Borderless Welfare State: The Consequences of Immigration on Public Finances

Sometimes white nationalists describe me as a proponent of ‘IQ nationalism’, they don’t mean it well. It’s somewhat of a misnomer of that position but it’s kinda catchy so we will stick with it. There doesn’t appear to be any post anywhere setting out what this opinion is, so it seemed fitting to do so here. The contrasting view is ethnonationalism of which ‘white nationalism’, i.e., European nationalism, is an example of. That view is essentially that the country should be an ethnostate, i.e., populated mainly or exclusively by people of some ethnic group. This term is usually used in the American context, where this would be a system where USA should be mainly populated by Europeans, much like the early immigration laws of the 1900s set out. The most famous one is the Emergency Quota Act, more commonly called Emergency Immigration Act of 1921. We can quote Wikipedia’s description:

The Emergency Quota Act restricted the number of immigrants admitted from any country annually to 3% of the number of residents from that country living in the United States as of the 1910 Census.[3] That meant that people from Northern and Western Europe had a higher quota and were more likely to be admitted to the US than those from Eastern or Southern Europe or from non-European countries.

However, professionals were to be admitted without regard to their country of origin and no limits were set on immigration from Latin America. The act did not apply to countries with bilateral agreements with the US or to Asian countries listed in the Immigration Act of 1917, known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act.[1] However, the act was not seen as restrictive enough since millions of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe had come into the US since 1890.

The situation was famously reversed in the civil rights era, in 1965. After that, immigration to USA became markedly non-European, which strongly changed the demographic make-up of the country. So the USA used to have ethnostate-ish laws but no longer. A lot of other countries essentially have such approaches to immigration, famously Israel.

Of course, one could simply have open borders, which is the absence of immigration restrictions in general. But let’s ignore that position because it just immediately results in the decline of the country. So the remaining option is to have some kind of restriction on who can immigrate. Most countries have some kind of laws that allow for skilled immigration. In Denmark, one of our systems for non-EU citizens is beløbsordningen, meaning the value system. It grants the right to migrate to Denmark if they have a job offer that pays a yearly salary of at least 445k DKK, which is about 70k USD. Since this is above the median income in Denmark, the law is basically that any person who can have an above average job in Denmark can move there. This thus results in the average quality of workers improving due to inflow of above average workers. I think it’s a nice and simple law.

IQ nationalism is like such typical skilled labor laws, but using IQ as the metric to be fulfilled instead of employment with sufficient pay. Since intelligence is the most important human capital trait, and alone explains most of the differences between countries in terms of wealth and overall niceness (i.e., S factor), it makes sense to focus on this when deciding who to let immigrate. It can also be easily measured, so it would not be particularly difficult to institute a policy that limits immigration to people with IQs above 100, for instance. Just as with the skilled labor system, this would result in the national IQ steadily increasing due to the inflow of above Danish average intelligence people. Now, in practice, there will be some regression towards the mean when immigrants have children, which might be strong enough to actually reverse the effect of the law on national intelligence. To deal with this, one has to estimate the amount of regression, and increase the requirements accordingly. Since regression towards the mean depends on the origin population, in practice, this means one has to use different standards for different origin populations. So if a person from South Africa wants to move to Denmark under this policy, they might need an IQ of 105 if they are European ancestry but 120 if they of African ancestry. It’s probably not possible to exactly predict how much regression there will be, but one can make some rough guesses and follow-up the resulting children’s school grades. If they are below average, one can then increase the requirements for that particular country or ethnic group until they no longer result in a decline of national intelligence. So, such a policy would in some sense be racist, racialist, or race-aware (choose whatever term makes you happy) due to the large intelligence differences by race and by extension countries. Still, this policy would result in people of many origins entering the country, and thus would result in a kind of cosmopolitan ethnic mixing, so this policy does not result in an ethnostate. There’s more than one billion Indian people. David Becker’s current best estimate of the national IQ is 76 (Lynn has it at 82, Rindermann also at 76), but that still leaves us with millions of Indians with IQs above 120 (say) that could potentially move to Denmark under such a law. Denmark only has 5 million Danish people, and another 700k foreigners (about 400k Muslims), so the demographic make-up could be completely changed by such a law. The same reasoning applies to other origins like Africa or China, supposing such people would want to move to cold Denmark.

