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Why Does The Economist Magazine Want To "Transform" Italy?
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June 12, 2011, 01:50 PM
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More on Italy and immigration: The Economist magazine was once distinguished by actually mentioning the National Research Council`s 1997 metastudy finding that immigration brings insignificant benefits to the native-born—unlike the Wall Street Journal Edit Page, which simply lied about it.

More recently, however, the Economist has reverted in its reporting to reflexive immigration enthusiasm. Latest example: the "special report on Italy" (June 11-17th print edition). This contains a section on "Globalisation and Immigration" which makes the long-exploded assumption that free trade an immigration are neccessarily linked and nervously discusses Italy`s notorious reluctance to accept immigration a.k.a. desire to remain Italian.

Two interesting points: the Economist, having never heard of technology, is obsessed by the alleged economic disadvantages of falling population, which it claims immigration is needed to prevent. But here it refutes itself, reporting that "Migrants are all the more needed because so few women are in the labour force". In other words, Italy could get more workers, if it needed them, by labor market reform—generally the case in the developed world. (Female work force participation often means lower birth rates, but in Italy women apparently work less as their children get older. It`s a work/ lifestyle trade-off)

The key reform, of course, would be higher wages. And this is the real problem. The 1997 NRC metastudy found that immigration brought insignificant benefits to the native-born in aggregate—but it did redistribute income within the native-born community, from labor to capital. The owners of capital want to keep it that way.

Second, the Economist also huffs:

Mario Balotelli, a brilliant but petulant Italian footballer of Ghanaian descent, has been booed by fans while playing for his country. In one match a banner that read "no to a multi-ethnic national team" was unfurled. Fortunately that kind of hard racism is no more common than anywhere else in western Europe.

So it`s "hard racism" for a nation-state to want to retain its ethnic character?

The Economist`s conclusion about immigration and Italy:

It may look messy but it works, and it is steadily transforming the place.

(Emphasis added). Just what the world needs—a transformed Italy.

The special report`s writer, John Prideaux, is apparently protected from contact by an enraged public, but you can write to the Economist here.