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February 05, 2007



Well, it's a nice way of looking at the world, but many of the opponents of migration have a reasonably self-consistent view. That is to say they do think (for example) that it is the function of the British government to value the welfare of people in Britain over that of those in (say) Bangladesh or Eritrea. And indeed, they hew to that view personally as well.

Worse, the polling evidence would suggest that when pushed to the limit, a majority of people think this way. People are generically concerned with well-being in a hierarchy of self/family/clan/region/country/world.

As for the paper, on a quick reading, (emphasis quick, I'm busy today) it's not really that impressive. After all, if you tweak the value of the negative externality, things start to look different. (And they provide no serious justification for the way they use it in my quick reading.) Not to mention that of course the negative externality is borne in a very unequal way throughout the society taking in the immigrants. Hence, this is a long way from proving that it's rational for some (possibly even a majority) to embrace it.

Ian Bennett

"Why should we attach more weight to our welfare than that of poor foreigners?"

Why should we not? No 'poor foreigner' seeking to migrate here gives my welfare any thought. The purpose of our Government is to look after our needs and wants, not those of any foreigner, poor or otherwise.

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