Family re-unification presents more difficulties. If a man wants to move to Denmark, and tests at 120, but his wife tests at 99, just below the threshold, should the wife be allowed to join him? Maybe because their average IQ is still above the threshold. What about any children they might have? Young children cannot be accurately tested for intelligence, and even when they get to age 5, the IQ scores would not be too useful because they are not stable enough from age 5 to adulthood. So in practice one would have to just measure the parents and use their average, with some regression towards the mean adjustment. Arthur Jensen’s 1980 book, Bias in mental testing (which you should read) has some nice data illustrating the relative stability across ages:

So we see here that the correlation between age 2.5 and 17 is only r = .36! Even if we waited until age 5 (just before school begins), the correlation to age 17 is only .49, which is not that impressive either.

The main advantage of IQ nationalism above skilled labor programs like the Danish one discussed above, is that one can include more people who are likely to be good workers later, or have children who will be good workers. For instance, university students could be admitted under such a system as they are smart enough but not yet working so would not qualify under the income law. In practice, one can already move to Denmark to study at the university, so this example is not important. People that are too old to work could also be admitted, but they are presumably also too old to have children, so it is unclear what they would contribute to Denmark aside from late-life medical expenses.

There are many possible ways one can essentially filter immigrants to good people whatever country they might come from, and it doesn’t seem that IQ-based systems would be much superior to the skilled worker systems that many countries already have. The problem with immigration in Europe is not the lack of IQ testing or laws that result in such filtering through other means, it’s that they keep admitting far below average Muslims and Africans refugees (and fake refugees), and to some extent various East Europeans who freeload (one popular scheme is to enroll in schools thus getting the stipend (about 1000 USD/month!), and then never showing up, waiting until expelled for insufficient student activity, and then applying to another degree and repeating). Because of the way welfare states work, the average person is very close to being a net zero — they contribute as much in tax as the government spends on them during their lifetime. So any below average person will be a net economic loss to the state. The recent Dutch report shows this very clearly, James Thompson has a good summary of it on his blog and fellow intelligence researcher Jan te Nijenhuis also has a formal review out in Mankind Quarterly:

The authors also compare regions, and it is clear that migrants from higher-IQ regions generally have on average net positive contributions. Exceptions are immigrants from some Central and Eastern EU member states that cost about €50,000 per immigrant for the time they reside in the Netherlands. In contrast, migrants from lower-IQ regions always have, on average, negative contributions. The authors show dramatic differences in net lifetime contribution by educational level: Immigrants with a master’s degree contribute +€300,000, and immigrants with only primary education cost €400,000. The dataset used is rich and contains an educational achievement test that Dutch children take at the end of primary school (CITO). The lowest educational achievement score generally goes with a lifetime net contribution of approximately -€400,000, whereas the highest score goes with a value of +€300,000. A previous meta-analysis by te Nijenhuis et al. (2004) showed large mean IQ differences between immigrants and native Dutch. It also showed that second-generation immigrants have substantially better IQ scores than the first generation, even after controlling for Dutch language proficiency. It is well-known that the Dutch educational achievement tests correlate very strongly with classical IQ tests. Te Nijenhuis et al. also show large differences between Dutch and immigrants in school achievement and work performance. So, the findings from the van de Beek report are very much in line with these previous meta-analytical findings.

My video explainer goes into a lot of depth on immigrant economics:

So in the end, IQ nationalism seems like an overly autistic way to accomplish pretty much the same thing as the various skilled worker laws already do. I don’t know of any country that uses any kind of standardized testing for immigrants, but perhaps it exists somewhere. Many countries have such tests for their naturalization process (getting citizenship), Denmark included.