PARIS -- Those of us living in Western democracies keep hearing it over and over again from our politicians: To compete economically, we must submit to mass immigration. It's long past time to dispel this destructive myth.
The mass immigration con is typically peddled for the same reason that you need an accountant to help do your taxes. By tying the issue to economics, politicians are trying to make it too complex for laypeople to know when they're being scammed.
While they're exploiting your human decency with their spiel about the greater economic good, these government pickpockets are reaching into your trousers (or into your bank account) for more cash. Hey, man, a gubmint’s gotta eat!
U.S. President Donald Trump isn't buying it, though. I have yet to hear Mr. Trump proclaim that the recipe for American greatness is more immigration. So far, he's one of the few Western leaders to have taken any action, proposing to cut legal immigration by half in 10 years.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has also taken an anti-immigration stance, but her actions have yet to match her words.
French President Emmanuel Macron has talked up diversity in the past but seems to have been mugged by reality. Or maybe he just went for a walk in Paris one day. You can't stroll through the streets of this city without noticing that it has three major problems: chain-smokers, kids prone to public tantrums, and an immigration/integration disconnect.
In September, Mr. Macron announced that French immigration laws require a total revamping, and that failing to make sweeping changes to the system will only empower anti-immigration extremists.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, announced last week that Canada aims to welcome a million new immigrants by 2020, increasing the number of newcomers by up to 40,000 per year. His justification? Canadian companies and their labor needs.
Nice try. We've been told for a long time that Western nations simply aren't reproducing at an adequate labor-replacement rate, and therefore we have to import new workers. Apparently, overpopulated countries are the the gold standard in social and economic excellence. Basic principles of population ecology help explain why so many millennials have chosen to invest in career and personal development rather than contribute to the further overpopulation of the planet. Did it ever occur to these governments that maybe people just like their space? Why do we all have to live on top of each other?
I'd really like to know which companies are complaining that they can't find workers willing to accept jobs at a fair wage. Funny how we never get to see any such company representatives alongside government officials when they make announcements about boosting the number of imported workers. You'd think that both the government and the company would welcome the opportunity to sell the idea to citizens, and maybe the company would even get a few more résumés out of the free "we're hiring" publicity.
If governments are anticipating future labor needs, have they not considered that we're well into an era of increased automation? In fact, we're often warned about the threats that artificial intelligence might pose toward mankind. It's not so much about robots becoming self-aware and evil, the way they do in science-fiction movies, but more about their potential to wipe out entire swaths of the workforce.
Robots are already beginning to take over the jobs of supermarket cashiers, and they have a growing presence in the construction, retail, transportation, health care and manufacturing sectors. One of the candidates in this year's French presidential elections, Benoit Hamon of the Socialist Party, proposed a universal basic income to help offset the eventuality that robots will be taking away livelihoods. Hamon also wanted to tax robot revenues, since he expected robots to reduce the workforce by at least 9 percent. (He still rejected immigration quotas, however.)
The idea that more immigration will increase economic productivity runs counter to the facts of technological advancement. We're seeing an untenable increase in both automation and immigration. What are all the new arrivals going to do as the labor market shrinks?
Governments are still encouraging 20th century immigration despite 21st century technology. If they're worried about diversity -- a term that so many Western politicians always have on the tip of their tongues -- they should invest in the education of their own people to foster diversity of thought. But then again, a better-educated public might realize that the idea of economic prosperity through mass immigration is a total scam.