The Demographic-Structural Implications of Immigration

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Immigration has turned into a perennial thorn in the side of practically every Western nation.  In nearly every case, first world nations find themselves in the unenviable position of being rich and prosperous while sitting next door to masses of poverty-stricken neighbours.  Additionally, forces of globalism work to purposefully overwhelm the native populations of European and Anglo countries with indigestible masses of culturally hostile foreigners.  The obvious result has been a growing populist and nationalist backlash as these native populations become more and more concerned about the detrimental effects which this mass immigration has on their societies.

As it turns out, they are entirely justified in this.  Further, these fears are not the inchoate ramblings of “xenophobia,” but rather are subconscious expressions of recognition of scientifically defineable phenomena which have taken place within societies for thousands of years.

This scientific explanation lies in demographic-structural (D-S) theory.  I’ve mentioned D-S theory a couple of times previously on this site.  In brief, D-S theory serves as an explanation for why societies undergo secular cycles, which are periods of growth, fruition, and decay describing the rise and fall of states and other polities.  I won’t revisit the details again (an excellent overview can be found here), but will note that the dual elements of the theory (the “demographic” and the “structural”) both come into play below.

Typically, demographic-structural theory has been applied to the study of agrarian, pre-industrial polities (essentially those existing before 1800 AD when discussed in a European or Anglo context).  The theory has not generally been viewed as applicable to industrialised societies both because of their increased complexity and because their capabilities of mass production give them the ability to cheaply make the goods and tools needed to produce more food and other necessities.  This latter, especially, suggests that industrialised nations can allay, or at least reduce, the pressures upon available resources which their populations would otherwise create.

However, I would argue that D-S theory can apply to industrial societies in modified form.  Certainly, the question of resources will no longer rest on food production (for the commoners) or on the availability of luxury goods (for the élites) as these can now be cheaply produced and made widely available. As a society evolves through its industrial (and post-industrial) phase, resources which are considered necessary, yet liable to scarcity pressures, may change – but the constant of having such resources prone to scarcity will remain.  In such societies, these commodities will tend to be things like the availability of jobs, affordable urban housing, access to modern health care, and so forth. While the average person in an industrialised society rarely has to worry about having enough to eat, other things take the place of that concern, such as the cost of renting or mortgages and finding and maintaining adequate employment.

Here is where immigration (and not just the illegal kind) will begin to impact a society – even, or especially, an industrialised one – from a demographic-structural standpoint.

As recent experiences with mass immigration have made abundantly clear, birth rate is not the only way for a polity to increase its population.  Indeed, as birthrates throughout the industrialised world have dropped, mass immigration has acted to sustain positive population growth in these societies.  In line with our modified form of D-S theory, as population increases (through immigration is effectively no different from birth rate), available jobs and living space will be in increasingly short supply.  Similarly, government funding for everything from welfare, education, and health care to critical infrastructure that comes under increasing use by a larger population, become relatively scarcer, which makes the costs of government go up while leaving fewer and fewer able to sustain those costs.

Per D-S theory, the state will begin to seize a greater portion of available fiscal resources to pay for the greater burden.  Many industrialised states, especially in Europe, have resorted to this, but (predictably) found that it has not appreciably slowed down their secular cyclic downturn.  Neither have the austerity efforts put into place in many European states – it’s simply too little too late. The US has tried to maintain lower tax rates, trusting in supply-side economics to produce greater taxable growth to offset the lost theoretical revenues. But again, it has been to no avail, and even were the US to drastically raise taxes, it is unlikely that the deficits could be covered for much longer.

Hence, immigration serves to contribute to the “demographic” side of D-S theory in the same way that growth through birth rate does.  Indeed, in the American and European situations, immigration has served to artificially maintain heightened population growth rates whereas if left to native birth rates alone, the growth rate would slow down as it reached its cyclical peak, in preparation for the eventual downturn.  As a result, the massive immigration these societies have seen will probably hasten, and make more severe, the inevitable results of the downturn when it comes.  Mass immigration is indeed exacerbating the cycle and will contribute to the correction (which could easily take the form of civil strife, ethnic and/or geographic separatism, and even civil war) being worse than it otherwise would have been.

