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How Migrants Make The Economies They Move To A Lot Like The Ones They Left

By Jihad Watch

Ponder the implications of this for mass Muslim migration into Europe. And those implications are by no means solely economic.

by Charles Fain Lehman, Washington Free Beacon, December 11, 2022:

Imagine that you are a U.S. immigration officer, handing out green cards to the would-be Americans of the world. You have before you two applicants who look almost completely the same; for some arcane, unspecified bureaucratic reason, you can only approve one of them. They’re both well-educated by American standards, both bringing identical families, both passed their background checks.

The major difference is their nation of origin. One is from a nation with a strong tradition of rule of law, free markets, and democratic pluralism. The other is from a country where kleptocracy, autocracy, and socialism are standard. The difference, in other words, is the character of the society that your two would-be immigrants come from. The question is: Should this difference matter?

The basic argument of The Culture Transplant, the new book from George Mason University professor Garett Jones, is that at least in the aggregate, the answer to this question is “yes.” The marginal immigrant, to be sure, may not matter. But Jones shows, through an engaging and digestible tour of the academic literature, that people bring their national character with them when they migrate; that those values persist for up to several generations; and that some values really are better for societal flourishing than others, so the values immigrants bring matters a great deal.

To reach this conclusion, Jones relies on a fairly diverse set of evidence. Much of the basis for his argument, though, is drawn from the so-called deep-roots literature. That research, in essence, looks at what today’s countries were like 500 to 2,500 years ago, in terms of level of governance, agricultural development, and technological development. It observes that what a country was like hundreds of years ago is a strong predictor of how developed it is today. More to Jones’s point, it observes that what a country’s people were like hundreds of years ago predicts what they are like today.

The point here is that, for whatever reason, certain fundamental facts about a civilization—i.e., its level of development—are both highly relevant to its performance on the centuries timespan and transplantable from one place to another. One plausible explanation is that whatever determines this outcome inheres in the people from those civilizations, who carry it with them and “transplant” it wherever they migrate.

Indeed, Jones reviews extensive research that shows immigrants often look more like their ancestors than the countries they arrive to, even several generations after arrival. If your ancestors believed in things conducive to development—social trust, cooperation, fairness, etc.—then you probably do too. And those beliefs matter for how the country you now live in does.

What are the concrete implications of this view? Jones offers two. One is that the countries with the highest rates of innovation—China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States—should be extremely cautious about changing the population composition through migration. These countries produce the overwhelming majority of the world’s progress, and if progress is a function of your country’s composition, then we should care a lot about keeping their current mix, because otherwise all of humanity loses out….

Read more.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.