Home > Journalism and Economics > Really? Refugees Can Also Be Productive? Of Course!

Really? Refugees Can Also Be Productive? Of Course!

I wanted to use the “Remember, Journalists Who Write About Economics Often Majored in Journalism” title, but unfortunately, Mr. Cassidy actually majored in both.

Nevertheless, this silliness:

Turkey has taken in an estimated 2.2 million [Syrian refugees], Lebanon 1.1 million, and Jordan six hundred and thirty thousand.

Based purely upon these figures, you might think that the economies of these countries would be sagging under the burden, but they aren’t.
Really? GDP doesn’t contract when a country’s population increases? Stop the presses!
According to a new report from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the Turkish economy will expand by three per cent this year and by four per cent next year. Lebanon’s economy is also growing, at a rate of about two per cent this year, which will expand to more than three per cent next year, the World Bank reckons. Despite an influx of refugees that now amounts to more than ten per cent of its population, Jordan, too, is bearing up. Its gross domestic product will rise by about three per cent this year, the International Monetary Fund says.
Someone who studied economics should know better.
The only possible way a country’s GDP could not go up, ceteris paribus, given an influx of refugees, would be for not one single refugee to produce, or consume, anything of value.
That is incredibly unlikely. Refugees may typically be poor, but they aren’t incapable of productive work. They bring money, too, even if small amounts. They always increase the amount of consumption, and therefore production, of goods and services.
So, I can’t imagine who “might think that the economies of these countries would be sagging under the burden,” but it certainly wouldn’t be anyone with a freshmen-level understanding of how GDP is calculated.
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