Debatterar i Al-Jazeera och citerad i diverse utländsk press

I samband med flyktingkrisen har jag citerats i utländsk media, varav några kan vara intressanta förläsare. Jag deltog i en TV-debatt om i Al-Jazeera Inside Edition. Det finns ett par biografiska misstag. Jag är kurd född i Iran, inte Turkiet, och jag är inte längre på Institutet för Näringslivsforskning utan vid Handelshögskolan i Stockholm.


Washington Post jämför flyktinginvandring i länder med olika demografiska och ekonomiska förutsättningar, och driver tesen att flyktinginvandring är ekonomiskt viktigare för länder i demografisk kris som Tyskland än för länder med befolkningstillväxt som Sverige. För Sveriges del citeras jag:

”Such economic thinking makes Germany distinct from Sweden, which has recently taken in the highest number of refugees in Europe per capita, despite having a population that isn’t declining. Its government has historically been among the world’s most accommodating when it comes to refugees, which explains Sweden’s quick reaction in the current crisis. Although the Swedish government allows asylum-seekers to work immediately, chances of finding a long-term job are low. Nearly half of all foreign-born people ages 25 to 64 are unemployed.

“There just aren’t many jobs anymore for the very low-skilled,” Tino Sanandaji, a Swedish economist with the Research Institute of Industrial Economics, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera English. In contrast, most unfilled jobs in Germany are offered by technical manufacturers and do not require previous knowledge because workers will be taught in apprenticeship programs. Whereas Germans are particularly looking for engineers and workers with technical skills, many Swedish job vacancies require either European higher education degrees or excellent knowledge of the Swedish language”

Brittiska The Independent skriver på samma sätt:

“In Sweden, which is renowned for its open policies towards refugees and is one of the top destinations for those arriving in Europe, swathes of the country are also seeing a declining population but concerns over unemployment are rising. The country’s unemployment rate is currently 8.5 per cent, having not gone into double digits for 15 years, but the differences between Swedish-born and foreign-born residents are stark.

Statistics show that 84 per cent of working age Swedes are employed, compared with only 57 [58] per cent of foreign-born people in the same age group. Some analysts are concerned that there are not sufficient jobs for refugees arriving with low levels of education and training in Sweden. “We have a very modern, knowledge economy,” Tino Sanandaji, an economist at the Stockholm-based Research Institute of Industrial Economics, told Al Jazeera English. “There just aren’t many jobs anymore for the very low-skilled.”

Samma citat upprepas i Mexikanska affärstidningen El Economista, Houston Chronicle och i mindre amerikanska tidningar. Jag nämns även av Financial Review, ledande affärstidning i Austrailen:

“In Sweden, which has the world’s most generous open-door policy for refugees, a deal between the establishment political parties to block the far-right, anti-immigration and anti-Islam Sweden Democrats from gaining a share of power has led to support for the far-right party surging. Economist Tino Sanandaji, the son of Turkish Kurd immigrants to Sweden and now a leading commentator there on immigration policy, says: “Such a cartel to circumvent parliamentarianism is unprecedented in Scandinavia”.

“Stockholm-based economist Tino Sanandaji has documented the problems of integrating large numbers of refugees into a sophisticated economy and believes the continuing social impact of immigration is “tearing at the political order in Sweden and the rest of Europe”.

According to his figures, immigrants constitute 16 per cent of the Swedish population but account for 51 [55] per cent of the long-term unemployed. Nearly 60 per cent of welfare payments go to immigrants, a rapidly growing source of anger for high tax-paying Swedes. This is creating a clear threat to the social democracy that is the foundation of Scandinavian exceptionalism. Sanandaji has estimated that 60 per cent of newly arrived refugees lack a high-school education [ca 50 procent] and those immigrants who manage to find a job earn 40 per cent less than native-born workers. He says intergenerational mobility has not closed these gaps and poverty and segregation tend to be passed on to a frustrated second generation.

This reflects almost exactly the experience of French immigrants. Sanandaji warns that the lack of economic integration of immigrants is leading to the emergence of a new ethnic class society in Europe, with occupational status becoming visibly linked to ethnicity.

“The so-called visible minorities of Europe are rarely allowed to forget their lower socioeconomic status or that they are outsiders who were never really welcomed by large sections of the native population,” he said in a recent paper on immigration. “Despite lip service to the contrary, Muslim immigrants sense the silent collective distrust whenever some random extremist runs amok.”

Sanandaji and Anna Dahlberg are among a small group of analysts and commentators who are trying to break what they call the “taboo” on discussing immigration in Sweden.”

