Thursday, September 04, 2008

The modern myth of immigration laid bare

There has, over the last ten years or so, been a general view that immigration has been a positive effect on national wealth and prosperity. This is the narrative of the liberal left who assert that unrestricted immigration leads to a growing economy - a narrative based on the loose correlation that saw Britain's economy expand over successive years at a time when immigrants flooded into the country in unprecedented numbers.

But, as the old saying goes, correlation does not imply causation. The reality of immigration into Britain over the last ten years is that unprecedented numbers of foreigners took advantage of a global economic boom to move to Britain which, although not necessarily the fastest growing economy, offered standards of living which could not be obtained elsewhere together with a range of "rights" and benefits which other growing economies would not permit immigrants.

The bursting of this myth comes with the news that Britain is likely to be the first of the major economies to enter recession - I should point out that it is the technical recession of two consecutive quarters with zero or negative growth. In reality, Britain is already in a "recession" with tough economic circumstances already having a severe effect on millions of people. It is only the nature of economics - which moves in very slow cycles - that insists we don't actually recognise that fact for 6 months or more.

The very fact that our economy struggles even though huge numbers of immigrants continue to arrive proves that immigration in itself does not lead to a growing economy. What it does do, however, is put very severe pressures on an economy when the downturn starts to bite as more and more immigrants demand more and more from our welfare system. They still need housing, health care, schools, food, etc. so they will still need more and more benefits which will, of course, come out of the taxpayer purse.

The recession will be bad for many people, but at least one good thing will come of it - at last we can bury this myth that immigration is good for the economy. This recession - coming at a time when immigrants are still flowing into the country in huge numbers - proves that it was nothing other than a coincidence.

1 comment:

Lemon said...

Heres a good piece on Denmark and it's immigrant experience (suspect you already have see this)Susan Macallen