Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width

In a recent book, libertarian Joel Kotkin exulted over the prospect of us adding 100 million to our population by 2050. In contrast to those East Asian and European nations with declining demographics, he argues, by taking in masses of immigrants, the U.S.A. will become more vibrant, creative, and prosperous.

On this theory California, which has done on the state level exactly what Kotkin wants the U.S.A. to do on the national level, ought to be much move vibrant, etc. than it was 40 years ago.  Strangely, this seems not to be the case: so much so that Joel Kotkin has felt compelled to write an essay about it.

What on earth has gone wrong here?  “Mismanagement,” says Kotkin.  Yes, that must be it. What else could it possibly be?

[A tip of the hat there to Denis Mangan.]

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14 Responses to Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width

  1. kurt9 says:

    I love it! Good one, there!

    Not to be a nitpick, but Joel Kotkin is not exactly a Randian or Rothbardian libertarian. I would characterize him as a pre 1960’s social revolution liberal. The kind of liberal that voted for JFK in 1960 and believed in 1965 that LBJ’s “great society” programs would actually eliminate poverty by the mid 70’s.

    Like many soft liberals, his heart’s in the right place and is probably a likable guy. He’s just a little misguided about reality.

  2. John says:

    If immigrants had an average IQ of 120, had lower rates of illegitimacy, and voted Republican, I’d be standing at the border waving them in. Of course, that’s not the situation we’re faced with.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people who call themselves libertarian are actually just standard liberals. Maybe “libertarian” sounds more chic.

  3. kurt9 says:

    Joel Kotkin thinks that immigration is good because it leads to increased diversity. However, we put man on the moon back in the 1960’s when we were a lot less diverse society than we are today. If diversity is such a wonderful thing, shouldn’t it have put us on Mars by now?

  4. Polichinello says:

    If immigrants had an average IQ of 120, had lower rates of illegitimacy, and voted Republican, I’d be standing at the border waving them in.

    We already do this with the H1-B program. It destroys any incentive private business might have in investing in and training native white-collar labor. It also robs poor countries of their own native talent.

  5. David Hume says:

    It also robs poor countries of their own native talent.

    last i checked, this isn’t true. the big asian countries which tend to be dominant in H1-B have way too many workers for brain drain to be a big factor. i’d be curious if the data says something different now, but i doubt it. more chinese and indians are staying in their native countries or going back.

    brain drain does have a big effect on african nations, for example, but my impression was that that wasn’t primarily through h1-b.

  6. Daisy says:

    Multiculturalism is a recipe for disaster. Now the other thing I’m curious about is the possibility of millions of Europeans fleeing the demograghic suicide and mass immigration in their home countries and flood the USA with more Caucasians? If they do come to the USA hopefully they won’t have the leftist worldview in their minds and are more moderate in their politics instead. Google ”Blue state exodus” for an example of people fleeing disasters and repeating the same mistakes in the state they arrive.

  7. Daisy says:

    Whites are now 75 % of Americans and falling. In 2050 they will be 50 %. In 2100 a minority and quite possibly facing extinction if trends continue.

  8. kurt9 says:

    Actually, Kotkin’s latest book “The Next 100 million” is worth reading, if you can get it from your local library. It’s great insight into the mind of Joel Kotkin and the cognitive dissidence that exists there.

    Much of the book is actually devoted to discussion about how most people will face reduced opportunities for upward mobility and young adults will tend to live with their parents more than they do now. Nonetheless, he still argues that continued immigration and population increase is good for the country.

    In other words, he believes population growth, in and of itself, is beneficial to society, even if it results in no increase in economic opportunity for most people. I think most reasonable people would disagree with this. Why should I have more people around me, clogging up the roads, stores, restaurants, not to mention my favorite outdoor places, if it does not make my career/financial life any better? If my financial situation is not affected, of course I would rather have fewer people around rather than more. So would anyone else right in the head.

