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Unfortunately, the people/governments didn't understand the logic of expansionary fiscal policies last time around and they're not gonna get it now. The prevailing austerity logic will instead lead to resentments because of the cost generated by the refugees. This mechanism is currently suspended because people know it's an extraordinary charitable outlay. But will it last if people keep coming in masses? You could rightly argue it's not that much money. But if it isn't then what's the stimulus? Some (hopefully properly paid) teachers? I have more hope for a building spree of subsidized housing. But that is a slow process that's already a decade behind. More potential for resentment. Also, as the Zeit article said, wage depression due to the newly arrived is probable in the very sector, i.e. low level service jobs (our 'saviour' from being the 'sickest man in Europe'), that is the problem spot in the labour market. Another vector for huge resentment.

Empty flats illegal? Whatever. Supply and demand rules supreme, even more so in a bifurcated market where the affordable housing part is under pressure. Build as if your life depended on it (if you can control the NIMBYism - watch that space). A neo-squatter movement that marks down a few hundred properties per city won't matter.

Re: theories of trust and social cohesion. Your theory that trust can and needs to be built is essentially correct. Some examples:

  • The areas with the least amount of immigrants have the highest xenophobia (Sachsen represent!). You fear what you don't know etc.
  • I read a story about a Berlin school that had a hard time integrating middle class children with migrants' children. The parents didn't want to send their children to 'these schools'. The turnaround came when the school promised their children would go to class with exactly those migrant children they already knew from kindergarten. Shared experiences, upbringing, etc.
  • Immigrants who directly start working, i.e. who have a job lined up before migrating, have vastly better chances of making it. Trust is built with the people they work with.
This is where I get nervous. Where are the opportunities going to come from? Young children are better off. They can go to school and learn the language within a month, get educated and eventually get into a passable career. The adults have it much harder. They have to learn a new language and try to get into a menial job, possibly competing with other unemployeds. The problem of absorption gets more difficult the higher the flow rate is. If you don't find connections you stay connected just with your own kind and then we'll have ghettoization and the xenophobic culture wars again. For the most of Europe the problem is already there. Says a French newspaper: "Germany may have opportunities in the service sector for the refugees but Italy, Spain and France can't even offer those jobs to their own young people." So in the absence of opportunities for building social cohesion my theory still holds.

In the American case you can't simply dump it all on McCarthy who 'single-handedly destroyed the left'. Racial segregation and social stratification have a longer history than that. Look at Donald Trump who is now having success promoting social benefits but 'only for the right people'. Those people vote and they can't stand the idea of 'welfare queens' with a different skin colour.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Sep 4th, 2015 at 03:25:08 PM EST
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