Four quick thoughts on British hostility towards immigration


by Chris Dillow    
9:55 am - December 20th 2012

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Sunny draws attention to the "awful" fact that the public are overwhelmingly hostile (pdf) to immigration.

This raises the question: what if anything can be done to change this?

One possibility is to appeal not merely to the facts, but to the evidence of people's own eyes.

A poll (pdf) by Ipsos Mori has found that although 76% of people think immigration is a big problem in Britain, only 18% think it a big problem in their own area, and twice as many say it is not a problem at all.

However, several things make me fear that an evidence-based approach won't suffice to change people's minds:

» Hostility to immigration does not come merely from the minority who lose out in the labour market. People from higher social classes and the retired are as opposed to immigration as others. And even in the 60s, when we had as full employment as we're likely to get, there was widespread anti-immigration feeling. This suggests we can't rely upon improving labour market conditions to improve attitudes to immigration.

» There's little hope of attitudes changing as older "bigots" die off. The Yougov poll found that 68% of 18-24 year-olds support the Tories' immigration cap. 

» Antipathy to immigration has been pretty stable (in terms of polling if not the violence of its expression) since at least the 1960s. This suggests there are deep long-lasting motives for it; I'd call these cognitive biases such as the status quo and ingroup biases.

» There's an echo mechanism which helps stabilize opinion at a hostile level. Politicians and the media, knowing the public are opposed to immigration, tell them what they want to hear and – a few bromides aside – don't challenge their opinion; one of the many appalling features of "Duffygate" was Gordon Brown's abject failure to challenge Mrs Duffy's hostility to immigration. (The BBC is also guilty here: "impartial" debates about immigration often seem to consist of the two main parties arguing about how to control it.)

All this makes me ambivalent about "calls for a debate" about immigration. Part of me thinks: bring it on – let's talk about the facts. But another part of me thinks that rightists just want to raise the salience of an issue on which public opinion is on their side.

There is, though, a deeper issue here. The fact that public opinion is hugely and stably opposed to immigration suggests that there is a tension between liberty – immigration is an issue of freedom – and democracy.

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About the author
Chris Dillow is a regular contributor and former City economist, now an economics writer. He is also the author of The End of Politics: New Labour and the Folly of Managerialism. Also at: Stumbling and Mumbling
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Reader comments


“Sunny draws attention to the “awful” fact that the public are overwhelmingly hostile (pdf) to immigration”.

“In the last decade”, ffs.

Previous linked polling shows that hostility was reducing, but has been stable for the last 10 years or so.

Could this in anyway be linked to the way immigration was managed? Just possibly?????

The fact that public opinion is hugely and stably opposed to immigration suggests that there is a tension between liberty – immigration is an issue of freedom – and democracy.

A tension between freedom and democracy? No shit Sherlock. Go read some Talmon.

4. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Chris Dillow

Sadly in this piece you don’t challenge the opinion of so called bigots. I suggest to you that people just feel very uneasy about others of a different culture settling in the UK and congregating in vast numbers such that the indigenous population feel outnumbered and their way of life and culture disrupted.

Moreover this is not a peculiarly British phenomenon but one evident throughout the world.

Ok over to you – rebut away!

Would anyone disagree with these statements?

1) Zero Immigration = A Bad thing
2) Some Immigration = A Good Thing
3) 10,000 Immigrants a Day = A Bad Thing

Therefore, as the numbers increase, Immigration becomes Good, but then becomes Bad. In other words, and as with anything else, you can have too much of a good thing.

“Could this in anyway be linked to the way immigration was managed? Just possibly?????”

Or possibly the way it was reported?

And how I think is a problem?
How very dare you!

Send me to conditioning now, Room 101.

8. Chaise Guevara

“But another part of me thinks that rightists just want to raise the salience of an issue on which public opinion is on their side.”

Um, what’s wrong with that?

9. Man on Clapham Omnibus

5. Jack C

I don’t think we necessarily know the answers to your questions.

If 10,000 engineers and physicists wander into the country tomorrow I think many would think it a good thing. Alternatively if no-one dropped by to make a life in Albion then who knows.

What you definitely don’t want is a ton of people who are unproductive or wont integrate into mainstream culture.

@ Man on Clapham O.
I’ve written lots on the economic effects of immigration, for example:
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2012/11/immigration-lets-not-be-reasonable.html
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2009/06/immigration-the-left.html
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2011/01/migration-wages-more-evidence.html
http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2008/09/immigration-caps-irrational-unimaginative.html
I’m not sure how to combat the “cultural concerns” about immigration, because I’m not sure precisely what they are (though I have some suspicions), or what evidence and reasoning (if any) could be brought to bear on the matter.

