Sunday, February 7, 2010

REWARDING IRRESOPONSIBLE HAITIAN FECUNDITY: Senegal's President sounds like New Brunswick Population Secretariat

I think President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal has potential. If his dream of offering his homeland to Haitians doesn't fly there, he could come to Canada and head New Brunswick's "Population Secretariat" or become Green Party leader Elizabeth May's advisor on population issues. Both May and the politicians who lead Canada's maritime provinces have this notion that many economically "stagnant" (Canadian parlance for "stable") regions in the country are underpopulated, and would thrive if we just injected a whole lot of people into them. Especially if those people possessed a culture completely at variance to the one that had evolved in the region for two hundred years. Migration in that case would make such regions both "dynamic" and "vibrant". The fact that there are not enough resources to justify more economic activity is a trivial objection. Jobs, as we know, can be conjured up out of thin air just by a little "quantitative easing", aka printing money. On 17th century Easter Island I think they called it a "green stimulus package". Something like that. Anyway, it worked like a charm, didn't it? We don't need primary and secondary industry after all. With cheap transportation costs guaranteed forever, we can keep on dismantling these industries in North America and relying on off-shore manufacturers to pick up the slack. I am sure that they will be glad to send them over here in perpetuity in exchange for worthless US currency. We can support an ever growing superstructure of social services on the firm foundation of an economy of paper-pushers, computer programmers, potters and painters flush with government grants.

Now some folks would point out that there already many unemployed and under-employed Canadians who would suffer even more from the competition of so many newcomers for jobs and housing. They would point out immigration currently imposes a net fiscal burden of perhaps $18-30 billion a year, and that while population growth may boost the GDP, it does not increase the per capita GDP. Moreover, they would argue, more people simply reduces the per capita share of non-renewable resources. But that is not the point. The point is that Canada would appear to be dynamic and vibrant, as well as tolerant, accepting, generous and noble and all those wonderful things that make Canadian cant the most nauseauting discourse in the world today.

So in the fine tradition of our low self-esteem, which makes us so desperately concerned about how we think the world perceives us, I think we should offer Senegal's President Abdlulaye Wade a job as Canada's Welcome Wagon. Especially to those nations which never made the slightest attempt to curb their runaway population growth and achieve sustainability. An earthquake that kills 50-100,000 people is a tragedy, but the ongoing tradegy of over-population that dwarfs it can be ignored and forgiven. Like Antartica, Canada has lots of room for lots of people.

What did Garrett Hardin say? Oh yeah, "There is nothing so dangerous as a compassionate shallow-thinking person." That's a good definition of a Canadian, I think.

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