Western North Carolina University

WCU ENGAGE

A Conversation with Jorge Majfud

Date and Time

Thursday, January 31 2019 at 5:30 PM EST to

Thursday, January 31 2019 at 7:00 PM EST

Location

UC Theater

Description

Visiting scholar, Dr. Jorge Majfud, will discuss different topics: immigration, race, the role of the humanities and intellectuals in the public sphere, etc. Dr. Majfud is Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American Literature & International Studies at Jacksonville University, Florida.

Q&A to follow the event

Hosts: Department of World Languages; LatinXProgram; Humanities Initiative; Campus Theme: Defining America

 

 

Anuncios

Immigration, History, Politics, and the Latino Vote

2019 Lectures

 

wnc_2019

IMMIGRATION AND THE LATINO VOTE 

January 30, 2019 4:30 pm McKee 113 

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WCU Humanities Initiative

WCU welcomes Uruguayan-American scholar and author Jorge Majfud. 

In the first event, Dr. Majfud will join Dr. Benjamin Francis-Fallon (WCU History) in a panel about Immigration and the evolution of the Latino Voting Bloc in the US. 

Join us also the following day, when Dr. Majfud will engage in a dialogue with Dr. Alberto Centeno-Pulido (WCU World Languages) about immigration, racism, and the role of intellectuals in the public sphere as explorers of the human experience.

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For more information, contact Alberto Centeno-Pulido at acentenopulido@wcu.edu

 

 

  

Mythes de base sur l’immigration

A day without immigrants, May 1, 2006. Descrip...

A day without immigrants, May 1, 2006.

Mitos fundamentales sobre la inmigración (Spanish) 

Cinq mythes de base sur l’immigration : déconstruction

Jorge Majfud

Translated by  Alain Caillat-Grenier

Edited by  Fausto Giudice فاوستو جيوديشي

Dans la plupart des pays et à travers différentes époques, les classes les plus conservatrices se sont toujours situées aux extrémités de la pyramide sociale. Aux USA la rhétorique conservatrice s’est employée à capter une partie des couches les plus basses de la société, non pas en diminuant les impôts des riches (pour cela, il y a l’idéologie du “trickle down”*) mais en créant le démon de l’immigrant illégal. Rien de plus efficace pour canaliser les frustrations des populations défavorisées, que de fabriquer  des ennemis tribaux au sein même de leur classe sociale.

Ainsi, en Arizona et en Géorgie, des lois ont été votées qui criminalisent “les sans-papiers”, incitant de nombreux travailleurs “illégaux” à fuir d’un État à l’autre. Cela a entraîné chez les petits et moyens entrepreneurs une pénurie de main d’œuvre, notamment dans les secteurs de la construction et surtout de l’agriculture où l’on manque de bras pour les récoltes. Sur la seule côte ouest, plus de cent mille emplois de travailleurs agricoles saisonniers pour les récoltes n’ont pas trouvé preneurs. Bien sûr, il faut travailler sans climatisation !

De nombreuses études (ex. Damian Stanley et Peter Sokol-Hessner, NYU; Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard Univ., etc..) ont démontré que la peur de l’autre est préhistorique et que la présentation d’images de différents faciès provoque des réactions négatives, même chez l’individu le plus pacifique.

 Cependant, ceux d’entre nous qui croient en l’existence d’une certaine évolution chez l’être humain, ne se feront pas les chantres d’un comportement millénaire au seul prétexte qu’il est millénaire. Nous concevons que l’amour, la haine, la peur ou la solidarité sont des émotions irréductibles, non quantifiables par principe ou définition et vraisemblablement immanentes à tous les êtres humains au cours de l’histoire. Mais cette persistance ne devrait en principe pas se retrouver dans les formes sous lesquelles les individus et les sociétés établissent des relations pour se développer et évoluer.

 Si la notion de progrès historique n’est pas forcément intrinsèque à chacun de nous (un Tibétain du Ve siècle pouvait être socialement et moralement plus évolué que certains individus vivant aujourd’hui à Río ou à Philadelphie), nous pouvons en revanche espérer que ce progrès existe dans une société qui se donne la capacité de mettre à profit sa propre expérience historique et celle acquise hors de sa structure sociale. Si le mensonge, l’exploitation, les hiérarchies sociales et politiques se retrouvent chez les primates (Frans de Waal, etc..), ce n’est pas l’indice que ces structures (culturelles) ne peuvent pas être dépassées, mais exactement le contraire, si l’on s’attache à distinguer ce qui différencie les hommes de l’orang-outang.

Dans la problématique de l’immigration, ces éléments primitifs jouent inévitablement, bien que maquillés par des rhétoriques chargées de préceptes idéologiques dépourvus de la moindre rationalité. Par conséquent ce sont des mythes, des croyances indiscutables (donc, des réalités), qui dans des groupes déterminés, font l’objet de  réitérations, surtout médiatiques.

