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January 31, 2014

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Also, Greenhill's stunning "Weapons of Mass Migration," though for a very different sort of migration.

My brief impression of Exodus was that while it was solid, Collier seemed shocked at things like the formation of relatively durable immigrant enclaves and sustained patterns of migration, things that are par for the course for North America for many groups--including for migrants from the British Isles.

Randy: reading Collier as shocked by that (or any well-known fact about migration) would be a highly idiosyncratic reaction. Given your interests, you would be crazy not to read his book in full and carefully. You will be surprised and you will learn things; I did. His little Mickey-Mouse model generates some remarkable and falsifiable insights. I would certainly value your thoughts afterwards.

McDevite: I was not aware of that book! I just picked up a copy: it looks really really interesting. Thank you!

"Shocked" was probably too strong a word. Collier did seem to be surprised--disturbed?--by enduring immigrant enclaves, or by sustained patterns of migration between countries, in a way that struck me as odd. His criticisms of multiculturalism left me wondering what the hell critics of multiculturalism--supporters, too--actually are thinking of when they're talking about multiculturalism. (The UK really is a different country from Canada, I suppose.)

I really have to go back to it, since I do want to read Exodus thoroughly. On my first skim-through, it did seem to make a lot of interesting arguments, many of which I'd agree with. The idea of guest worker status as an alternative for illegal immigrants living in the shadows appeals.

It's just that Exodus also puts me in mind of a truism: if the United Kingdom is different from North America in its capacity to integrate immigrants, then it's because Britons want it to be different.

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