Wednesday, September 16, 2015

God’s Way To a Truly New World: Immigration

The New World Order – The Civilization of Love. It is truly beyond our powers. Yet, it may be taking place.
     Global Development depends on placing Christ at the global center. As St. Paul writes in Colossians 1, 15-18, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible…All things have been created through and unto him, and he is before all creatures and in him all things hold together.”
Bishop Robert Barron comments:

“Individuals, societies, cultures, animals, plants, planets and the stars – all will be drawn into an eschatological harmony through him… Jesus is not merely the symbol of an intelligibility, coherence, and reconciliation that can exist apart from him; rather, he is the active and indispensable means by which these realities come to be.[1]
“If in Colossians the particular figure Jesus of Nazareth is identified with the creative power of God, in the Johannine text the process is reversed: now the transcendent Logos of God is appreciate d as the one who became concretely available in this Jesus: ‘The Word became flesh.’”[2]

            The Dynamic of this ontologic centrality of Christ is His parable of the Good Samaritan. After expounding the core of the Old Testament that You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart, whole soul, whole mind and whole strength, and your neighbor as yourself, Christ responds with the Good Samaritan to the question, “And who is my neighbor.”[3]

A Migration Juggernaut Is Headed for Europe - Eduardo Porter
NYT B1 p. 12:  SEPT. 15, 2015
            Migrants, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, who crowded a train platform in Budapest this month were prevented from going to Germany. 

European leaders probably don’t want to hear this now, as they frantically try to close their borders to stop hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants and asylum seekers escaping hunger and violence in Africa and the Middle East. But they are dealing with the unstoppable force of demography.
Fortified borders may slow it, somewhat. But the sooner Europe acknowledges it faces several decades of heavy immigration from its neighboring regions, the sooner it will develop the needed policies to help integrate large migrant populations into its economies and societies.
That will be no easy task. It has long been a challenge for all rich countries, of course, but in crucial respects Europe does a particularly poor job.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, as a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found, that it is harder for immigrants to get a job in European Union nations than in most other rich countries. But that doesn’t explain why it is also harder for their European-born children, who report even more discrimination than their parents and suffer much higher rates of unemployment than the children of the native-born.
Rather than fortifying borders, European countries would do better to improve on this record. The benefits would be substantial, for European citizens and the rest of the world.
Over the summer, as Hungary hurried to lay razor wire along its southern border and E.U. leaders hashed out plans to destroy smugglers’ boats off the coast of North Africa, the United Nations Population Division quietly released its latest reassessment offuture population growth.
Gone is the expectation that the world’s population will peak at nine billion in 2050. Now the U.N. predicts it will hit almost 10 billion at midcentury and surpass 11 billion by 2100. And most of the growth will come from the poor, strife-ridden regions of the world that have been sending migrants scrambling to Europe in search of safety and a better life.
The population of Africa, which has already grown 50 percent since the turn of the century, is expected to double by 2050, to 2.5 billion people. South Asia’s population may grow by more than half a billion. And Palestine’s population density is expected to double to 1,626 people per square kilometer (4,211 per square mile), three times that of densely populated India.
Over the next several decades, millions of people are likely to leave these regions, forced out by war, lack of opportunity and conflicts over resources set in motion by climate change. Rich Europe is inevitably going to be a prime destination of choice.
“With Africa’s population likely to increase by more than three billion over the next 85 years, the European Union could be facing a wave of migration that makes current debates about accepting hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers seem irrelevant,” wrote Adair Turner, the former chairman of Britain’s Financial Services Authority and now chairman of the Institute for New Economic Thinking.
Europe’s initial reaction to the flow has been mixed, at best. Germany, notably, has committed real resources to help cover the basic needs of hundreds of thousands of refugees it expects to welcome this year. But that is hardly the spirit across the board. And Europe is still mostly focused on steeling its borders, even to the point of closing many of its once free-flowing internal boundaries.