Mythe I : Les immigrés font monter la criminalité

Faux. Diverses études de différentes universités (Robert Sampson, Harvard University; Daniel Mears, Floride State University; ; Public Policy Institute of California , PPIC, etc..) ont clairement démontré qu’une augmentation de l’immigration est suivie d’une baisse de la criminalité. On a également observé que la première génération d’immigrés est moins encline à la violence que la troisième et ce malgré les grandes difficultés économiques auxquelles cette première génération a généralement été exposée. Concernant l’immigration latine, il peut sembler paradoxal que son niveau de violence soit inversement proportionnel à la violence brutale rencontrée dans les sociétés dont sont originaires ces immigrants. Mais cette contradiction apparente est évidemment très facilement explicable.

Mythe II: Les immigrés prennent le travail des nationaux

Faux. Dans tous les pays du monde on a toujours eu recours à une minorité fragilisée pour évacuer  toutes les frustrations engendrées par les crises. Aux USA certains chômeurs peuvent accuser les immigrants illégaux de prendre leur travail; ce comportement démontre une faible capacité d’analyse, si ce n’est de la mauvaise foi : il est en effet préférable de rester chez soi ou d’aller dans un restaurant avec l’argent de l’État, plutôt que de travailler à des tâches ingrates, que seuls les pauvres (les riches n’émigrent pas) immigrants acceptent d’effectuer.

Les immigrés les plus pauvres ne parlent pas anglais (parfois, les Mexicains et les habitants de l’Amérique centrale ne parlent même pas espagnol), ne connaissent pas les lois, n’ont pas de papiers pour travailler, ils sont poursuivis ou vivent en se cachant et malgré cela, ils obtiennent du travail au détriment des “pauvres américains”. Comment font-ils ?

Des études sérieuses démontrent a contrario que l’immigration aide à créer de nouveaux emplois (Gianmarco Ottaviano, Università Bocconi, Italie; Giovanni Peri, University of California). Selon une étude du Pew Research Center, l’immigration illégale latino-américaine aux USA a chuté de 22 pour cent dans les trois dernières années, sans que cela entraîne une baisse du taux de chômage. En réalité, les immigrés sans papiers représentent annuellement à eux seuls plus d’un demi-million de consommateurs.

Mythe III. Les immigrants illégaux sont une charge car ils utilisent des services publics qu’ils ne payent pas

Faux. Tout citoyen au chômage ou gagnant moins de 18.000 dollars par an, bénéficie d’un accès gratuit à l’ensemble des services médicaux et à de nombreux autres services publics ou privés, comme le logement et les retraites. Les travailleurs sans papiers ne se présentent dans  un service de santé qu’en dernière instance (The American Journal of Public Health) et souvent ils paient pour les consultations et les traitements. Nombreux sont ceux qui  ne dénoncent même pas les vols et les abus dont ils sont victimes.

Aucun camionneur ne prétendrait réaliser des bénéfices avec son véhicule sans le faire réviser de temps à autre, mais beaucoup de citoyens utilisant les services de travailleurs sans papiers, espèrent que ceux-ci n’auront jamais recours à l’hôpital, alors qu’ils leur confient habituellement les travaux les plus dangereux et insalubres.

Selon l’Académie nationale des sciences des USA, les chiffres montrent que ces immigrants apportent à l’économie nationale plus qu’ils ne lui prennent. D’après l’économiste Benjamin Powell, ces travailleurs rapporteraient 22 milliards de dollars par an et leur légalisation augmenterait facilement ce chiffre.

Le principal facteur donnant l’avantage aux USA sur les autres économies développées (y compris la Chine émergente) réside dans son potentiel toujours important de jeunes travailleurs, lequel se maintient en grande partie grâce au taux élevé de natalité dans la population hispanophone et dans les populations immigrées en général, sans lesquelles des programmes comme le Social Securityseraient insoutenables dans un proche avenir.

Mythe IV. Les sans-papiers ne payent pas d’impôts

Faux. Les sans-papiers paient des impôts directs ou indirects, sous diverses formes. Selon les calculs effectués sur les dernières années, chaque immigrant illégal paie des milliers de dollars en impôts, beaucoup plus que nombre de citoyens inactifs. Au total, la Social Security reçoit plus de 9 milliards de dollars par an de ces contribuables, qui ne réclameront probablement jamais de remboursement sous forme de retraites ou autres avantages. Actuellement, des centaines de milliards de dollars sont fournis par des travailleurs fantômes (Eduardo Porter, New York Times; William Ford, Middle Tennessee State University; Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, New York University).

Mythe V. Les immigrants illégaux peuvent exercer  un pouvoir réel en tant que groupe

Faux. Les immigrants non naturalisés, surtout les illégaux, ne votent dans aucune élection. Dans beaucoup de cas ils ne peuvent même pas voter dans les élections de leurs pays d’origine, bien que les millions représentés par leurs transferts d’argent n’aient jamais été rejetés, ni méprisés.

Le slogan “latinos unidos” est une bonne affaire pour les grandes chaînes de médias hispanophones aux USA, mais cette union est très relative. Bien que les  “non hispaniques”, puissent avoir le sentiment de l’existence d’une “hispanité”, il ne fait aucun doute que les rivalités, les rancœurs et le chauvinisme sournois resurgissent dès que l’autre “non-hispanique”, disparaît de l’horizon tribal. De même, dans certains cas, les statuts légaux et idéologiques sont radicalement inconciliables. Il suffit de constater la différence de statut entre un travailleur mexicain illégal et un balsero (boat people) cubain en protégé par loi.