The “demographic” side of D-S theory is not the only one in play, however. The “structural” side deals with the fact that increased overall population leads to a similarly increased population of élites who are all vying for power and access to élite resources within the political structure of their polity. As their numbers increase, the “per capita” amount of “perks” of their status declines.  Further, those elites who wield formal political power will hoard increasing amounts of power and resources to themselves while the smaller or “out group” élites are increasingly shut out.

This generates greater social instability since élites (even those who are out of power) tend to have an outsized ability to affect the conditions and direction of their polities, much more so than the masses of commoners alone. When groups of élites compete for power and resources, it can – and often will – lead to the degradation and collapse of the political structure, which removes the benefits that a strong state provides to its people, such as protection from crime and external enemies and state-funded improvement projects.

The situation is (again) exacerbated when large-scale immigration is involved.  Along with masses of foreign ethnic individuals come foreign ethnic élites – people who rise to the top within their ethnic communities and act as agitating agents for greater and greater pieces of the pie to be taken from other groups and given to their own.  The more masses of different ethnies, the more strife you have.  Truly, diversity plus proximity *does* equal war.

This is exactly what we see taking place in most Western nations today, and it is leading to an enhanced level of conflict between the various élite factions within these nations.  Not only are native élite factions competing for a dwindling amount of power, positions, and access to state resources, but they now have to share further with upstart immigrant élites seeking to displace them, which only serves to further envenom the process.

Examples of this have already been seen in American history in the strife that existed in the 19th century between native WASP élites and various immigrant groups (Irish, Italian, German, etc.) for control of the levers of power in cities like Boston, New York, St. Louis, and Chicago.  Eventually the immigrant élites won as sheer numbers of their co-ethnics continued to come in, only to eventually be displaced by new and different ethnics once their own groups had assimilated and began to spread out from their cities.

The only reason this didn’t cause something approaching a collapse of American society then was because the process was confined to a relative handful of cities, while the broad mass of the country retained its founding British/WASP charactre – a founding stock which itself demonstrated a high birth rate and which was enjoying the upward swing of its secular cycle at that time.

Additionally, being a “pioneer” type society enabled the USA to absorb greater amounts of stress which could be “relaxed” into the great western expanse that was being colonised throughout that century.

As a result, while moderate amounts of selective immigration may be beneficial when a society is involved in the upturn of a secular cycle (though even that could just serve to make the cycle move more quickly), mass amounts of immigrants are endemically likely to make the results of a secular cyclic downturn worse than they otherwise might have been.  Allowing entry to large numbers of immigrants – especially from societies with radically different cultures than that of the host society – can do nothing but create harm and long-term misery for that society once it hits the downward swing in a cycle.


3 thoughts on “The Demographic-Structural Implications of Immigration

  1. I just got done reading Turchin’s Secular Cycles, and these conclusions are precisely what came to my mind. Throughout Turchin’s book, he shows how when the peasant population increases it benefits elites who can demand higher rents and lower wages. The elites thus increase in number. When the inevitable famines and plagues massively reduce the peasant population, the elites start hurting. They did not go through a similar population reduction, and so there are still many elites who can no longer demand higher rents and must now pay higher wages. This results in elite in fighting, and often civil wars.

    After the baby boom, the elites were faced with a declining working age population, and to benefit themselves, drove the high levels of immigration. With massive numbers of new people coming in at all levels of society– from farm laborers, to construction workers, to doctors and IT workers– they benefited from reduced wages, and their property holdings went up in value as real estate soared.

    This is the case, as we see from the fact that real wages have stagnated since the 1970’s. The initial cause of the stagnation was the natural increase of population, the baby boomers, coming into the workforce. But the subsequent years of stagnation are as a result of elite policies of globalizaton: mass immigration and setting up factories overseas.

    The result is todays popular immiseration, and the rise of a counter elite, personified by Donald Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

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