Hey, it is almost like there is a hard core of malevolent bastards out there who will relentlessly push their own agenda, irrespective of what the ‘facts’ of any particular issue are. It could even be said about everything from unemployment to climate change and every other conceivable problem out there.

It is almost as if when we come across such people there is no amount of evidence we can publish regarding unemployment, crime or even carbon dioxide’s role in heating the Earth, there is a group of people whose knee jerk reaction will be ‘Sorry that is not true’.

You know what? It sounds like the Left patiently explaining to bigots the ‘facts’ and hoping they will see sense has been a complete waste of time. It looks like the Left’s fawning over such despicable people in the hope of ‘persuading’ them of the facts has been pointless.

It appears that such people are just downright nasty with little redeeming features. It appears that that they single out ‘boo figures’ for a daily two minute hate ritual, irrespective of the evidence. Look at the ‘advert’ in the earlier piece ‘Why attacks on one per cent…’.

Such people cannot be reasoned with, merely defeated. The Left need to find away to get past such people and hope there are enough decent people out there to form a critical mass of progressive people to help shape a society.

12. Richard Carey

@10 Jim,

“The Left need to find away to get past such people and hope there are enough decent people out there to form a critical mass of progressive people to help shape a society.”

Thankfully there aren’t that many people who think like you (the eternal ‘vanguard’).

Sadly, I must also report there’s not that many who think like me either (the eternal ‘remnant’).

For a different perspective, try the memorandum submitted by Emeritus Professor Bob Rowthorn of Cambridge to the HoL economic affairs committee on the economic effects of immigration:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldselect/ldeconaf/82/7100902.htm

“I argue that, taken as a whole, the large-scale immigration is of minor economic benefit to the existing population of the UK as a whole, although it is certainly of benefit to the immigrants, their families and sometimes their countries of origin. Large-scale immigration will lead to a rapid and sustained growth in population with negative economic and environmental consequences in the form of overcrowding, congestion, pressure on housing and public services, and loss of environmental amenities. It also undermines the labour market position of the most vulnerable and least skilled sections of the local workforce, including many in the ethnic minority population, who must compete against the immigrants. There are, of course, domestic beneficiaries of large-scale migration. These include employers who can obtain good workers at close to the minimum wage, or even less, and the consumers of goods and services that rely heavily on migrant labour.”

Many economists regard Bob Rowthorn as a good fit for the long-standing leftist tradition among Cambridge economists.

14. Just Visiting

Bob

interesting guy that, according to Wiki:

“Many of his publications have a Marxist slant.”

13 JV: ““Many of his publications have a Marxist slant.”

That’s fair comment IMO. Professor Rowthorn’s first degree is in maths, not economics. His first major book: “Capitalism, Conflict and Inflation – Eassys in Political Economy” (1980) was published by Lawrence & Wishart, who are famously known as publishers of Marxist, Communist and left-wing texts and polemics.

Rowthorn is co-author, with Bill Martin, of a recent research monograph: Is the British economy supply-constrained? (May 2012)
http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/pdf/BM_Report3.pdf

This strongly argues that the economy is not supply constrained, implying that it is demand constrained so output and employment could be raised by boosting aggregate demand. In no way can he be stereotyped as some right-wing extremist.

9

True, that’s the problem with closed questions.

12
Marxist thinkers are more likely to focus on the aspects of cheap labour and the prospect of an army of reserve labour in the context of sustaining capitalism, but only if we are talking about the working-class. As far as the creation of unemployment, surplus labour fits in well with a decrease in demand which, according to Marx, will be a catalyst for revolution.

Stevebe

Try the facts, for a change, instead of streaming socialist propaganda.

“The number of low-skilled workers born outside the UK more than doubled between 2002 and 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics. The figures show that almost 20% of low-skilled jobs are held by workers born abroad, up from 9% in 2002. Workers coming to the UK from eastern or central European countries were the biggest single factor in the rise.” [May 2011]
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13561094

By the 2011 Census, 37pc of London residents were born abroad.

Among the glaring failings of Marxist economic analysis are assumptions that the class of workers and the class of capitalists each have homogeneous interests when, in fact, the internal interests of each of those classes diverge among members of the class.

The interests of Microsoft shareholders are not the same as the interests of Apple shareholders. Bankers were ripping off both their customers and their shareholders to the tune of Billions. Those employing domestic servants – or clerical staff – have an interest in a ready supply of labour with low skills.