Note

La théorie du ruissellement (traduction de l’anglais “trickle down theory”) est une théorie économique d’inspiration libérale selon laquelle, sauf destruction ou thésaurisation (accumulation de monnaie), les revenus des individus les plus riches sont in fine réinjectés dans l’économie, soit par le biais de leur consommation, soit par celui de l’investissement (notamment via l’épargne), contribuant ainsi, directement ou indirectement, à l’activité économique générale et à l’emploi dans le reste de la société. Cette théorie est notamment avancée pour défendre l’idée que les réduction d’impôt y compris pour les hauts revenus ont un effet bénéfique pour l’économie globale. L’image utilisée est celle des cours d’eau qui ne s’accumulent pas au sommet d’une montagne mais ruissellent vers la base.(wikipedia)


Courtesy of Tlaxcala


Mitos fundamentales sobre la inmigración

Mythes de base sur l’immigration (French)


Seis mitos fundamentales sobre la inmigración

 

En casi todos los países y a lo largo de diferentes épocas, las clases más conservadoras han estado siempre en los extremos de la pirámide social. En Estados Unidos la retórica conservadora ha logrado captar parte de los sectores de los extractos más bajos de la sociedad, no recurriendo a liberar a los ricos de impuestos (para esto está la ideología del “trickle down”) sino creando el demonio del inmigrante ilegal. No hay nada mejor para canalizar las frustraciones de las clases más bajas que crear enemigos tribales dentro de la misma clase.

Así se han aprobando leyes como en Arizona y en Georgia, que criminalizan a “los sin papeles”, lo que ha provocado la fuga de muchos trabajadores indocumentados de un estado a otro. Como resultado, los pequeños y medianos empresarios del área de la construcción y sobre todo de la actividad agrícola se quejan que no hay brazos para levantar las cosechas. Solo en la costa oeste los puestos de recolectores sin ocupar superan los cientos de miles. Claro, hay que trabajar sin aire acondicionado.

Innumerables estudios (ej. Damian Stanley y Peter Sokol-Hessner, NYU; Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard Univ., etc.) han demostrado que el miedo al otro es prehistórico y provoca reacciones negativas hasta en la persona más pacífica cuando se le presentan diferentes imágenes de diferentes rostros. No obstante, aquellos que entendemos que existe cierto grado de evolución humana, no defendemos un rasgo milenario por el sólo hecho de ser milenario. Podemos asumir que el amor y el odio, el temor y la solidaridad, como lo sugieren las mayores obras de arte, son emociones irreductibles, no cuantificables por principio y definición, y seguramente inmanentes a todos los seres humanos a lo largo de la historia. Pero no las formas en que los individuos y las sociedades se relacionan para desarrollarse y evolucionar. Si no hay progreso histórico en cada individuo (cualquier tibetano del siglo V puede ser social y moralmente superior a un habitante contemporáneo de Rio o Filadelfia), en cambio podemos esperar que sí lo haya en una sociedad dada que es capaz de aprovechar la experiencia histórica, propia y ajena. Si en los primates existe la mentira, la explotación y las jerarquías sociales y políticas (Frans de Waal, etc.), ello no es un indicio de que estas estructuras (culturales) sean insuperables sino, a juzgar por las diferencias entre algunos hombres y un orangután, todo lo contrario. Al menos que los conservadores propongan a los monos como pruebas, no de una posible evolución sino de la imposibilidad de evolucionar.

En la problemática de la inmigración inevitablemente juegan estos elementos primitivos, aunque maquillados con retóricas cargadas de preceptos ideológicos sin una racionalidad mínima. Por lo tanto son mitos, creencias indiscutibles (es decir, realidades) para determinados grupos, producto de repeticiones, sobre todo mediáticas.

Más allá de que nunca apoyamos ni apoyaremos la opción de una inmigración ilegal, el punto central aquí es analizar la realidad instaurada.

 

Mito I: Con los inmigrantes aumenta la criminalidad

Falso. Diferentes estudios de diferentes universidades (Robert Sampson, Harvard University; Daniel Mears, Florida State University; Public Policy Institute of California, PPIC, etc.) han demostrado claramente que a un incremento de la inmigración sigue un descenso de la criminalidad. También se ha observado que sobre todo la primera generación de inmigrantes es menos propensa a la violencia que la tercera, muy a pesar de las mayores necesidades económica que suele sufrir la primera generación. La relación inversa entre violencia e inmigración latina, puede resultar paradójica, considerando la violencia brutal que existe en las sociedades de las que proceden estos inmigrantes. Paradoja que, como toda paradoja, es apenas una contradicción aparente con una lógica interna; obviamente, muy fácil de explicar.

Mito II: Los inmigrantes le quitan los trabajos a los nacionales

Falso. En todos los países del mundo siempre se ha buscado a alguna minoría débil para descargar todas las frustraciones de cada crisis. En Estados Unidos algunos desempleados se quejan de que los inmigrantes ilegales les quitan los trabajos, lo cual resulta una muestra de época inteligencia y probablemente de mala fe: es mejor quedare en casa o salir a comer a un restaurante con el dinero del Estado que ir a hacer trabajos duros que sólo aquellos inmigrantes pobres (los ricos no emigran) son capaces de hacer.

