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November 29, 2014



The biggest dna spread in the Genome is actually in africa. Bishop tutu had his genes sequenced and it was found he was more closely linked to other africans 100os of miles away that the ppl in the tribe living next door to his village of origin.

Africa is thankfully turning away from tribalism due to mainly the internet but its economic malaise is directly linked to that tribalism.

Humans one on one are not really racist but they are very tribal and introducing too many groups of newcomers too quickly will quickly turn on those feelings of fear.

It maybe irrational, but who said the world needed to be rational. Its very possible that human evolution is happening right now and we are getting less tribal but as you can see in Syria we have a long way to go.

So be careful what you wish for, and good luck with your experiment lets hope theres enough money & resources to divert everyone's attention, sadly I think not.

Deviation From The Mean

Uncontrolled processes don't actually exist, they are somewhat of a myth, even in what appear to be automated database processes high levels of control and monitoring are in-built into the processes (I should know as I spend too many hours pouring over log files!). If the 'spontaneous', 'uncontrolled' markets were so effective or even a reality why is there so much colossal, massive, eye boggling government intervention in the economy everywhere? Except maybe places like somalia, where I guess a form of uncontrolled process is playing out right now? Though not really.

One answer to the above is that massive national planning is also an 'uncontrolled' and 'spontaneous' process in the same way the market is (or isn't). When we understand this we are ready to stop quoting Hayek as the go to guy on all things economic.


Have to agree with Deviation From the Mean - this post is a great example of how economists aren't trained to understand: Control, feedback, process and other systems theories. As a result, they assume, rather than analyse. This is how we got an economics profession that cannot reason it's way around the flaws in austerity, because they are unable to analyse the system - instead happy to assume that the system is self-correcting...


It's been notable also recently that a number of economist blogger types in the UK have switched from thinking about economics to immigration, presumably because it's an easier gig. Much easier to note the ignorance of the public in the immigration debate than explore why neither macro nor micro economic issues from the last crisis are being addressed by economists of the right. Or indeed address why it is that economists of the right are still setting the terms of policy debates...

Luis Enrique

"This is how we got an economics profession that cannot reason it's way around the flaws in austerity"

You are completely out to lunch.


" the integration of Jews, West Indians and Ugandan Asians is strong empirical evidence that immigration enriches society"

But what if you import so many people from an alien (to the host nation) culture that they do not need to integrate, as they numerous enough to recreate a home away from home, does immigration still enrich society then? I fail to see how FGM, gay free zones and terrorist attacks enrich the UK.

And the examples are miniscule with regards to the numbers today - there were 60K Ugandan Asians, perhaps 300K original West Indian immigrants over 3 decades, and around the same number of Jews throughout the 20th century. There are 500k+ immigrants every year today. You cannot integrate that level of people coming into a host nation in such a short period of time. You just destroy the host culture entirely.


I'm reading Nozick's 'Anarchy, State, and Utopia'.

He distinguishes between end-state principles and process principles.

I think many of the public judge politics on end-state principles. Does the world conform to some pattern I approve of? It may be an economic pattern (distributions of income and wealth) or it may be a social pattern (certain ethnic groups and values).

Economics is more concerned with process principles. As long as there are voluntary transfers in free markets with defined and enforced property rights, whatever outcome emerges is just and efficient. If regions and industries decline - well it was the result of a just process. If foreigners settle here in large numbers - it was the result of a just process.

I think end-state principles are more natural to human psychology - we judge the world as we see it.

To look behind at the processes creating the world requires a level of abstraction, and a certain level of a certain kind of education.

Luis Enrique

"Economics is more concerned with process principles. As long as there are voluntary transfers in free markets with defined and enforced property rights, whatever outcome emerges is just and efficient"

Even a passing aquaintance with econonics would tell you this is wrong. Inefficient outcomes in free markets is a fundamental concern.



There is much in what I said there that is wrong, imprecise and incomplete.

I was just trying to recast Chris's distinction in view of what I'm reading about.

I think there is a mindset that aims to control the world, to conform it to some pattern it has in mind.

Another mindset is more ambivalent about particular outcomes and patterns, but is interested in what emerges from the free interplay of constituent parts.

I believe economics is predisposed to this second mindset - I certainly shouldn't have claimed more than that.


Off course "stevenclarkesblog" hit the nail on the head. The better educated people are the less tribalistic they tend to be and the more open to other cultures and the people who have them.

