Tuesday, November 20

Minorities and Poverty - a comment

So if a first or second generation immigrant is poor, it is the host government's fault. And they have to go about doing silly things like affirmative action and equal opportunity. Oh!, and have minimum wage which is supposed to be decent. Who defines decent? As for minimum wages, there is a very hot debate going on about whether minimum wages depress employment or not. Even if it did not, the idea that a government agency will tell me how much to pay my workers is anathema to me as a libertarian!

But to go back to the article. They seem to be saying that it is to do with race. What utter rot, to put it politely. And this made me laugh, apparently there are people now called as visible minorities. I presume it refers to skin colour, social habits or such like. I would be curious to see what or who are visible majorities? or invisible majorities? But besides this frankly spectacularly stupid terminology, here is something to think about.

The mother country to Canada, United Kingdom which has a somewhat similar ethnic, immigration and minority background gives these figures for education:

Pupils achieveing 5 or more A* - C at GCSE by sex and ethnic group, 2004, England

Can you see the 2 lines which are beyond 70%? those belong to visible minorities - the Indians and Chinese, who significantly over take the visible majority (the whites, I guess). I wonder where Jews fit in? or how about Polish? But I presume they are too white to be minorities, yes?

Now look at economic activity here.

Percentage of people of working age who are economically active by ethnicity and gender, 2004

Can you see the second set of bar's? that's whites. Where are Indians? just a tiny bit below them. And so are Blacks.

How about employment (full time, part time, employment rate and unemployment rate?) see page 15 of this report. More Indian extraction women are in employment than white women. The % of full time employment is the same for Indian men and White men. Here's another interesting study on relative earnings by minority status.

For those who refer to the test of sending cv applications with different names, has anybody tried the reverse experiment? (I haven't seen it, so would love to hear about it). Send Christian and Hindu name cv's to say Hindu employers and see the results. I dare say that you will find group behaviour, that people prefer to work with people of their own kinds.

A very good overview of this entire issue of ethnicity and poverty in the UK is in this paper. See Table 4.1 and try to tell me that it is clear that just being visibly different causes differences. How is that that % differences are more than 100% across minorities? Or take a look at Table 4.4 where you will see that the hourly pay for Indians is greater than that of the white British population? Or that more Indians and Pakistani's get their income from self employment than whites as given in Table 4.6? Or in table 4.7, Indians and other ethnic groups take less benefits than whites?

Public policy should not be driven by blunt instruments such as skin colour. And why aren't people trying to push these people to setup their own businesses rather than look to the government to support them? I am totally not convinced that it is skin colour or religion that is the cause of poverty or be a significant explaining factor in government public policy. If say the government starts off doling out cash, then why on earth would they dole it out to say Indians who are earning more than Whites anyway? But then you have to start defining what a minority is, etc. etc. Wouldnt it simply be better to give cash and benefits to poor people? irrespective?

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