Close the borders – gangs of benefit cheats are coming!

So the American conservatives wimped out again after a month or so of mindless bluster and hot air. The only problem is that their posturing, in itself, causes damage to the economy. It’s interesting that the conservative economists keep harping on about their belief that the existence of a budget deficit causes uncertainty among private firms who are then reluctant to invest because they fear higher tax rates to pay back the deficit. While this flawed narrative is not theoretically robust, defies history, and is empirically bereft, uncertainty is a problem for firms and the ridiculous behaviour of the American conservatives in the Congress in recent times has dramatically increased it. The world is moving now into a second phase of the retrenchment of the state. The first phase required the neo-liberals to redefine the crisis, which was clearly an issue of excessive private debt, as crisis of sovereign debt. They have been successful in achieving this step. Our ignorance and obsequiousness has allowed this mindless narrative to dominate the public debate. The second phase is now well underway way where the victims of the austerity become the focus of attention for the Conservative politicians. The unemployed are vilified as lazy and welfare cheats (their benefits are targeted – for example, in Ireland now); single mothers are accused of strategic pregnancies; and the old furphy – benefit migration – is wheeled out into the public debate to engender an increasing resentment of the presence of ethnic minorities who is simply trying to do what all of us want – to improve the lives of their families and themselves. All of these campaigns are designed to divide and conquer the populace, segment this into conflictual factions (“them and us” mentality), and justify further unwarranted cuts to government spending.

At the outset, I should make a personal disclosure. I am a citizen of a nation that doesn’t stop at vilifying the most disadvantaged of our own citizens.

Over two decades or more it has refined that craft to a high level and is very efficient at making life miserable for people who have few opportunities and little hope.

Not being content with that, our politicians (from both the major sides of politics) make political capital of ther policies to excise parts of Australia from being considered Australia so they can then evade international laws regarding the legitimate treatment of refugees.

Further, they send these miserable souls to prison camps in harsh tropical environments knowing that the detention undermines the mental health and spirit of the people detained. Little children are not exempted from imprisonment.

They also bribe poor nations like the Papua New Guinea into setting up these prison camps within their own national borders so that Australia can claim that no boats are getting to Australia.

And what is often overlooked, is that many of these people are escaping cruel oppression from lands that have been turned upside down by war and invasion, the latter being the product of Australian government zeal to impress the US in its ridiculously failed “war on terror”.

We invade their nations, allegedly to set them free. And when they to seek freedom we round them up like animals and lock them up like common criminals in prisons way below the standard that we would detain our worst home-grown criminals in.

So shame on us!

A less crude form of human abuse, although crude belongs on some scale with sophistication, so perhaps crude is not the best term, is the so-called vilification of benefit migrants.

A standard neo-liberal tactic is to first undermine the security of workers through various austerity measures, which typically producers some political backlash. People don’t like to lose their jobs or have their real wages undermined – as is happening in many advanced countries at present.

The next step is to scapegoat someone other than the government for the insecurity and reduction in prosperity that the austerity programme has generated. As noted above the first cab off the rank is to blame the unemployed themselves – to construct them as indolent, fools with little skills, little ambition, and little energy.

Add to that criminal overturns – that is, tell everybody that they are living so well and doing nothing but cheating welfare, that creates a division between the employed who are at risk of becoming unemployed and the unemployed themselves.

It is important to emphasise how well they are living and TV crews have been known in Australia to trawl through a families garbage bins to highlight things they have bought. Like … basic foodstuffs, no less. Bloody hell, you mean these people eat and never work!

Anyway, divide and conquer Part 1.

Of-course, you have to do something to appease the people who are at risk of becoming unemployed. Setting them against the unemployed helps that governments can do better and they do.

The simple solution is to find another cohort of people to scapegoat. Enter the benefit migrant or benefit tourist.

This is a particularly odious species who had no loyalty to the culture, values, hopes and aspirations of the nation but sneak across our borders (properly in the dark of night) just to take advantage of our superior welfare benefits system.

They have no commitment to the country – they may even hate the country – they may be communists. The problem is we know very little about them except they dress in odd ways, hang out together (obviously conspiratorially), rudely speak foreign languages on public transport, have strange little shops where they buy food and groceries, which are clearly of doubtful origin, and overall are a threat to our society and our freedoms.

The benefit migrant – oh how we hate them.

