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2 Can We Allow the Free Movement of People?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the following questions: can immigration go on; why should it go on; and what real, long-term, benefits does it bring. The European economies under-performed and many European governments had put into place restrictive immigration policies that weakened a flow that was diminished anyway by the slackening of demand. Immigration has enabled society to put on hold older problems it should have been forced to confront earlier. In particular, it postponed the re-organisation of economic life in the most humdrum parts of the economy, putting off the day when menial jobs would have been reshaped to attract unemployed locals. Europe has prided itself on its economic and political liberalism, but there has been simply too much laissez-faire, both in anticipating the social problems of the marginalisation of fast-growing numbers of immigrant settlers and in accepting the politicisation of closed cells of hard men within certain immigrant communities.

Keywords: economic liberalism; European economies; immigration



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