian so they don't count. They would have to import blacks,mestizos or Muslims to satisfy our crazed elites.

No, I think it's all about the Narrative, not the facts. Like someone astutely pointed out above, this crap is for westerners, not Japanese. The MotU don't want westerners noticing Japan's closed borders and blatant lack of diversity. If they can shut people up with sleight of hand and prestidigitation, they will. That's why they point out that Japan has so few foreigners, but don't add "and they're not even diverse - they all look like Japanese!" It wouldn't be ideal, but it would be a big improvement.


For the same reason, there is also concern about China. Will thy work towards a greater, more integrated global nation or will they embrace provincialism.

I don't think east Asians have the wiring for "diversity." They're too into the "harmony" thing. "Diversity" works on westerners in part because we're more individualistic. If, for whatever reason, the Chinese elite decides to foist diversity on their citizenry, it would probably work, though.

But why would they? It's going to take China many years to bring their high-IQ slave class into the middle class. There's roughly 8 or 9 hundred million of them left, and they're far superior to the slave classes in the rest of the world.

Laban said...

"why are smart people no longer breeding at replacement levels"

In Japan and the UK Affordable Family Formation is one factor. Expensive housing in comparison to median wage - in the UK it's risen from 3.5 x median to 6 x median since the 1970s, which needs two incomes to service i.e. working mother. Full time mothers have more kids.

Japan is famously expensive in housing, and houses are famously small. Prices are high enough that you get 100-year mortgages, to be paid off by your descendants.

There's also the educated female. More than half of UK undergrads are now female. The more education, the fewer babies.

I keep banging on about this, but people should read a brilliant piece by the childless US author Lionel Shriver, which sums up the mindset of the post-60s generation perfectly.

Laban said...

Lionel Shriver :

"To be almost ridiculously sweeping: baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to lower-case gods of our private devising. We are less concerned with leading a good life than the good life. We are less likely than our predecessors to ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose; we are more likely to ask if we are happy. We shun values such as self-sacrifice and duty as the pitfalls of suckers. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture or nation; we take our heritage for granted. We are ahistorical. We measure the value of our lives within the brackets of our own births and deaths, and don't especially care what happens once we're dead. As we age - oh, so reluctantly! - we are apt to look back on our pasts and ask not 'Did I serve family, God and country?' but 'Did I ever get to Cuba, or run a marathon? Did I take up landscape painting? Was I fat?' We will assess the success of our lives in accordance not with whether they were righteous, but with whether they were interesting and fun."

Anonymous said...

"I don't think east Asians have the wiring for "diversity." They're too into the "harmony" thing. "Diversity" works on westerners in part because we're more individualistic."

Yes and no. At home, they are used to homogeneity and harmony. But abroad, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans have proven to be very adaptive in diverse environments. Also, Singapore seems to do pretty well with its diversity though tensions do exist. Paradoxically, it could be Asian embrace of harmony which allows diversity to function better, at least in some cases. Singapore's Lee was such a harmonist that he geared everything--politics, economics, culture--toward achieveing and maintaining peace among Chinese, Indians, Malaysians, Muslims, Secularites, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. By not celebrating diversity but by promoting harmony, he's allowed diversity to exist with minimum tension.
Diversity is becoming a problem in multi-culti West where differences are being CELEBRATED, like UK even considering Sharia Law.
Asian way is 'keep your diversity at home but join the harmonious community in public'. And American melting pot-ism used to work along similar grounds. But then came 'diversity as a political agenda', and so we have black power, brown power, JEwish power, ethnic power, gay power, feminist power, Muslim power, etc.

Even so, Chinese seem to be more adaptable than the Japanese. Though China is said to be mostly homogeneous--made up of Han Chinese--, the vast regional differences in customs and dialects(plus China's dealing with many satellite nations)made Chinese easier and more relaxed in dealing with non-Chinese than it is for the Japanese. Japanese also seem more formal and formulaic about things. Japan, a homogeneous island nation, got used to seeing itself as unique. Absorbing ideas from both East and West but different from rest of humanity.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous, I would say that comparative advantage would be the classic example of something true and non-trivial in economics. That is in fact what an economist once replied when asked by a physical scientist for something that fit that criteria that economists had discovered. Comparative advantage has also done enormous good in opening the world to trade, first with British Empire leading the way in the 19th century and then the U.S. after WWII.

The Wobbly Guy said...

To the commenter on Singapore:

Have you realised the amount of anti-foreigner diatribe written by Singaporeans over the past few months? Very anti-government, and this sentiment is, AFAIK, widely shared. On the internet, they outnumber the pro-foreigner voices.

Not sure whether it's a vocal majority or minority. Guess the upcoming elections will be the litmus test.

TGGP said...

Robin Hanson & Bill Dickens' hypothesis for low modern fertility.

