Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Migration and Freedom 8: Denmark's immigration policy

A Filipino friend working in Denmark posted in his fb wall a news report from Politiken.dk, Affirmative action for some foreigners. Portion of the report says,

“The government and Danish People’s Party believe that it should be easier to come here if you have a good education and a lot of money. But this is about Danish citizens who fall in love. So now it’s better to fall in love with an American than a Brazilian,” says Social Democratic Integration Spokesman Henrik Damm Kristensen.

The Marriage Without Borders organisation says it is ‘ridiculous’ to suggest that it is easier to integrate Americans than other nationalities.

Then my Filipino friend added his own comments and observations about Denmark's immigration policy:

Denmark's welfare and social policies remain one of the most humane in the world, but its immigration policy so inhumane. Even the UN concurs. Imagine, there's a government literally telling its people who to marry, who to partner or live with. There's really something rotten in the state of Denmark.

 An elite few policy-makers have gone vicious and ruthless in redrawing Denmark's landscape, in reorienting Danish values, and in restructuring social relations in the country. They have to be stopped; they have to be pushed. Even Danes themselves are suffering, being coercively separated from their own spouses, partners, children, families, employees, co-workers, and friends. The Danish Alien's Act is essentially an 'Alienation' Act. Denmark is being alienated from its old spirit founded on the values of care and concern for others, solidarity, communitarianism, egalitarianism, and social justice. Bring humanism and humanitarianism back in Denmark!

Knowing that he's a socialist, I commented in his fb wall. I said I wondered why he was surprised by this Danish policy. A nanny state will ultimately become a micro-management state. If you want to repair your own garage or kitchen, you will need permit from the government. If you want to bring a nanny from abroad to take care of your own kids, you will need a permit and pay lots of mandatory labor and social security contributions.

A nanny state, a big state, no matter how "egalitarian" it claims to be, will ultimately become discriminatory or "racist". Why? Because people respond to incentives. Many people from other countries who see how gallant you are in giving various welfare and entitlement programs will come to your land to seek such freebies. And you end up creating various regulations, restrictions and prohibitions, which later on defeat your claims to "egalitarianism."

If you project your country or economy as a land for the industrious, hard-working and non-welfarist, the lazy will go hungry, then you will attract the hard-working people from many countries. No need for more regulations, more restrictions and prohibitions in immigration.

Another friend commented,

Hi Noy, I think you are rushing to conclusion here that suits your way of thinking. Thus far, the same situation of "affirmative action" is not happening in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland or New Zealand. So your comment to me is a mere assertion disproven by clear counterfactuals.

From my short stay in New Zealand, I tend to believe the degree of "affirmative action" depends on the perception of the economic situation, i.e. in times of crisis citizens tend to be protective of their jobs, no ideology involve.

The Scandinavian countries are know for their cultural homogeneity that creates a high level of trust (Lundvall). This high level of trust lubricates things like coping for change in such situations as implementing innovation. So, anybody who looks or talks different, can be seen as a source of mistrust.

I wrote above, "nanny state = micro management state." He mentioned Germany. I went to Bavaria a few years ago, my German host showed me different colors of roof. He said the city government dictates what color the roof of houses in certain areas or districts of the city. His wife is Pinay. I asked him "Why don't you just get a Pinay nanny to take care of your 2 young boys so your wife can also work and help in household income." He said, "I can afford the salary and plane fare of a nanny. But I also have to pay the health insurance, unemployment insurance, social security contributions, etc. of a nanny, imposed by the government. Overall cost is very very high, so I cannot afford to get a nanny. The state will micro-manage some aspects of your household, from the color of your roof, permit to repaire your own garage, getting a nanny, etc. That's that micro-management.

On August 17, 2010, I wrote this short piece:

More backtracking on welfarism, Denmark case

A NYT report today, Denmark Starts to Trim Its Admired Safety Net, says that

the government in June cut into its benefits system, the world’s most generous, by limiting unemployment payments to two years instead of four. Having found that recipients either get work right away or take any job as their checks run out, officials are also redoubling longstanding efforts to move Danes more quickly out of the safety net.

If you want to encourage something, you should provide more of it. If you want to discourage something, you should provide less of it.

So if you want to encourage more people not wanting to find work, then you should provide lots of unemployment benefits. Anyway, it is "government responsibility" not to allow to fall into poverty its citizens. Including those who have no ambition to work and just live off on welfare.

Denmark, the rest of western Europe, north America, Japan and other developed countries today, became richer through the hard work of their people many years and decades ago. They never got rich with encouraging people to sit down and wait for welfare. Governments have no money of their own except what they take away from the savings and income of the hard-working people.

The UK government's cut in various welfare programs is biting now, with a number of government offices and agencies either closed or their budget drastically reduced. UK's public debt is among the highest in the developed world, and interest payment alone for those public debt is becoming bigger and bigger.

Other European countries that are heavily indebted are doing the same task of cutting welfare and reducing bureaucracies.

Governments around the world will soon realize that giving people more personal and parental responsibility in running their own lives, and "government responsibility" should be limited to certain functions that individuals and their voluntary organizations cannot efficiently handle -- like fighting armed and organized criminals, killers and thieves.

See also,
Migration and Freedom 7: Restrictions to OFWs , April 13, 2011

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