Los inmigrantes más pobres no hablan inglés (en ocasiones, los mexicanos y centroamericanos ni siquiera hablan español), no conocen las leyes, no tienen papeles para trabajar, son perseguidos o viven escondiéndose y aún así consiguen trabajos que los “pobres americanos” no pueden conseguir. ¿Cómo hacen?

Por el contrario, estudios serios demuestran que la inmigración ayuda a crear nuevos puestos de trabajo (Gianmarco Ottaviano, Università Bocconi, Italia; Giovanni Peri, University of California). Según un estudio de Pew Research Center, en los tres últimos años la inmigración ilegal latinoamericana a Estados Unidos ha caído 22 por ciento, sin que esto haya significado un descenso de la tasa de desempleo. De hecho, sólo los inmigrantes indocumentados aportan más de medio millón de consumidores al año.

Mito IV. Los inmigrantes ilegales son una carga porque usan servicios públicos que no pagan.

Falso. Cualquier ciudadano desocupado o que gane menos de 18.000 dólares anuales hace uso gratuito de cualquier servicio médico y de muchos otros servicios públicos y privados, como vivienda y pensiones. Los trabajadores sin papeles acuden a un servicio sanitario en última instancia (The American Journal of Public Health) y en muchos casos pagan por consultas y tratamientos. Muchos ni siquiera denuncian robos y abusos. Ningún camionero pretendería lucrar con su máquina sin llevarla alguna vez al mecánico, pero muchos ciudadanos que se benefician de los trabajadores indocumentados esperan que éstos nunca acudan a un hospital, a pesar de que los trabajos que hacen suelen ser los más peligrosos e insalubres.

Según la National Academy of the Sciences de Estados Unidos, los números muestran que estos inmigrantes aportan más de lo que toman de la economía nacional. Según el economista Benjamin Powell, estos trabajadores aportan 22 billones de dólares anuales y su legalización fácilmente aumentaría esa cifra.

En términos globales, el principal factor que pone en ventaja a Estados Unidos con respecto a las demás economías desarrolladas (incluida la emergente China) radica en su todavía alta tasa de trabajadores jóvenes, en gran medida debido a la alta tasa de natalidad entre la población hispana y a la inmigración misma, sin la cual programas como el Social Security serían insostenibles en un futuro cercano.

Mito V. Los indocumentados no pagan impuestos.

Falso. Los indocumentados pagan impuestos de muchas formas, directas o indirectas. Según cálculos de los últimos años, cada inmigrante ilegal paga miles de dólares en impuestos, mucho más que muchos ciudadanos inactivos. En total, el Social Security recibe más de 9 billones de dólares anuales de estos contribuyentes que probablemente nunca reclamarán ninguna devolución en forma de pensiones o beneficios. Actualmente hay cientos de billones de dólares aportados por trabajadores fantasmas (Eduardo Porter, New York Times; William Ford, Middle Tennessee State University; Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, New York University).

Mito VI: Los inmigrantes ilegales tienen poder corporativo.

Falso. Los inmigrantes no nacionalizados, sobre todo los ilegales, no votan en ninguna elección. En muchos casos ni siquiera pueden votar en las elecciones de sus países de origen, aunque sus millonarias remesas nunca han sido rechazadas ni despreciadas.

El slogan de “latinos unidos” es un buen negocio para las grandes cadenas de medios hispanos en Estados Unidos, pero esta unión es muy relativa. Aunque hay un sentimiento de “hispanidad” dentro de cualquier mundo “no hispano”, lo cierto es que las rivalidades, rencores y chauvinismos solapados surgen apenas “el otro no hispano” desaparece del horizonte tribal. También los estatus legales e ideológicos son, en casos, radicalmente inconciliables. Basta con considerar un trabajador mexicano ilegal y un balsero cubano, protegido por ley.

Jorge Majfud

majfud.org

Julio 2011, Jacksonville University

Gara (España)

Claridad (Puerto Rico)

Milenio , II (Mexico)

La Republica (Uruguay)

 

Jorge Majfud’s books at Amazon>>


 

 

Five Reasons to Embrace Migrants

A day without immigrants, May 1, 2006. Descrip...

A day without immigrants, May 1, 2006.

Professor Ian Goldin and Geoffrey Cameron argue in their recent book, “Exceptional People: How Immigration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future”, that in a more interconnected world than ever before, the number of people with the means and motivation to migrate will only increase. Here they set out some of the advantages that such dynamics will have for both receiving and sending countries and why the world should embrace migration.

1. Migrants are good for economies.

Migrants have been the engine of human progress throughout history. The movement of people has sparked innovation, spread ideas, relieved poverty and laid the foundations for all major civilizations and the global economy.

Globalization has increased the tendency for people to seek their fortunes outside their country of birth and the 21st century will give more people the means and reasons to move.

We should embrace this future because of the benefits it promises for sending countries, receiving countries and for migrants themselves.

The movement of people has fuelled the development of modern economies. Migrants promote innovation, connect markets, fill labor gaps, reduce poverty and enrich social diversity.

2. But what about the downside?

I am not blind to the significant costs and risks of greater migration, but in “Exceptional People” we show that societies have been too focused on the downsides of migration rather than the underestimated benefits.