In the upheavals of the American motor industry, an analysis in the 1980s showed that General Motors was one of the most highly integrated among global motor manufactures while Toyota – which is now the largest global motor company – was one of the least integrated. Toyota’s success depended on the support and co-operation of its component supply chain in Japan for its “just-in-time” system of components delivery. The two companies had very different business models.

We surely have not reached such a rock bottom that we give any credence whatsoever to Marxist interpretations of anything. Marxism contains irreconcilable contradictions.

The tendency of the rate of profit to fall.

Increased immiiseration of workers.

The two can’t be both true. Increased immiseration of workers would raise the level of profit. The rate of profit falling would increase the real incomes of workers. It may not be raising the real incomes of the workers in the company suffering from a fall in the rate of profit, but that is a fallacy of composition. What matters is total profits and total incomes. Applying Marxist economics failed everywhere it was tried and only made workers worse off because the inconsistency was central.

A mildly interesting historical curiosity with no real world applications. He was not even much of an original thinker and built on the ideas of others merely adding his own twist. For example, the labour theory of value was lifted from the 17th century English economist, William Petty.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Petty Incidentally Keynes also nicked his public works ideas from Petty without saying so. Adam Smith also believed the labour theory of value. However, we now know that value is subjective and unrelated to labour. The moral of the story is people who are often considered great thinkers are usually just building on the ideas of others. There are very few original thinkers. New knowledge is always emerging that disproves earlier understanding in many fields. That is what happened to Marxism and why for most people it is an irrelevance for policy prescriptions.

@15

surplus labour fits in well with a decrease in demand which, according to Marx, will be a catalyst for revolution.

Unfortunately for the revolution it appears secondary class-like systems (such as racism) appear to be forestalling any working class unity toward common purpose.

20. domestic extremist

“immigration is an issue of freedom”

Perhaps you could develop that point – what does it entail? Universal freedom to move anywhere in the world, irrespective of the wishes of anyone living there already? (Worked out well in Palestine, didn’t it?) Or irrespective of the capacity of the location to accommodate a massive population movement? A moment’s reflection should indicate that these ideas are non-starters. So what, if anything coherent at all, does the idea entail?

19: “Unfortunately for the revolution it appears secondary class-like systems (such as racism) appear to be forestalling any working class unity toward common purpose.”

Commuting employees in London relying on trains and the tube for work or recreation have conflicting interests with striking train drivers:

“A Boxing Day strike by London Underground drivers looks set to go ahead. Arsenal have called off the derby match against West Ham because of fears that supporters and staff would not be able to reach the Emirates stadium. Tube drivers are seeking triple time and an extra day off for working on 26 December.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/prechristmas-rail-strikes-called-off-but-boxing-day-tube-strike-will-go-ahead-8426040.html

“Tube drivers in the capital will see their pay go over the £50,000-a-year mark under a four-year wage deal negotiated between London Underground and union leaders.” [Guardian October 2011]

Universal freedom to move anywhere in the world, irrespective of the wishes of anyone living there already? (Worked out well in Palestine, didn’t it?)

Don’t be pathetic. There is an obvious difference between Piotyr moving from Wroclaw to London, renting a room from a property owner, and getting a job to pay the rent, and Shimon moving from New York to the West Bank to occupy a house for free because its actual owner has been kicked out by the army and forced into a refugee camp.

So I’d go with “universal freedom to move anywhere in the world, subject to not stealing other people’s stuff, obviously”.

@ 6:
“Or possibly the way it was reported?”

Absolutely. I would have thought a combination of the following:

1) Proper Racism
2) Proper conservatism / fear of change
3) Nationalism (France is an interesting example)
4) Media myths
5) Making an arse of Immigration policy

You can ignore 5) if you like, and pretend it’s just part of 4). But this is to ignore the facts. Is it so difficult to believe that New Labour wasn’t always perfect?

24. Man on Clapham Omnibus

10. chris

without proper understanding of these ‘cultural concerns’ I would suggest it is impossible to engage politically.

Facts rarely count fro much.

John Cleese: “London is no longer an English city”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJheODYpuEI

“The capital’s population growth is the fastest in the country according to 2011 census figures” [report in The Guardian]

“Around half of the residents of England and Wales who were born outside the UK last arrived in the UK between 2001 and 2011. The largest increase in non-UK born population was in London, where over a third of residents were born abroad [37pc] and almost a quarter were not British nationals.” [report in The Guardian]

In 2001, a quarter of London’s population was born abroad.

26. domestic extremist

@22 john.b “I’d go with universal freedom to move anywhere in the world, subject to not stealing other people’s stuff, obviously.”