Better options exist. The rich history of immigration around the world suggests that new migrant populations could be integrated into the European social fabric to the benefit of Europeans, the new immigrants and even the regions of the world they left behind.
Take Britain, where the government of Prime Minister David Cameron came into office promising to cut net annual immigration from “the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.”
Researchers at Britain’s National Institute for Economic and Social Research and the University of Ottawa estimated that carrying out the policy would cut Britain’s income per head, increase public spending and raise income taxes to pay for it. All things considered, by 2060 Britons’ wages would be 3.3 percentage points lower than had the government left the immigration rate alone.
These dynamics apply across the developed world. Frédéric Docquier of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, Caglar Ozden from the World Bank and Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis, found that immigration from 1990 through 2000had a positive effect on the wages of native workers — including low-wage workers — in virtually all the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Rich countries with lower fertility rates and older populations benefit from young migrants of working age, who help rev up their slowing labor supply. From 2000 to 2010, migrants accounted for nearly two-thirds of European labor force growth. Immigrants bring diversity to complement the attributes of domestic workers: different levels of education and productivity and different consumption patterns.
They spur business investment to take advantage of the additional labor supply. They prompt domestic workers to switch into occupations that leverage their language skills and other comparative advantages.
Despite popular perceptions to the contrary, migrants are often highly educated, and they generally do not burden the public purse. Stefano Scarpetta, director of the department of employment, labor and social affairs at the O.E.C.D., said immigrants often contribute more in taxes than they draw in public benefits.
What’s more, the countries sending migrants abroad often benefit, too.
Remittances transfer some of the gains from the increased productivity of migrants back to the natives that remained in the home country,” wrote Julian di Giovanni of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Andrei Levchenko of the University of Michigan and Francesc Ortega of the City University of New York.
Of course, the most sensible response to large-scale immigration must include helping unstable, impoverished countries in Africa and beyond overcome the demographic pressure that stunts their development, as Mr. Turner advocates. Investment in human and physical capital simply can’t keep up with population growth. Neither can job creation.
Achieving the demographic transition to lower mortality and fertility rates will require not only investing in women’s education and encouraging contraceptive use but also freeing women to make their own reproductive choices.
In the meantime, Europe’s challenge is real. Receiving millions of migrants of different races, religions and cultures from far-flung lands will pose political, economic and social challenges to European countries that remain to this day fairly homogeneous.
Social scientists have acknowledged the importance of Europe’s racial and cultural homogeneity in building political support for expensive welfare states with robust safety nets. It was easier for white, Christian Europeans to tolerate high taxes if they went to pay for benefits for white, Christian Europeans like themselves.
Access to jobs is a critical precondition for success. But the overall task is greater, to eventually close the socio-economic gaps between immigrants and their descendants and native Europeans. “What matters is the integration of the migrants in receiving countries,” Mr. Scarpetta said. “This will not occur by itself.”
In the end, the choice is clear. Europe’s best shot at prosperity is to build upon the diversity that immigration will bring.

[1] Robert Barron, “The Priority of Christ,” Brazos Press (2007) 134-135.
[2] Idem, 135.
[3] Charles Taylor, in agreement with Ivan Illich, lays the blame for the secularization of the West at the feet of a corrupted Christianity which has erected a system of categories, rules and regulations in place of personal relations which are the heart of imaging the transcendent God of Jesus Christ, the Trinity. Taylor wrote: “Corruption occurs when the Church begins to respond to the failure and inadequacy of a motivation grounded in a sense of mutual belonging by erecting a system. This system incorporates a code or set of rules, a set of disciplines to make us internalize these rules, and a system of rationally constructed organizations – private and public bureaucracies, universities, schools [hospitals]  – to make sure we carry out what the rules demand. All these become second nature to us. We grow accustomed to decentring ourselves from our lived, embodied experience in order to become disciplines, rational, disengaged subject. From within this perspective, the significance of the Good Samaritan story appears obvious: it is a stage on the road to a universal morality of rules.’ (Taylor Foreword to “The Rivers North of the Future – The Testament of Ivan Illich,” Anansi  (2005) XII).

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