They come to our shores because we are generous to our own and take advantage of this generosity and give nothing back in return.

It is the benefit migrant that is undermining your prosperity. That is why you’re feeling so insecure. There are hordes of these people – unimaginable numbers – living it up on our welfare system and undermining the fiscal viability of our governments. That is why things are so tough here.

Divide and conquer Part 2.

We saw it again this week in Britain.

On October 12, 2013, the Daily Telegraph article – True scale of European immigration – pronounced that:

More than 600,000 unemployed European Union migrants are living in Britain at a cost of £1.5 billion to the NHS alone, according to an EU report … the number of jobless European migrants coming to Britain has risen dramatically in the past five years, intensifying demands for the Government to renegotiate EU membership.

Opponents of the EU seized on the figures to suggest Britain could not afford to allow European migrants to come here at will while continuing to provide a universal benefits system.

The Telegraph also made it clear that the EU Report was commissioned by:

… Laszlo Andor, the socialist commissioner in charge of employment and social inclusion.

Mr Andor was the commissioner who invited me to last year’s EU Employment Conference to discuss the Job Guarantee. Soon after that they EU announced their Youth Guarantee, which is a good idea in need of billions of euros more in funding than the Brussels elites dare to give it (in case it worked and proved to be an exemplar for the way governments should deal with the unemployed).

But the “socialist” tag is irrelevant to his job at the commissioner. They tag him that way because it undermines the credibility of the Report he released – something the Telegraph needs to do as part of the co-opted right wing press.

The story was perfect really with all the essential elements.

1. Big numbers were quoted without context.

2. The EU are “to bring a court case to make it easier for European migrants to claim benefits in Britain” – waves of them will follow. That is, hint of big.

3. Gangs are involved – they claim a “a gang of Czech benefit fraudsters stood to make £1 million in bogus claims for child tax credits and child benefit” by which they conclude that “benefit tourism can also include fraud on a vast scale”. Fraud and big!

4. The borders need to be tightened with “stronger controls on welfare handouts”.

5. A concerned politician warning the good and hard-working British folk that their lifestyles and prosperity were under threat:

They quoted one “Douglas Carswell, the Conservative backbench Euro-sceptic MP” as saying:

It is extraordinary how the European project has debased and debauched the original, noble idea of the welfare state.

These figures show that the wave of benefit migrants has become a tsunami of economic refugees fleeing the eurozone crisis to try to find jobs here.

We cannot both continue the free-at-the-point-of-use welfare state and benefits system and allow Europeans to flee the eurozone and come here.

It is decision time. I would rather we quit Europe and had our own system of social protection.

As I said, all the essential elements – even a tsunami was predicted.

Now the British Office of National Statistics puts out a regular – Migration Statistics Quarterly Report – the latest being in May 2013. I wanted to see where the tsunami – especially the Eurozone tidal wave of sneaky humans – was coming from.

The facts reveal that between September 2011 and September 2012, the net flow of migrants to the UK was 153,000 down from 242,000 in the year ending September 2011.

So the tsunami isn’t very strong.

A related – Table 1.3 – Estimated overseas-born population resident in the United Kingdom – tells us that between January 2011 to December 2011, the top 10 foreign groups in the UK were (in order):

1. India – 729 thousand.
2. Poland – 643 thousand.
3. Pakistan – 57 thousand.
4. Republic of Ireland – 397 thousand.
5. Germany – 297 thousand.
6. Bangladesh – 230 thousand.
7. South Africa – 211 thousand.
8. Nigeria – 190 thousand.
9. United States of America – 189 thousand.
10. Jamaica – 143 thousand.

What, those sneaky Germans. I guess Ireland is in the EU17 too. Maybe, the Conservative MP think the Americans are in the EU17 – of-course, we know they are not but it seeems they know a benefit lurk when they see it!

The next day (October 13, 2013), the UK Daily Mail article – Slash benefits for EU migrants: PM urged to act as those here without a job hit 600,000 – decided to focus more explicitly on the political aspects of the story – benefits have to be “slashed”.

They also revealed that a Sky News (it would have to be them!) “poll has found that two-thirds of the public want ministers to take ‘drastic action’ to cut immigration”.

As noted above – the Government won’t have to do a thing – the numbers are already plummetting. The Government austerity drive is doing that – no jobs, people leave, including their own citizens.

