When Colombus landed on the shores of the New World, he opened the way for the greatest migration route to take place over the next three centuries and helped in the future creation of two new nation-states, Canada and America. These two nations would become symbolic of giving those in continental Europe the freedom to start a new life, something that Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- CA), who speaks of immigrants as people who have “enough get-up-and-go, to get up and go.”
Both these nations owe their success and status to the endless amounts of immigrants that brought the ideals of their constitutions to fruition, from the Africans who were forced to make their way across the Atlantic and build a nation from scratch, the Chinese who built the historic Canadian Pacific railway and various other achievements across North America, to the various European peoples that now call this vast land their new home. Immigration has been the catalyst for the advancement of any nation that can use it to its advantage.
Immigration allows different cultures to intermingle, giving people the opportunity to learn about the different approaches that the vast number of humans across the globe have adopted from their life journeys. The beauty of life is in being able to learn from the adversities that each culture has overcome, and the progress that they owe to that adversity.
Globalization has had the greatest effect in giving us a taste of what other cultures have developed as their way of life, and grants us the ability to learn as to how and why they developed in such a manner.
For example, the art of Yoga was non-existent in the west up until the mid 20th century,
when globalization skyrocketed and many travelled to the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” to share their unique perspective and contribute to the melting pot of culture that is America. Yogis would send their students to America to partake in the great cultural battle in which different cultures would fight for a market share of the fastest-growing population in the world. In turn, many Americans, especially after the Vietnam War, who saw how consumerist their population was becoming, would take an appeal to the spiritual teachings of the East.
In a post-globalized world, cultural diffusion can evidently be seen as a progressive mark of a society that undertakes self-reflection and questions its virtues, laws, morals pins them against the various other global cultures.
The Case for Immigration
Everett Rogers, professor and chair of the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Mexico, explains in his book Diffusions of Innovation explains how new ideas and cultural items spread via communication channels over time. At first, new ideas are questioned and pushed to the fringes where pioneers will adopt them for the sake of advancement. Rogers argues that only 2% of the population will experiment, develop, adapt, and share these ideas. All the while, observers will deny the existence of these new ideas only until after the pioneers have proven it to be advantageous to adopt at which point the second group of about 14% will accept them. This process will take years to ferment but will result in the adoption of ideals and virtues that could make or break an empire.
Thus, immigration opens the door for great thinkers and innovators to take on challenges that we might not be able to solve. Because of their upbringing and different cultural background, their brains operate differently than ours and grants them the ability to observe and solve problems in a different light.
Immigration also helps bolster the economy by providing a nation with extra productivity.
According to the 2016 census, 21.9% of the Canadian population are immigrants, meaning that 1 in 5 Canadians were born on foreign soil. Since 1990, over 6 million new immigrants have arrived in Canada to replace the ageing population and mitigate the effects that a low fertility rate has on the Canadian economy. Immigrants provide the economy with a more diverse and flexible labour market, greater diversity in skills, increase demand and the probability of innovation. Alternatively, unstrategic immigration can hinder an economy by overburdening public services such as health and education, increase the housing bubble, cause displacement of low-skilled native-born workers, and cause social disharmony. Despite these cons, immigration has been to the benefit of the majority of European superpowers and is the foundational building block of the New World superpowers, Canada and America.
It is hard to imagine an America today not dominated by start-up giants such as Apple, Google, Amazon, and Yahoo – all being founded by immigrants or their children – and Microsoft and Oracle, which are currently led by immigrants. According to a recent study by New American Economy, nearly 44% of companies on the 2018 Fortune 500 list were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Together, these companies in the fiscal year 2017 brought in $5.5 trillion in revenue – totalling a figure that surpasses the GDP of every country in the world other than the United States and China.
Simply put, strategic immigration can establish a well-functioning and modernized
nation-state and foster the type of understanding and critical thinking that pushes humanity into the next age.
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