Response on the Chait-Manzi debate

My original post is here.  In the comments, "some guy" offered this perceptive comment/quotation:

1. For this debate, "levels" are more important than growth rates.
8. Countries have to start from where they're at.
Anybody else see a problem?

I'll add this:

1. Canada is big on the map but most of it is empty and the population is clustered on the border of you-know-where.  Canada also has no legacy of slavery and requires stronger educational and professional credentials from its immigrants.

2. Matt asks me to come right out and say that Manzi was wrong.  TC: "Manzi was wrong."  That said, many of the other debate contributors made false or misleading statements as well.  I deliberately tried to write my post to avoid remarks directed at raising or lowering the relative status of the commentators, a good overall habit (which I don't always follow and which hardly any commentators on other blogs seem to follow).  

3. I would genuinely like to know whether the U.S. or Europe has supported more beneficial immigration over the last twenty years.  The answer is not obvious to me, when you consider the Italians who move to Switzerland, the Greeks who move to Germany, and so on, not to mention the Algerians who move to France and the Turks who move to Germany. 

4. For this debate, "levels" are more important than growth rates.  I'm still not seeing that admission in the secondary commentary and note that "levels" provide an initial advantage to the United States, though Europe might fight back with security and leisure time.  If growth rates mattered more, that would mean China is the place to copy and it isn't.  By the way, in a lot of simple models, the poorer Europe should be enjoying "catch-up" growth and growing at rates higher than that of the United States, as many other countries are doing.

Levels, levels, levels.  Here is the Ducktales moon level song played backwards.

Addendum: If you do wish to look at growth rates, adjusted for the relevant variables, here is one place to start.  Overall it's consistent with my point about levels.


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