Immigration and the Welfare State: Incompatible (With A Comment on the Middle East Too)

A Facebook friend of mine (who I met at a FEE seminar a couple of years back) posted the following link in Forbes about British plans to begin targeting certain citizens of states within the EU in regards to immigration. Individuals from states in the troubled Latin region of the EU would no longer be welcome to reside in Britain. The cause of this:

However, immigration is a sensitive issue for Britain which runs one of the most generous health and welfare protection schemes in Europe.

Can’t be much clearer than that. Along with the fiscal problems that welfare programs create for societies, there are also political and social consequences to be had. For one thing, the very notion of a welfare state creates a type of “ours, not theirs” mentality within a populace, which no doubt contributes the shocking nationalism and racism to be found everywhere in Europe.

Although welfare programs in the US, Australia and Canada have to deal with these social consequence, in the Old World the welfare state also taps into a sort of tribal conscience that the Anglo world cannot really fathom. I hypothesize that the “tribal identity” is actually the main factor behind the stubborn refusal of the welfare to state to go away not only in Europe but throughout the entire Old World.

This also lends credence to the observation that the US’s development plans in the Middle East – based upon the fascistic New Deal – were actually quite popular (and utterly futile) with the vast majority of the populations there. The “authoritarian bargain” that people in the Near East (and elsewhere) have made with their dictators is based upon the welfare state. As these schemes inevitably began to crumble and liberalization reforms implemented, the “bargain” aspect of the authoritarian bargain has crumbled. However, instead of linking liberalization of the economies in the Middle East with democratic reform (which is what has been happening), scholars are instead condemning the liberal reforms for creating much of the current problems now faced by people in the region.

Why not try to implement reform in the area of property rights rather than try to argue for a return to an unsustainable welfare state and ruthless strong men? Don’t scholars realize that welfare states actually contribute to anti-immigrant sentiments and an unhealthy reliance upon strong men?

One thought on “Immigration and the Welfare State: Incompatible (With A Comment on the Middle East Too)

  1. Oh, and then there is empirical data. To date, nothing suggests that immigrants even migrate to wealthier states for the welfare “benefits”. Rather, they leave their families, friends, and old lives behind for the opportunity to work. (h/t Jacques Delacroix)

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