We recognize that particular communities and groups of workers may be disadvantaged and justified in what they perceive as excessive migration and a threat to their employment and cultures.

Political leaders should confront this challenge by adopting a range of burden-sharing measures which seek to reduce the impact on any one community.

For example, migrants should be distributed across the European Union and the people of Malta and the Italian island of Lampedusa should not be made to absorb migrants simply arising from their proximity to North Africa.

Similarly, the local authority of Slough in the U.K. which happens to be near London’s Heathrow Airport, should be given extra resources to cope with an unusually high burden which migrants place on it.

A better understanding of the benefits and costs is required.  While the benefits are typically greater than the costs, they are often diffuse and appear in the medium term, while the costs may be local and immediate.  These must be acknowledged and addressed in order to convince the affected communities that more migration is in their interests.

Governments should focus their efforts on burden sharing and support for pressured local services, as well as ensuring that all migrants are legal, and have the associated rights and responsibilities.

Simply limiting numbers undermines short-term competitiveness and long-term growth and dynamism, and tends to result in a growing number of undocumented migrants, making everyone worse off in the longer term.

3. What are the economic benefits?

We show in “Exceptional People” that even modest increases in the levels of migration would produce significant gains for the global economy. Developing countries would benefit the most.

The World Bank estimates that increasing migration equal to 3% of the workforce in developed countries between 2005 and 2025 would generate global gains of $356 billion.

Completely opening borders, economists Kym Anderson and Bjorn Lomborg estimate, would produce gains as high as $39 trillion for the world economy over 25 years. These numbers compare with the $70 billion that is currently spent every year in overseas development assistance and the estimated gains of $104 billion from fully liberalizing international trade.

Two reliable ways to generate ideas and innovation in an economy are to increase the number of highly educated workers and to introduce diversity into the workplace. Both of these objectives are advanced through immigration, and the experience of countries like the U.S. bears out the bold propositions of this “new growth theory”.

According to Robert Putnam, immigrants have made up more than three times as many Nobel Laureates, National Academy of Science members and Academy Award film directors as have native-born Americans.

Migrants have been founders of firms like Google, Intel, PayPal, eBay, and Yahoo. More than a quarter of all global patent applications from the United States are filed by migrants, although they are only about 12% of the population.

By 2000, migrants accounted for 47% of the U.S. workforce with a science or an engineering doctorate, and they constituted 67% of the growth in the U.S. science and engineering workforce between 1995 and 2006.

In 2005, a migrant was at the helm of 52% of Silicon Valley start-ups, and a quarter of all U.S. technology and engineering firms founded between 1995 and 2005 had a migrant founder. In 2006, foreign nationals living in the United States were inventors or coinventors in 40% of all international patent applications filed by the U.S. government.

Migrants file the majority of patents by leading science firms: 72% of the total at Qualcomm, 65% at Merck, 64% at General Electric, and 60% at Cisco.

4. Migration does not lead to job losses.

While skilled migrants are a  source of dynamism,  low-skilled foreign workers often take jobs that are considered less desirable by natives or they provide services—such as home care or child care—that release skilled workers into the labor market.

Highly skilled migrants typically work in growing sectors of the economy, or in areas such as health care, education and information technology that are short of native workers. Giovanni Peri of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that, “immigrants expand the economy’s productive capacity by stimulating investment and promoting specialization…This produces efficiency gains and boosts income per worker.”

Macroeconomic studies of developed countries with significant foreign-born populations have consistently found that migration boosts and sustains growth. A study of OECD countries found that increased immigration is accompanied by commensurate increases in total employment and GDP growth.  A government-sponsored study in the UK found that migrants contributed about £6 billion to the national economy in 2006.

George Borjas estimates that migrants make a net contribution of $10 billion a year to the U.S. economy, a figure that other economists have suggested is at the low end of the range.

Between 1995 and 2005, 16 million jobs were created in the U.S. and 9 million of them were filled by foreigners. During the same period, academics Stephen Castles and Mark Miller estimate migrants made up as many as two-thirds of new employees in Western and Southern European countries.

5. We’re going to need migrants more than ever before.

Over the next fifty years, demographic changes in many developed countries will make expanding migration an increasingly attractive policy option.

Medical and public health advances mean that people are living longer, while persistently low fertility levels and the end of the post-World War Two baby-boom mean that the number of native-born workers in developed countries will fall in the coming years.

The fiscal burden of this aging population will be borne by an ever-smaller number of workers and will also generate an unprecedented demand for low-skilled health and home care services.

The effects of a shrinking labor force will be compounded by the fact that as educational attainment rises in developed countries, fewer people are interested in taking on low-skilled service jobs or in working in the trades and construction sectors.

Between 2005 and 2025, the OECD estimates its member countries are expected to see a 35% increase in the percentage of their workforces with tertiary education. As education levels rise, so do expectations about work.

Working-age populations are already growing rapidly in some developing countries due to late demographic transitions. While many countries in East Asia are beyond the phase of their demographic transition when population growth peaks, the most dramatic effects will appear in sub-Saharan Africa, where the population will grow by a billion people between 2005 and 2050.

The economically active population between ages 15 and 64 will also grow steadily among developing countries in South-Central Asia—which include countries from Iran across to India and Nepal—in the next half-century. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa will also grow at a similar rate, although not reaching the magnitude of these regions.

