Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Immigration, Prosperity and Race - Don’t Fight by the Rules of your Enemy

If the government forces you to share your house with 50 random Swedes, do you debate whether people of Swedish ancestry are genetically 0.02% better than people of Irish ancestry?  Or do you say: “Who says I have to put up with 50 more people jammed into my house anyway?!”

In America the rich are using an excessively high rate of immigration to force population growth, in order to increase competition for jobs, lower wages for the many, and increase profits for the few.  But this doesn’t sound good, so the rich change the debate to ‘diversity’ or ‘multiculturalism’ in order to hide the main issues, slander the opposition as racist, and play divide-and-conquer.  There is nothing wrong with discussing average differences between races, but in the present context it’s mostly a distraction.  

Most Americans only want the rate at which foreign nationals come to their country to be limited to a level that does not depress wages or increase crowding.  This is so reasonable that it can’t be argued against: so the rich change the subject to pitting Americans who immigrated from somewhere else against those who are native born, which is not the issue at all.  You should not allow yourselves to be baited into fighting the wrong battle.

It may well be that, if everything else is equal, a society that is ethnically homogenous will be more cohesive than one that is more ethnically diverse, but it’s clearly a minor effect.  There is no diamond so flawless that, with enough pressure, it will not eventually fracture along some fault.  There is no society so ethnically uniform that, crushed beneath the brute yoke of a thousand starving people competing for every job, it will not eventually fracture and tear itself apart.  On the other hand, even ethnically diverse societies, if they have a shared prosperity and language and culture, can usually do fine. 

Australia was founded by criminals: if you believe that criminality has a genetic basis, Australia should be in chaos.  But with a low fertility rate, the Australians have abundant resources and it is not for nothing called “The Lucky Country”.  On the other hand, even though ethnic Chinese may perhaps be on average somewhat more intelligent and hardworking than ethnic Europeans, with a culture that encouraged people to have enormous numbers of children as a source of cheap labor, for most of its history China was a cesspit of almost unimaginable poverty that periodically tore itself apart as criminal gangs challenged the central government for power.   And yes, in the years before the start of WWII, with the poverty created by the Japanese government’s policy of maximizing population growth, Japanese society was also on the verge of tearing itself apart: the Japanese only started WWII because they were desperate to acquire new resources before their country collapsed. 

Switzerland has three major language groups, and it is currently as peaceful and prosperous a nation as has ever existed.  If, however, the average Swiss fertility rate were to shoot up to six kids starting at age 14, before long Switzerland would be as miserably poor as Bangladesh, and I guarantee that the staid and boring Swiss would be tearing into each other with sadistic ferocity. 

Individual intelligence is important.  In the real world Forest Gump will never be a competent brain surgeon, and a society that pretends differently and allocates jobs according to race or nepotism is not headed in a good direction.  However, the average IQ of an entire society is little more than irrelevant.  Historically we see many societies where the average genetic IQ should be 101, but where excessively rapid population growth or other economic factors have resulted in crushing poverty and overall stagnation.  We also see many societies where the average genetic IQ should be 99, that have combined modest fertility rates with modestly regulated market economies, and have slowly built up significant per-capita wealth. 

Consider someone with an IQ of 101 naked and starving to death in the middle of a dirt field.  Now consider someone with an IQ of 99 who has $250,000 worth of advanced tools and abundant resources.  Who is most likely to prosper and create new wealth?  Small differences in average population IQ are nothing compared to societal factors, including but not limited to fertility rates, that allow the accumulation of a significant economic surplus, and encourage its re-investment in productive enterprises.

Every society has more than enough smart people to go around.  Most jobs don’t need a genius to be performed competently.  A handful of smart engineers can create computerized cash registers that allow millions of high school dropouts to make change faster and more accurately than Albert Einstein.  What matters is that individual people are allowed to rise to the extent that their talents permit, and that the most talented people have abundant tools and resources with which to work, and a stable and peaceful society in which to build.

You are reminded that there is no such thing as a ‘bad’ job.  When the labor market is tight, you don’t need to be a PhD astronaut brain surgeon to do well.  As Adam Smith pointed out, the economic value of a commodity has nothing to do with its intrinsic utility, only the relative balance of supply and demand.  That’s why truck drivers in Denmark make so much more money than software engineers in India.  And why ‘education’ is not the answer.

The problem with the black community in America today is not that blacks are genetically inferior than whites.  I mean, it is indeed possible that your average black will spot your average white an IQ point or two.  So what?  If there was a tight labor market, people with IQs of 90 would be making good money driving trucks, and people with IQs of 110 would be making slightly better money acting as dispatchers.  And everyone could go home and have a beer and play with their kids and grill steaks and who would have the energy to fight with each other?

Suppose that, in a tight labor market, truck drivers were disproportionately black and dispatchers were disproportionately non-black.  Is this due to racism or inherent differences between races?  The issue is not simple and could easily engender hard feelings.  But if both truck drivers and dispatchers are doing really well, surely the divisiveness could be minimized - and perhaps ultimately more of the sort of arcana that PhD sociology theses are concerned with than a matter of great public import.

Remember, a tight labor market does not just increase wages, it also tends to compress the wage gap between skill levels, because all workers are in short supply and thus all workers have strong leverage.

For a time in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, American blacks had unionized jobs, life was far from perfect but the trend was up.  A black man could support a family on an honest wage.  Then the blacks were all fired and replaced with Mexican immigrants – without the ability to support a family through honest work, black men became useless, and the black family structure broke up.  BUT YOU ARE NEXT.  Consider American inner city blacks like the canary in the coal mine.  When there are toxic gases, a canary bird will pass out before a miner does – but if nothing is done the miner dies next! 

There is no culture or race that can survive a condition when young men of average ability are consistently unable to get a job and support a family.  This is the core of all stable societies.  Blaming the collapse of the black American family structure on the blacks is like cutting a man's legs off with a chainsaw and then blaming his inability to walk on a lack of motivation.  It's disgusting.

When there is plenty to go around, people are mostly happy to live and let live.  But when the only way to avoid starving is to steal from someone else, sooner or later it does not end well.  This applies to all races and ethnicities.  But the rich like poverty – “competitive labor costs” – so they will often push for policies that create poverty, which is profitable in the short run, but corrosive to societal stability in the long run.  I respectfully submit that focusing only on the differences between ethnic groups has the potential to distract from more important issues.

The rich are using talk of race to play divide and conquer.  The real issue is class war.  The sooner you working-class humans realize this, the sooner you will have a chance of fighting back.

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