Small Worlds
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Small Worlds • Posted: Jun 17, 2018 14:39:17Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Immigration is the latest hot topic within US politics, an issue that has been boiling in Europe for several years now and tossed around intermittently for at least a couple of election cycles back in the US. Is there, after all is said, a rational sane stabilizing answer to the problem of immigration?

Biology tells us that populations fluctuate according to the availability of sustaining resources and conditions within a specific environment. Biology also tells us that environments are systems wherein multiple vectors attempt to establish equilibrium with each other. The problem is not unlike a couple contemplating having a baby. Together, the couple may have established a stable home that is supported by income they both earn from employment. Add in a baby and what happens to the comfortable secure economy of their home life? The same type of stress upon equilibrium happens when one or more populations within an environmental system grows or shrinks, or when sustaining resources run dry. The overall balance fails, and multiple vectors within the system are forced to readjust until a new sustaining equilibrium is established. The question is: how might political systems such as the US and EU find sustaining adjustment to stresses introduced by large numbers of quite pitiable immigrants?

Both science and social science have a few suggestions to offer. For one thing, all environments change, political ones too. Whether or not a particular environment catastrophically fails due to change largely depends upon how fast change happens. Should change come too fast, beyond the tempo of adaptation, the whole system may fail. Should conditions change too slowly, slower than the advancement of exploiting populations, the entire environment could fail just as catastrophically, just as easily. Symbiotic balance between a changing environment and the adapting populations it supports is the only sure way both survive.

But, that is the larger picture. What about individual vectors? What about you and your family? What about me and my family? Are we expendable? Inconsequential?

Tap mechanical science here, engineering. Engineering tells us that we can design and build components to fit very specific environmental conditions. But, engineers will also tell us it is very expensive to do that. Alternatively, components can be designed to function within a wide variety of environmental conditions. And, if we do that, there is a much higher probability those components will find many more homes, many more uses. Profits for such components will be higher, too, because costs to produce will drop. Applying that to humans, a many skilled person will have more opportunity to fill prevailing needs within a changing local economy than a person with limited or highly specialized skills. A many skilled person’s income may fluctuate wildly over their lifetime, but employment will be more constant, more certain. Something, in terms of income and social cohesion, is always more sustaining than nothing.

Now, as to managing the stresses to local economies bought on by immigration, social science would suggest local economies take a look at themselves to see what they have to work with, what they may lose in the near future, and what they will need to adjust to changes that are occurring. Immigrants may well provide the very things needed to sustain those communities and local economies for years to come. Do they need teachers? Doctors? Entrepreneurs that will attract capital and create jobs? Do they need people with skills like bakers and butchers and cooks and servers, or farm hands to work the fields and mechanics to fix what is broken?

From a social science perspective, on a local scale, fearing and objecting to immigration is nonsensical. Instead, local economies should be competing with each other for talent that is begging to be welcomed and put to use. But, that does not mean only doctors and engineers should be admitted. Local communities should, instead, be rallying resources to help all manner of immigrants resettle, learn about the new communities they will be entering and how they might fit in. Local communities should also be providing pathways that help new immigrants learn new skills to augment ones they already have, helping them to become more universally useful and survivable within their new environment.

But, what about the cultural baggage new immigrants always bring with them? Won’t that disrupt or even destroy our own culture?

Again, social science has something to offer. Culture is the result of learning. It is the collective memory of what works. But it is also the memory of what worked before, when things may not have been as they are today. Culture as it has been may, in fact, hinder and undermine survival within conditions that prevail now. If culture is what works, we need to always be looking to discover what works best within the latest environmental conditions, adding to and revitalizing our local cultures, helping to ensure our long term survival within local environments, no matter how those environments may change or be stressed in the future. Immigrants can and do add to and strengthen local cultures, with their creative ideas and life-learned wisdom, with their labors, and with their helping hands when we, ourselves, need help. Turning immigrants away is not only foolish, it is self-defeating and destructive of who we are and of who we hope to become.

Change is certain. Fail to adapt within that change, it’s simple, we die. In a very real sense, immigrants embody and help ensure our future. Turn them away, our local cultures stagnate and die, as might we. That’s just the way the world works. History, science, social science, engineering, biology all agree on that. Ignore reality and both God and nature will not hesitate to crush.

May your small world find its way toward functioning as one of the enlightened ones.

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017