  9. Mick says:

    “If immigrants had an average IQ of 120, had lower rates of illegitimacy, and voted Republican, I’d be standing at the border waving them in. Of course, that’s not the situation we’re faced with.”

    If people were economics automatons and GDP were the only God, you would be right.
    And if pigs could fly…

    We already have the situation you dream of. Any Chinese or Indian with IQ of 120+ and a minimum of life skills will obtain a resident visa for US in 1-3 years. I consider an ability to obtain entry into US as a very low IQ barrier (not to say that any idiot could come if smart family member is pulling him).

    A small problem with your dream plan, Asians tend to vote Demorat about 2:1, virtually the same as poor low IQ Mexicans.

    But setting this small problem aside. If we import a modest number, say 50M, of IQ 120+ Chinese and Indians, will resulting country will more resemble USA or Singapore?

    And if 50M is not enough to change this country, how about 150M of smart Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, Russians, Ukrainians, Pakis?

    Would you want your children to live in such country instead of good old USA?

    Are you saving for your baby daughter dowry?

  10. David Hume says:

    In 2100 a minority and quite possibly facing extinction if trends continue.

    chill on the retardation 🙂 there are 1.3 billion whites in the world right now.

  11. Clark says:

    Getting back to the original post, it does seem that what makes California so odd precisely is its managerial structures that makes it so hard to do anything. I think a populace that also tends to be more ignorant of politics and political realities yet still votes on ballot initiatives ignorantly is also to blame.

    Put an other way I’m really skeptical that California’s problem is immigration. Rather I tend to be much more sympathetic to the idea that it’s impossible for either party to be accountable for the changes such that a true decision on results is possible. The state government is simply a royal mess and until there is a constitutional convention for the state I doubt it’ll change.

    What has amazed me though is that even backwards regulatory locales like Berkeley, CA have changed significantly in this recession. That’s something I never expected to see. I think people are noticing all those companies fleeing the state due to corporate tax rates and over-regulation. If they could make structures where leaders were actually accountable for changes I think you could see massive improvement in California which frankly has a lot going for it. (Including immigration)

    I’m just skeptical we’ll see real change in the structure of government until things get much worse. And if things get much worse and Obama is still in power I suspect we’ll see a federal bailout thereby preventing real reform.

  12. Clark says:

    BTW – regarding the brain drain, I don’t have any statistics on the current state of things in Canada or the US. However I know back in the early 90’s there was a huge problem in Canada of bringing in very educated people from places like Pakistan who then found that their skills didn’t translate. (i.e. say the problem of a doctor from one of these countries getting up to code in Canadian or American regulation and accreditation) This led to the problem of the educated gaining entrance to the country but then being forced to take jobs that didn’t make use of their skills. A doctor driving a taxi really isn’t helping the country much.

    Now I know this was a concern in Canada and I’ve no idea what (if anything) was done to change this. I also don’t know enough about American accreditation to know how much of a problem it is here.

    One thing I have heard a lot of anecdotally though is educated people who once would have come to the US for research or teaching positions now not wanting to come due to the security issues after 9/11. That almost certainly is a problem if we want top notch people in those positions. That’s not to say there’s a shortage of researchers. As we all know there is a huge glut. But some of the cream of the crop are now going to other countries. Whether that’s a problem is an other question. (I think having more nations do more research and improve native colleges is actually on net a big boon)

  13. m.d. says:

    What else could it possibly be?

    It could possibly be one thing only. Now that we’ve eliminated mismanagement as a cause of California’s problems, that is.

    “Mismanagement”. In California. Gimme a break, right?

    How’s Klotkin explain Ireland then? Talk about prosperity. Its almost as if he’s touting anecdotal evidence that supports his gut feelings about diversity while willfully ignoring anecdotal evidence that contradicts it. We can’t stand it when people do that, right?

  14. John says:

    Mick, read my post again:

    If immigrants had an average IQ of 120, had lower rates of illegitimacy, AND VOTED REPUBLICAN, I’d be standing at the border waving them in.

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