Europe in Terms of California
An op-ed article in the English-language Hurriyet Daily News begins with a brief description of the demographic crisis Europe is facing:
We’ve all memorized the components of the EU problem, which in so many profound ways complicates Turkey’s relationship with the EU. According to Eurostat, Europe’s half billion population will shrink by 10 percent by 2030, the equivalent of the population of today’s Poland and Greece, without substantial immigration. The source for much of that immigration is logically Turkey, which, while offering hope, also gives many Europeans the shudders as they ponder the “Muslim hordes.”What caught my attention was not so much that topic as one proposed model for Europe's future: California. Judson, drawing on an article by Heather McDonald, continues:
Two ironies bind California and Europe. The first is that integration grows more difficult as immigrant numbers increase. When immigrants are small in number, they rapidly acculturate. As their communities grow, they tend to turn away from the “host” culture. The result is the insular, angry communities of Paris’ banlieues, Berlin’s Kreuzberg or Los Angeles’ Watts.There are, I think, issues to be raised with McDonald's initial premise -- she writes, "Unless Hispanics’ upward mobility improves, the state risks becoming more polarized economically and more reliant on a large government safety net." While at first glance sensible enough, what that thesis leaves out is underlying causes which might be constraining upward mobility. But that's a debate for a different day.
The second irony is that while immigrants bring ambition and a work ethic, often lacking in their destination countries, they don’t bring high value skills. The result is a fraying of social safety networks and schools at the precise historical moment when those institutions are critical. “Unless Hispanics’ upward mobility improves, the state risks becoming more polarized economically and more reliant on a large government safety net. And as California goes, so goes the nation, whose own Hispanic population shift is just a generation or two behind,” McDonald argues.