Branko Milanovic

Late night live sounds like it might be interesting tonight.   I don’t have time to read even this link, right now, but it all sounds interesting.

World Bank economist Branko Milanovic says globalisation is in trouble. He shifts the focus from the economic effects of globalisation to the immigration effects, and he has a warning for Europe – “Europe needs no less than a social revolution: replacement of its welfare state, and acceptance that Germans, French or Italians of tomorrow will be much darker in their skin color.

Mark Steyn bangs on about issues related to these, though in ways that rarely fail to irriate me.   But the issues themselves are interesting, difficult and important.

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17 years ago

Branko seems to focus on th unskilled and semi-skilled jobs as the focus for migration. My impression is that globalisation is well underway in the contestable professional jobs eg professional engineering.

17 years ago

What would be an ‘uncontestable professional job’? All jobs are now are part of the global labour market, and there are moves to constitute the kind of global market for labour that capital and goods have ‘enjoyed’ over the last twenty five years. The resuslts will be extremely interesting for the conflicts this will engender between neo libs and their socially conservative mates, as well as what it will do to that part of the electoral base they rely on for poltical power. The next five yers will make the last twenty look ‘sleepy’.

17 years ago

Seems like a rather tenuous argument on the basis of that quote. How are globalisation and immigration connected. How do Milanovic get from immigration to the view that Europe is against immigration and racist? Some huge speculative leaps going on I think.

Joshua Gans
17 years ago

Milanovic is a fine researcher. His work on inequality started with a series of papers for the World Bank on tansition economies, but he ended up applying his frammework to the whole in Worlds Apart.

I found both the article and the interview dissatisfying. After explaining the conditions that allowed the welfare state to function in Europe, and why those are beng undermined, he concludes that it will need to be ‘replaced’, but he doesn’t say with what. He seems to see this as regretable, but if he has an alternative in mind he doesn’t give us any clue what it is. Or is he just saying we should give in to the inevitable?

17 years ago

Droo, maybe he just lived there. I find Europe quite racist, having grown up mainly in Australia and a bit in America. I’ll exaggerate a little for effect, but when I have seen racism here it has generally speaking been:

a) pretty old-fashioned (ie blunt)
b) pretty crude (ie accompanied by a lot of four letter words in incomplete phrases) and
c) pretty socially marginalised.

In France at least, racism tends to be:

a) pretty sophisticated (ie focused on language skills or dress habits or housing, or couched in terms of legal and illegal immigration, etc)
b) pretty subtle (ie saying that there is no place in a hotel or not serving green tea in a cafe because it happens to the most popular drink of middle-aged muslims from ‘mahgreb’)
c) pretty much universal.

As for the link between welfare and racism, it is pretty similar to the whole debate about welfarism and jobs that most people on this site probably don’t ever want to hear about again. Suffice to say that Azouz Begag, Minister for Multiculturalism or something in France and former author of novels about the discrimination he encountered as a mahgrebin child in France, was for the PM’s recent failed attempt to allow young people to be fired. The entire left establishment was against it, because they couldn’t give a rats’, excuse the langauge, about the genuinely disadvantaged people in France, who are overwhelmingly not-polished-french-speakers.

It is worth remembering the absurd role played by the ‘Polish plumber’ in the EU Constitution debate in France – he represented the swarms of desparate foreigners who, unable to use forged payslips to qualify for nearly as much social security as they liked, would swamp decent french people with their pernicious desire to actually earn money. This is, after all, the country that still outlaws working a second job, with a recent exception for starting your own business.

The welfare system here at the moment is utterly unsustainable – it is like looking at a one-legged elephant: whether you know anything about elephants or not, simple common sense tells you it is going to fall over sooner or later. One of the biggest sources of pressure on that one legged elephant is that immigration , despite taust’s odd comment, basically means vast increases in relatively unqualifed mahgrebins and eastern europeans who are good mainly for taking the relatively unqualifed french lower classes’s jobs (go to Paris and find a ‘French de souche (from the stump, literally) street-sweeper or rubbish collector) who then go on welfare and stay there.

So those lower classes are overwhelming anti-immigration, and yet the political classes won’t, on the whole, breath a word that might be seen as actually anti-immigration. So Le Pen, old-fashionedly racist and nationalist, gets nearly a fifth of the vote whilst the unemployment rates in ‘defavourised’ (read: Arab) areas goes to 50 percent. It is a stark contrast to Oz where Pauline Hanson gets hardly enough signatures to feature on the list and medecine and law classes at top unis are packed with Asians, sub-continentals and increasing amounts of ‘maghrebins’.

But there are signs that this is changing – the current presidential race, essentially between Nicolas Sarkozy of the right and S