2012 February 07 Tuesday
UK Immigration Minister Wants Only The Most Skilled

The headline: Damian Green: 'we only want the brightest immigrants'. Not so in the United States.

Meanwhile, in the United States immigration has made our labor force less competitive. Alan Greenspan acknowledges that the replacements for the baby boomers can't compete.

"Baby boomers are being replaced by groups of young workers who have regrettably scored rather poorly in international educational match-ups over the last two decades. The average income of U.S. households headed by 25-year-olds and younger has been declining relative to the average income of the baby boomer population. This is a reasonably good indication that the productivity of the younger part of our workforce is declining relative to the level of productivity achieved by the retiring baby boomers. This raises some major concerns about the productive skills of our future U.S. labor force."

Therefore US living standards will fall. The US has peaked. The US is in decline.

It is a shame Greenspan doesn't fully connect the dots. But only thought criminals can put it together. So the decline will have to be even sharper than would otherwise be necessary.

So I recite my position on how each person with brains needs to respond: Try harder to get skills and get ahead because you'll have to perform at a higher level just to stay even with where you stand today. Some people just gripe at how the deck is stacked against us all when I say that. But really, these negative feelings are not productive of anything. Learn more every day, try harder, live more frugally.

Richard Hamming, a Turing award winner for his work in communications theory, gave a great talk about how to be a more productive researcher and Hamming's advice can be applied to anyone who works:

Now for the matter of drive. You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs. He had tremendous drive. One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not. Well I went storming into Bode's office and said, ``How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?'' He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, ``You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.'' I simply slunk out of the office!

What Bode was saying was this: ``Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.'' Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity - it is very much like compound interest. I don't want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime. I took Bode's remark to heart; I spent a good deal more of my time for some years trying to work a bit harder and I found, in fact, I could get more work done. I don't like to say it in front of my wife, but I did sort of neglect her sometimes; I needed to study. You have to neglect things if you intend to get what you want done. There's no question about this.

Do sustained compounding of interest with your brain or become a victim of globalization and declining natural resources.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 February 07 10:40 PM  Immigration Labor Market

eggwhite said at February 8, 2012 1:47 AM:

Very interesting. So, I wonder what life is like in a stagnant or slowly declining country? I tend to think this is the most likely outcome as opposed to the Big Crash everyone yearns for. Sadly, the long, slow decline is more likely from what I can see.

Black Death said at February 8, 2012 8:24 AM:

All true. Over a century ago, Thomas Edison realized that hard work was at least as important as intelligence in achieving success. He said:

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.


Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.


His genius he was quite content in one brief sentence to define; Of inspiration one percent, of perspiration, ninety nine.

Daniel said at February 8, 2012 4:23 PM:

>>Government's new ''selective'' immigration policy that will give preferential treatment to investors, entrepreneurs and world-class artists, dancers, musicians and academics.
Mr Green said: "We'll actively go out and look for them, scientist, researcher and so on, but at the same time we shouldn't be bring in large numbers of relatively unskilled workers because they will be doing jobs that British people can do."

It's all folly and doomed to fail. The best and brightest of the world will likely retain an animus towards the British people and actively work to subvert the British nations.

The UK doesn't need any immigrants, but if they are going to take in any they should restrict the flow to those of their ilk. Dummies or brights, doesn't matter. It's the blood and culture that matter.

Abelard Lindsey said at February 9, 2012 10:23 AM:

"I tend to think this is the most likely outcome as opposed to the Big Crash everyone yearns for. Sadly, the long, slow decline is more likely from what I can see."

The world ends with a whimper, not a bang. Those who believe in the Big Crash are the kind of people who feel the need for lots of drama in their lives. You will also note those who promulgate the Big Crash also promulgate the idea that vesting power into some unaccountable centralized bureaucracy is the only way to prevent it. This tells me everything I need to know about those who believe in the Big Crash.

Sycamore said at February 9, 2012 12:26 PM:

There have been many 'crashes' in history.

Luke Lea said at February 9, 2012 2:15 PM:

Wages are falling for other reasons too. You know that.

Michael L said at February 9, 2012 3:33 PM:

Abelard Lindsey, surely you jest. Many conservatives expect the crash to be caused precisely by that very Liberal bureaucracy that you mention (promoted by its shills as a panacea to what ails us). E.g. the problems caused by immigration that the UK bureaucracy is now trying to fix were in fact caused by immigration promotion by that very bureaucracy. So we should not hold our breathe expecting their "fixes" to do any good.

Randall Parker said at February 9, 2012 11:06 PM:


Sure, multiple causes. I've repeatedly addressed those other causes in other posts. But, for example, if we weren't near Peak Oil just the decline in workforce abilities would be enough to cause a decline in wages.

Black Death,

I like this one:

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.

I keep telling people they need to raise their game. Really this is true. It takes years to improve skills and productivity. One needs to commit hard to sustained learning and skills development. The down drafts are going to get much stronger.

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