Alt Right: Consumerism, Crony Capitalism, and Immigration

I’m sure everyone has seen the alt-right ‘mural‘ of the various things that the alt-right supports and supposes.

A few observations: I’m kinda surprised by how it ‘strongly opposes’ SJWs but only ‘moderately opposes’ SJW-media. Also surprised that it only has ‘minor opposition’ to crony capitalism and excess consumerism, which I actually agree. Consumerism, although it can be a vector for moral decay, is necessary for an economy to grow. Without people buying stuff, ultimately, there is no economy, and the best an the brightest will have a reduced standard of living or have their talents misappropriated. To some extent, low and medium-IQ consumers are the ‘bedrock’ that the creative and cognitive class are built upon; however, the wealthy do consume more than the poor. Abstract research (physics, mathematics, etc.) would stagnate if not for consumerism to keep the economy going. Economic collapse would probably cause research & development budget cuts (at both the private and public level) causing research to stagnate.

Crony capitalism, as I have discussed a couple times here, is merely the government allocating resources to sectors and industries, and is not the ‘unalloyed evil’ that some make it out to be. One could make the argument that crony capitalism, if used to promote pro-growth policy, represents a near-optimal transfer of capital that otherwise wouldn’t occur. An example is to fund a war effort – if the US need to mobilize quickly, it may pay manufactures to produce war equipment.

Notice under ‘strongly oppose’, there is a huge qualifier, ‘mass’, appended to immigration. That leaves the possibility for just ‘normal’ immigration, which the mural neither supports nor opposes. This suggests some ambiguity on the issue – how much immigration should be allowed, and for whom? Very few politicians support ‘mass immigration’, as it would probably be political suicide, even in the pre-Trump era. Usually they either support ‘more reform’ (the right) or ‘less reform’ (the left).

Mike, an important figure of the alt-right despite he himself rejecting the label, believes everyone, regardless of national origin, should be allowed to immigrate provided his or her IQ is high enough.

To some extent this is a good idea, as smart immigrants tend to create jobs, innovation, and investment. As explained in an earlier post, the evidence that H1-B visas depress wages and displace labor is somewhat lacking.

However, the concerns of ‘natives’ are still valid, and the perception of job displacement and wage suppression cannot be ignored. Smart immigrants in the tech sector may drive-up real estate prices in certain areas (as we’ve seen in Silicon Valley), forcing others to commute longer or making home ownership unobtainable. The other issue is that all immigrants, regardless of IQ, bring their families (daisy chain immigration), and over many generations the ethic makeup of the region may be changed. A third issue is ‘reversion to the mean’, in which the decedents of smart immigrants become less intelligent due to admixing and other factors. Some solutions include: only allowing immigrants of European ethnic lineage or replacing naturalization with guest worker programs (this way, visitors can never become citizens, nor be eligible for the same benefits as citizens).

I discuss the matter in more detail in The Hivemind, Immigration, and IQ:

…This lends support to high-IQ immigration. Having a larger pool of labor helps if we consider a situation where a foreigner is qualified and there are no qualified Americans applying, or the foreigner is more qualified, or the foreigner is qualified and can do the work for less. But tech companies in America are still paying top dollar for top US talent. Also, smarter immigrants tend to create jobs.

However, a counterargument is that foreign workers depress wages and take job opportunities that would otherwise go to native tech workers. As I show here, what’s more likely happening is that tech companies are not substituting US workers with foreign workers to save money, as is commonly believed. The report finds that STEM jobs are also hard to fill.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a consensus on the matter, with arguments showing that immigrants may or may not depress wages. A Google search indicates the debate is far from settled.

The issue is far from settled.