In today’s Age, Ross Gittins argues the economic case for less immigration based on the impact on the environment and aggregate demand. But he commits a surprising sin: he fails to consider what the best way to manage aggregate demand and the environment would be as opposed to pointing out what immigration does to them. Indeed, he claims that immigration accounts for half of our population growth. But it is population growth that is the bigger issue. And the obvious solution is to curtail the other half of population growth — the so-called natural half. Let me edit his article accordingly:
immigrationbirth adds more to the demand for labour than to its supply.
migrantfamilies with children add to demand, but only the individuals who work add to supply.
Migrantfamilies with children need food, clothing, shelter and other necessities. They also add to the need for social and economic infrastructure: roads, schools, health care and all the rest.
Another factor is that their addition to demand comes earlier than their addition to labour supply. The rate of unemployment among recent
immigrantsbabies is significantly higher than for the labour force generally.
Of course, I have to spot there because the rest is about skilled migration and let’s face it, babies ain’t skilled. So the case here is for reduced natural population growth as opposed to immigration.
Indeed, that case becomes stronger. Here is Gittin’s argument on the environment:
It’s obvious that one of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce the growth in our emissions — and make our efforts to cut emissions more effective overall — would be to reduce immigration.
It is not obvious at all. It is simply wrong. If people cause emissions and emissions are a global problem, then at first glance moving people from one country to another neither helps nor harms the environment.