One of the better political commentators out there is Ted Rall (website http://rall.com). He's also a cartoonist with a deceptively crude but powerful style. Nonetheless, there is something that even he doesn't quite get.
For speaking out against things like stupid wars, corrupt bank bailouts etc., Rall has been largely blacklisted by the mainstream corporate press. However, he continues to get requests from people or organizations to write or draw things for free. He rightly refuses - people should be paid for their work - but then makes the mistake of thinking that this sort of abuse can be corrected by forming some sort of union or guild or agitating on blogs or whatnot. That's silly. This presumption of being able to get smart people to work for free is yet another example of a flooded labor market. The problem can only be solved by stopping the rich from continuing to force populations ever higher - if you refuse to admit this and fight against it, you might as well give up.
Remember: the economic value of a commodity has nothing to do with its intrinsic value, but only on the relative balance of supply and demand for it. So if you are a talented artist, and there a million other unemployed similarly talented artists desperate for work, you have no leverage. People can ask that you work for them for free, and you may well oblige in the desperate hope that you will get 'noticed' and maybe even get a 'reputation' and a 'real job someday'.
That's why unpaid internships are currently all the rage. A major television network recently asked a historian friend of mine to do a lot of background work for a television documentary - but they offered no pay! They just expected this person to do the work because they were a big time network and maybe (maybe!) he could make valuable connections etc. Well my friend refused - correctly - but I expect that this network will find some other unemployed historian desperate enough to work for free.
That's why they are doing this - because they are getting away with it! They are in effect bleeding the unemployed/underemployed professional middle class of their last savings, getting free labor in exchange for - most likely - nothing at all. But that's what people do when they are desperate.
The answer is a tight labor market. Stop uncontrolled third-world immigration. Stop all this propaganda about how we must have ever more people to avoid a 'worker shortage'. Stop wasting resources in financial speculation, and go back to investing in developing real resources and real physical capital which will help on the demand side. Employers should be the desperate ones, not regular people. When people are in limited supply relative to the demand, businesses will stop this 'unpaid internship' garbage. But not before.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Many modern economists claim to pay homage to John Maynard Keynes, but they are at best only hemi-Keynesians. If you actually read Keynes, you are struck by the breadth and flexibility of his thought. In particular, while Keynes talked a great deal about financial issues – money, interest rates, taxes, things like that – he also respected physical reality, especially demographics. Keynes is effectively the most famous disciple of Malthus. Keynes, like most old-school economists, realized that no matter what sort of fiscal policy was set, it could not cause physically impossible things to happen. If you need X tons of coal to keep people warm this winter, and you have ½ X tons of coal available, people are going to be cold. Financial incentives can cause new coal mines to be dug, or other sources of heat developed, surely, but even with the most optimized monetary incentives there are strong limits to how fast flesh and blood human beings can perform this task – and digging new coal mines itself requires resources which may also be in physically limited supply.
However, today the idea seems to be that finance is king, and that physical reality can be ignored. It is not that economists believe that paper money can create real goods out of thin air: it is just that they believe that human abilities are so great that as long at the correct financial incentives are in place people are guaranteed to be able to create ever more goods and to adapt to all circumstances. Hence, resource constraints and population growth can be ignored: only maintain the correct financial incentives and all will be well.
This view of finance as omnipotent is sometimes codified by aracana such as the “Solow-Stiglitz production function”, but most economists simply assume it to be true without even thinking about it.
There is some truth to this view. Finance is indeed powerful. While fiat money is a fantasy with no intrinsic value, by providing incentives and focus for human labor it can help to create new resources and allocate them effectively. Even with abundant resources and tools, if you totally mess up finance you can still create poverty, although you really have to work at it (the old Soviet Union, with one of the most ill-managed centrally planned economies ever, with abundant resources still managed to create a standard of living that was a lot higher than modern dynamic capitalist third-world countries. Compare East Germany in 1970 with modern India). But finance is not omnipotent, and as resources become scarcer and more expensive to develop, you can easily get to a point where the best that flesh and blood human beings can do is just not enough. We can ignore the real world, but the real world is still there, and still powerful relative to human ability.