The article listed a number of facts including that:

611,779: The number of ‘non-active’ EU migrants in Britain – up 42 per cent in six years …

73% increase in the number of ‘job seeking’ EU migrants in Britain between 2009 and 2011

Next day (October 14, 2013), the Daily Mail commentary – EU migrants and the Brussels benefits trap – repeated the line:

As part of its battle with Iain Duncan Smith over benefit tourism, the European Commission yesterday produced figures showing that 600,000 EU migrants without a job are living in Britain.

The EU Report in question is – A fact finding analysis on the impact on the Member States’ social security systems of the entitlements of non-active intra-EU migrants to special non-contributory cash benefits and healthcare granted on the basis of residence – and the authors should learn that a shorter name is preferable to a book!

It was commissioned by the EU from a British consulting company – ICF GHK – who do not describe themselves in any way that might suggest they are part of an evil socialist plot.

The other partner was a Belgium company – Milieu – who on first impressions have a lot of very corporate staff in suits (males and females) and ties no less (a very un-Belgian thing). They do tell us they “aim to adhere to the principles of sustainable development”, which I guess, makes them almost communist in intent.

The Report is very long and detailed and if you want to read it the link above is your pathway.

But the major points – their “10 core findings” include:

1. “Non-active EU migrants represent a very small share of the total population in each Member State” – not just small, but very small.

2. “Overall intra-EU migration has increased over the past decade … (from 0.7% in 2003 to 1.0% in 2012)” – small.

3. “On average EU migrants are more likely to be in employment than nationals living in the same country” – active and contributing to total production and income – not on welfare.

4. And – wait for this – it is worth a little fanfare – “Pensioners, students and jobseekers accounted for more than two-thirds of the non-active EU migrant population (71%) in 2012 … The vast majority of non-active EU migrants (79%) live in economically active households” – these groups are part of the so-called 611 thousand migrants not active. It is good that children of migrant families study, it is good that when they reach retirement age they can retire. Further, the inactivity rate (via ONS) is higher for British Nationals (43 per cent) compared to 30 per cent for EU Nationals.

5. “Evidence shows that the vast majority of migrants move to find (or take up) employment … Countries such as Spain and Ireland have seen a decline in intra-EU inward migration, whereas flows to countries such as Austria, Denmark and Germany have increased”.

6. The research “found little evidence in the literature and stakeholder consultations to suggest that the main motivation of EU citizens to migrate and reside in a different Member State is benefit-related as opposed to work or family-related … immigrants are not more intensive users of welfare than nationals”. Please re-read.

7. “In relation to special non-contributory cash benefits (SNCBs), the study shows that EU migrants account for a very small share of SNCBs beneficiaries” – Please re-read.

8. “the expenditures associated with healthcare provided to non-active EU migrants are very small relative to the size of total health spending in or the size of the economy of the host countries. Estimated median values are 0.2 % of the total health spending and 0.01% of GDP” – tiny – Please re-read carefuly.

And their capstone conclusion, just in case you didn’t really get the message:

Overall, it can be concluded that the share of non-active intra-EU migrants is very small, they account for a similarly limited share of SNCB recipients and the budgetary impact of such claims on national welfare budgets is very low. The same is true for costs associated with the take-up of healthcare by this group. Employment remains the key driver for intra-EU migration and activity rates among such migrants have indeed increased over the last 7 years.


I will soon be outlining Divide and Conquer strategy Part 3.

The whole thing is just really awful and we are dolts for falling for it.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2013 Bill Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Bill

    ‘sneaky Germans’

    It is unlikely there are 297 thousand Germans in the UK. Many tens of thousands of UK military have served in Germany since WWII. Families lived on UK bases in Germany children were born there almost all return to the UK. This may account for about half the 297 thousand.

    The right wing press in the UK have never needed facts to work up immigration scare stories.

  2. “Evidence shows that the vast majority of migrants move to find (or take up) employment ”

    That’s the problem with remaining in an open-border EU when you are looking at a Job Guarantee.

    Given the scorched earth policies in Europe, you would get a stream of people coming to the UK that had a Job Guarantee in place. And that would overload the public infrastructure. It would have to be slowed down.

    The whole problem with the design of the EU, and most neo-liberal architectures, is that they make the worker do the uprooting and wandering around the place rather than the businesses. Forcing people to become economic migrants is how the design expects the system to iron out discrepancies. We are trying to create a continent of pikeys.

