Tuesday, 19 April 2016

GDP Is A Misleading Metric.

Proponents of mass immigration often point out how immigration contributes positively to increasing the country’s GDP.  While this may be true it doesn’t provide a complete picture because GDP doesn’t measure the overall standard of living or quality of life of a population.

A nation’s GDP can increase while the quality of life of its citizens can stagnate even decline.  For example an individual can work twelve hour days, seven days a week and that will contribute to the GDP but not provide a very favourable lifestyle.  However if this individual decided to take a day off each week for leisurely pursuits then this wouldn’t be recorded in GDP measurements since leisure isn’t measured but that leisure time would improve that individual's quality of life.  And a life of constant work, especially at a job that brings little fulfillment beyond financial need, with no time for leisure is a life not worth living.

Let’s look at the obvious fact that immigrants take up space.  This means they drive up demand for housing.  They also buy and drive cars.  They also get sick and need to see a doctor.  They also need a job to pay for all of this among other things.  All of this contributes to growing the GDP since their demand for goods and services is a measurable activity when calculating GDP numbers.
 
However, by driving up the demand for housing they also drive up the cost of living since the suppliers of housing can increase prices.  This means more disposable income is going to housing instead of meeting other needs.  They drive cars and clog up our already clogged up highways and city streets causing greater commute times and lost productivity to say nothing of the pollution they create.  When they get sick they fill up our emergency rooms and hospitals giving Canada one of the worst wait times in the industrialized world.  None of this is taken into account in measuring the GDP.  As for incomes immigration has had little if any positive effect on income levels and most likely helps to keep real incomes stagnant which means more money is going to pay for your car you drive to your job to make an income to pay for the increasing cost of living.  As for leisure time f**k that!  Who has time for that when you need to work all the time because you don’t make enough money at your job because mass immigration has saturated the job market?  That is if you can find a job that provides an income you can live on.  There are also the negative effects on one’s mental and physical health due to urban sprawl and densification, the loss of green spaces and arable land, effects on social cohesion, and so forth.

GDP is a dubious metric to begin.  To be honest I'm suspect of Canada's GDP numbers since Canadians have to assume record levels of debt to maintain the illusion of prosperity.  But saying mass immigration contributes to positive GDP growth is a disarming tactic because it implies that a growing GDP begets net benefits for the country and therefore the entirety of Canadian society and who can be against that?  But GDP is used to mask the quality of life diminishing problems mass immigration creates.  Indeed, while it’s arguable that immigration has contributed positively to growing Canada’s GDP it can be equally argued, quite persuasively, that it has negatively affected the quality of life for Canadians especially for us who live in the nation’s largest cities.  And since 30%, if not more, of Canada's GDP is composed of real estate and the service sector I'm cynical enough to believe mass immigration is being used to buoy Canada's otherwise weak economy the way China used rampant property development to inflate it's suspect GDP numbers.

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