To some extent this blindness of modern economists may stem from the period in America and Western Europe, foreshadowed by the industrial revolution but reaching it’s highest development from around 1940 to 1980 where it must indeed have seemed that finance was king. During this period, to grow the economy all you had to do was drill more oil wells, build more gasoline engines and diesel generators, dump more chemical fertilizer on the crops, pump more fresh water from the aquifers, and economic growth was automatic. You could keep doing the same thing over and over and always get the same increment of economic growth for the same costs. As long as the financial incentives were correct, economic growth was guaranteed and sustained population growth of as much as 1%/year (historically a very high value) could be readily accommodated. It must have seemed that humanity finally had all the answers, and that all that mattered was managing the business cycle. Unfortunately this is no longer true, you cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again to get the same results, yet your economists remain mired in the same fantasy world where all that matters is money…
The notion of omnipotent finance is related to the idea of neoliberal uber-capitalism: only allow everyone to pursue their own interests without restraint and the invisible hand of the market will solve all problems. The logic of these uber-capitalists is strange. Imagine I say that being thrown off a cliff is not a problem, because human beings are guaranteed to be able to flap their arms hard enough to fly. I throw someone off a cliff, and they fall to their death. However, I do not apologize, but blame my victim: obviously, it was their fault, because they did not flap their arms hard enough. This is a double lie: there is no record of anyone being able to flap their arms hard enough to fly, and I said that it was guaranteed that people could fly by flapping their arms, and never pointed out the downside of their not being able to do so. Similarly, uber-capitalists often proclaim that rapid population growth is not a problem, because more people are guaranteed to be able to produce more goods. And effectively without exception, when a population is rapidly increased, poverty increases, but the excuse is that the people didn’t work hard enough! Or perhaps because they did not have the correct tax laws. Never mind that success was supposed to be guaranteed, or that nothing was said about rapid population growth being a problem if you didn’t have the correct tax laws, and never mind that the most dynamic capitalist economies in history have routinely failed to keep up with rapid population growth. There is no arguing with neoliberal economists.
To add insult to injury, the same neo-liberal economists who claim that more people can always produce enough to accommodate their increasing numbers, are typically the same people demanding that the central bank choke off economic growth to a level below what is needed to accommodate more people (to avoid the economy “overheating”). It’s as if I threw you off a cliff claiming that you are guaranteed to be able to flap your arms hard enough to fly, and then cut your arms off to avoid your becoming overheated.
And don’t get me started on when the neoliberals insist that market capitalism requires that the rich need to be bailed out with public funds when they make bad investments…
Neoliberal economists claim that you don’t need to think or plan ahead, because the invisible hand of the market will magically make everything balance out. Indeed it will. If there are too many people and not enough food, wages will fall below subsistence for a brief period, until enough surplus people have died to restore the wages to subsistence, thus keeping the balance. That works.
It is suggested here that often, when finance seems to be responsible for poverty, instead it is physical reality, and finance is only reflecting this as a side effect. Suppose that, in modern Bangladesh, you raised the minimum wage to $10/hour in an attempt to give everyone a Western European standard of living. That is physically impossible: Bangladesh does not currently have the resources or capital to provide this standard of living to all of its people. So it won’t happen. But how will it not happen? It could be, with more money chasing scarce goods, that there would be hyperinflation which would thus cancel out the effects of the higher wages. But from this to conclude that the problem is purely monetary, that if the central bank would only limit the money supply then all would be prosperous is clearly nonsense. Another possibility is that the newly rich (on paper only) Bangladeshis would invest their money in speculative financial investments, which would grow rapidly as all that money chased other money, until the Bangladeshis tried to actually spend some of their paper profits on something real, at which time the financial system would collapse. But claiming that if only financial speculation would be regulated all would be wealthy, is also clearly false. Or the high wages could create massive unemployment, and the government could drastically raise taxes on those few with jobs in order to fund aid programs to make sure that everyone has enough food – again, claiming that people are poor because of high taxes would be to miss the point.
