## Pragmatism and the Ethics of Migration

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A common theme in liberal discourse is North America and Europe is that the low, below replacement, birthrates of states in those regions can be offset by migration. This in turn, will help to enrich people born in poorer parts of the Earth. Thus, migration is a net benefit to all.

I find this logical falls apart fairly quickly just looking at the actual scale of the problem of poverty. Bangladesh alone can supply 80,000,000 souls who, by European standards would be impoverished. Few people would accept that the USA or EU could absorb 80,000,000 migrants in a decade.

Yet the disparities today will become increasingly acute. Sub-Saharan Africa just eclipsed a billion people in the mid 2010s. By 2100, it will have more people than all of Asia. Half of all children will live within its borders, even with models allowing for massive outward migration to the scale of well over one hundred million.

Thus, the migration of people from poorer nations, to richer ones, represents a solution that will at best help 1-5% of the population in poorer nations. Indeed, the 5% rate immediately seems ridiculous when you realize it would equate to 200,000,000 given a global population of just 10 billion (assuming a full 20% qualify as rich, which is a long shot).

This of course, ignores the fact that adding more people to rich nations, and the lifestyles they have, only increases the externalities of the pollution, which will especially affect Sub-Saharan Africa, where the vast bulk of population growth will.occur in this century.

In any event, the point is that migration from poor countries to rich ones will only help a small minority of people in poor countries. Remittances, of course, are sizeable. Payments sent back home to poorer countries in by workers in richer countries eclipsed all direct foreign aid by 2015 in some regions. So, there is that to consider.

When I mention pragmatism, I think of the effects of large scale migration on the politics of rich nations. The common threat uniting the rise of Trump, Brexit, and a general widespread tilt to the far right by both the West and rich Asian nations has clearly been driven by "mass migration.,"

Some people will reject the term, but I think it's fair. On a continental scale, replacement, based on broad phenotypical definitions, i.e. races, is occuring in Europe at a more rapid rate that in North America after the arrival of Europeans. I in no way want to make the two situations analogous. Europeans replaced indigenous Americans due to massive epidemics and violent conquest. Europeans have embraced large scale migration intentionally as a way of keeping wages low and property values increasing. However, the scale of change is similar. France, the UK, and Germany will all be minority European by around 2080. That represents a titanic demographic and cultural shift.

On top of this shift, is the fact that migrants appear to impose congestion costs on each other. That is, the same way each additional drive imposed costs on others by slowing travel times, a higher proportion of migrants in a geographical area increases the time, and social costs, of assimilation to the new culture. This is obviously particularly acute in Europe, with high levels of racism and segregation. Radical Islam has found fertile ground in European ghettos- homogeneousness islands of deprivation.

This is a lot of build up, I know. My point with all this is that I fear there may be large scale costs for people in poor countries, due to unrestrained migration from poor countries to rich ones. This migration is encouraged by elites in wealthy nations. Let us not forget, US Republicans held the White House, both chambers of Congress, and the Courts for 24 months. They did not hold one (1) vote on migration. Not even token reforms to expedite the expulsion of criminals. It's because migration benefits those with wealth directly by supressing wages in the short term, and increasing demand for real property and other assets in the long term.

However, the incompetence, and virulent racism of Trumpism, and far-right ideologies in Europe, are, to my mind, only possible due to mass migration. Migration is the common theme linking all far right Western movements. A fear of cultural shifts. Anger against inequality. They are not totally wrong here. Migration is an absolutely massive driver of inequality. Millions of people enter the US and EU each year with almost no assets and little education, and also face a language barrier. The cumulative effect necessarily, mathematically causes inequality to soar.

My fear is that this trend, the growing inequality and cultural fracture, has gotten so great, it is causing serious dysfunction in rich nations. I present Trump as evidence. The Capitol Coup. Only 1-3% of people in poor nations can benefit from migration to rich ones. The other 97% can suffer from an international system that is torn asunder due to dysfunction in their political systems.

That is, migrants to rich nations are imposing costs back on people in poor nations by destabilizing rich nations.

Of course, "liberal" discourse in the West denies this. If you watch John Oliver or read the NYT op ed section, immigration only brings economic growth. This is frankly unture. A oft cited New Jersey study showing migrants use less welfare actually shows that they use less "all else being equal," and do indeed have a net negative affect on local accounts. National level analysis often counts their tax input into Social Security and Medicare in the US, but explicitly pretends they will not use the benefits. This is disingenuous, and frankly, "fucked up." People paying into Social Security deserve it, and a liberal trend towards this sort of accounting represents degenerate gamesmanship in national debate.

So to sum up, migration is destabilizing rich nations. This will actually hurt people in poor nations the most (e.g. nations with antimigrant right wing governments won't do shit about global warming).
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You raise many good points.

There is some research that indicates increased diversity decrease trust levels -- one of the essential elements in a healthy, stable society. Immigration from poor to rich countries increases the carbon foot print of the immigrants and the richer society. An influx of non-English speaking, relatively low-skilled workers distort the labor market, especially for our least wen-paid people. These are reasons to limit immigration, among others.

It is not difficult to understand why people in poorer countries would want to move to richer countries: life will probably be better for them there. On the other hand, sovereign nations have the right (even the obligation) to determine the nature of the society they will have. Countries may limit (or forbid) immigration.

One of the problems of predicting population movements over the remaining 79 years of this century, and on into the next, is that global warming is changing all sorts of things all at once. Whether large numbers of people distant from Europe or North America will have the wherewithal to make the trip is not clear at this point. As fresh water, tolerable temperatures, and food [among other much desired things] become scarcer, doors may be closed to migrant populations. It all depends on how bad how fast it gets. I'm quite pessimistic on the likelihood that we will accomplish much in the way of disaster prevention.