The cynical exploitation of hostility to migration by various right wing numpties from Cameron to Farage is deplorable, and a symptom of social insecurity. The UKIP voters are worried that the "spontaneous" order of the market will reduce their security. Which fits in with support for a more interventionist policy in economics, an idea that the political leadership cheerfully ignore, in all parties, with the exception of the greens and small left wing groups.

The problem with quoting Von Hayek is that the market order is not really spontaneous. It is based on Laws and customs which evolved in human society and which are enforced by the state. Decentralised and spontaneous are not the same thing. Law, money and markets allow decentralisation of many features of the economy and produce more flexibility as a result. But they still reflect a human choice embraced by the people living under the order. They do not appear from nowhere and all the rules are open to revision as required based on experience of how they work. After all the legal rules of this order are very complex and lawyers and judges and Legislatures are constantly working on developing them in new directions. A lot of planning goes into this order!

Politics and economics should be about how to design the order governing the system of political economy so as to promote the welfare of all. That is what politicians should be making speeches about rather than the non issue of Labour mobility.

Miguel Madeira

There is a big ambiguity in the concept of "spontaneous order" - sometimes is used in the sense of "non-coercive" and others in the sense of "non-planned", and these are different things (you can have "planned" rules not enforced by force but established by a voluntary agreement between interested organizations - for example, many technical standards, specially in the internet - and you can have rules enforced by force but that "emerged" in a non-planned way - probably was the case of things like slavery, patriarchal authority, feudalism, etc.)


The interesting thing in the poll you refer to in your 5th paragraph is that, although UKIPs voters want more "controls" in many areas, they are only slightly ahead of the population average in that respect. The majority of Conservative and LibDem voters think the government should have the power to control prices and think that not enough has been done to avoid another banking crash. The majority of the electorate appear to want more "control" in areas where mainstream political and media thinking don't go.

Adam Smith wrote about the "hidden hand" of free markets but also wrote about accountable institutions to provide a framework in which these free markets would work. It appears to me that public confidence in todays institutions is low and few in the political mainstream address this. UKIP appears to have targeted some of these voters with low confidence in our institutions, even though some core UKIP members claim to be libertarians. There is a risk here of a very nasty kind of politics of "control" emerging if nobody addresses the problem of the failing institutions (which, by definition, are failing if large numbers of people have low confidence in them).


I suspect discussing 'immigration' has become a displacement activity, a way of avoiding the elephant - political impotence. Too embarrassing to talk about and no sign of a cure anywhere and more or less every politician across Europe suffers from it. In this sense Farage has done Cameron a favour and diverted attention away from the difficult issues. So what is needed - a doctor or a psychiatrist or a surgeon - probably something completely different.

"....economists have a greater presumption than the public tha(t)n uncontrolled processes are a good thing". Well what works works and what doesn't work kills you or leads to a takeover and an economist gets to write a paper on the result. Perhaps too much control and too much information is the problem, spontaneous order is not able to creep up quietly on society, instead it gets splashed across the media. Probably immigration is a very good thing if it dilutes vested interests and pushes down a nation's over-mighty opinions of itself.


Perhaps, the objection to immigration from places with less immigrants is because they still have whatever it is that they believe immigration destroys.

In areas where immigration's already high this 'thing'may be gone already and impossible to regain, possibly even forgotten.

There's a cognitive bias you mention sometimes. I forget the name but it's to do with acceptance of the status quo as fair... could be a bit of that going on too


David Cameron said something interesting about immigration yesterday:

People have understandably become frustrated. It boils down to one word: control. People want Government to have control over the numbers of people coming here.

Unfortunately his analysis was not quite right, one inprovement would be :-

People have understandably become frustrated. It boils down to one word: control. People want to have control.

There. shorter and more accurate.

It seems that as most basic needs are satisfied, our attention moves outwards towards the environment and how we live.

Until recently, if you really didnt like things you could go somewhere else relatively unpopulated. Not so now.

Now we impose our views on others (on a way that others can live with for the most part - dmocracy - or otherwise - isis).

Increasingly we seem to want to live parallel lives in the same place.

And it does not always work.

