Nick Giambruno: The migrant crisis is tearing Europe apart. What’s your take, Doug?
Doug Casey: I’m all for immigration and completely open borders to enable opportunity seekers from anyplace to move anyplace else. With two big, critically important, caveats: 1) there can be no welfare or free government services, so everyone has to pay his own way, and no freeloaders are attracted 2) all property is privately owned, to minimize the possibility of squatter camps full of beggars.
In the absence of welfare benefits, immigrants are usually the best of people because you get mobile, aggressive, and opportunity-seeking people that want to leave a dead old culture for a vibrant new one. The millions of immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had zero in the way of state support.
But what is going on in Europe today is entirely different. The migrants coming to Europe aren’t being attracted by the opportunity in the new land so much as the welfare benefits and the soft life. For the most part, they are unskilled and poorly educated.
What we’re talking about here is the migration of millions of people of different language, different race, different religion, different culture, a different mode of living. If you’re an alien and you’re 1 out of 10,000, or 1,000, or 100, you’re a curiosity, an interesting outsider. But an influx of millions of migrants is only going to destroy the old culture, and guarantee antagonism—especially when the locals have to pay for it. In many ways, what’s happening now isn’t just comparable to what happened 2,000 years ago with the migration of the Germanic northern barbarians into the Roman Empire. It’s potentially much more serious.
Nick Giambruno: I think pretty much anywhere in the world, whenever there’s an influx of foreigners to the degree that it changes the demographics or upsets the local economic applecart, it’s obviously going to cause problems.
For example, the Chinese are wearing out their welcome in many parts of Africa.
We saw this ourselves when we went to Zimbabwe earlier this year. Their numbers have grown so much that there are numerous Chinese mini cities within Zim.
Many people in Zim aren’t too happy with the Chinese dumping cheap products and upsetting the local economy. When we asked our driver to take us through a rough neighborhood, all we saw was a seemingly endless market, as far as I can tell, completely filled with Chinese products.
Doug Casey: Incidentally, it’s supposed to be official Chinese policy to migrate about 300 million Chinese to Africa in the years to come. They’re employed in building roads, mines, railroads, and other infrastructure. The Africans like the goodies, but don’t like the Chinese. It has the makings of a race war a generation or so in the future.
Nick Giambruno: Getting back to the crisis in Europe…
It’s well known the gigantic bureaucracy in Brussels produces ridiculous regulations and dictates. The EU has reduced the standard of living of the average European.
Of course, this is related to the migrant issue too. The EU has a quota system which is supposed to distribute migrants across the union. Not all EU countries are happy with this.
For example, Hungary doesn’t believe it should have to accept any migrants if it doesn’t want to. Brussels disagrees and says Hungary is obligated to take in its “fair share” of migrants.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently said:
“Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future…
…This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy – whoever needs migrants can take them, but don’t force them on us, we don’t need them…
…For us migration is not a solution but a problem… not medicine but a poison, we don’t need it and won’t swallow it.”
The Eurocrats are furious with Orban. Luxembourg has called for Hungary to be expelled from the EU.
It’s clear the migrant issue is fueling resentment to the EU. It was a major factor in the Brexit vote. The unprecedented inflow of migrants has also helped anti-EU political parties grow in popularity.
This whole mess looks to me to be a self-inflicted wound. What do you think?
Doug Casey: The EU is a huge aggravating factor with the migrant problem. Brussels is full of globalists and doctrinaire socialists who not only promote bad policies but make the whole continent pay for the mistakes of its most misguided members.
All Western European governments are massive welfare states that provide free food, housing, medical care, schooling, and living expenses for citizens. And even for residents who aren’t citizens. Benefits like these will naturally draw in poor people from poor countries.
Millions of Africans will want to emigrate, especially to the homelands of their ex-colonial masters in Europe. The colonizers are now themselves being colonized. If I was an African from south of the Sahara, I’d absolutely try to get to Italy or Greece or France or Spain or on my way to Sweden to cash in on the largesse of these stupid Europeans.