Despite increasing controls, we are entering a period of intensifying migration, a product of a greater supply of potential migrants from developing countries and a burgeoning demand for both low- and high-skilled workers in the UK and other developed countries.

Over the last 25 years the total number of migrants internationally doubled.

It is likely to double again in the coming decades.  Governments and society need urgently to develop a much better understanding of the costs and benefits of different policy options.

Short-term protectionist measures, as is the case in trade, are counterproductive.  It is vital that evidence based and longer term perspectives are introduced to provide clarity which goes beyond the currently muddled discussions on migration policy.

Ian Goldin is Director of the Oxford Martin School and a Professorial Fellow at Balliol College, University of Oxford.  Geoffrey Cameron is his research associate.  The arguments and data above derive from their book, “Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future”, recently published by Princeton University Press and co-authored with  Meera Balarajan.

[Source>> WSJ.com]

Latinos Nix Violence

Latinos Nix Violence

Harvard Magazine

First-generation immigrants are more likely to be law-abiding than third-generation Americans of similar socioeconomic status, reports Robert Sampson, Ford professor of the social sciences. These new findings run counter to conventional wisdom, which holds that immigration creates chaos. The prevailing “social disorganization theory” first gained traction in the 1920s and ’30s, after the last big wave of European immigrants poured into the United States. Scholars have maintained that the resulting heterogeneity harmed society. “They weren’t saying that this was caused by any trait of a particular group,” Sampson explains. “Rather, they were saying that lots of mixing would make communication accross groups difficult, make it hard to achieve consensus, and create more crime.”

Yet in Sampson’s recent study, first-generation Latino immigrants offer a particularly vivid counterexample to this common assumption. “They come into the country with low resources and high poverty, so you would expect a high propensity to violence,” Sampson says. But Latinos were less prone to such actions than either blacks or whites—providing the latest evidence that Latinos do better on a range of social indicators, a phenomenon sociologists call the “Latino paradox.”

With colleagues Jeffrey Morenoff of the University of Michigan and Stephen Raudenbush, now of the University of Chicago, Sampson followed 3,000 young people in 180 Chicago neighborhoods from 1995 to 2002. They ranged in age from eight to 25, and came from a full range of income levels and from neighborhoods with varying degrees of integration. Chicago was a deliberate choice: “We felt it was representative of where the country was going,” Sampson explains. The number of Mexican immigrants in the city skyrocketed in the 1990s, and immigration from Poland and Russia also increased, creating an almost equal three-way split in Chicago’s general population among whites, blacks, and Latinos.

During the course of their study, Sampson and his colleagues periodically interviewed the young people on a range of subjects, including asking whether they had been involved in such violent acts as fighting or robbery. The researchers supplemented this data with census, crime, and poverty statistics, and with a separate survey that asked 9,000 Chicago adults about the strength of social networks in their neighborhoods. The investigators then developed mathematical models to determine the probability that a given child would engage in a violent act, and to understand which factors raised or lowered his or her likelihood of violence.

Sampson was surprised to discover that a person’s immigrant status emerged as a stronger indicator of a dispropensity to violence than any other factor, including poverty, ethnic background, and IQ. “It’s just a whopping effect,” he says. Of people born in other countries, he notes, “First-generation immigrants are 45 percent less likely to commit violence than third-generation immigrants, and second-generation immigrants are about 22 percent less likely [to do so] than the third generation.” Mexican Americans were the least violent among those studied, in large part because they were the most likely to be first-generation immigrants, Sampson adds. The study also revealed that neighborhoods matter. “Kids living in neighborhoods with a high concentration of first-generation immigrants have lower rates of violence,” he explains, “even if they aren’t immigrants themselves.”

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~Erin O ’Donnell

 

The History of Immigration

Cesar Chavez Estrada

Image by Troy Holden via Flickr

The History of Immigration


by Jorge Majfud

 

One of the typical – correction: stereotypical – images of a Mexican has been, for more than a century, a short, drunk, trouble-maker of a man who, when not appearing with guitar in hand singing a corrido, was portrayed seated in the street taking a siesta under an enormous sombrero. This image of the perfect idler, of the irrational embodiment of vice, can be traced from old 19th century illustrations to the souvenirs that Mexicans themselves produce to satisfy the tourist industry, passing through, along the way, the comic books and cartoons of Walt Disney and Warner Bros. in the 20th century. We know that nothing is accidental; even the defenders of “innocence” in the arts, of the harmless entertainment value of film, of music and of literature, cannot keep us from pointing out the ethical significance and ideological function of the most infantile characters and the most “neutral” storylines. Of course, art is much more than a mere ideological instrument; but that does not save it from manipulation by one human group for its own benefit and to the detriment of others. Let’s at least not refer to as “art” that kind of garbage.