    In a modern world with increasing population densities we really need policies that encourage people to stay where they are and that allow, and if necessary require, businesses to move to where the workers are. What is stopping that is a reliable distributed income to the regions – something the Job Guarantee provides.

  3. Dear Bill

    The left has a blind spot about immigration because of its traditional internationalism, or rather, its anti-nationalism. The truth of the matter is that the natural enemies of wage-earners in high-wage countries are the wage-earners in low-wage countries, just as there is a natural alliance between capitalists in high-wage countries and wage-earners in low-wage countries. Why do you think that the WSJ favors a constitutional amendment that mandates open borders? Are they motivated by internationalist sentiment or noble feelings of human brotherhood? No, they would like to flood to US with immigrants so that wages can be competed down by immigrants. A party in a high-wage country that defends the interests of the wage-earning class in that country should advocate severe immigration restrictions, especially of low-skilled labor. This should be obvious, but dogma can blind people to the obvious, and the dogma in this case is the leftist dogma that nationalism is wrong and that all wage-earners everywhere have the same interests. Just not so.

    Australia has about 20 million people and Indonesia about 240 million. What would happen if Australia were to adopt a policy of totally free immigration for all Indonesians? Suppose that as a result of this policy, 10% of Indonesians would settle in Australia in a fairly short time. Would that be beneficial to the masses in Australia? Certainly not, but it would be good for a lot of the members of the propertied classes. Mass immigration is always bad for the masses, but often good for rulers and owners. Kings want more subjects, aristocrats want more peasants, capitalists want more workers and customers, landlords want more tenants. As Alfred Sauvy put it once, the ideal number of cows in a meadow is not the same from the point of view of the cows as it is from the point of view of the cow farmer. If you are on the side of the cows, you should advocate restrictions on immigration.

    The essence of nationalism is not xenophobia but Eigen Volk Eerst = our own people first, the slogan of Vlaams Belang. Just as parents who favor their own children above the children of other parents are not unethical, so favoring members of one’s own tribe above members of other tribes is not unethical. Solidarity among people of the same kind is much more likely than among people who have little in common with each other. Diversity undermines solidarity. If rich Swedes are willing to pay high taxes for the benefit of poorer Swedes, does it follow that they are also willing to the same for the whole world? The welfare state works much better in a homogeneous country.

    The more diversity there is within a country, the more identity politics will drive out class politics. The state of Mississippi is an instructive example of that. Almost 100% of the blacks in Mississippi vote for the Democrats and almost 90% of the whites in that state for the Republicans. Just think about that for a minute. Almost 90% of the whites in the poorest state in the US vote for a plutocratic party! If the US were racially homogeneous, do you think that 90% of whites in Mississippi would vote for the Republicans, a party committed to making the rich richer? If you want to help the plutocrats, create more diversity.

    It is true that many advocates of immigration restriction are bigots and vastly exaggerate the problems caused by immigration. However, between exaggeration and denial, there should be room for some rational middle-ground. Opposition to immigration is not the same as hostility to immigrants. As long as leftists refuse to admit that mass immigration is not beneficial for the masses, we can be sure that parties like the French Front National will not lack supporters, the vast majority of whom are ordinary wage-earners. As one French leftist put it, the first party of the French working class is now l’abstention and their second party is Le Front National. As long as the French left continues to say that France needs more immigrants and that diversity is just wonderful, we can be sure that this won’t change.

    Regards. James

  4. Bill,
    When are we going to switch, permanently, to more consistent semantics?

    Wouldn’t the following read much better?

    “The existence of [increased public self-investment] causes uncertainty among private firms who are then reluctant to invest because they fear higher tax rates to pay back the deficit?”

    That frames the supposition consistently from the start, and puts the burden on the reader to follow the logic, not just the distracting semantics.

  5. oops, better yet

    “Increased public self-investment causes citizen uncertainty and reluctance to invest for fear of higher tax rates?”

    framed this or similar ways, more citizens will question the premise;
    this keeps coming back to the difference between conceptualizing and communicating, and the uncertainty in guaranteeing fidelity between intended and interpreted signals

    In numeric coding, this is routinely done by bitwise verification. The uncertainty in public communication, unfortunately, grows with audience diversification, and the conflicting demands of higher tempo vs defining-terms increases as a function of population size and semantic drift. Compared to other disciplines, policy discussion mostly ignores this critical issue.

    Yet we neglect communication fidelity to our detriment.

