The Economist has a review of a book on migration which sounds extremely interesting. This is something I often think about as I find myself constrained by the country of my birth.
I think that there is a strong argument that discriminating against someone based on country of birth is like discriminating against someone based on race.
But this book makes an even more powerful argument: the economic benefits of migration vastly outweigh the costs.
For instance take the second paragraph:
“If rich countries were to admit enough migrants from poor countries to expand their own labour forces by a mere 3%, the world would be richer, according to one estimate, by $356 billion a year. Completely opening borders would add an astonishing $39 trillion over 25 years to the global economy. That is more than 500 times the amount the rich world spends on foreign aid each year. Migration is the most effective tool yet devised for reducing global poverty.”
The book discusses the history of migration before going on to argue that more migration would benefit both poor countries and rich countries.
On the balance migration helps poor countries even though they may lose some of their most skilled citizens. People have an incentive to develop marketable skills but might not migrate; skilled workers often return home after working abroad; migrants send significant amounts of money back to poor countries. And of course the migrants themselves obviously benefit or they wouldn’t leave.
Multiple studies have apparently shown that migrants create more jobs and employment than they consume. Host nations are net beneficiaries of migration. The USA is a nation built on immigrants! Finally, demographic shifts mean that rich countries may come to depend on migrants as their workforces age.
The smart (and I would argue morally correct) move is to allow more immigration. Sadly the world seems to be moving in the opposite direction.
The history of web browsers is actually quite interesting. Back in the distant past the two big players were Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Microsoft won that particular battle in the late 90’s by bundling IE with Windows. Effectively most people came to think of the internet as IE.
After destroying the competition Microsoft simply stopped developing IE and we were stuck with the pile of trash that is Internet Explorer 6.
Luckily today we have excellent alternatives, most notably in Firefox and (my recommendation) Google Chrome. Faced with competition and plummeting market share Microsoft are now desperately trying to catch up. But they are still miles behind.
Recently someone posted this graph on Reddit. It’s an incredible illustration of the impact of HIV/AIDS on some African countries. Correlation isn’t the same as causation, but it isn’t much of a stretch to conclude that the vicious dips in life expectancy are a result of HIV and AIDS.
In the comments section of the Reddit post (always useful to read) someone posted a link to Gapminder (Gapminder are the famous animated bubbles graphing guys) showing more recent data.
It seems that in recent years the graphs have swerved back upward again as ARV’s and more effective AIDS prevention are rolled out.
The birds in question (great tits) rise before dawn and sing their little hearts out to attract mates. It is known that those who rise earliest obtain more mates and are better able to defend their territory.
The experimenters suspected that feeding some birds would make them stronger and enable them to rise earlier than their unfed competitors.
The results however showed that the fed birds became lazy and started rising later than those birds that had to find food the hard way.