But what if Pyotr, and Tadeusz and Agneszka, and very many other eastern and central Europeans, move to another country and have the effect of driving down wage rates, especially if they are prepared to settle for very low pay? And what if a sizeable cohort of children unable to speak English arrives in primary school, rightly diverting scarce resources to addressing their needs, but worrying parents who know what a competitive dog-eat-dog jungle this society has created, and fear their own children will be disadvantaged? Only middle-class parents can exercise the private school option for their offspring, just as they may be glad to make use of the cheap labour of recent arrivals as cleaners and child-minders, and appreciate the charmingly polite Estonians and Slovaks who serve them in coffee shops.

As Bob Rowthorn has pointed out, immigration is a class issue, and its negative consequences fall disproportionately on the most economically disadvantaged. These latter are likely to be unimpressed by airy claims either that the economy “as a whole” benefits, or that immigration is a “universal right” limited only by the need to abide by the law.

I also suggest you reflect on Colin Hines’ letter in today’s Guardian, excerpted below:

“The damaging single market, with its open borders for goods, money and people, allowed German banks to lend to Greeks to import German cars they couldn’t afford, and pensioners and the less well-off are now being made to pay. The flow of people is increasing tensions across the continent.

“The alternative is for Europe to become a co-operative grouping of countries that provides a secure future for its people. Cross-border issues such as climate change, pollution and crime require intra-Europe co-operation, but the inflow of goods, money and people must be slowed dramatically to enable nations to take back control of their future and protect their citizens… Let’s have a debate soon about what treaty changes will allow all European countries to regain control of the movement of money, goods and people across their borders. The alternative is likely to be an insecure population, ever more susceptible to the lure of the extreme right.”

A poll (pdf) by Ipsos Mori has found that although 76% of people think immigration is a big problem in Britain, only 18% think it a big problem in their own area, and twice as many say it is not a problem at all.

Do those figures add up?
It could be explained something like this:

In West Yorkshire where I was living recently there is quite a large Pakistani Muslim community spread out across several towns and cities, but most people in West Yorkshire don’t live in one of the Asian majority areas like Beeston in Leeds. But they might know of it well enough and drive through such places.

This is a description of Beeston, where Mohammad Sidique Khan came from.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/06/mohammad-sidique-khan-hometown-beeston

You can’t say it’s a nice area. It’s run down and dirty. People have gates across their front doors, and dump old fridges and mattresses out in the street.
If you grow up there and are from the Pakistani community you may well see it differently of course.
As whites moved out it gave the Asian community more space to relax and make it their own.
I was staying in an equally dirty and run down working class neighbourhood that was mostly white down my end, and Pakistani further up.
The two communities are so different that there can only be little mixing. Locally at least. In school or at work that can all be different. But the chavy WWC, and the poorer Pakistanis living in terraced houses, don’t have much common culture to draw them together I thought.

28. Derek Hattons Tailor

Nicely piercing the myth that racism is an old white working class phenomena, I don’t have the stats to hand but many recent immigrants are also against further immigration

29. Chaise Guevara

27 damon

It’s hard to see how someone could know immigration was a problem in an area just by driving through it, unless their definition of problematic immigration is “too many brown faces”. You’re certainly right that people may be familiar with these areas from afar and that this could account for some of the gap between the stats, but it seems seriously unlikely that it accounts for all, or even most, of it.

Unless there are other factors I haven’t considered (and to be fair, hadn’t thought of that one), the rest would presumably be made up of people who are always reading in the tabloids about all this terrible immigration, but assume it must go on elsewhere.

Hang on, thought of a third factor. Could be people think that immigration is a problem only at a national level.

Some businesses have been lobbying against over stringent control of immigration for fear that will worsen the continuing problem of recruiting potential employees with scarce technical and professional skills.

31. Derek Hattons Tailor

@29 It’s a fact of life that most cities have some areas that are seen as “rough” as in to be avoided, the middle classes call them vibrant, urban or edgy. It’s also true that those same areas also tend to have high immigrant populations. It’s not difficult to see how those two things could become associated in some peoples minds so that rather than seeing migrants as economically disadvantaged, effect becomes cause and they are seen as the problem. Multiculturalism with its passive acceptance of ghettoisation has made this worse by concentrating migrants in de marked areas of cities.

28. Derek Hattons Tailor

” Nicely piercing the myth that racism is an old white working class phenomena, I don’t have the stats to hand but many recent immigrants are also against further immigration”

You don’t say. Every immigrant group over the last two centuries who have faced discrimination when they migrated to the U.S., in turn crapped on the next migrant group. It is called, pulling the ladder up after you.