Ironies of history: few human groups, like the Mexicans who today live in the U.S. – and, by extension, all the other Hispanic groups, – can say that they best represent the spirit of work and sacrifice of this country. Few (North) Americans could compete with those millions of self-abnegating workers who we can see everywhere, sweating beneath the sun on the most suffocating summer days, in the cities and in the fields, pouring hot asphalt or shoveling snow off the roads, risking their lives on towering buildings under construction or while washing the windows of important offices that decide the fate of the millions of people who, in the language of postmodernity, are known as “consumers.” Not to mention their female counterparts who do the rest of the hard work – since all the work is equally “dirty” – occupying positions in which we rarely see citizens with full rights. None of which justifies the racist speech that Mexico’s president, Vicente Fox, gave recently, declaring that Mexicans in the U.S. do work that “not even black Americans want to do.” The Fox administration never retracted the statement, never recognized this “error” but rather, on the contrary, accused the rest of humanity of having “misinterpreted” his words. He then proceeded to invite a couple of “African-American” leaders (some day someone will explain to me in what sense these Americans are African), employing an old tactic: the rebel, the dissident, is neutralized with flowers, the savage beast with music, and the wage slaves with movie theaters and brothels. Certainly, it would have sufficed to avoid the adjective “black” and used “poor” instead. In truth, this semantic cosmetics would have been more intelligent but not completely free of suspicion. Capitalist ethics condemns racism, since its productive logic is indifferent to the races and, as the 19th century shows, slave trafficking was always against the interests of industrial production. Hence, anti-racist humanism has a well-established place in the hearts of nations and it is no longer so easy to eradicate it except through practices that hide behind elaborate and persuasive social discourses. Nevertheless, the same capitalist ethics approves the existence of the “poor,” and thus nobody would have been scandalized if instead of “blacks,” the Mexican president had said “poor Americans.” All of this demonstrates, meanwhile, that not only those in the economic North live off of the unhappy immigrants who risk their lives crossing the border, but also the politicians and ruling class of the economic South, who obtain, through millions of remittances, the second most important source of revenue after petroleum, by way of Western Union to the “madre pobre,” from the blood and sweat of those expelled by a system that then takes pride in them, and rewards them with such brilliant discourses that serve only to add yet another problem to their desperate lives of fugitive production.

Violence is not only physical; it is also moral. After contributing an invaluable part of the economy of this country and of the countries from which they come – and of those countries from which they were expelled by hunger, unemployment and the disfavor of corruption – the nameless men, the unidentified, must return to their overcrowded rooms for fear of being discovered as illegals. When they become sick, they simply work on, until they are at death’s door and go to a hospital where they receive aid and understanding from one morally conscious part of the population while another tries to deny it to them. This latter part includes the various anti-immigrant organizations that, with the pretext of protecting the national borders or defending the rule of law, have promoted hostile laws and attitudes which increasingly deny the human right to health or tranquility to those workers who have fallen into illegality by force of necessity, through the empire of logic of the same system that will not recognize them, a system which translates its contradictions into the dead and destroyed. Of course we can not and should not be in favor of any kind of illegality. A democracy is that system where the rules are changed, not broken. But laws are a product of a reality and of a people, they are changed or maintained according to the interests of those who have power to do so, and at times these interests can by-pass the most fundamental Human Rights. Undocumented workers will never have even the most minimal right to participate in any electoral simulacrum, neither here nor on the other side of the border: they have been born out of time and out of place, with the sole function of leaving their blood in the production process, in the maintenance of an order of privilege that repeatedly excludes them and at the same time makes use of them. Everyone knows they exist, everyone knows where they are, everyone knows where they come from and where they’re going; but nobody wants to see them. Perhaps their children will cease to be ill-born wage slaves, but by then the slaves will have died. And if there is no heaven, they will have been screwed once and forever. And if there is one and they didn’t have time to repeat one hundred times the correct words, they will be worse off still, because they will go to Hell, posthumous recognition instead of attaining the peace and oblivion so desired.

As long as the citizens, those with “true human” status, can enjoy the benefits of having servants in exchange for a minimum wage and practically no rights, threatened day and night by all kinds of haunts, they will see no need to change the laws in order to recognize a reality installed a posteriori. This seems almost logical. Nonetheless, what ceases to be “logical” – if we discard the racist ideology – are the arguments of those who accuse immigrant workers of damaging the country’s economy by making use of services like hospitalization. Naturally, these anti-immigrant groups ignore the fact that Social Security takes in the not insignificant sum of seven billion dollars a year from contributions made by illegal immigrants who, if they die before attaining legal status, will never receive a penny of the benefit. Which means fewer guests at the banquet. Nor, apparently, are they able to understand that if a businessman has a fleet of trucks he must set aside a percentage of his profits to repair the wear and tear, malfunctions and accidents arising from their use. It would be strange reasoning, above all for a capitalist businessman, to not send those trucks in for servicing in order to save on maintenance costs; or to send them in and then blame the mechanic for taking advantage of his business. Nevertheless, this is the kind and character of arguments that one reads in the newspapers and hears on television, almost daily, made by these groups of inflamed “patriots” who, despite their claims, don’t represent a public that is much more heterogeneous than it appears from the outside – millions of men and women, overlooked by simplistic anti-American rhetoric, feel and act differently, in a more humane way.

