What goes around… comes around

Immigration has always been a hot topic in the industrial countries and the word has always carried a negative connotation. As a matter of fact, it has always been omitted how immigration was one of the main factors for the economic progress in the prosperous era post WWII.

As Europe was devastated after the World War II, it needed a growing workforce to implement the Marshall Plan to rebuild a dying continent. Colonial countries went shopping again in their colonies to bring people from whom it was only needed to work hard. Again after the “chair à canons” literally “flesh for artillery” brought from Africa and placed in the front lines of the colonial armies, during the WW I, WW II and colonial wars like the French Indochine war.

De facto, immigration was seen as a temporary strategy to provide workforce. It was never expected that the glorious era would last 30 years. Immigrant workers were eventually allowed to bring their families, who stayed in ghettos as well. That was the cradle of the integration issues of immigrants in Europe, what goes around comes around…

Other countries successfully dealt with their immigration. The best example is Canada which probably has the most multicultural population in the world. First, European communities immigrated (Italians, Greek, Irish, Brits, Polish…); they were eventually followed by Asians, south Asians, West Indies, East Europeans, Persians and people from all over the world. It is great to see this mosaic of cultures living together in harmony.

Now, the issue is back on the plate: the demographic changes in the industrial countries make it a necessity to recruit work force again. The baby boomers reached the retirement age, the population is ageing and the birth rates are very low.

A growing proportion of the population will retire, receive pensions and wouldn’t pay taxes while spending their savings. This means, less tax money, more government expenses on the elderly and less capital to finance investments… DISASTROUS

By 2025 the number of people aged 15 to 64 is projected to dwindle by 10.4% in Spain, 10.7% in Germany, 14.8% in Italy, and 15.7% in Japan*.

By 2040, 26 percent of the U.S. population will be at least 60 years old, up from 16.3 percent in 2000 […] At least 45 percent of the populations of Japan, Spain and Italy will be 60 or older by then. In each of those countries, there will be one retiree for every worker. **

How the high-income industrial countries will deal with issue!?

Through history, every time Europe faced economic stagnation and needed resources they faced south: sending their ships to conquer the new world; creating colonies, “collecting” their resources and enslaving autochthones in their own lands. Later, they brought the autochthones as cheap hard working workforce to reconstruct their economy and now they are seen as invaders. (Reminds me of “les envahisseurs” des inconnus… Bijour Monsieur Vincent)…

It is time the “developed world” drops its colonial attitude towards the south and creates win-win partnerships with their ex colonies. A good initiative is the EU- South Mediterranean countries partnership, even though it is going a bit slow and it has to go faster than that to make a difference…

The world is interdependent. The north can’t prosper when the south is living in misery… what goes around… comes around


* Business week
** Washington post
*** Diagram

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5 Responses to What goes around… comes around

  1. It would certainly be wonderful if people could live where they wanted to live without “politics” getting in the way of things.Immigration, either legal or illegal, will happen and “laws” or “quotas” established by the political establishment are totally absurd since any society can not turn back the power of the mind.

  2. Dado80 says:

    Mince je l’ai pas vu avant, un de mes sujets favoris :)Et dire que je me suis posée la question quand tu en feras un sur la question ;)Je suis servie là, très belle note, vraiment. Pour ma part, la clé de la réussite de l’expérience canadienne en matière d’immigration est que c’était très bien contrôlée à la base. En Europe, ça n’était pas le cas et aujourd’hui c’est ce que essayent de faire ces pays en se basant sur l’exemple canadien entre autres.L’immigration est en effet envisagée comme un moyen potentiel pour atténuer les effets de vieillissement de la population. En effet, il y aura un problème pour financer les retraites de la génération de baby boomers : il n’y a pas assez d’actifs pour cotiser aux systèmes qui fonctionnent pour la grande majorité par répartition (cotisations des actifs aujourd’hui payent les retraites des retraités de la génération précédente). Si on ne fait rien, le taux de prélèvement va augmenter pour financer les retraites, ce qui va rester des salaires des actifs va être insuffisant pour assurer les niveau de consommation et d’épargne nécessaire pour l’économie. D’où la situation est insoutenable à long terme. Cependant, cette politique d’immigration est insuffisante pour remédier au problème de vieillissement et en plus elle doit être plutôt sélective en fonction des besoins des pays d’accueil (en fonction de l’âge, qualification, apport de capital…)Et elle peut poser des problèmes de coté des pays d’origine. Une réflexion globale sur la question est difficile.

  3. swifty says:

    Perhaps after the middle of the 21th century ‘south countries’ will begin to bypass ‘old europe’ because of the young population,who knows? :-)Really it’s an interesting articles,and it shows that every country in the world need others to be developed.

  4. Sandeep says:

    Immigration is essential for providing new workers to countries whose birthrates can’t support the older population, but it has to be an integral approach, not ghetto labour.Essentially, it’s the free trade of people, as easily as goods. Security checks to keep illegals out (war criminals, etc…), but otherwise, where labour is needed, send it on.

  5. A. says:

    I am sorry for turning the comments off, wasn’t done on purpose. Dado: merci pour ton commentaire. En effet ce n’est pas suffisant, et malheureusement la majorité des pays du Nord traite encore le probléme comme si c’etait temporaire. Swifty: Indeed, as I said in the post , it has to be a win win relationship coz the world is interrelated now. And who knows maybe the south will some day lead. Sandeep: I would lobby for you as Canada’s Prime Minister, you would solve all the issues. SANDEEP FOR PRESIDENT !!!!

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