33. Derek Hattons Tailor

No – it’s called fighting over scarce resources. The scarcer they are, the worse the fight, hence anti-immigrant feeling tends to peak during recessions

31. Derek Hattons Tailor

” Multiculturalism with its passive acceptance of ghettoisation has made this worse by concentrating migrants in de marked areas of cities. ”

Yep, those damn immigrants are ghettoising the, er, universities. How dare they go to university and earn higher wages on average than their native counterparts. Don’t they know they are supposed to be undercutting the wages of the poor and living a life on welfare. One of the few lessons to learn about immigration is the UK does it better than nearly everyone else.

http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21568746-foreign-born-are-more-successful-britain-most-places-better-billed

33. Derek Hattons Tailor

” No – it’s called fighting over scarce resources. ”

What is the scarce resource, DHT. Bull shit, hot air, sugar, salt, beer, grass, petrol?

Just substitute the word ‘immigrant’ with the word ‘Jew’ and then ‘disabled’ with ‘useless eater’, it’s a tried and tested formula.

37. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 35 Housing, jobs ?

38. Derek Hattons Tailor

@34 Most migrants are not university educated skilled workers though, they are low/no skill workers doing minimum wage jobs, unsurprisingly they don’t tend to be concentrated in Notting Hill and Islington. Sorry if that doesn’t fit with your personal, privileged reality.

It’s hard to see how someone could know immigration was a problem in an area just by driving through it, unless their definition of problematic immigration is “too many brown faces”.

I think it’s possible to spot a rundown scruffy area just by driving through it.
You can tell you’re in a gehtto in an American city too. There are certain things which will be glaringly obvious.
Beeston in Leeds is not bad in that way – but read the Guardian article I linked too. I went there several times to walk all around it because of that article. Some places can’t be hyped up to look vibrant and cool. It’s grim and depressed. It’s main thoroughfare – Dewsbury Road – is one of those crappy places you have no real reason to stop in, apart from the petrol station, or if you really do need some ”KC Chicken” or whatever.
It would be interesting to now how such a place became so Asian. Twenty years ago it might have been only a Pakistani minority. Did the whites pile out like they did out of neighborhoods in Detroit in the 60s?
It must have happened something like that. With cousin marriage being so common (the majority) there must be a rate of increase in that population of a couple of percent a year.

And without over-dramatising things when it comes to the UK, there’s something seriously wrong in France when you have young muslims from the town that a recent killer-terrorist came from having mixed emotions about him.
Maybe this is just a bad article by an American who has no understanding of France.

TOULOUSE, France — In the spring, shortly after her son’s murder, Latifa Ibn Ziaten took a taxi to Les Izards, a hard-up immigrant neighborhood here, hoping to understand. She approached a group of young men to ask, “Do you know Mohammed Merah?”

Mr. Merah, a 23-year-old French-Algerian who claimed to have ties to Al Qaeda, had killed Ms. Ibn Ziaten’s son Imad, a sergeant in the French Army, with a gunshot to the head. Before dying in a police raid in March, Mr. Merah admitted that killing and those of two other soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children. He spent much of his short life in Les Izards.

“Mohammed Merah, you know, he’s a hero, he’s a martyr of Islam,” the men said, Ms. Ibn Ziaten recalled. “You haven’t seen what it’s like to live here?” they continued, gesturing toward their neighborhood of beige housing projects and gravelly concrete. “At least he showed the French what power is.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/20/world/europe/after-toulouse-killings-an-areas-anger-runs-deep.html?_r=0

I’m in Alexandria and Cairo for a month, so I walk about mulling these kinds of things over sometimes.
The culture is very different. A greater majoritty of women wear hijabs and young men and women don’t socialise together. In fact there are ten men on the street for every woman. I was in my hotel room this afternoon and the call to prayer from a loudspeaker outside went on for an hour.
I quite like the short ones in the middle of the night, but that was too much.
Very different people, and I don’t know how well a couple of hundred of these young men from here would prosper on that French housing estate in Toulouse. It might start off with great enthusiasm … followed by disillusionment and alienation.

17

I can’t see anything in your post that contradicts Marx on the problems of falling consumer demand, indeed, as a supporter of Keynes, you are aware that it is that very problem which the theory attempts to address. And it’s true that society doesn’t look much like 19th century society, that’s why modern marxists have taken his theory forward.

18
Perhaps you would like to give an example of where marxism has been tried? Also,if you really know anything about Marx, you would not have made the statement about the immiseration of of the workers and falling profits. In fact, to plagiarize Freud’s biographer, anyone who knows just one thing about Marx knows something that isn’t so.

