There’s been talk recently about how Europe (with its negative fertility rates) needs to do more to assist immigrants from countries where women have been having 7 children apiece and are suddenly running out of room. (These countries haven’t had enough food for decades.)

Perhaps I’m missing something, but why should Swedish citizens have their taxes raised to build more housing for non-swedes who chose to come to Sweden? Why should Brits have to send people down to fish boatloads of migrants out of the Mediterranean when their boats collapse? Shouldn’t the people who sent the boats be responsible for the people in them? If I have children, aren’t I responsible for my children? Why does all of this suddenly become Europe’s responsibility?

Ethiopia had 38 million people in 1983, at the beginning of the famine. By the end of the famine, in ’85, they had 41 million people. Today, they have 94 million people. No, they have not simultaneously doubled their ability to feed their people.

Where will those people go? Where will the food come from?

You cannot double the population of Ethiopia without expecting disaster. Yet this is what the Ethiopian people have chosen to do. Who will pay for it? The French?

The usual excuse here for self-destructive behavior is “colonialism.” Ethiopia was never colonized.

Next door, in can-totally-afford-it Somalia, women are having an average of 6 and a half children each. In Nigeria, 7 and a half. The DRC, one of the most dysfunctional, impoverished countries in the world, the kind of place where cannibalism still happens and you can’t even buy Coca Cola,* comes in at a modest 6 children per woman.

*You can buy Coca Cola almost anywhere on the planet except the DRC, because the roads there are just so bad that even capitalism cannot triumph.

Europe is, of course, already massively over-populated. Negative fertility rates are perfectly sensible until Europe, India, China, Japan, and the US populations drop to sustainable levels (unless you really like the idea of living in a post-apocalytic global wasteland.)

The planet cannot handle exponential growth. Even accepting all of the excess people from the places that cannot handle their own current growth levels will not solve the problem in either location. More food will not suddenly appear in Europe anymore than it will suddenly appear in Africa; we will not destroy the planet any slower by shipping people around–this will just speed it up.

We don’t need to stop having children. But we must be sane; countries cannot go having more than 3 per woman. The first step to preventing worldwide famine is birth control. Countries that have not been acting in good faith to not produce more children than they can feed have no basis to ask for international aid or to send out massive numbers of migrants and expect anyone to accept them.

Europe did not create Africa’s overpopulation problem and Europe cannot solve it. At best, Europe might solve Europe’s problems, but I haven’t a ton of hope for that.

7 thoughts on “Immigration

  1. Colonialism definitely has a sordid legacy, but it is overused as an excuse for current problems. It’s a common human behavior: people like to believe in things that tell them it’s someone else’s fault.

    People rarely talk about the positivities of colonialism. Taiwan and Hong Kong were both former colonies. The Taiwanese fared better under the Japanese colonizers than the Chinese who took over the island after WW II, even though the Taiwanese were mostly ethnically Chinese. For one, the Chinese were massively more backward and corrupt. Heck, the Hong Kongians loved the system the Brits set up there so much that they didn’t want to revert back to China.


    • The other day I read a couple’s account of driving across the DRC. I’ve been meaning to try to find it again, but the internet is vast. Anyway, the account was incredible on a number of levels, one of the most striking being the level of devastation the old colonial infrastructure had endured. There was no maintenance; the buildings were falling apart; people were literally digging giant holes in the roads in order to trap cars. Of course with no roads, you get no transportation, no trade, no growth, no jobs. The DRC since the end of colonialism has been like watching a post-apocalyptic movie, only with cannibals instead of zombies.

      When I compare the US to Canada, I really wonder if we could have gotten an equally nice country without all of those people dying in the American Revolution.


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