Of course, it’s not just logical thinking that fails them. They also suffer from memory loss. They have forgotten, all of a sudden, where their grandparents came from. Except, that is, for that extremely reduced ethnic group of American-Americans – I refer to the indigenous peoples who came prior to Columbus and the Mayflower, and who are the only ones never seen in the anti-immigrant groups, since among the xenophobes there is an abundance of Hispanics, not coincidentally recently “naturalized” citizens. The rest of the residents of this country have come from some part of the world other than where they now stand with their dogs, their flags, their jaws outthrust and their hunter’s binoculars, safeguarding the borders from the malodorous poor who would do them harm by attacking the purity of their national identity. Suddenly, they forget where a large part of their food and raw materials come from and under what conditions they are produced. Suddenly they forget that they are not alone in this world and that this world does not owe them more than what they owe the world.

Elsewhere I have mentioned the unknown slaves of Africa, who if indeed are poor on their own are no less unhappy for fault of others; the slaves who provide the world with the finest of chocolates and the most expensive wood without the minimal recompense that the proud market claims as Sacred Law, strategic fantasy this, that merely serves to mask the one true Law that rules the world: the law of power and interests hidden beneath the robes of morality, liberty and right. I have in my memory, etched with fire, those village youths, broken and sickly, from a remote corner of Mozambique who carried tons of tree trunks for nothing more than a pack of cigarettes. Cargo worth millions that would later appear in the ports to enrich a few white businessmen who came from abroad, while in the forests a few dead were left behind, unimportant, crushed by the trunks and ignored by the law of their own country.

Suddenly they forget or refuse to remember. Let’s not ask of them more than what they are capable of. Let’s recall briefly, for ourselves, the effect of immigration on history. From pre-history, at each step we will find movements of human beings, not from one valley to another but crossing oceans and entire continents. The “pure race” proclaimed by Hitler had not emerged through spontaneous generation or from some seed planted in the mud of the Black Forest but instead had crossed half of Asia and was surely the result of innumerable crossbreedings and of an inconvenient and denied evolution (uniting blonds with blacks) that lightened originally dark faces and put gold in their hair and emerald in their eyes. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks, in 1453, the wave of Greeks moving into Italy initiated a great part of that economic and spiritual movement we would later know as the Rennaissance. Although generally forgotten, the immigration of Arabs and Jews would also provoke, in the sleepy Europe of the Middle Ages, different social, economic and cultural movements that the immobility of “purity” had prevented for centuries. In fact, the vocation of “purity” – racial, religious and cultural – that sunk the Spanish Empire and led it to bankrupcy several times, despite all of the gold of the Americas, was responsible for the persecution and expulsion of the (Spanish) Jews in 1492 and of the (Spanish) Arabs a century later. An expulsion which, paradoxically, benefited the Netherlands and England in a progressive process that would culminate in the Industrial Revolution. And we can say the same for our Latin American countries. If I were to limit myself to just my own country, Uruguay, I could recall the “golden years” – if there were ever years of such color – of its economic and cultural development, coinciding, not by accident, with a boom in immigration that took effect from the end of the 19th until the middle of the 20th century. Our country not only developed one of the most advanced and democratic educational systems of the period, but also, comparatively, had no cause to envy the progress of the most developed countries of the world, even though its population lacked, due to its scale, the geopolitical weight enjoyed by other countries at the time. At present, cultural immobility has precipitated an inverted migration, from the country of the children and grandchildren of immigrants to the country of the grandparents. The difference is rooted in the fact that the Europeans who fled from hunger and violence found in the Río de la Plata (and in so many other ports of Latin America) the doors wide open; their descendants, or the children and grandchildren of those who opened the doors to them, now enter Europe through the back door, although they appear to fall from the sky. And if indeed it is necessary to remember that a large part of the European population receives them happily, at a personal level, neither the laws nor general practice correspond to this good will. They aren’t even third class citizens; they are nothing and the management reserves the right to deny admission, which may mean a kick in the pants and deportation as criminals.

In order to obscure the old and irreplaceable Law of interests, it is argued – as Orian Fallaci has done so unjustly – that these are not the times of the First or Second World War and, therefore, one immigration cannot be compared to another. In fact, we know that one period can never be reduced to another, but they can indeed be compared. Or else history and memory serve no purpose. If tomorrow in Europe the same conditions of economic necessity that caused its citizens to emigrate before were to be repeated, they would quickly forget the argument that our times are not comparable to other historical periods and, hence, it’s reasonable to forget.

I understand that in a society, unlike a controlled laboratory experiment, every cause is an effect and viceversa – a cause cannot modify a social order without becoming the effect of itself or of something else. For the same reason, I understand that culture (the world of customs and ideas) influences a given economic and material order as much as the other way around. The idea of the determining infrastructure is the base of the Marxist analytical code, while the inverse (culture as a determinant of socio-economic reality) is basic for those who reacted to the fame of materialism. For the reasons mentioned above, I understand that the problem here lies in the idea of “determinism,” in either of the two senses. For its part, every culture promotes an interpretive code according to its own Interests and, in fact, does so to the measure of its own Power. A synthesis of the two approaches is also necessary for our problem. If the poverty of Mexico, for example, were only the result of a cultural “deformity” – as currently proposed by the theorists and specialists of Latin American Idiocy – the new economic necessities of Mexican immigrants to the United States would not produce workers who are more stoic and long-suffering than any others in the host country: the result would simply be “immigrant idlers.” And reality seems to show us otherwise. Certainly, as Jesus said, “there is none more blind than he who will not see.”

 

Translated by Bruce Campbell