And you’ll find that most theories are evolutionary and built-on from previous theories, Marx is no exception, he drew mainly on Hegel and, suprisingly, Smith, Marx certainly had the same idea about the state as Smith. Most modern socialist theories are both liberal and socialist.

40

I really can’t imagine any reason why I need Marxist analysis to illuminate current economic issues. It’s not as though the received toolkit of economists is short on implements to apply.

Much has gone on since the demise of Marx, including the Keynesian revolution of the 1930s. A modern text on industrial sturctures is far more likely to contain references to Cournot’s Mathematical Principles of the Theory of Wealth (1838) than to anything written by Marx, Engels or Lenin:
http://nd.edu/~tgresik/IO/Cournot.pdf

Games theory has had a huge influence on modern microeconomics, especially on behavioural microeonomics and industrial organisation theory. None of that was foreseen by Marx, Marxists or Schumpeter.

The main lesson from the prisoners’ dilemma scenario in games theory is that rational pursuit of personal advantage does not necessarily lead to an optimal outcome for the paticipants in one shot plays. Hence, the regular option put by police to arrested suspects for a heinous crime when the police lack solid incriminating evidence: Confess and you’ll get off lightly but if you don’t and the other suspect does confess, there will be a heavy penalty.

After Robert Shiller’s work: Irrational Exuberance, there is no consensus that stockmarket values reflect fundamentals. Chunks of the everyday tasks of working economists are taken up with searching for and unravelling market failures. The profitable arbitraging operations of market traders arise from lapses in efficient markets.

From Burton Malkiel in A Random Walk Down Wall Street, on the financial crisis of the South Sea Bubble in 1720, long before Marx was born:

“The prize must surely go to the unknown soul who started ‘A Company for carrying on undertaking of great advantage, but nobody knows what it is.’ The prospectus promised unheard of rewards. At nine o’clock in the morning, when the subscription books opened, crowds of people from all walks of life practically beat down the door in an effort to subscribe. Within five hours a thousand investors handed over their money for shares in the company. Not being greedy himself, the promoter promptly closed up shop and set off for the Continent. He was never heard of again.”

41

An interesting post but it does not address my point @40, I was referring to falling demand, as this is an on-going problem with capitalism which Marx predicted. What he didn’t predict was the massive intervention to the economic base, Keynes is a prime example of this.
Marx was good for his time, as was Smith, to understand (from a marxist perspective) the existing problems with capitalism and the presence of the state in the economic base, Jurgen Habermas is the forerunner.

42

“An interesting post but it does not address my point @40, I was referring to falling demand, as this is an on-going problem with capitalism which Marx predicted.”

Contrary to expectations during WW2 and soon after, the recurring problem with many relatively affluent market economies has been – to quote Hugh Dalton from the 1940s – “Too much money chasing too few goods”, resulting in demand inflation. The recurring problem was excessive demand relative to the supply potential of economies, not deficient demand.

The scale of the financial crisis of 2008-2010 was unprecedented for the period since WW2. But it was a crisis precipitated by a excessive and high-risk lending by a dysfunctional banking system – as Minsky had foreseen – in which bankers were ripping off both their shareholders and their customers. Failing trust between banks stopped inter-bank lending so banks with business models hugely dependent on persistent borrowing in the wholesale money market failed. In Britain, Northern Rock was the most vulnerable

Keynes and keynesians were wrong in anticipating chronic demand deficiency – as was Marx. An important point to note is that the persisting buoyancy of demand is probably partly – or largely – due to prevailing expectations that the government and/or the central bank would always intervene to prevent demand deficiency. Break that expectation and there is a different situation. That is what Callaghan attempted with his speech to the Labour Party conference in 1976:

“We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3288907.stm

Btw with repeating plays of prisoner dilemma games, there will likely be a different outcome as arrested participants learn it is better for them not to confess. Hence, also, the potent gang reprisals for “snitching”, as portrayed in The Wire.

43

The consistent buoyancy is due to the state becoming a constant fixture in the economic base (see Harbermas Legitimation Crisis) something which Marx did not predict. Although, it would be fair to say that Marx predicted Keynes in that he (Marx) believed the state would intervene when the markets failed, but then it would step away.

Marxist don’t participate in game play, they watch the real economy playing out in the real world.

40. steveb

” Perhaps you would like to give an example of where marxism has been tried? Also,if you really know anything about Marx, you would not have made the statement about the immiseration of of the workers and falling profits. In fact, to plagiarize Freud’s biographer, anyone who knows just one thing about Marx knows something that isn’t so. ”

Steveb, what you are attempting to do here is exclude examples of Marxism unless they fit your personal interpretation of Marxism. That is a No true Scotsman fallacy.

