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Exodus by Paul Collier – my political book of the year

1 January 2014

Paul Collier is an Oxford economist specialising in the poorest African economies, and the striking thing about his important book on migration, Exodus, is that his focus is largely on the effects on the countries the migrants leave behind. We’re so self-obsessed when it comes to the issue that we forget that emigration may not be in the interests of immigrants’ countries of origin – and no, remittances don’t really compensate. The critical thing is that it is the ablest and most prosperous who manage to bail out of poor countries – and our confused notion that we should take as many immigrants as possible in order to be nice to impoverished states is, he makes clear, pretty well the opposite of reality.

As for us, he points out that large scale immigration – and bear in mind that over a million people came to the UK in the two years to June – has a depressing effect on the host countries too, diminishing the amount of trust between individuals and within communities. Indeed, for an economist, the nice thing about the book is that he isn’t obsessed with economic outcomes. He’s also very keen for prosperous countries to take in those fleeing from conflicts, and those seeking further education – with the proviso that they’re sent home afterwards. This is the book that made migration discussable for liberals – and everyone else.

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  • the likes of us

    I purchased the book after reading about it in one of Ed West’s columns. To me, the book appears to have many contradictions relating to the economic impact of immigration. The book is really just common sense dressed up as academic analysis.

  • Whyshouldihavetoregister

    I gave up about 20 pages in, having read that Enoch Powell was a minor, forgotten politician, and that the Arab Spring (‘as I write this’) was going to be a super-duper democratic sweep through the Middle East. If I want bullshit, I can get it from a bull.

  • Agrippina

    Just to add to the issue of integration Wensley Fold, C of E school, Blackburn with 85% non Eng speakers, is going to permit a 2 week half term Oct 2014 to enable the religion of peace folks to travel to Pakistan, as the temps are lower then.

    So it goes on, how about travelling at Christmas/Easter temps lower then, it is easy to see why resentment builds up.This is the fault of Brit local auths bending over backwards for everyone else.

    How about permanently staying over in faraway land and educating the youngsters there.

    Keep voting for the same politicos and you get the same results.

  • tolpuddle1

    A bit late – once a catastrophe has occurred – for people to start putting their heads above the parapet to state the obvious; that massive, virtually unrestricted immigration to a tiny, densely-populated country (dependent on food imports) like Britain, was always going to end in tears.

  • Riz

    There you go again Melanie- continuing to harp on about flows of humans between countries. You need to be more optimistic and get out more. If not, at this rate, you’ll end up like your name sake doom merchant Ms Phillips.

    • tolpuddle1

      Please – why don’t you get out more – and see this country and its society collapsing ?

      But as long as you’re happy in your bubble !

  • Agrippina

    Tonight at 8pm Radio4 are broadcasting a discussion between Prof Collier and David Goodhart at Birmingham Uni. It may be interesting as BBC will do there best to portray immigration as all being positive.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yes, good point. I haven’t heard one in the general media either. You either get the isolated “outrage” story about the Iraqi mother with ten children living in a Kensington mansion or you get the sort of stuff you describe.

      Any proper debate will:

      1. Recognise the link between massive and unprecedented population growth over the last 10 years or so and previous mass immigration.

      2. Include all the real cost of immigration including FGM clinics, over-representation in prisons, the counter terrorism costs, the added welfare burden (some immigrant communities have 40% unemployment among males!).

      3. Recognise that you can’t just redesignate an immigrant as a UK citizen when it comes to a cost-benefit analysis.

      4. Look at what really goes on in some immigrant communities that have parallel courts and a parallel education system.

      5. Examine how much of our unemployment – particularly youth unemployment – is due to mass immigration.

      • Agrippina

        Which is why Prof Collier states that temp asylum should be offered to those fleeing genuine persecution, (not the economic migrants) but when peace returns, those folks should be sent back to rebuild their homelands. That is the part that the govts here have just not grasped.

        Those folks then continue in the way you describe above, that is, recreate the very same ‘home environment’ they left behind ‘ a ghetto’ for want of a better term.

        The UKBA never actually manage to see anyone off either, but that is another story. Bottom line is ‘family life’ the most overused app for staying here should be discounted as ‘family life’ can be pursued in faraway land, even if childen have been born here they follow the parents.

    • Terry Field

      These observations are typical of the Goebbels type social management through increasingly raw propaganda that – plainly – we are all clearly aware of.
      The Home Office and other dangerous government entities have mandates to manage thought – they even crow about it on ministerial tele-screens in their Croydon foyers.
      The TV media are a primary mechanism to foist distortions of truths on the general public. You witnessed just one more of these anti-democratic abominations.
      The reason you have seen no rational discussions on immigration – they are severely proscribed by the government that controls you and what you think,

  • Newcombe

    Our birthrate is falling dramatically; our young, talented and able bodied youngsters are leaving these shores in their droves, those who are left behind are older generation, living longer and needing more and more state help.

    If we want our ponzi scheme (otherwise known as state pension scheme and welfare system) to continue, we’ll need increasing numbers of immigratnts to fill the gap.

    So the only choices are: get rid of state pension/welfare state, leave UK while you’re still young, die early or put up and shut up.