Humans have long tried to build perpetual motion machines: clever assemblages of pulleys and gears that produce useful energy out of nothing. None of these machines has ever worked. As far as you currently understand physics, it is impossible to build a perpetual motion machine. However, figuring out why a specific perpetual motion machine does not work can be extremely hard: forces and energy are shunted in complex and subtle ways, but in the end always arranging themselves so that no net energy is created.
By rough analogy, it is proposed that much of what is commonly ascribed to a failure of finance has its roots at the level of physical reality, and the financial effects are simply how the system of money accommodates itself to the brute fact that physically impossible things cannot happen. But tracing these effects could be very difficult. Especially if you humans stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the possibility.
I can see how you could be seduced into thinking that it’s all about money. Finance is so outrageous, so volatile, so obviously powerful on a day-to-day basis: and for any professional economist to talk honestly about population effects would be professional suicide. On the other hand the pressure of population growth is slow, gray, inexorable, its effects mostly indirect as supply and demand ripple through labor and capital markets. But as the years turn into decades, it is demographics that rules the show.
Consider: in the United States the population is being deliberately increased by nearly 4 million new people each year. At the same time, not only is there no new investment, existing industries are being sent overseas. More and more people; less and less means of production. The standard of living will go down. Even if the American financial system were not so obviously corrupt, any attempt to stop this decline in living standards via purely financial means would be doomed to failure: raise this tax, cut that one; increase the money supply, decrease the money supply, it won’t matter, every financial intervention will simply create countervailing forces as money slips and slides out from under our grasp.
In summary: money is powerful. Money is important. Money, by providing incentives to real human beings to do real things, can change the real world. But money by itself does not provide any direct information about the real world, and if you only restrict yourself to thinking about money you can be blindsided. One is reminded that the stock market has a perfect record of predicting disasters after the fact, but essentially a zero record of predicting disasters before the fact – which is when such predictions would be useful. Money accommodates itself to changes in the real world after the fact. So pay attention to money, but, like Keynes, never forget the real world.
I have here discussed finance as it relates to the overall production of sufficient material wealth for a population. A slightly different issue concerns the use of financial tricks to scam a population out of wealth. This can indeed happen, and history is littered with examples wherein an elite used financial instruments both subtle and gross to grab money from the working people and dump it into their own pockets. This possibility is not denied. Yet even here, it is argued that demographic issues are more important than might first be apparent.
If there is not enough material wealth to go around, then financial scams are irrelevant: most people will be poor, period. But what if there is plenty to go around, and the balance of supply and demand favors labor? It is possible that financial scams could impoverish workers even under these conditions, but supply and demand are hard to beat, and there are countervailing forces that will tend to undo them.
First, suppose that the rich raise taxes on workers to very high levels and funnel the proceeds into their own accounts. With a tight labor market, you will still have employers competing for workers: this will raise wages even higher, and also lead to employers providing significant non-cash benefits, which will tend to undo the maldistributive effects of the oppressive tax policy. Ultimately only slavery can beat a tight labor market.
Second, it may be impossible (or at least very difficult) to create a grossly corrupt tax or fiscal policy without first creating a surplus of labor. Consider a journalist in a tight labor market. The journalist’s skills are valued and in short supply. If the owner of a newspaper or media outlet insists that the journalist print something false or misleading because it is to the advantage of a rich friend, the journalist could simply quit in protest and easily find another job at a competing institution, leaving the offending institution without a valuable talent. Now consider a journalist in a flooded labor market. The journalist is frantic to stay employed, knows that if they get fired they are unlikely to find another job, that losing a job is likely a permanent ticket to poverty, and they have a family to support. Now the owner wants something printed: it gets printed. If not, there is no loss to the institution: talent is in abundant supply, the journalist gets fired and is easily replaced with a more accommodating one of equal ability.
