November 10, 2014

THE COMPETITION FOR THEM WILL BE FIERCE:

A Strategy for Rich Countries: Absorb More Immigrants (TYLER COWEN, 11/08/14, NY Times)

Unfortunately, regions with rapidly growing populations, like Africa and South Asia, often have lower living standards. In our likely global future, these regions will have more people than they can comfortably support, while many countries in the West and in East Asia will have too few young people for prosperous economies.

As an economist, I see an obvious solution: Relatively underpopulated and highly developed countries could profitably take in young Africans and South Asians -- and both sides would gain. Yet it's far from clear that all nations that could benefit from this policy would entertain it, partly because of persistent racial and cultural bias. There is also the legitimate question of how quickly immigrants can adjust to new environments, especially if they are arriving with weak educational backgrounds as the job market demands ever-stronger skills.

Developed countries that can absorb new immigrants at a modest cost should have relatively bright futures. They will help enable a rebalancing of population that will help the entire planet. In contrast, developed countries with relatively inflexible notions of national identity, and thus with strict immigration policies, may shrink in population and lose influence.

Posted by at November 10, 2014 3:19 PM
  

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