Ralph Musgrave

The ways in which incoming cultures have “enriched” and could enrich the UK are too many to list. But they include:
* Femal genital mutilation.
* Slavery
* Pedophilia Rotherham style.
* Abducting schoolgirls and selling them into slavery.
* Forced marriages.
* Killing or threatening to kill the cartoonists and authors you don’t like.
* Hate preachers.
* Beheadings.
* Comitting genocide against members of other religions ISIS style.
Clearly we backward Brits have much to learn from these sophisticated incoming cultures.

Igor Belanov

"Pedophilia (sic) Rotherham style"

Yes, keep paedophilia British! We need to rehabilitate the image of Savile and have more pride in homegrown depravity. Or do we have so much depravity already that we don't want to risk any more coming from abroad?

gastro george

Beyond parody, Ralph.

Ralph Musgrave


Thanks for your statement of the blindingly obvious, namely that pedophilia is not exactly unknown amongst native Brits. However, the important question is whether various undesirable cultural practices are MORE prevelant or LESS so amongst the immigrant population – or SPECIFIC sections of the immigrant population. Pedophilia certainly seems to be more prevalent. As to terrorism, 90% of those service prison sentences are Muslim rather than Catholic, Buddhist, Athiest etc. And as to electoral fraud, that is beyond question more prevalent in areas with a large Asian population.

An Alien visitor

Yes, Ralph, you are correct, pedophilia ain't what it used to be, like in the good old days!

Tell us Ralph, about pedophilia before the immigrants hit the shores and how it was so much better.

What is it Ralph, about British pedophilia, you like so much?

Or if you think immigrants really have enriched the pedophile experience and were not being ironic (albeit witlessly), tell us in what way this has been done?

Stop White Travelling


can we have the source facts for your claims please.

In the USA and Europe, if we look at the stats, we can see white men are by far the most common sexual predators against children, and we also note that white men are the most prevalent in going abroad to places like South East Asia to abuse children. So Ralph, considering these well known facts, do you think white people should have restricted movement? Maybe if white people were not allowed to leave their own shores this problem could be nipped in the bud. As white people clearly are spreading these cultural practices and others are picking up on them.

Stop white people travelling! Repatriate all British people!

Sterilise All White Folk

A right wing group claimed that you could judge intelligence based on race, scientists then discovered that this claim was correct, they worked out that the perfect human being was a combination of black and Asian. They advised that all white people should be sterilised in the interests of the human race.

Please join the All White People Should be Sterilised campaign.

Do your bit for human progress.

gastro george

Actually IIUC the most common sexual predators remain your family or close friends.

Dave Timoney

@Ralph, there is no evidence that paedophilia is more prevalent among muslims as a whole. However, there is ample evidence that child sexual exploitation is driven by opportunity (as gg notes), hence the prevalence among carehome workers (who are mostly white) and minicab drivers (who are often asian muslims).

At the end of 2013, there were precisely 100 UK prisoners convicted of terrorism offences, of which 93 were muslim. This reflects current conflicts and the legacy of the "war on terror". If you'd taken a snapshot 20 years ago, they'd have been predominantly Irish Republicans.

The part of the UK that has historically seen the greatest degree of electoral fraud has not been areas with high Asian populations, but Northern Ireland. In fact, electoral fraud (gerrymandering) was long condoned by government.

Nick Rowe

Part of spontaneous order is that people create club goods out of common property resources. Don't forget Groucho Marx on this.

Ezra Abrams

dear SaM:
A few years ago, Brad DeLong remarked that he, and iirc, other economists, didn't spend much time in Gary, IN (a basket case rustbelt town of the US industrial NE)
And as a result, he and other economists missed how bad things are in some places

Respectfully, I would ask how much personal contact you have had with, say, construction workers - people whose salary is directly, and negatively, affected by immigrants, and in particular (at least in the US) by undocumented immigrants, as Undocced people are susceptible to pressure from employers to accept low wage jobs, and they can't complain to the authorities about abuses

Of course, if there were no immigrants, people would have to pay more - that is the real thing, the upper mid class, which is not threatened by immigration, supports it, cause the UMC gets cheap resturants and gardeners and nannies

PS: there is something morally and ethically wrong about people like Dean Baker, who say we should encourage Medical doctors and nurses to immigrate to the US from 3rd world countries, which have spent very very precious resources to train these people, only to see them poached

Luis Enrique

steven clarke - ah, I getcha.

And, sorry if this sounds patronizing, but kudos for simply saying you mis-wrote. It's vanishingly rare.

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