Currently in the United States the elites have spent trillions of government dollars bailing themselves out of bad financial investments, and they propose to pay for this largess to themselves by gutting social security for the middle class and raising taxes on wages and productive enterprises. This is totally a scam. Yet it is routinely defended by any number of journalists all of whom serve at the pleasure of the rich and powerful. Should any of these journalists not read the approved script, they would be instantly fired, instantly replaced, and they and their families driven into (likely permanent) poverty. It is suggested that financial scams of this sort may depend to a surprising extent on first creating a balance of supply and demand that favors employers. Certainly in the United States, efforts at maximizing population growth preceded these ongoing financial scams by about a generation, and only when the labor market was really beaten down did the rich dare to try scams of this sort.
It may be the working class can only successfully defend themselves from financial scams in a tight labor market, because only in a tight labor market can we expect more than the occasional saint to take a stand on principle.
Recall that in Europe after the Black Death, the rich tried forcing wages down via various statutes and scams, but they were always defeated by the effects of a tight labor market.
Nobody beats supply and demand (you can sum it up in a single word if you like: scarcity). The rich favor low wages, and it is proposed here that much of history concerns their efforts to lower wages by increasing the supply of labor by forcing population growth. But certainly the rich can also push down wages by reducing the demand for labor, and at times they appear to have done so. During the great depression in the United States during the 1930’s, there were abundant resources and low fertility rates, yet poverty was endemic due to financial collapse. However, even with a devastated economy, the resulting low wages were very profitable for some number of wealthy people. The great depression does not appear to have been deliberately planned as such; but many rich people fought like scalded cats to prevent the depression from ending.
It does appear that the rich will sometimes try to artificially limit economic growth to a level that does not cause wages to rise. However, this does not mean that the effects of population growth should be ignored. Limiting an economy via financial manipulations can, at least in principle, be easily reversed (consider how fast the United States bounced back from the Great Depression after the stimulus of WWII government spending kicked in), but the effects of creating a population explosion are rather more enduring. Consider also that, while the rich may profit from a stagnant low-wage economy, they make ever so much more money from a dynamic and growing low-wage economy, which can only be achieved with high rates of population growth. So the incentives are on the side of forcing population growth. And something about which we need to be particularly careful: just because the rich have sometimes limited economic growth via financial measures, does not mean that without restrictive finance the ability of an economy to grow is now without limit: there is no historical basis for this assertion. Physical reality must always be respected, and left unchecked, population growth will cancel all other factors.
In the long run, demographics is the only economic factor more powerful than money.
Friday, March 14, 2014
The noted pundit Pat Buchanan, who is normally spot-on when it comes to things like international trade and the need to avoid attacking countries that don’t threaten you, recently said something very stupid: “How often in history do nations with shrinking populations invade and annex those with surging populations?” (see http://buchanan.org/blog/difference-make-6289 for the full article).
Answer: all the time! How about this: during the Great Depression, the fertility rate of the United States fell as people were worried about having more children than they could support. No such problems in Japan or China at that time. So at the start of WWII the United States had an older and smaller population. And beat the crud out of the Japanese once they got warmed up – even while spending most of their efforts fighting the Nazis – and highly populated China was so pathetically weak that it wasn’t even a factor.
Or consider ancient Rome, when low-fertility Romans routinely trounced high-fertility barbarians.
This is the sort of utter nonsense that happens when you don’t understand demographics. With equal arms and resources per soldier, God is indeed on the side of the bigger battalions, but that’s not always the case. Consider one modern Western soldier versus 1000 starving peasants. The westerner is well armed, well supplied, well trained, and can move and attack whenever and wherever he chooses. Even more important, the westerner has a chain of command, knows clearly where the enemy is and can fight and maneuver in a directed manner. The 1,000 starving peasants, however, are malnourished and weak. They have little if any equipment or training, and no strategic mobility. In addition, the starving peasants have no coherent unity: unless you stir them up they spend whatever strength they have fighting each other, and more likely than not they don’t even know that the Western soldier exists. It’s no contest. 1 vs 1,000, 1 vs 1,000,000, who cares?
