Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Immigration and all those other fun social issues

I'm of the opinion that the worth of a human being is roughly equivalent no matter where they come from. I would tend to value people I know more, and people I love even more, because I have some kind of emotional connection there, but other people? Well a stranger from Africa is just as strange as a stranger from Europe. I suppose the latter is more likely to speak my language, but I'm not convinced that gives them more value.

Countries are, of course, a fiction. The borders of nations are arbitary, decided by the course of rivers, diplomats drawing lines, and armies marching to war. My connection to England is an accident of birth. Countries are, in general, useful fictions- its good to have an adhesive notion that keeps civillisation together, as civillisation is usually a positive force.

So, onto immigration. Is a British person more worthy of a job in Britain than a person from, say, China, who has flown here to take said job. I wouldn't say so, and, in the balance, can we say a net harm has been done there? I would agree that it is not useful to bring more people to this country than it can sustain in the long term, as that would end up being unecessarily harmful- if there are positions available elsewhere there is no need to overcrowd this country. Of course, this is not the case. Our country needs to grow in population, to support itself in the way it is accustomed to, and immigration is an important part of that.

An important addendum to this is when does this stop? At some point our population pyramid IS going to get messed up, so we have more people above retirement age than we can sustain. What ARE we going to do? Because growth cannot happen indefinitely- we are on a planet of finite resources and space, and eventually, even if it is not for another century, we will run out of room. Are people planning for this? Is there a solution to having to having more people requiring support than there are working? Can there even be a solution? I don't know, but I'd be interested to find out.

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