    Having said that and agreeing that we’ll need more immigrants to close the state funding gap, what I don’t understand is why do we have to grant citizenship to everyone who comes here to work. Why can’t we have a system like they have in many ME countries where the entire region’s economy is dependant on immigrant workers, but none of them ever gets to stay there permanently – once the job is done they go home. This stops the vicious cycle of needing ever larger numbers of migrants to fill the ever larger welfare/pension deficit.

    Granting citizenship to all third world migrants who come here with their extended families and mutiple wives, combined with our own kids leaving and our decreasing birthrate will untimately lead to this country becoming totally filled up my people from the third world. We’d cease to be a European nation – that to me is the issue we should be addressing.

    • Alexsandr

      your argument falls down because many immigrants dont have a positive effect on the economy once yuu take into accoutn benefits, health care, policing, remittances home. If you take the view that an immigrant comeing takes a job from an indigenous who therefore goes on benefits, then the cost is higher.
      This ‘immigrants benefit the economy’ line needs proper analysis.

      • Newcombe

        Forgive me, I agree immigrants do not add to the economy per se. They most probably add to the net cost. However, the argument that we need more people in work than those dependant on pension/welfare deficit is a sound one. I think I read somewhere that a just a couple of decades ago the ration was for every one on pension/welfare, we had four in work, now it is evens, ie. just as many retired and on benefits as there are working.

        What do you think of my argument about not granting citizenship to eveyone?

        • Alexsandr

          but if they don’t make a net contribution, how are they helping to pay for the elderly?
          and remittances home are particularly bad. because we need money to go round and round. if its sucked out then it really doesn’t help.

          • Newcombe

            This is where the politicians have got it wrong. They’ve not controlled the quality of immigrants, they’ve basically let everyone come in, including their wives and kids which, instead of helping the situation, has exacerbated the problem.

            • Alexsandr

              well yes…

        • Daniel Maris

          There is an argument for allowing some strict “guest worker” contracts with strict return home conditions including signed agreements, booked return tickets and maybe a financial incentive to return.

          However, I don’t think with 2.5 million unemployed that we really have a crisis in terms of the labour force. What we have is a skills, motivation and competition (from an endless supply of cheap foreign labour) crisis.

          If we regained our sovereignty and reformed the welfare system so all young people were guaranteed gainful employment, while also being required to support themselves, we could begin to rebalance our economy without needing to import foreign labour.

          A lot of things would naturally rebalance in any case. If you raised the minimum wage and restricted mass immigration, coffee in coffee shops would be become more expensive. Customers would either visit coffee shops less often (is that a national tragedy?) or maybe cut down on the foodstuffs they buy when they go to a coffee shop.

  • Alexsandr

    one of the sad by-products of the NHS failing to train doctors and nurses here is to suck them from countries that badly need them. Is having graduates from Poland doing menial work in the UK in the best interests of anyone. Do we have a right to run our health and care sector using people from countries that need those doctors, nurses and carers?
    Still if we have a doctor from Romania picking sprouts in fields for minimum wage keeping the cost of food in tesco down, then thats good insn’t it?

    • Framer

      The sad thing is the government has agreed to cut back the numbers of new doctors being trained in the belief that we produce too many at the same time as we import thousands annually.

  • Daniel Maris

    It’s a sad reflection that you, and other commentators, feel you need the permission of an Oxford economist to speak out against the obvious damage being done to this country by mass immigration. It was a dereliction of duty not to speak out about this when changes might have been effected.

    As it is, we are now being sucked into the vortex of a crisis by mass immigration (and resultant population growth) which is manifesting itself in the dire housing shortage, the culture wars over Sharia, massive youth unemployment (much of it disguised by the government), the cost of living crisis and pressure on a range of public services.

    We need to slam on the brakes and execute a U Turn : stop mass immigration, reform welfare to discourage population growth and reorientate the economy towards manufacturing, energy independence, jobs and real wealth – not bank profits, ever bigger airports, cheap foreign labour and reliance on imported manufactures. On the social front we need to outlaw application of Sharia, make conspiracy to introduce Sharia in the UK a serious criminal offence, subject Sharia schools to inspection, prosecute widely on FGM, bring in rules on values and language competence for all new immigrants, link citizenship awards to abiding by the law and ensure that gender equality is taken seriously.

  • swatnan

    The West has always been greedy at aquisition of talent from the developing countries, leaving them compeltelydepleted of talent. Therefore the West has to cut down on siphoning off the cream. OK allow the cream to get experience and training here, on condition they return within 5 years.

    • HenryWood

      What “talent” is there amongst all those Poles/Roma etc., who according to the Met Police in recent reports were responsible for so many crimes? Whoever in London (Parliament) decided to siphon off that “cream” had his siphon the wrong way round, totally missing the cream and sucking in all the dross.

      • swatnan

        Its amazing the talent coming in Britain, a lot of young preople with degrees doing menial jobs here, because there simply aren’t the jobs for them or the money in their native homeland.
        The trash you see hanging around and begging or stealing in the West End etc is not a true representation of the majority of hardworking E Europeans. Unfortunately we have our own ‘trash’ here who believes the State owes them a living. But thats another story.

        • HenryWood

          I mostly agree with your points but your initial post mentioned we had to “cut down on siphoning off the cream”. Might I suggest that absolutely no siphoning took place: instead of a selective siphon tube the dam was simply opened wide and we now see the results.

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