Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A legacy of displacement

In his January 2008 review of The Howard Legacy: Displacement of Traditional Australia from the Professional and Managerial Classes by Dr. Peter Wilkinson, American commentator Thomas Jackson makes the observation:

Australia has an immigration policy that is like ours stood on its head. The United States is filling up with unlettered Hispanics, who make every social problem worse, whether it is crime, school failure, illegitimacy, youth gangs, obesity, or drug-taking.

Australia is importing hundreds of thousands of smart, hard-working people who are streaming into the nation’s best universities and working their way to the top. Mass immigration at its best? No. “In 1994 the acerbic Le Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister of Singapore, forecast that Australians were destined to be the poor white trash of Asia,” writes Peter Wilkinson in The Howard Legacy. “Today one can say that white Australians are destined to be the poor trash of Australia.”

Australia's looming immigration disaster is simply another reminder that the large‑scale immigration of people who are ethnically dissimilar to the host population is always fraught with danger, irrespective of whether the immigrants themselves are skilled or non-skilled.

In The Howard Legacy, Dr. Peter Wilkinson explores in great detail how Australia's current immigration program is leading to the gradual emergence of a Chinese market-dominant minority.

To quote Wilkinson directly:

In selecting skilled immigrants, those who have done a degree in Australia receive bonus points in the criteria for acceptance for residency. In effect the policy selects those Asians who have higher cognitive ability, predominantly ethnic Chinese. In the ‘knowledge economy’ of today a premium is paid for qualifications and cognitive ability. They and their children (who will inherit their higher intelligence) will fill the professional and managerial ranks in Australia. They will dominate the cognitive class and hence have disproportionate influence in the country. This has important ramifications for both internal and external policies as ethnic demographic change continues.

According to Wilkinson, this situation has become about because governments have failed to adequately invest in the education of our own people. Instead, it has come to rely on an ever-growing number of largely Asian immigrants, many of which use Australia's universities as a back door into the country. Little known changes to immigration laws made by the former Howard Government mean that foreign students can now apply for permanent residency once completing a degree in Australia. Desperate for the income streams provided by these full fee-paying foreign students, Australia's universities have increasingly allowed themselves to serve as "visa factories".

Jackson summarises Wilkinson's proposed remedies to this problem:
Dr. Wilkinson makes the obvious recommendations: immigration should be cut, colleges should not have to depend on foreigners, and an Australian degree should not be a ticket to citizenship. He even suggests preferences for whites.

Of course, none of these changes will happen with Chairman Rudd at the helm. Jackson notes:

None of this seems likely. The new prime minister Kevin Rudd majored in Chinese as an undergraduate and held a diplomatic post at the Peking embassy. He is widely known as a Sinophile and even has a Chinese son-in-law. Mr. Rudd will not make it harder for Asians to tighten their grip.

Jackson then concludes:

What is happening in Australia is yet another example of why racial diversity does not work. The Chinese who can afford to immigrate are well above average in ability and even further above the Australian average. There is nothing to stop them from displacing the WASP ruling class, and changing the country in ways whites will not like.

Had these talented immigrants been Britons, Canadians, or white South Africans, there would be nothing like the friction that is sure to come. There might be a few murmurs of discontent if Boers, for example, took over a few major banks, but in a generation Boers would be indistinguishable from old Australian stock. The Chinese will remain Chinese, whether they are running a corner laundry or the foreign ministry. And, as Dr. Wilkinson points out, when the old WASP elite discovers that its children and grandchildren are sweeping floors in Chinese-owned factories, they will have only themselves to blame.

Why a country's established elite would wish to displace themselves by willingly handing over the keys to their nation to newcomers is a question that will certainly flummox future historians.

Hat tip: Abandon Skip

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Some inconvenient truths about immigration

Ross Gittens points out a few truths about immigration:

The third point in Mr Rudd's five-point plan to fight inflation is to "tackle chronic skills shortages", and part of this is to do so through the immigration program. Clearly, the Government believes high levels of skilled migration will help fill vacancies and thus reduce upward pressure on wages.

That's true as far as it goes. But it overlooks an inconvenient truth: immigration adds more to the demand for labour than to its supply. That's because migrant families add to demand, but only the individuals who work add to supply.

Migrant families need food, clothing, shelter and all the other necessities. They also add to the need for social and economic infrastructure: roads, schools, health care and all the rest.

Another factor is that their addition to demand comes earlier than their addition to labour supply. Unemployment among recent immigrants is significantly higher than for the labour force generally.

Admittedly, the continuing emphasis on skilled immigration - and on the ability to speak English - plus the fact that many immigrants are sponsored by particular employers, should shorten the delay before they start working.

Even so, we still have about a third of the basic immigration program accounted for by people in the family reunion category. You'd expect the proportion of workers in this group to be much lower. So though skilled migration helps reduce upward pressure on wages at a time of widespread labour shortages, immigration's overall effect is to exacerbate our problem that demand is growing faster than supply.

The Rudd Government professes to great concern over worsening housing affordability. First we had a boom in house prices that greatly reduced affordability, and now we have steadily rising mortgage interest rates.

The wonder of it is that, despite the deterioration in affordability, house prices are continuing to rise strongly almost everywhere except Sydney's western suburbs.

Why is this happening? Probably because immigrants are adding to the demand for housing, particularly in the capital cities, where they tend to end up.

They need somewhere to live and, whether they buy or rent, they're helping to tighten demand relative to supply. It's likely that the greater emphasis on skilled immigrants means more of them are capable of outbidding younger locals.

In other words, winding back the immigration program would be an easy way to reduce the upward pressure on house prices.

Finally, there's the effect on climate change. Emissions of greenhouse gases are caused by economic activity, but the bigger your population, the more activity. So the faster your population is growing the faster your emissions grow.

Our immigration program is so big it now accounts for more than half the rate of growth in our population.

It's obvious that one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce the growth in our emissions - and make our efforts to cut emissions more effective overall - would be to reduce immigration.

Of course, you could argue that, were we to leave more of our immigrants where they were, they'd still be contributing to the emissions of their home country. True. But because people migrate to better their economic circumstances, it's a safe bet they'd be emitting more in prosperous Australia than they were before.

My point is not that all immigration should cease forthwith but, leaving aside the foreigner-fearing prejudices of the great unwashed, the case against immigration is stronger than the rest of us realise - and stronger than it suits any Government to draw attention to.

Read full article

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A community of common values or common ancestry?

Writing for The Brussels Journal, British commentator John Laughland challenges the idea, currently in vogue among Western elites, that our national communities are mere civic constructs, with membership being determined by nothing more than one's adherence to vague, abstract values.

Laughland writes:

A nation, in other words, is not a “community of values” or an impersonal social construct governed by certain laws. A nation – as the word suggests, derived as it is from the verb ‘to be born’ – is a family. A family can be a source of great love, indifference or even fratricidal conflict, just as a nation can experience cohesion, social exclusion or civil war. Nations can certainly welcome into their midst people who are not originally members of it, just as a family can expand to include in-laws. Both can and should show tolerance and friendship towards them. But at the end of the day, nations like families are bodies of people related to each other by blood.

This basic fact remains, whatever choices the individuals themselves may make. It does not absolutely determine human choice but it does influence it. The experience of second and third generation immigrants in Europe, whose parents or grandparents have chosen to come to a new country, and who have themselves chosen to remain in it, often shows the truth of this: in spite of their individual choice, people’s behaviour often remains ethnically based and culturally separate from that of the host nation, especially if they are of a different race.

Full article

Also worth reading is Mark Richardson's recent post on civic nationalism:

Civic nationalism has no future