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October 30, 2007

Comments

Matt Munro

How have you determined that the "social costs" of migrants haven't changed ? Crime is getting worse, pressure on public services and infrastructure is increasing.
Lots of countries control manage to control migration. Getting a bit tired of the idle rich cashing in on immigration while the masses feel its negative impact on a daily basis.

chris

For this argument, the size of the social costs is unimportant. The point is that they are no bigger now than they seemed a few days ago, although the number of migrants is bigger than some (the government at least) believed. It follows that the social cost per migrant is lower than the government believed a few days ago.

dearieme

"The point is that they are no bigger now than they seemed a few days ago": what a wonderfully implausible argument. It means that if we pretend that the actual social costs are well-approximated by someone's estimate of them, and if that estimate happened to be independent of an assumed number of immigrants present, then it follows ...
I dare say, but arithmetical identities tell us precious little about reality.

john b

Digression: why the hell do people like Matt lie that crime is getting worse, when there are in fact no measures under which crime is getting worse...?

Matt Munro

Only because crime by and against people under 16 isn't recorded but is booming,
and the government screw the figures by including the 25% reduction in traffic offences as part of an "overall drop". Well I can sleep soundly now, safe in the knowldge that no one has recently parked on a double yellow line....

Anectodally: Shootings are now a semi regular occurence in parts of Bristol, 5 years ago they weren't, likewise stabbings are so common they aren't even reported any more unless someone dies (which they did after a "somali street fight" at the weekend)

Scratch

"Anectodally" (I'm having that,) the plod have long since discovered that doing fuck all about crime works wonders for the reported crime figures.

They're not as staggeringly backward as they look are they? The idle wee gets.

ad

"For this argument, the size of the social costs is unimportant. The point is that they are no bigger now than they seemed a few days ago,"

How do you know that our measurements of "the social cost of migration" are any better than our measurements of the total number of migrants?

Katherine

"crime by and against people under 16 isn't recorded but is booming" - can you see the problem with that statement? If it isn't recorded (and please do provide a citation for that assertion) how on earth do you know it is booming?

Innocent Abroad

To deal with the crime point first: current crime is salient, we worry about it; past crime isn't (unless we were personally the victim of a serious attack) - so people will always think that crime is getting worse, hence the congnitive dissonance of previous posts.

As to employment, employment of immigrants will only matter if they are "crowding out" Brits who want to work. This may be so to the extent that employers value, say, youth and continuous employment history above, say English-language skills. Immigrants may also be seen as preferable as it may "feel" easier to lay them off as they will be more marketable through having worked here back in their home countries. (Similarly, graduates who had no difficulty finding "gap year" jobs may, despite being better qualified, actually be less employable.) Employment is a transaction, and it is rational for employers to prefer those who see it as such rather than those who see it as a relationship (i.e. want job security).

SamH

Am I wrong in thinking that this story is mainly about those who think there's some Government conspiracy about this, that or the other. They don't care what the figures are, and whether they are at the right level or not, just that the Government gave the wrong figures.

For example, how many people knew the Government figures this time last week, cause everyone knows them now.

reason

No one has mentioned the lack of voting rights of immigrants. We all believe in democracy don't we.
(This is a sore point with me as an ex-pat Aussie permanently residing in Germany - I have no right to vote anywhere.)

reason

Just to explain my last post a bit more, I don't think it is a good thing to have a large group of residents without representation.

Rohan

Reason - don't worry, over here things are so fucked both my Australian flatmates receive voting papers for the last 3 years despite not having passports or residency. They vote Lib Dem.

I'm getting a bit tired of the arguements here. Becuase the writer is in favour of free movement of people he is willing to argue it doesn't matter if we have woefully incomplete data on imigration (and emigration), that we can never have an effective border controls and it doesn't matter.

Plain stupid - if imigration is to be dealt with effectively (in a situation with completely open borders) there must be near perfect information on the movement of imigrants, and the population as a whole to allow the effective collection and distribution - ESPECIALLY TO ALLOW A BASIC/CITIZEN INCOME TO ACTUALLY WORK.