Why did a few tens of thousands of British soldiers have so little trouble conquering 100 million Indians? Why did a handful of Westerners have so little trouble subduing the hundreds of millions of people in 19th century China? The weakness of societies with large and impoverished populations relative to countries with smaller and richer populations is not an ivory tower fantasy, it is how the real world works.
As always we need to avoid the extremes. It is indeed possible for a society to have so few people that it can’t defend itself. You need a few tens of millions to maintain the diversity of talents and economies of scale that a modern industrial state requires (although very small countries can do this via trade, or incorporation into larger unions), and you need enough “boots on the ground” to maintain your claim to the land. Hypothetically, if the population of modern Japan were only one million, it would be almost impossible for the Japanese to avoid being colonized by refugees from the rest of Asia. But today these issues are almost nowhere a factor, and rapid increases in the population result not in strength, but in poverty, weakness, corruption, and collapse.
For a low-fertility rate country to confront third-world societies by trying to outbreed them would be like committing suicide to avoid being murdered. Developed countries only need to leave third-world countries to themselves.
Indeed, without access to the resources of countries with low fertility rates, third world countries wouldn’t even have the advantage of numbers! It takes more than breeding to grow a population. It takes resources. Which in the long run societies with sustained high fertility rates cannot develop or maintain on their own.
Despite the overwhelming military superiority of low-fertility rate Western societies vs. the overpopulated third world, Western armies can still fall into a trap. The West is immune to conventional military attack from third-world societies (although nuclear weapons are a potential equalizing wildcard: giving this technology away should be considered treason!). But if the West tries to actually conquer a third-world country bad things can happen. First of all: the West should not try and conquer third-world countries, there is no point! Just leave them alone. Secondly, you can no more conquer a third-world country with conventional military strategy than you can drain a swamp by stabbing it with a sword. There is no head to cut off, there are no stable institutions to take over, and killing starving peasants one at a time if anything just makes them stronger, by limiting the surplus population and increasing per-capita resources.
Western armies can successfully conquer third-world societies, but only with a nasty strategy that hasn’t been used in a while. You simply use fear to drive the people into small enclaves with limited resources, allow nature to do the real killing for you, and replace them with your own settlers (read your Montesquieu; or consider the anti-Indian/Native American campaigns of the United States in the 19th century). I am not arguing for this – it’s ugly, immoral, and pointless – but that is how it’s done.
The bottom line: numbers are not everything. Societies with surging population are not strong they are weak (well at least without an open frontier or colonies – that’s pretty much everywhere now). High-fertility rate societies can only conquer societies with more stable populations if the elites in the low-fertility countries betray their societies by letting the third-worlders in as a source of cheap labor.
THIS is the weakness of low-fertility societies: that the resultant high wages produce an irresistible temptation for the elites to open the borders and let all that wonderful profitable low-wage misery come on in… THIS is what low-fertility societies need to guard against, NOT having too few children.
Perhaps the Russians are not having enough children – or it might be an appropriate response of the Russian people to their current circumstances. We should let the Russian people be the arbiter of how many children they should have. I note that, without exception, when the rich of a country use propaganda to force fertility rates higher, or import massive numbers of third-world refugees, the result is almost always disastrous.
The only reason that the Russian people should have more children is if their circumstances improve and they feel hope for the future and see a clear path for earning a steady living and supporting a family. If Putin wants more Russians, he should ensure that this is true – not give medals to women with seven children and declare that they need to do that to compete in a breeding war with the Chechens.
So yes, Mr. Buchanan, numbers are an important thing. They are just not the only thing. It’s funny how conservatives, who demonize inner city American blacks for having one or two children out of wedlock without a father present, and demand that people should wait until they have stable jobs before starting a family, nonetheless idolize societies where the norm is for everyone to have six kids starting at age 14 even when there is no hope of supporting them. There is a logical disconnect here, humans.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
First they came for the broccoli. ‘Broccoli uses too much water to grow!’ they said. ‘If we stopped eating broccoli, just think of how many more people we could feed!’