I’m a fan of what’s left of Western Civilization. I hate to see it washed away. But that’s what will happen if the floodgate is opened.
Nick Giambruno: I really don’t feel that sorry for the Europeans either. They largely brought this mess upon themselves.
It’s no coincidence that migrants are flowing to the countries with the most generous welfare benefits. If there weren’t so many freebies in these countries, there wouldn’t be so many migrants showing up to collect them.
It’s obvious the welfare state plays a major role in this crisis.
It’s also obvious that idiotic military interventions are a major factor.
The Europeans were and are enthusiastic supporters of the U.S. military interventions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan—and perhaps most consequentially for them—Libya.
Before his overthrow by NATO, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had an agreement with Italy, which is direct to Libya’s north, across the Mediterranean Sea.
Gaddafi agreed to prevent migrants heading for Europe from using Libya’s 1,100 miles of coastline as a transit point. It was an arrangement that worked.
So it’s no shocker that when NATO helped overthrow the Gaddafi government in 2011, the migrant floodgates opened.
Doug Casey: Unless the Europeans get in front of this situation, it’s not just some refugees from the Near East they’ll have to deal with. Especially with the economic chaos of The Greater Depression, it’s going to be millions from Africa, and then perhaps millions more from Central Asia, and even India and Bangladesh. The world is becoming a very small place. What will happen when scores of thousands of migrants set up a squatter camp someplace—with no food, shelter, or sanitary facilities. The situation is likely to be most stressful…
Some will say, “But you have to be charitable, you can’t just let them starve because they’ve had some bad luck.” To that I’d say an individual or a family, can have some bad luck. But the places these people come from have had “bad luck” for centuries. Their bad luck is the consequence of their political, economic, and social systems. It makes no sense, it’s idiotic, to import—at huge expense—masses of people that have a culture of “bad luck.”
At the most, if someone wants to help them, they should help them with their own money.
Nick Giambruno: Then there are the so-called economists and think tanks that say bringing in a bunch of migrants will “stimulate” the economy…
Doug Casey: There are hundreds of think tanks in the U.S. alone, most located within the Washington Beltway who appear to believe that. They’re populated by partisan academics, ex-politicos, retired generals, and others circulating through the revolving doors of the military/industrial/political/academic complex. They’re really just propaganda outlets, funded by foundations and donors who want to give an intellectual patina to their views.
Think tanks, and their cousins, the lobbyists, and the NGOs, are mostly what I like to call Running Dogs, who act as a support system for the Top Dogs in the Deep State. Their product is “policy recommendations,” which influence how much tax you have to pay and how many new regulations you have to obey. Think tanks are populated almost exclusively by what have been called “useless mouths.” They’re no friends of the common man.
The migration policies they’re promoting are creating chaos.
Nick Giambruno: I just spent weeks on the ground in Italy, a frontline state in the migrant crisis. I was investigating the upcoming referendum and how it could be the first domino to fall in the collapse of the EU.
I can say for sure that the migrant issue is one of the largest on the mind of the average Italian voter.
Each day on average, a couple thousand migrants—sometimes much more—arrive in Italy. They’re mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, but also a large number are from the Indian subcontinent.
While I was in Rome I saw many. Lots of them aggressively beg and hawk trinkets. People now lock their doors to their homes when before they might not have.
I witnessed, a number of times, young male migrants sitting in the handicap spot on trams, buses, and other public transportation, refusing to give up their seats for elderly Italian women.
It’s anecdotal, but it’s hard to think of a way to wear out your welcome faster than for regular Italians to see an elderly woman have to struggle to stand on a bus while a migrant, perfectly capable of standing, comfortably sits.
While at the Milan train station I witnessed migrants shoving aside a clerk at the ticket check to forcibly board a train. I could see the look on the faces of the other Italian passengers. They were dumbfounded at how the migrants were blatantly choosing to not live by the rules of society and nobody was doing anything about it.
Then in Como—one of the swankiest places in Italy and where George Clooney maintains a residence—I saw how many hundreds of migrants have turned the train station into a filthy makeshift camp. It was a bizarre blend of extreme poverty and extreme wealth.
