Monday, January 02, 2006

Immigration Is A Population Issue

Population policy in the US and the world is not a hot topic, but it should be. Especially with the looming debate on immigration. Many of the world's problems are related directly or indirectly to population. China, the worlds most populous nation, is already suffering from many problems caused by over-population and has implemented government programs to try to control its population. You may disagree with some of its population policies, but they have at least recognized the problem and are trying to resolve it. Read Lindsey Grant's essay "China As An Emerging Nation; What It Means To The Rest Of US" for more information.

China and India (the world's second most populous country) are poised to become future super powers because of their large populations of cheap, skilled labor. The U.S. (the world's third most populous country) cannot grow its population fast enough to compete. Even if we could, our high level of consumption of resources per person would doom us. If we could lower our consumption (and standard of living?), we might be able to compete, but a declining standard of living should not be our goal.

Increasing immigration for cheap labor may do us all much more harm than good. It is obvious that cheap labor around the world has harmed the manufacturing base in the U.S. Do we really believe that bringing cheap labor to the U.S. will make us stronger? Or will it just lower the standard of living for even more Americans? For an example, read Lindsey Grant's essay "Social Security And The Fear Of Aging" which explains why mass immigration makes the problems with social security worse, not better.

If we want to increase immigration, we should encourage people with skills we need, like scientists, to immigrate. We should maintain our standard of living through innovation, wise use of resources and education, not cheaper goods, cheaper services and an ever growing population. Cheap labor may mean cheaper goods and services, but only for those who make enough money to afford them. If we win this race to the bottom with cheap labor, what is the prize?

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