Did the former communist states consider themselves Marxist? Yes.

Did the rest of the world consider them Marxist? Yes.

Did people who called themselves Marxist in the rest of the world generally consider the communist states to be Marxism? Yes.

Therefore, it was a universal claim that the communist states were Marxist. It matters not whether they conformed to your personal understanding of Marxism. Moreover, even if they never followed to the letter Marx’s original writing does not disqualify them from being Marxist. An ad hoc denial that they were Marxist at all is a No true Scotsman fallacy.

Anyone can play the No true Scotsman game on virtually anything by rejecting everything that does not conform to our ideal. We have various denominations of religion in this country. Through universal usage we call the religion Christianity. Saying that it is not really Christianity because they do follow to the letter the original teachings of Jesus would be a No true Scotsman fallacy. Universally the Christian denominations are known as Christianity, and someone saying that they are not really Christianity is the same thing that you are attempting with Marxism.

The immiseration of the proletariat leading to revolution was a central prediction, was it not? It is inconsistent with the falling rate of profit. The falling rate of profit happens through competition, but does not lead to immiseration because we get productivity gains. What Marx considered the reserve army, Malthus and Ricardo made the same mistake was in fact the seemingly endless flow of agricultural workers to industrial enterprises. However, when that reserve army of agricultural workers is exhausted we get the productivity gains because it is the only way capitalist enterprises can maintain their profits. We now call it the “Lewis turning point” and the process is well understood. Wages rising quite abruptly in China is a modern manifestation of the Lewis turning point. We have the advantage over Marx, Malthus and Ricardo because we see the productivity gains with the benefit of hindsight.

” And you’ll find that most theories are evolutionary and built-on from previous theories, Marx is no exception, he drew mainly on Hegel and, suprisingly, Smith, Marx certainly had the same idea about the state as Smith. Most modern socialist theories are both liberal and socialist.”

Indeed. I don’t criticise anyone for being unoriginal. I was just pointing out that we have a tendency to see some people as great thinkers when they are really just adding their own twist to earlier ideas. We will have to agree to disagree on your last sentence. I don’t accept that someone can be a socialist and a liberal, and I certainly do not accept that anyone can be a conservative and a liberal.

45

As I have already stated – anyone who knows just one thing about Marx knows something that is not so. The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 and it remains in print in the original form, Marx is quite clear about eliminating the state, any state. Not my personal interpretation, and the reason most of the world believes that marxism means large state is because, like yourself, they have never read Marx. Much was done in the name of marxism, but as I have quoted previously, you can’t blame Jesus for the Spanish Inquisition.

‘I don’t accept that someone can be socialist and a liberal’ Well as I have absolutely no expectation that you would read anything to change your prejudices, it is little point giving references.

46

“The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848 and it remains in print in the original form,”

The Communist Manifesto is a quaint, historic document, which is still worth reading for historical perspectives so it regularly features in undergrad reading lists for politics courses:
http://www.classicly.com/download-the-communist-manifesto-pdf

Hounded out of mainland Europe in 1848, Marx and family sought asylum in London, the capital city of Britain, the capitalist superpower at the time. He and family lived off subventions from Engels, who managed a commercially successful family textile business in Manchester, and from occasional earnings from journalism in the left-wing press.

A Blue Plaque on the Quo Vadis Restaurant at 28 Dean Street, Soho, London commemorates one of the places the Marx family lived in London. Marx was buried in Highgate Cemetry. Famously, Marx did his researching for the book that was to become Das Kapital in the reading room of the British Museum Library. Lenin, too, was drawn to this same Library.

“The founder of the world’s first socialist state, Vladimir Il’ich Lenin, visited London six times between 1902 and 1911, and on at least five of these occasions found the time to call into the British Museum whose Library collections were in his view unparalleled. At the time of his 1907 visit he said:

“‘It is a remarkable institution, especially that exceptional reference section. Ask them any question, and in the very shortest space of time they’ll tell you where to look to find the material that interests you. ..Let me tell you, there is no better library than the British Museum. Here there are fewer gaps in the collections than in any other library.’”
British Library

Speaking of immigrants and their capacity to shed welcome new light on old issues, I was much taken by the reflections of Professor Ha Joon Chang at Cambridge on activist industrial policy, which we have been notorious bad at in Britain:

British industrial policy remains plagued by the antidote fallacy
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/2012/dec/24/government-lacks-insight-to-grow-british-industry

it not immigration that is the problem here.it is muslim immigration that is the elephant in the rooom that the left are to politacaly correct and frightened to address,i would of stop all muslim immigration 20 years ago to england,look at the state we are in now in the uk with radical islam,racial and religious tensions all over the uk that is a recipe for disaster,yes i can hear howls of racism and islamaphobia from the leftys and there radical islamic supporters but they would say that,but the truth has to be told before it to late, radical islam is a dangerous religion that has to be curbed at its roots in the uk.look at what has happened to libya.egypt and now syria with the allah hu akbar brigade if you need proof of what happens when the likes of the muslim brotherhood get a sniff of power,absolute hell holes for other religious minoritys and women,as for future immigration,well we as a duty will have to let on mass all christians from countrys like pakistan,syria,egypt and all other arab states where they are been driven out and persducted into the uk as a priority,those new immigrants i will welcome here with open arms.

Chris Dillow in the OP:

“Hostility to immigration does not come merely from the minority who lose out in the labour market. People from higher social classes and the retired are as opposed to immigration as others. And even in the 60s, when we had as full employment as we’re likely to get, there was widespread anti-immigration feeling….

“» There’s little hope of attitudes changing as older “bigots” die off. The Yougov poll found that 68% of 18-24 year-olds support the Tories’ immigration cap.

“» Antipathy to immigration has been pretty stable (in terms of polling if not the violence of its expression) since at least the 1960s. This suggests there are deep long-lasting motives for it;…”

Chris, your inability to comprehend why most British people dislike immigration seems to me to be because you simply cannot grasp the cultural issues.

But, before we go any further, I must say that:
*I am not opposed to immigration and that I believe it has advantages and disadvantages for the UK. *Immigration has to be strictly regulated, so the UK can maximise the advantages and minimise the disadvantages.
* The UK will never maximise the benefits of immigration until we all accept the disbenefits and agree to take measures to minimise them.

Anyway, let me spell out a couple of examples where we have cultural disadvantages from immigration:

1. The major problem of rape in India is also a problem for the UK simply because of immigration. Do we want to import sub-continental rape-culture and misogyny into the UK? Assuming not, what can we do to prevent this? How quickly can immigrants assimilate western norms of respecting women? And how many extra rapes by immigrants are we (or UK women) prepared to tolerate while the immigrants assimilate western norms?

2. Figures from the General Medical Council show that the vast majority of doctors who have been struck off in the past five years were trained abroad.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9771022/Revealed-3-in-4-of-Britains-danger-doctors-are-trained-abroad.html

Only 37% of those struck off were British: the vast majority were from India, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq…all of which are among the world’s most corrupt countries:

http://www.transparency.org/cpi2012/results

Do we want to import doctors from such countries? Assuming not, where else can we find the skills we need? Assuming we do, how quickly can we re-train immigrant doctors? How quickly can they assimilate western norms of respecting women and other patients? And how many extra deaths (and sexual assaults) are we prepared to tolerate while immigrant doctors assimilate western norms (of not being corrupt or assaulting female patients)?

3. Many of our care homes are staffed by non-indigenous people, many of whom are very caring. However, inevitably, there are many cultural misunderstandings. Immigrants cannot be expected to grasp the subtleties of British understatement, or understand the subtleties of what body parts can be touched when…As a result, many elderly people end their days unintentionally humiliated and so resenting immigrants…

4. Though the British are largely a tolerant people, like any host community, they react negatively to the colonisation by immigrants of certain areas (ghettoes) in our cities. Most Brits will warmly welcome a couple of immigrant families into their neighbourhood; but when they are the last two indigenous Brits in the neighbourhood, and/or are awoken at dawn by the Muslim call to prayer, they (not unreasonably) feel hostile to the immigrants. Furthermore, they don’t like to see immigrants claiming benefits, which they believe they have “paid into”.

These are just 4 of the many cultural problems raised by immigration.

Civilisations are defined by their religion. The West is a Christian civilisation: even our secular morality is derived from centuries of Christian culture (if you doubt this, compare your Christian secular morality with that of an atheist raised in a Muslim or Hindu culture). And we also have Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic and Confucian civilisations. Some of which are more compatible with western/Christian civilisation than others. For compatibility with western, secular, Christian-inspired societies, Islam is probably bottom of the list.

So how do we minimise the disbenefits and maximise the benefits of immigration? How many immigrants do we admit each year? And in what categories? And should we give preference to certain countries with cultures/religions more rather than less compatible with ours?


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    Four quick thoughts on British hostility towards immigration http://t.co/7dDhcc1L

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    Four quick thoughts on British hostility towards immigration. (via @libcon). – -. http://t.co/gSNIQK1z

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    Four quick thoughts on British hostility towards immigration http://t.co/7dDhcc1L

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