Den mest uppmärksammade intervjun av mig är av högerkolumnisten Margaret Wente i The Globe and Mail, Kanadas största nationella tidning. Artikeln var tydligen den mest lästa i The Globe and Mail den här veckan:

So how are things working out in the most immigration-friendly country on the planet?

Not so well, says Tino Sanandaji. Mr. Sanandaji is himself an immigrant, a Kurdish-Swedish economist who was born in Iran and moved to Sweden when he was 10. He has a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago and specializes in immigration issues. This week I spoke with him by Skype.

“There has been a lack of integration among non-European refugees,” he told me. Forty-eight per cent of immigrants of working age don’t work, he said. Even after 15 years in Sweden, their employment rates reach only about 60 per cent. Sweden has the biggest employment gap in Europe between natives and non-natives.

In Sweden, where equality is revered, inequality is now entrenched. Forty-two per cent of the long-term unemployed are immigrants, Mr. Sanandaji said [korrect siffra 55%]. Fifty-eight per cent of welfare payments go to immigrants. Forty-five per cent of children with low test scores are immigrants. Immigrants on average earn less than 40 per cent of Swedes. The majority of people charged with murder, rape and robbery are either first- or second-generation immigrants. “Since the 1980s, Sweden has had the largest increase in inequality of any country in the OECD,” Mr. Sanandaji said. It’s not for lack of trying. Sweden is tops in Europe for its immigration efforts. Nor is it the newcomers’ fault. Sweden’s labour market is highly skills-intensive, and even low-skilled Swedes can’t get work. “So what chance is there for a 40-year-old woman from Africa?” Mr. Sandaji wondered.

Sweden’s fantasy is that if you socialize the children of immigrants and refugees correctly, they’ll grow up to be just like native Swedes. But it hasn’t worked out that way. Much of the second generation lives in nice Swedish welfare ghettos. The social strains – white flight, a general decline in trust – are growing worse. The immigrant-heavy city of Malmo, just across the bridge from Denmark, is an economic and social basket case. Sweden’s generosity costs a fortune, at a time when economic growth is stagnant. The country now spends about $4-billion a year on settling new refugees – up from $1-billion a few years ago, Mr. Sanandaji said. And they keep coming. Sweden automatically accepts unaccompanied minors. “We used to take in 500 unaccompanied minors a year,” he said. “This year we are expecting 12,000.”

Yet Sweden’s acute immigration problems scarcely feature in the mainstream media. Journalists see their mission as stopping racism, so they don’t report the bad news. Despite – or perhaps because of – this self-censorship, the gap between the opinion elites and the voters on immigration issues is now a chasm. According to a recent opinion poll, 58 per cent of Swedes believe there is too much immigration, Mr. Sanandaji noted. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats Party is now polling at between 20 per cent and 25 per cent.

Sweden is a cautionary tale for anyone who believes that Europe is capable of assimilating the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants who are besieging the continent, or the millions more who are desperately poised to follow in their wake. The argument that these people are vital to boost the economy – that they will magically create economic growth and bail the Europeans out of their demographic decline – is a fantasy. It’s really very simple, Mr. Sanandaji explained. You can’t combine open borders with a welfare state. “If you’re offering generous welfare benefits to every citizen, and anyone can come and use these benefits, then a very large number of people will try to do that. And it’s just mathematically impossible for a small country like Sweden to fund those benefits.”

Things will get worse before they get better. As Judy Dempsey, a senior analyst at a Berlin think tank, told The Wall Street Journal, “Europe hasn’t seen anything yet in terms of the numbers or the backlash.” Meanwhile, Sweden’s neighbour, Denmark, has cut the benefits for refugees in half, and has taken out ads in Lebanese newspapers warning would-be migrants to stay home. The Danes don’t want to be a moral superpower. They can’t afford it.”

Som ni märker återkommer biografiska misstag, delvis för att de citerar varandra. Vissa detaljer missförstås i intervjuer. Det är inte invandrare med jobb som tjänar runt 40% mindre, utan samtliga invandrare, de med jobb tjänar runt 20% mindre. Vissa siffror skiljer sig för att det är olika årtal eller genom slarvfel. När det gäller arbetslösheten är siffrorna värre än vad som framgår i The Globe and Mail. Arbetsförmedlingens statistik för augusti visar att 49 procent av alla arbetslösa och 55 procent av långtidsarbetslösa är utrikes födda.


Bonusfråga. Finns det något exempel på att svensk media rapporterar hur stor andel av arbetslösa och långtidsarbetslösa som är utrikes födda?

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