As Razib has noted, religiosity correlates with fertility because it is an indicator of traditionalism. Christianity is associated with being upper/middle class in east asia and tends to be associated with lower fertility.

none of the above said...

Melting pot assimilation is good for immigrants and their kids, but lousy for politicians and talking heads who represent the immigrant population.

Luke Lea said...

"Economists have discovered non-trivial and true things..."

Can you give an example? Can you summarize some of these things in your own words?

Paul Samuelson was once asked this question. He scratched his head, paused for about a minute, and then said, "the idea of comparative advantage."

That's it

Plus, of course, most economists don't even understand the consequences of comparative advantage when it comes to another country having a relative abundance of poorly paid labor compared to one's own.

The American Economics Association did a survey of graduate students a couple of decades ago and found that many were spending so much of their time trying to master calculus and differential equations that they had no time to learn basic economic theory. That would most definitely include the modern neo-classical theory of trade (as found, for example, in "World Trade and Payments" by Caves and Jones).

And that's just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

On Jewish support for more low-skill immigration:

“It’s the fundamental rule of coalitional politics,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism…“If you want to have a friend,” Saperstein said, “you’ve got to be a friend.”

Maybe Saperstein should start thinking about the friends he is losing?

ben tillman said...

To be almost ridiculously sweeping: baby boomers and their offspring have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal satisfaction.

This should be in the passive voice. The Baby Boomers didn't do any shifting. The atomization was imposed on them.

none of the above said...

Wealthy, well-educated, secular people have had their birthrates plummet all over the world, in all kinds of countries and cultures. This makes it seem very unlikely to me that the explanation is primarily one specific to the US or the west. This phenomenon has happened in Lebanon and Israel, as well as Japan, Korea, and Singapore, as well as Australia and Canada and the US, as well as Italy and Russia, and so on. It's not some one-off.

This is largely a result of technology. People are wired to pair off, the great majority of us want to pair off with someone of the opposite sex, and that's probably a precondition for most of us to be happy. Before effective, widely-available birth control, this meant having kids, assuming you didn't want to give up entirely on normal sex. To marry the girl of your dreams and sleep with her regularly implied raising a brood of kids.

Technology changed that. I'm married with three kids, but we waited till we'd been together several years before starting to have them. Without birth control, and with modern medicine, I imagine we'd have a very big family by now.

I know a lot of stable, apparently happy couples with no kids. That's something you couldn't really do without good birth control technology. Plenty of other couples have one kid--again, not something likely to happen naturally in a twenty year marriage that starts at age 25.

A second factor is increasing educational demands. Some of that is real (I wouldn't like a surgeon working on me who hadn't had a lot of years of training!), much of it is credentialism (if everyone get a high school diploma, then the BA becomes the certificate that says you're literate enough for a clerk job). But all of it involves putting off life for extra years of preparing for it.

Sam said...

The SWPL's in Japan don't demonstrate their social superiority by importing Third World immigrants.

They do it in the traditional way - going to the right schools, wearing trendy clothes, reading the right books, etc.

Anonymous said...

Re: Luke Lea, A couple of points to make. Actually the way I heard the story was that Samuelson was taken aback and had to do some research before mentioning comparative advantage when he meet up with his detractors again. Look, I know this website has a large contingent of people who despise economists mainly for the illegal immigration issue as well as some misinformed detractors on the trade issue. But overall, I think the large expansion of world trade since 1815 is mainly due to the intellectual influence of economists and that is something that has made the world a much better place. I don't blame economists for the financial meltdown, or at least most economists, that was mainly the work of political "activists", politicians, and their fellow travelers in the mainstream media. If more of those people actually understood economics they would never have created that witches brew of the revised Community Reinvestment Act that was the primary driver of the financial crisis.

Maybe just too many people think the economics profession is too arrogant and deserved to taken down several notches, I don't know for sure but economics seems to be steadily if glacially moving towards being more "scientific".( The recent trend towards laboratory studies. ) Now let me explain that it is not on par at all with the physical sciences or engineering in this regard, just that it is improving and unlike a lot of other social sciences isn't weeded to post-modernism and stuck in an ideological cul-de-sac of political leftism that characterizes disciplines such as sociology and anthropology. In other words I believe that economics has the potential to become more "scientific" even if it isn't at the moment. In reality, economists and experimental psychologists are the only professions keeping the social sciences in general from completely devolving into a monolithically left-wing and anti-scientific secular religion. Do you think I exaggerate? Go read an cultural anthropology, sociology, or social psychology textbook, any of them. They are unrelentingly hostile to any attempt to employ biology to explain any aspect of human behavior. Why don't you save some of your venom for these fools because they are people who cultivate the type of "activists" who then demand of Congress things like the revised 1998 Community Reinvestment Act, not the economics profession.

Anonymous said...