Well, I never cared all that much for broccoli, so I stopped eating broccoli. The water saved was used to feed ever more people, however, and still water was in short supply.
Then they came for the beef and chicken. ‘Beef and chicken are inefficient uses of food! Think of how many more people we can jam into the world if we cut out the middleman – so to speak – and just ate beans and rice!’ Well I missed my beef and chicken, but I still ate well enough, so I said nothing. The water and resources saved, however were soon gobbled up by ever more people.
Then they came for the wine and beer. ‘Turning grain into alcohol is inefficient! We must ban beer and wine for the working classes and only let them eat beans and rice!’ Well I was sad about that – I liked my beer and wine – but I did not see what I could do about it, and I still had enough beans and rice.
But still the population was forced ever upwards – after all, without constant population growth we might run out of workers and then who would work the farms and we would all starve?
Then they came for my beans and rice. ‘Why should you eat when so many others are hungry?’ they said. ‘You are old and less efficient than all these younger workers – you should starve to make room for newer and more profitable workers!’
And then I objected. “Why should I give up everything just so that the rich can jam in ever more people? And why is it that these rich people who have constantly pushed for ever more people, and who have constantly demanded that those of us who work for a living should give up everything of value to us, why do they themselves make no sacrifice? The rich advocates of ‘efficiency’ eat broccoli, and beef and chicken and beer and wine in abundant quantities. Where is the fairness in this?”
But at this point the world had been turned into an overpopulated hellhole and nobody cared what I thought and I died hungry and miserable. The end.
The moral of the story is: eat your broccoli.
Conserving resources only so the rich can grow the number of people will not save the world, it will only make you poorer and the rich richer. And when some wealthy hypocrite – or their hired media and neoliberal economist whores – demand that you make do with less and less, insist that their wealthy masters set the example and start ‘conserving’ first.
Yes, let’s see the oh-so-noble Kennedys and Obamas and Clintons and Kochs and Gores and Bloombergs practice what they preach for the rest of us and live on subsistence diets in tiny unheated apartments, let them give up their jet travel and air conditioning and wine and heated swimming pools and – yes – even their broccoli. Good luck with that. ‘Conservation’ is, of course, only for little people.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The rich use two methods to increase population. First, they encourage or compel people to have more children than they can support, because you need an oversupply of labor to drive wages down. When this is not possible, the rich use immigration from other lands to cancel out the effects of low domestic fertility rates. It is not true that migration only moves people around: migration maximizes total world population. Consider the potential population growth of China from 1800 to 1975. This one country had the potential to export 37 billion people without any decrease in its own population! When people are persuaded or forced to have enormous numbers of children, the resulting exponential growth can and does fill every space available. A world without borders is a world whose population will soon be set by places like Bangladesh and Haiti.
There are many examples of societies with high fertility rates that, when they were prevented from exporting their surplus population, had a fall in the fertility rate. America at the closing of the frontier, and Japan and Western Europe at the end of WWII come to mind. This demonstrates that preventing people from emigrating from a country with a high fertility rate can often lower the rate of population growth in that country. If not, then sooner or later natural forces will cull the population by itself. By fair means or foul, limiting the emigration of people from societies with high fertility rates does indeed limit global population growth, and vice-versa.
The idea that migration does not grow net global population is not only false, it is usually irrelevant. As far as a specific country is concerned, if immigration causes a net population increase, then the economic effect is exactly the same as if the fertility rate had been increased. When large numbers of immigrants enter a country, the advocates of this forced population growth often (falsely) intone that migration does not increase total population, but only moves it around. And of what relevance is this possibility to those crushed into poverty by a sudden increase in the number of people competing for jobs? None at all.
