Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The repeat of La Haine

The usual litany of blaming “the government” and lack of infrastructures is all too easy. The ongoing riots in France are the bleak reminder of what happens two or three generations down the line after mass-importing cheap labour. And it’s not at all just a French problem. The 2001 riots in Bradford and Oldham, as well as the recent mayhem in Birmingham stem from the same mistake made in the Fifties and Sixties that involved cheap-labour based solutions to the problems of ailing industry.

Importing masses of people who only came for the money leads to entire generations (often millions) of people who wouldn’t care less about assimilating let alone liking their host society. Couple it with physiological levels of ignorance and racism and it becomes a recipe for trouble. When the economic-boom fades, the jobs go and the children of the original immigrants cannot get (decent) work, the mess we’ve seen in the banlieu of Paris follows.

Many politicians would tell you that today's globalised economy makes such course of action inevitable, but it's false. Countries like Canada or Australia have long adopted a much more sensible attitude. Those who wish to come in must demonstrate they possess a skill that is specifically needed and that it so in specific fields. Also, financial and investing criteria are extremely strict.

The result is that those who are prepared to go through the hassle and scrutiny of the admission process are not only the most genuine aspirers but also the true lovers and admirers of their place of destination. The economic justifications for mass-immigration are at best meagre. Industries that need cheap labour to survive should just follow the natural course of the market and wither if they cannot adapt to the labour market that already exists. Solving problems with mass immigration may seem the thing to do in the short term but later on become a recipe for disaster.

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