    Why on earth is such a fundamental topic SO systemically ignored?

  6. This is like recruiting priests to atheism by constantly telling them that there is no God, there is no Devil, there is no Heaven, and that they won’t go to Hell.

    At the end of the day, we’ve only imprinted people with the very – semantically incorrect – terms which we’ve asked them to quit using!

    Instead of reinforcing the misleading semantics by repeatedly endorsing their use, don’t we have to CEASE, FOREVER, the habit of checking for audience comprehension AFTER THE FACT? That concept is an axiom of statistical process control.* When it comes to communication, an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of correction? There’s tremendous hysteresis in communication loops. Once an audience is distracted, it takes twice as much effort to get ’em back on an adaptive track.

    Is it so difficult to switch to some version of the following?

    “Increased public self-investment causes citizen uncertainty and reluctance to invest for fear of higher tax rates?”

    That frames the supposition consistently from the start, and puts the burden on the reader to follow the logic, not just the distracting semantics. As all propagandists do, this technique pre-loads the supposition, but selects to do so in a group ADAPTIVE direction, not just one advantageous to the propagandist.

    We always have to fight communication tactics with communication tactics. Just smooth the path for audiences to agree, and make it harder for them to DISAGREE.

    When framed this or similar ways, more citizens will question the faulty premise we’re trying to dislodge from their minds.

    Our entire dilemma keeps coming back to the difference between conceptualizing and communicating, and the uncertainty in guaranteeing fidelity between intended and interpreted signals

    In numeric coding, this is routinely done by techniques such as bitwise verification. The uncertainty in public communication, unfortunately, grows with audience diversification, and the conflicting demands of higher tempo vs defining-terms only increases as a function of population size and semantic drift. Yet, compared to other disciplines, policy discussion mostly ignores this critical issue.

    Yet we neglect communication fidelity to our detriment.

    The Tyranny of Words.

    Why on earth is such a fundamental topic SO systemically ignored? The problem was recognized and discussed at length by one of FDRs BrainTrust members, based on his experiences during the 1930s. Why on earth has his message been ignored as well as well as the concept of fiat currency?

    What good is a tool if we ignore methods for explaining tool and tool-use to citizens?

  7. Roger,
    While I agree with you concerning communication fidelity, Bill is making mistakes because he is trying to get as much down as possible while doing it often on the hop and under incredible time constraints. I am not sucking up to Bill. This is just reality. I am sure he would agree with you about communication fidelity.

  8. Australia is an arid continent with ancient impoverished soils. We can’t support,over the longer term,any higher population than we have at present.In fact,some eminent scientists have stated that our sustainable population is about half the present level.
    Immigration,whether legal or illegal, is the primary driver of population growth in Australia. Immigration should be stopped,full stop.
    In addition,Earth is full (of people).In fact drastically overfull.The time of large scale migration has ceased.
    If you believe that war and lethal social strife are a desireable state of affairs then migration and insane breeding are an excellent way to get your wish.

    No matter how bleeding goodness your heart is,no matter how you love to disparage those who speak up against immigration and mindless population growth, no matter how much you love the ethnic minority ghettos which have sprung up like poisonous mushrooms, no matter how much money you make out of population increase, the fact is that Australian national interest take precedence over all these selfish,arrogant and ignorant concerns.

    If native Australians won’t look after this country,who the hell will? Not your precious “asylum seekers” that’s for sure.

    To all those comfortable latte sippers – get off your fat, useless backsides, get out of the cities and learn what this land is really like.

  9. Podargus,

    Valid point, however, if the global population is a huge problem (and i believe immediate global encouragement of a one-child family unit is desperately needed), then how does preventing human life from flourishing in any way, shape or form if they are from abroad supposed to help solve the problem? NOBODY, not you, not me, not any poor soul from war torn countries ASKED for this life, it was thrust upon us, and we merely have to make the best of what’s available. Given our collective intelligence, we’re REALLY not even within a sniff of that goal. Oppression of those who didn’t win the genetic / geographic lottery is babaric and arcane no matter what unfortunate realities will follow by giving them the same rights we expect for ourselves.

    Global effort is needed, shuffling units of the puzzle around from continent to continent or not isn’t going to solve anything, ever. Peace.