To say Italians are fed up is a gross understatement.
Most feel Italy has enough problems without trying to solve the problems of the world. They wonder why they are forced to subsidize the migrants—who receive over $80 a month from the state, far more than their annual income in their home countries—while they are suffering under extreme economic hardship.
Italians largely blame the EU and pro-EU politicians for this mess.
So Doug, what should be done about this mess that doesn’t, at the same time, feed the growth of the State?
Doug Casey: Immigration across political borders doesn’t have to be a problem. It’s simply a matter of maintaining the property rights of all concerned.
Let me repeat, and re-emphasize, what I said earlier. The free-market solution to the migrant situation is quite simple. If all the property of a country is privately owned, anyone can come and stay as long as he can pay for his accommodations. When even the streets and parks are privately owned, trespassers, beggars, squatters, migrants, vagrants, and the like have a problem. A country with 100% private property, and zero welfare would only attract people who like those conditions. And they’d undoubtedly be welcome as individuals. But “migration” would be impossible.
So, again, I’m all for open borders. Anybody should be able to go anywhere if they can support themselves. In a free market society, however, nobody’s going to give you money just for existing. You have to produce goods and services in order to be able to buy food, shelter, and clothing.
This is how the migration problem could be solved. You don’t need the government. You don’t need the army. You don’t need visas or quotas. You don’t need laws. You don’t need treaties to solve the migration problem. All you need is privately owned property and the lack of welfare benefits.
Nick Giambruno: I agree, but I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, except in our dreams. What do you think are some likely outcomes?
Doug Casey: Well, I agree; they’ll come up with some cockamamie political solution. But the good news is that it will speed up the disintegration of the EU. It never made sense from the beginning to try to get Swedes to live by the same rules as Sicilians, or Germans by the same rules as Portuguese. Not to mention that the rules are entirely arbitrary. Worse, almost all the rules result in economic transfers, with legislated winners and losers. Deals like that always lead to resentment, among both the winners and the losers.
The euro, meanwhile, will approach its intrinsic value at an accelerating rate and eventually cease to exist. The Esperanto currency was doomed from the beginning. It was not just an “IOU nothing,” like the U.S. dollar, but a “Who owes you nothing” since it’s not even backed by a specific government’s taxing power.
My prediction that the Continent will one day just be a giant petting zoo for the Chinese is intact—assuming the current wave of migrants approve.
On the bright side, the collapse of the EU will accelerate the disintegration of nation-states everywhere. There are about 200 nation-states in the world. The international “elite,” the “intelligentsia,” the members of the Deep State everywhere, and organizations like the EU in Brussels, would like to see a much smaller number of more powerful states. Orwell anticipated just three mega-states in his dystopia, 1984. But the actual trend is in the opposite direction.
It’s not just the UK seceding from the EU, but Scotland from the UK. The Basques and Catalans may eventually secede from Spain. Belgium, a totally artificial country, will eventually break up into Flemish-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. France has half a dozen secession movements. Italy was only unified into its present form from scores of principalities, duchies, and baronies in 1861. It was the same with Germany until Bismarck in 1871. The break-up of the USSR in 1990 into 13 smaller states was a good start, but Russia itself is a small empire with dozens of distinct ethnic and linguistic groups. You will rarely hear about this in the mass media, but there are dozens of secession movements throughout Europe.
There will be an exodus of capital and people from Europe to parts of Latin America, plus to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This is, obviously, bad for Europe and good for the recipient countries, since the emigrants will be educated and affluent. In recent years, I might not have included Latin America, but things have changed. Argentina and Colombia are liberalizing economically. The continent isn’t involved in any entangling alliances, isn’t on the migration highway, and has low costs. Why a wealthy European would stay in that stagnant and unstable continent when he could live better, and mostly tax-free, at a fraction of the cost in Argentina is a mystery to me. If I was a European, I would be leaving Europe at this point.
Reprinted with permission from Doug Casey’s International Man.