Accepting migrant populations in the United States so far at least, is less a policy decision and more a policy lapse. We didn't "admit" a good share of the migrants that are here: they arrived without permission. Then we failed to expel them, so here they are--millions of them. They could be removed (it wouldn't be pretty but it is possible), and we probably won't do that.

Whether or not rich countries admit 50 million (or some other number) poor people or close and bolt their doors, a lot of people will perish from global warming and the disruptions flowing from it. When push comes to shove, I would rather my country, my people, survive and prosper rather than some other nation's people.
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Thankfully, America has birthright citizenship, so we haven't created a 30 million person underclass. That said, we have 10-15 million people who will head into retirement with no safety net. Given that American born Baby Boomers, who arguably had the greatest economic period in all of human history to accumulate savings, have less than $30k in liquid assets on average, I have to imagine this will end poorly and cause more instability. This is, of course, another reason that migration is, as you say, a policy lapse. We need people paying in to the system, regardless of what comes next. Half the budget is wealth transfers to seniors, and it is growing exponentially. American provides UBI and universal healthcare, but only above a certain age. It doesn't tax enough to fund these, hence, after the Trump tax cuts, the US deficit trippled to over$1 trillion. About $0.25 of every$1.00 spent had to be borrowed. Debt is necissarily a wealth transfer from the current generation to the next. Services are rendered today, the bill is due in 10-30 years. Since the Baby Boomers reached majority in the 1980s, tax cut after tax cut has inflated the national debt during their prime earning years, to the tune of $27 trillion. This is a wealth transfer on top of the current transfer systems for older citizens. "Canceling college debt would be the greatest wealth transfer in US history," is a ludicrous statement by Fox pundits. An amount greater than all mortgages combined has already been staked against the earnings of the next generation, let alone a measly$1 trillion in student debt.

It is of course an accident of history, and still quite relevant that the Baby Boomers who benefit from most of this transfer were born in an era when the nation was 90% white. History and demography won't leave policy alone. And so the transfer increasingly become from minorities to the old "majority," from young to old. As faith breaks down over future generations having it so good, so does good will.

Shifting expenditures to the next generation has a certain logic. Technology advances and wealth grow exponentially, not linearly. Or at least it did. A person born in 1950 had a much better life than one born in 1890, on average.

But now we must challenge that assumption. Life expectancy has been falling the last several years. The median wage peaked, in real terms, in 1979 and has stagnated since. For the poorer half, 160 million people, it is falling. 40 years is enough to call something a trend.

Yet, the generational gap appears to only be getting worse. Trump lost voters under 55 by 9 points in 2016 and voted in massive tax cuts focused on the rich (and consequently the old). He lost the young again by 11 points in 2020. Landslide margins.

Into the fray comes social conservatism. I consider myself a social conservative, but there is something rich about the older generation of today decrying the degeneracy and licentiousness of the young. Number of extra martial partners, drug use, violent crime? These are all plummetting, in the case of sex to a frankly disturbing degree. A full third of young men are now abstinent. We model Saudi Arabia more than we'd like to admit. All three peaked with the Baby Boomers, who now claim both half the nations tax revenue, and moral supremecy. To make it worse, age and race are now highly correlated in a dividing line.

I doubt the result will be pretty. I'd vote for a president who is honest and says benefits will be cut and taxes will be raised. Hell, start a draft for civil service projects, you could do worse than the WPA.
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Or to sum up, this image contains the essential truths that Ibn Khaldun realized in his own era. The problem is that the people who use this imagery often think they are the "hard men," yet can't even run a mile.

We're really all bequeathing to our children a legacy of ashes. The far-right, ready to demolish the pillars of civil society to get their way, more than any other party.

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We're really all bequeathing to our children a legacy of ashes. The far-right, ready to demolish the pillars of civil society to get their way, more than any other party
@Count Timothy von Icarus

One of the issues that tear me apart the most is the way new generations (where I am included in) totally forget how difficult in the past was the establishment of peaceful criteria. Ridiculously most of them think this is easy and happened "randomly" through the years having zero confronting with all of those who died/worked hard trying to find a better world to live in.
I like the image you shared. Hard times comes from the context where the educational level is in their lowest. Here is when dictators o emperors labelled the people as "ethnics" or "social classes" with a huge difference between all the citizens included in. They are not strong enough to create a social solution so they just go for the easiest way: Taking advantage of the weakness in terms of education, salary, culture, access to well paid jobs, etc...

I guess "strong" man as you image reflects, are not those who built an empire. Are those who manage it and govern it through the centuries. Roman Empire was clearly a beautiful example of how you must rule a vast territory: Application of law equally in all the lands, acting and fighting by the same flag/state, respect (or at least try to) the Emperor and also having a common language.
Since the day where slowly these started disappearing, Roman Emprie went to their final days. Some other towns got into it with other cultures and destroy it. As Juliua Caesar said devide et vinces
Roman Empire was divided in 476, then disappeared through the years.

Also good times never will create "weak men" this is another debate. I do not want go tangent from your topic but it is interesting to debate about why some people think that in peaceful times the citizens and States go "weaker"
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Interesting discussion, thanks!
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Rereading this is an object lesson in why you shouldn't write multi-paragraph statements on your phone. Oh well.

Anyhow, I saw this recently. Maybe the moral problems will work themselves out as America becomes so unequal that living here is no longer preferable...

rocky mountain dharma center

If I was from Bangladesh, I'd take some umbrage with the UN though. Like, "why do I have to be the comparison bro?"
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