Is it possible for you to join up your thinking here?

Matt Munro

"crime by and against people under 16 isn't recorded but is booming" - can you see the problem with that statement? If it isn't recorded (and please do provide a citation for that assertion) how on earth do you know it is booming?

Posted by: Katherine | October 30, 2007 at 06:09 PM

Just because the government doesn't record something it doesn't follow that it does't exist......Try a google search for national crime survey, followed by one for youth crime. I would spend all afternoon on the home office website posting links but I have work to do.

Matt Munro

""To deal with the crime point first: current crime is salient, we worry about it; past crime isn't (unless we were personally the victim of a serious attack) - so people will always think that crime is getting worse, hence the congnitive dissonance of previous posts.""


It isn't cognitive dissonance, which is roughly defined as tension experienced through the simulteneous belief in two contradictory statements. Past crime is salient as a way of measuring progress or not in managing it, if you have no reference point what are you measuring.

If the left did something about crime instead of constantly quibbling about the figures/blaming the media it would be a far less emotive issue.

Bruce

Matt: "...because crime by and against people under 16 isn't recorded but is booming."

Ignoring the "how do you know question" raised by others, what proportion of immigrants to the UK are under 16? My understanding is that the highest proportion are at the younger end of working age. So even if under 16 crime has gone up, surely it has little correlation with immigration?

Glenn

My point is that all 'facts' are estimates. All government figures are estimates - some are more accurate than others. They are constantly being revised, improved, some worsened. It depends where the ONS spends the money.

The latest figures on migration are sourced from the LFS - based on a sample survey, subject to margins of error.

reason

Rohan,
I'm all in favour of basic/citizen (permanent resident?) income and not against a minimum residency period to qualify (to discourage free loaders). In fact it could actually work quite well with completely open borders, so long as you have minimum housing quality standards (i.e. migrants would have to earn enough initially to compete for housing with subsidized insiders).

Blissex

«I'm all in favour of basic/citizen (permanent resident?) income and not against a minimum residency period to qualify (to discourage free loaders)»

Ahhhh, but that does not discourage free loaders at all; it just discourages *foreign* free loaders.

At the political level, suppose that citizenship and voting did not confer unpaid-for advantages; then immigration and citizenship would be a lot less controversial than they are now, and indeed they were not that controversial before the rise of the welfare state.

But the welfare state is not an insurance scheme in which returns are proportional to premiums paid in; even people who haven't yet paid anything get the returns.

If one had regard to the actualized actuarial value of the expected stream of returns from citizenship or residence, then it would be clear that citizenship or residence in a welfare state implies a grant of a significant amount of capital (as in a trust).

Neither 18 year old that gets crippled in an incident in Basra or Hinckley has paid any insurance premium, but the one from Hinckley gets free care for life (in the UK, not in Iraq!), freeloading to a massive extent.

This happens solely because the Hinckley one has the vote and her parents have the vote and UK voters have decreed that in effect their children, but not the children of Basra residents, inherit a share of the capital in the welfare ''trust'', that is they voted to bestow freeloader status on their children, but not on Iraqi children, and they are jealous of that.

Even minimum residence periods do not work around that fundamental problem.

Which fundamental problem? That welfare is perceived (in some part correctly) as a subsidy, an entitlement to something free, not as an insurance pool.

If it were (perceived as or structured more as) an insurance pool, then the Basra 18 year old that comes to work in the UK and has an accident the day after starting to work and gets free care for life is just someone who is justly entitled to their insurance payoff, as risk pooling works no matter when the risk materializes.

Blissex

«But the welfare state is not an insurance scheme in which returns are proportional to premiums paid in»

BTW this means proportional to the size of each premium, not the accumulated total.

lee

Maybe next week the government might publish revised figures showing that the cost of immigration is actually higher than previously thought...how would your argument pan out then?

The government just hasn't got a clue as to how many immigrants are living here, and what the effects are...and I don't just mean a wider choice of ethnic restaurants and cheap, enthusiastic nannies for the governing classes.

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