"The large expansion of world trade since 1815" - Economists somwhow try to claim credit for this.
What utter, utter bullsh*t!!!

Firstly, the world's population in 1815 was only a tiny fraction of today's ergo trade would be substantially less.
Secondly, the means of transport in 1815 were very primitive as compared to today.Road transport in particular was a nightmare - small payloads, bad roads, long journey times.Maritime transport was in wooden sailing ships of limited size and hazardous uncertainty.There was no refrigeration, canning etc.
Thirdly, there was no demand for oil, which by necessity is haevily traded.Most nations didn't burn coal either.In fact, there was little industrial production (save England), as the necessary machinery didn't exist.
But saying all that, there WAS a great deal of international trade at that time.Just as now, nations imported tropical produce they couldn't produce, basically people imported what they needed to lead a commodious life according to the purchasing power and productive capacity of that time.For economists to try and claim credit for this is utter fallacious.

Anonymous said...

The lady doth protest too much, I'm not saying all the credit for the expansion of world trade since 1815 is due to economists, but Britain was the world's leading power after Waterloo, and Britain was the world's intellectual leader in favor of free trade beginning in the first half of the 19th century. Second point, your response refuted nothing I said, in fact it supports it to some extent despite your protests to the contrary. Look at how primitive trade was then as compared to now, are you telling me the huge expansion that took place up until 1914 and continues after 1945 would have happened with France or Spain leading the world and their mercantile economic doctrines? I doubt it very seriously. Lets also not forget that British notions of economic thought pervaded the original 13 colonies that became the U.S. as well. Why exactly do you hate economists so much anyway?

Anonymous said...

"To marry the girl of your dreams'

Who the hell gets to do that?

I guess everyone is going to Hell for using the pill.Tis a shame.

Anonymous said...

In fact, during the period of the USA's rise to industrial pre-eminence in the mid to late 19th century - the era in which all the industries that were the bedrock of American prospersity were built (steel, engineering etc), the USA had the strictest regime of industrial tarrifs.
Britain stubbornly pursued 'free-trade' and suffered industrial decline throughout that period, relative to competitors.Britain, in fact, was forced to abadon 'free-trade' in the 1920s and 30s and consequently experienced the highest industrial growth rates in its history.

I have a dim view of economists because they f*ck up peoples' lives.

Anonymous said...

Britain lead the world in industrialization while it simultaneously lead the world in free trade, Germany also industrialized very rapidly, probably as quickly as the US did under a strong free trade regime, in fact Germany was unified largely due to a customs union called Zollverein ( free trade within proto-Germany. )which also tied Sweden and Luxemborg economically to Germany and that preceded political unification under Bismarck. The US may have been protectionist relative to Germany and Britain, but it was still relatively free trade by modern standards, and because the US was so much more geographically diverse and much larger than any big European country, it in effect functioned like a large common market spread out over a continent. The US didn't need to import much because of this regional diversity, all it needed was capital from abroad, and where did that capital like manna come from? London, the world trade center/capital of suffering British free trade. If not for free trade in Britain, no one would have provided the capital for American railroads and industry. Additionally one of main reasons that British industry declined relative to the US, was that Britain permitted cartels to operate legally, whereas in the much larger USA population, geography, and government antitrust policy mitigated against it. Even the antebellum US was very economically diverse based on regional specialization, which would indicate Ricardo's law of comparative advantage working it's magic yet again, back to where this conversation started.

Luke Lea said...

"But overall, I think the large expansion of world trade since 1815 is mainly due to the intellectual influence of economists and that is something that has made the world a much better place. "

I agree. But back then we did not have to deal with vast disparities in the wages paid to workers in different countries.

When a country like the U.S. begins to trade with a country like China which is both much bigger and much poorer than we are, American labor loses and American capital gains. It is like removing a barrier between two bodies of water that are not on the same level. Water starts to flow between them. The speed and size of that flow depends on the difference in level and the relative sizes of the two bodies of water. In the case of China we are looking at a workforce that gets paid approximately one tenth as much as the U.S. workforce and is four times larger. It is the economic equivalent of taking down the Hoover Dam.

Now the fact that the U.S. economy is simultaneously getting bigger as a consequence of our trade with China means -- can only mean -- that the rich are getting richer in this country even as the poor are getting poorer. It signifies a vast redistribution of wealth away from the majority of ordinary people who make their livings with their hands and their feet towards the minority who, even though they also work hard, derive most of their incomes from the capital they own and control. This is not only a matter of logic -- where else could all that income go? -- but of empirical fact.

Taking it a step further, a layman might argue that this development is a dangerous one if it goes on unaddressed. Unless a way can be found to undo the mal-distribution of income brought about by a public policy of free trade either that policy must be ended (we withdraw from GATT) or democracy will be undermined. We shall have government "of the few, by the few and for the few."