  10. Podargus,

    It’s none of my business nor do I have any standing, as an American, to comment. But your post is unfair to Bill. He doesn’t argue for free immigration or any immigration (at least not here). He’s just arguing against the demonization and ill-treatment of detained immigrants – who very often really are victims. Desperate souls driven to take desperate chances.

    Again, it is my own barbaric country that has done the most to drive these global trends, and done the least to contribute to solutions. I’m not pointing fingers. But fair is fair.


  11. Roger,

    It’s the conservative economists (as Bill said) who are fixated on this Ricardian Equivalence nonsense, the fear of higher taxes to pay back the deficit.

    The broader audience whose understanding might benefit from having the Biblical associations stripped away from the term “deficit” and replaced by a term such as “increased public self-investment” don’t seem to respond as conservative dogma claims.

    That’s the context of Bill’s opening remarks.

    In a broader context, it might be better if we could positively re-frame a term such as “deficit”, but once you’ve got your head around MMT, well, you should understand precisely what a deficit is. That is, another macroeconomics paradox.

  12. podargus,

    It depends who you believe as to immigration figures. The Austrailian government estimates circa 60,000. Aboriginal sources put the numer nearer twenty two and a half million of the bastards.

    And, seeing as you are so concerned about global population, why don’t you pop off and top yourself, that’s one less. Or did you not have yourself in mind when you speak of excess population?

    Strangely chaps like you never do.

  13. Podargus –
    Australia is a partly arid continent with ancient impoverished soils in many areas, but soils can be improved in an environmentally sustainable way. We can’t support,over the longer term,any higher population than we have at present if we continue to disregard environmental requirements. In fact,some eminent scientists have stated that our sustainable population is about half the present level and if current wasteful practices continue then they may be right. But if we make an effort then we can easily support a much higher population while still maintaining a high standard of living.

  14. Podgarus,
    Like bill40, whenever this alarming viewpoint is presented I think , go ahead: you and your family first. Raising living standards seems to be a more humane and effective way of population control and it certainly works in the first world (where they will happily wail about ‘demographic timebombs’ etc).
    As for resource useage crises, once a country has developed, it already has most of ther houses, roads and sewage it will ever need and maintenance is the main concern.
    If people had sufficient income to do less and spend more time sipping lattes, I think we can continue to grow enough coffee beans.

  15. the indigenous population of Europe has been falling for sometime
    the swedes in commendable fashion some time ago launched ” a fuck for Sweden campaign”
    of course immigration into Europe has made such demographic worries unfounded
    the point is the world population crisis is easily resolved without 1 child policies
    that is not saying that it will be resolved
    our capacity as a species to avoid progress is the stuff of legend
    but the solution is clear
    give women educational career and contraceptive opportunities and they will not desire large families
    if male dependence and control culturally as well as economically is weakened
    then we may have to result to Scandinavian frankness to maintain population levels!
    on another note delighted to agree wholeheartedly with Neil Wilson on the incompatibility
    of the EU as it stands and the ability for any sovereign nation to use its monetary power to
    optimize the public purpose whether in euro or not
    the frankly depressing undermining of wage share of GDP ( and increasing inequality of that share)
    as bill has again highlighted in this weeks blog lies at the heart of the devolved worlds economic crisis
    the weakness of aggregate demand,private debt growth generally and subprime particularly
    the EU combination of free flow of labour and legally binding government deficit targets
    are a neo liberal wet dream

  16. Looks like I’ve stirred up the troglodytes.

    Who could have known that they even knew of the existence of this site?

  17. It might be the most simple of ideas but even if a policy of low immigration and refugee acceptance were aligned with proportional trade restrictions (or vice versa, free trade = free immigration) then politically NOBODY should be at a loss to understand the reason for it, unless the populace is genuinely that mean and/or stupid.

  18. @jeff everitt- Judging from your 2 posts on this thread you are certainly not a troglodyte in that you are at least conscious of the problem. Unfortunately you,like many of similar views,have little to no idea of the scale of the problem nor the necessity for prompt and effective action to address it.
    The problem of excessive population, along with the related issues of energy and environment, are not now amenable to gentle actions which cater to the delicate scruples of people who have ideological preconceptions.Religion comes under the heading of ideology.
    It is far too late for half measures.

    I am 65 years of age and I have been environmentally conscious since I was 15. It has been a long learning process which is continuing. I have been conscious of the population problem for at least 10 years and I have been a member of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) for much of that time. I have also been a member of the Australian Greens and the Stable Population Party. I am no longer a member of either of these parties because thay contain a large number of people like you. As a result they are ineffective and will forever be pitiful voices crying in a wilderness of ignorance,stupidity and selfishness.

