Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Calculation in Reverse

I’ve taken one of the last comments and decided to put it online as a separate thread as the contributor, Chris, makes an interesting point which others might like to explore with him.

He writes: “The government tells us we need immigration to provide workers for many of our commercial needs. Would it not be better to provide our own young people with the skills and motivation they need to do these jobs and avoid some of the clear difficulties that stem from immigration?

In Canada, they are desperate for young families, as their families have moved so well with the times they are not having children in enough numbers to sustain the population balance in the country - a sort of Malthusian calculation in reverse. Here, it is the middle classes who are restricting their birth-rate, and the disadvantaged classes who are maintaining theirs, particularly in Kent. There's an obvious problem of expectation and contribution to ponder!”

In several ways, Chris echoes an argument made by Professor Ian Angell at the London School of Economics, in regard to the workforce and its ability to compete in the 21st century. We do however have to accept the increasingly dependent nature of our society, which started with the mass migration to the cotton mills and cities at the start of the industrial revolution and may yet end with an equally mass flight from urban areas by those who can afford to leave. He mentions Canada but I would mention Dubai as an example of one of the new hub economies, that seeks to attract the most skilled and entrepreneurial from the workforces of neighbouring societies, leaving them to struggle with what remains.


Cllr David Green said...

Its a curious world we live in, with Chris Wells advocating interference in the "free market" for labour and serving in a Conservative council at TDC that recognises the value in bringing services "in house" in order to make them responsive to our needs.
At the same time our Labour Government advocates more private involvement in our great state services and expansion of the EU into "cheap labour" countries. Where will it end?
The key surely to the problem posed is sustainability and our inability as a nation to live within our means. Because of our expectations we need constant growth, which coupled with an aging population, requires constant icreases in production and sources of cheap labour.
No easy solutions, but moving towards a more equall and contented society would help, as would making raising a family more attractive to the huge middle band of couples.

DrMoores said...

"An equal and more contented sociey" is in danger of sounding like a platitude. A glance at eBay will show that our ability to manufacture cheap, market competitive goods has been overtaken by the Chinese, who are improving their quality in leaps and bounds, much like the Japanese did in the sixties. Meanwhile, we are happily inviting in the wrong kinds of workforce while rapidly losing the people we need to sustain a knowledge economy to other countries. It's a complete mess and no party in government or opposition has really woken up to the dangers or has a solution. Britain is like the proverbial man perched on the end of branch, busily sawing it off the tree that holds it

Cllr David Green said...

Perhaps I should explain my "platitude"? There seems to me for scope for a better balance to be struck between "opportunity" and "sustainability". If I use the example of energy policy to illustrate. We currently chase the cheapest energy supply around the world (the dash for gas). If we moved a little back from that but put a premium of using home grown supplies, whether that be clean coal, green sources, emergy conservation and/or nuclear. It may cost a bit more, may raise taxes a little and so decrease the opportunity for individual consumption, but we would then not have quite so much pressure on our balance of payments, energy policy would not distort our foreign policy so much and perhaps the consumer pressures distorting our society would reduce.
I guess I'm a socialist at heart!

Anonymous said...

David your example sounds suspiciously like erecting protectionist tarriff barriers, which as we all know has previously plunged the world into economic crisis. I suspect the energy solution is even closer to home; more solar panels, individual wind turbines all over the country to encourage greater use of renewable sources but much closer to home, so we do not lose vast amounts of energy during transition. Home grown power, like home grown vegetables may just taste a little better, and be looked after a little better by the user.

The same principle applies to home grown labour (in the economic sense of the word). If we cannot and will not look after our own, why should we be surprised at xenophobic attitudes to those who come in? Guess I'm a pragmatist at heart!


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that we need a bigger population.
We didn't have one as big before and the country was better than it is now.
Sounds like a lot of hogwash frankly, I have heard many people express the view that Enoch Powell was both our last hope for keeping England how it was, and that he was also one of the last statesmen fit to be Prime Minister.
Now I don't know if I agree with those statements but I do think that things haven't worked out too well in the last few years and that things might be different if we had been less culturally diverse.
However there is no going back for sure so we have to make the best of what we've got, huge families are not imho the way to go.
Let them move to Canada if they want to where apparently they will be welcomed.
Good intelligent parents cannot realistically hope to outbreed the less contributing members of our society.