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Items from "PostGlobal"

The Washington Post  has an on-line "global issues" discussion, at

Since its structure makes it a little hard to point directly at the middle of
discussions there, I repeat the body of my postings here with links for people
who want to see the context.

(1) Immigration issues, reply 1,  May 24, 2007 12:17 PM.   Click here for  original.

Question:  Rich countries need a steady supply of new immigrants to keep up their growth
rates and welfare systems. But everywhere immigration is causing a backlash.
What to do? Amnesty? Higher fences?

[essay by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, I reply:]

With the opening up of Eastern Europe nearly 20 years ago, we began a change
in the relations between people and governments comparable to (but faster
than) the fall of the Roman Empire, and a flow of migration comparable to that
of the  Germanic tribes into Western and southern Europe.

A great many of our old models (of nation, nationality, national identity
and loyalty) no longer work, and we haven't had time or leadership to adjust
to new ones.

The United States model, so touted as demonstrating "tolerance", may show
good internal tolerance within the US legal structure. But we are increasing
the extent to which national tight control replaces loose local control, and
doing great harm in some other parts of the world, vastly damaging any role we
might have had as a model.

To illustrate how a simple shift in viewpoint or identity changes things,
and using very simple fictitious numbers: suppose the average wage in the US is
$20 thousand, and in Mexico $5 thousand. Suppose a bright Mexican making $10
thousand moves to the US where he can make $15 thousand. The average wage in
Mexico just dropped (lost a high wage). The average in the US dropped (added a
low wage). The average wage in North American just increased (the man got a

The best way to increase productivity and reduce conflict is probably to
look at things on as large a scale as possible, and use the added productivity
(and taxes) to provide the welfare necessary to mitigate harm locally.

May 24, 2007 12:17 PM

Edward Ordman

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