by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright March 2017
Immigration is going to be dramatically different in the 2050's. One big difference is there is going to be a lot less of it. This will happen because the reasons to immigrate are going to be a lot less compelling when the Total Entitlement State (TES) (my term) is widespread around the world.
How immigration is going to be different is the topic of this essay.
People migrate to better their lives. Migration is a tough process. A person is leaving familiar territory and friends to go to a strange land filled with strange people. It is often a frustrating, expensive and hazardous process. In spite of this millions of people in the 2010's undertake this every year.
Again, people are doing this to better their lives. They are seeking things such as better employment, reliable food, and a safer community.
In the 2010's the better employment is a critical feature. This usually starts as taking a job being offered by another person or company in this new and strange community. This job can continue for years, or as the person learns the ropes they can get even more ambitious, move up in employment, or start their own enterprises. The major benefit of starting their own enterprise is doing things even more their own way -- being their own boss. This is why immigration brings a lot of innovation to those communities which embrace it.
But in the 2050's things will be different.
The biggest difference the 2050's will bring is the Total Entitlement State. When a TES is in place a person is entitled to food, shelter, health care and dignity just by being in existence in the community. The person doesn't have to work for a living, and fewer and fewer people will be working for a living as automation becomes more and more pervasive. People will be busy, but not busy at working on a productive job of some sort.
Achieving this kind of paradise has been an aspiration for many people for thousands of years. The big difference that will be coming in the 2050's is that, thanks to pervasive automation, it will be achievable and stable. And, again because of pervasive automation, it won't be people working that makes this possible, it will be automation, robots and artificial intelligence that are doing the heavy lifting that produces the goods, services and transportation that makes this paradise possible.
And this affects migration. What this means is that human jobs that are part of enhancing a community's productivity are going to diminish dramatically in numbers, and that means is that moving to get a better job is going to decline dramatically in magnitude.
This prime reason to migrate is going to disappear. Moving to get a better life is going to be an option for fewer and fewer people as time goes on.
Economics is a major push behind migrating, but not the only one. Another one is the instinct to explore, which is a powerful instinct in many people. As TES builds everyone's prosperity the ability to explore just for exploring's sake becomes affordable to more and more people. This kind of migrating won't be as expensive, frustrating or hazardous as 2010's migrating for economics reasons is, so it will be conducted in very different ways and for very different goals. A common form will be taking school classes in a different land to extend one's education.
When people migrate in the 2050's, their motivation is not going to be the aspiration to get a better life by getting a better job. It is going to be something else, something completely different. This means that migration in the 2050's is likely to decline dramatically in magnitude and be very different in composition when compared to the 2010's.
And this means that innovation in TES communities is likely to be a lot less dramatic than what we are experiencing in the 2010's in those communities that embrace immigration. Human TES communities are likely to get a lot more Rust Beltish in their cultures -- complacent, but comfortable.