Chet Yarbrough (Book Reviewer and Critic)
As I near the age of 76, as a third generation American of Finnish grandparents, it is disappointing to see Americans’ attitude toward immigration.
America’s economic and social environment is among the best in the world. Of course, other countries have environments that are as conducive to a decent life as America. However, in 2023 world population data (noted by “Worldometer”) shows the median age of Americans is the same as China’s at 38.
With China’s repression of Uighurs and preferential treatment for Han ethnicity (91.6% of the population), Thomas Christiansen suggests China’s economic prosperity and hegemonic ambition are challenged.
“The China Challenge” by Thomas Christensen notes China is faced with a greater aggregate aging population than America.
Though the aggregate number of aging in America is less, America has its own challenge with its reluctance to admit refugees.
There are only four countries with populations nearer America’s that have a median age below 30. Those countries are India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Mexico. Having been to some of those countries, none compare well with America’s economic and social environment. Young refugees are an American opportunity, not a burden. Refugees have always been an important part of American economic and social progress.
Thinking machines will undoubtedly change the labor needs of the world economy.
However, machines are unlikely to exhibit the empathy and care needed for an ageing human population. Much of that empathy and care can only come from younger and more fit workers.
These observations are not to presume all refugees will become laborers or care-workers, but the young are the raw material of humanity that makes nations great because they are striving to make a better life.
Americans sleeping on the street are not there because of immigration.
Some are out of work because of technology but many are there because of Covid’s interruption of their lives. The business community needs to come to grips with the needs of recovering pandemic survivors by re-training the unemployed for new jobs. Undoubtedly, some homeless are sleeping on the street because of drugs because it is their way of escaping a grim existence. That does not imply, they do not wish to escape that life. It means they need help.
The world is just beginning to recover from Covid. Recovery is a process that takes time. The loss of more than a million Americans means many are grieving over their loss of friends, families, and jobs.
America remains a land of opportunity. That is why America’s borders are being overwhelmed by refugees. Immigration is an opportunity, not a problem for America.
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