New evidence suggests that migrants disproportionately boost an economy. If you want to know what countries are set to thrive, look at how many migrants it has.
The Old Street revolution
I went for a job interview with a company based just off Old Street, London, once. ‘Frankly,’ I thought, ‘wild horses wouldn’t drag me to work in that place. If I never saw it again,’ I thought, ‘it would be too soon.’ I guess that was about 30 years ago. These days, Old Street is a different place.
Oh, sure, architecturally it is not that different, construction is everywhere in London, but Old Street still doesn’t look that glitzy. Even Silicon Roundabout looks a disappointment – I walked right past it the other day, without realising it. And yet there is something different. The area feels different. It is almost as if it smells of enterprise. Dynamic entrepreneurial endeavour seeps from its pores.
I asked an entrepreneur why he thought it that this area had become the centre of the UK’s tech scene. His response: immigration. It always has been a centre for migrants, from the Huguenots to Jewish migration, to today – and right now, it simply has to be the most multicultural place I know, maybe on Earth.
According to a study from the IMF migrants increase the GDP to the country they visit by an extent that is disproportionate to their number. A 1% rise in the proportion of adult migrants within a population boosts GDP by two per cent. They also lead to a rise in GDP per capita. And this is no one-off benefit. They boost GDP in the long run. This applies whether the migrants are skilled or unskilled. And they boost incomes within the host country across the income scale from the richest to the poorest.
Some people worry about migrants coming here and using up our benefits – their concerns are misplaced.
The lesson from JapanI read that in Japan, there are not enough entrepreneurs. Bloomberg cites research from Ernst and Young that the total value of venture capital deals completed in Japan in 2015 was $100 million, compared to “$72 billion in the U.S. and $49 billion in China. Even tiny Israel managed $2.6 billion in deals,” it says.
You don’t need to look far for a reason, Japan is simply unpopular with migrants – it is far too difficult to integrate into the culture.The lesson from BrexitThere is much that is wrong with the EU. An outward looking UK, that becomes a beacon of free trade, that celebrates multiculturalism, at a time when the US is drawing in on itself could become the strongest economy in the world – at least in terms of GDP per capita. If you voted for Brexit because that is your dream, I have no truck with you.
I read that 86% of people who voted Remain during the EU referendum approved of multiculturalism, 65% of Brexit voters were against It. To be clear, I have sympathy with the 35% of Brexit voters who welcome multiculturalism.
But the anti-migration era is seeing its last hurrah. Evidence shows that majority of the millennial generation feel differently, they love multiculturalism. The generation set to follow, so-called generation Z, brought up in an era of social media, and set to reach adulthood as language translation devices sitting in our ears become ubiquitous, as augmented reality transforms long distance communication, will be the most multicultural aware generation in history.
International borders will lose meaning, and we will become global citizens.