The propagandists defending the importation of large numbers of foreigners to drive down wages often couch their arguments in terms of morality. The idea is that the people living in a rich country have no right to deny refugees from poorer countries the ability to move in with them, even if it costs them their standard of living: we must sacrifice to help others poorer than ourselves. However, almost without exception the advocates of this sacrifice have no intention of making any sacrifice themselves. Indeed, they stand to make enormous profits. The wealthy advocates of sacrifice would be deeply insulted if you suggested that they share in the sacrifice they so piously urge on others, but you won’t be able to make this suggestion because people like you are not allowed to talk back to their betters. Note also the aggressiveness with which the rich defend their own walled estates and private country clubs from trespassers. “There shall be open borders” is only for little people. Any argument about having to accept large numbers of foreigners into a country made by such wealthy hypocrites must be rejected with prejudice. Let the rich practice what they preach and we’ll discuss morality. But not before.
Saying that you want to import foreign nationals in vast numbers in order to create widespread poverty so you can make a quick buck does not sound very attractive. So the rich don’t say it. Instead they claim they are ‘celebrating diversity’ or creating ‘multiculturalism’. What rot. Follow the money: it’s ALL about the numbers. Therefore the rich will always try to avoid talking about the numbers, and to make the debate entirely about the nature of the foreigners themselves. They will shift the debate away from how many foreign nationals a country should admit in the next year, to a discussion of the personal worth of citizens who happen to be immigrants vs. those who are native born. This lets the rich make it personal, it helps them divide the population against itself, and lets them slander any opponent of forced population growth as a racist. Don’t let them. Instead of debating whether it is good or bad that the United States should be majority ethnic Latin American and Asian by 2040, you should be debating why the United States needs to increase its population to a half billion and beyond. If someone tries to get you to admit that your opposition to forced population growth is not motivated by racism, it is suggested that you counter by asking if they are still beating their children, and that if they are going to ask sleazy questions, turnabout is fair play.
When the rich use immigration to maximize population growth, this requires an all-encompassing propaganda campaign to defuse the natural opposition of the people at the receiving end of all these surplus people. This in turn requires convincing people that too-rapid population growth is not a problem (or at least intimidating people into remaining silent), and this affects the entire world in that it prevents an honest discussion of the issues and allows the oligarchies in other societies to increase the primary fertility rate without opposition. This distortion and corruption of public debate about population growth may be the single most harmful aspect of using immigration to force population growth. Because demographics is central to so many aspects of economics and environmental issues, the Orwellian elimination of its mention causes distortions of radical and far-ranging import. Imagine if you were to eliminate any reference to the law of gravity from the fields of engineering and physics: the result would be almost incoherent.
The people living in a country have the perfect right to regulate how many people they let in, the same as a rich person has the right to restrict who may enter his or her house or country club or business. It is sometimes said that a country needs to have an open-borders immigration policy in order to attract the best talent, but this is opposite to reality. The immigration policy that gave the United States people like Einstein, Fermi and Szilard was a restrictive one, that used a high standard of living to attract the best and brightest from around the world, while limiting the total numbers to levels that did not drive down wages or increase crowding. If you completely open the borders a country will eventually lose the ability to attract the best people: Einsteins never move to miserably poor countries, they move to rich countries.
A moderate and practical restrictionist immigration policy is anathema to the lovers of cheap labor. In their view working people are cattle, and if the rich want to increase their profits by jamming in more cattle then the cattle should have no say in the matter. How dare the average person have any input into how many people there shall be! They must be racists. Pass the champagne, dear, and make sure the guards close the gates after our invited guests have arrived.
In summary: yes, mass migration maximizes net global population growth. When the rich take it upon themselves to move populations around, to replace a people with another people, to decide who gets to live where and how many, to cancel out the effects of low fertility rates in one place by importing the surplus from a place with a high fertility rate, then this is managing the human herd as surely as a farmer manages livestock.
If you do not want your descendants to live like cattle, you should object now while there is still time, humans.