    For the present,mainly out of hope, I intend to remain a member of the SPA even though they suffer from the same disease – they have a website.Check it out if you haven’t already done so.

    Finally,I don’t normally indulge in blogosphere duels. I only made my initial comment because I am getting fed up with the increasing use by Bill Mitchell of his blog to promote off with the pixies ideas about illegal immigrants and a few other loony left outlooks.
    I have a great deal of respect for MMT and Bill’s promotion of it as well as his concern for the damage being done by the current economic paradigms.
    However,I believe that he is bringing his laudable MMT and related objectives into disrepute by advocating loony left views.I would say the same if he was advocating loony right views.

    Anyway,it is Bill’s blog and he can do what he likes with it. As far as I am concerned this “conversation” is closed.

  19. Dear Podargus (at 2013/10/20 at 9:00)

    Among other things you said:

    I am getting fed up with the increasing use by Bill Mitchell of his blog to promote off with the pixies ideas about illegal immigrants …

    It seems you have been sucked into the neo-liberal line on this issue. The facts are that the people we are putting in prison (including their young children) are not ILLEGALS.

    That is the conservative myth that frames the debate in their favour of locking innocent (and highly disadvantaged) people up. The refugees have done nothing illegal in trying to come here by boat.

    It is interesting that, however progressive you frame yourself (and distance yourself from the “loony left”), you are closer to the extreme right than you would think.

    Just this morning this issue was addressed in the Sydney Morning Herald article – “Minister wants boat people called illegals”

    I will also take no more comments on the refugee issue.

    best wishes

  20. When it comes to splitting hairs, it’s all about world view. I don’t know how it is that we’re even here, let alone how we haven’t gone extinct yet. I take nothing for granted, yet I am compelled by some implicit empathy to view survival and prosperity for my human counterparts and, to a slightly lesser extent, the biosphere which supports ALL life, as my personal number one priority. However, I don’t hold out hope for human beings as a species, and one day we will be no more. That may be because we overpopulate or cook the biosphere or because we get smacked out of orbit by a giant floating space rock and freeze to death. I don’t dare play the master of life role and suggest that I could tell you why I deserve land & title and status and an oversized share of resources and that somebody else does not. Capitalism is supposed to give us a way to unemotionally deal with that problem but the matter of private property won hundreds of years ago by bloodshed causes me to stand firmly (from my comfortable middle class suburban seat) against it as being “fair”.

    /end rant.

  21. ” a fuck for Sweden campaign”

    Never heard of it and I’ve lived in Sweden all my life. Perhaps it would have pushed me to to create 0,1 % more kids, to fully have done my part.

  22. This is a remarkable article from one of the brightest economists around today. It is remarkable for how clearly it describes the purpose of “austerity”. But it is also remarkable the cognitive dissonance of someone unable to renounce Enlightenment and liberal misconceptions about human behavior, i.e. the tabula rasa myth, individualism, and all that.

    How can someone so smart, who lives in such a fragile place with a finite carrying capacity, honestly believe immigration is not a threat? How can someone so smart not see how insane it is that ONLY white countries allow this kind of immigration, and that the hypocrisy of this can only be explained due to malevolence?

    Why doesn’t Billy call for unrestricted immigration to the whole of the world? Why not Japan? Or Israel?

    This, ultimately, is why the left is crumbling. They cannot face the realities of genetic science, and their commitment to equality allows them to be easily undermined with mass immigration. At the end of the day, Billy cares more about his obviously false belief in equality MORE than he does a stable, prosperous society that honors his ancestors and will benefit his descendents. Why he devotes so much time to his study is a mystery. Who will benefit? Indonesians?


  23. hey Ben

    I’m an immigrant to Australia and I’m guessing you’d have no problem with me. Guess why?

    That’s all there is to say to both you and podargus and this kind of discussion has no place on Bill’s blog.

  24. It is true that immigrant do not claim benefits and that they are generally hard workers.
    Here in the UK, Eastern European Foreign labour has saturated the low wage job market and suppressed wages.This has been a disaster for local working people.Leftist like myself believe in a social contract where the economic surplus is shared to ensure decent living standards,not importing cheap foreign labour leading to massive losses for labour and an erosion of lving standards

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