The Corner

No Immigrants, No Progress

Several readers have commented that the near-total lack of immigration into New England for close to 200 years (mid-17th to mid-19th centuries) explains the plummeting standard of living, demographic collapse, creative failure, etc. of New England before the 1840s.   Along the same lines, a reader offers this: “Can you offer me some evidence of popular demand for more immigration in the 1924-65 lull?”

 And another:  

Dear John—Interesting how during that lull the U.S. managed to survive the great depression, win the second world war, fight the cold war, rebuild Europe and achieve the post war boom, all without the help of millions of unskilled illiterate third world immigrants.  Since we are told repeatedly by economists how our future depends on the endless supply of unskilled immigrant labor, how did we possibly manage?

Yes, it’s truly amazing.  You can be sure economists have an explanation for it, though.  They always do.