Was and have been thinking about immigration levels and the long-term viability of social welfare programs.
From the reading I’ve done over the past few weeks or so, what appears to matter ceteris paribus reference immigration and social welfare programs are a few things:
1) Perception of rising or falling immigration and relatedly whether it is under or out of control.
2) Integration success or failure (much less strong).
Unfortunately, there has not been a lot of good research in this realm, and further high-quality research is probably taboo as it might discover something that discredits a wishful narrative.
But Germany, the UK, and a few other countries are currently running a nice natural experiment that we can learn from!
Since Germany and the UK are very large, I’d rather use those rather than smaller countries that might have more confounding factors.
So, a prediction or two:
1) Over the next 10-15 years, I’d expect both Germany and the UK to reduce support for or eliminate altogether some or perhaps many social programs, including educational and apprenticeships (common in Germany).
2) I’d also expect the (already-extant) rise of rightist or nationalist parties to exacerbate these trends and lead to some pretty bad outcomes in at least a few large-ish countries.
Note that wishful thinking can’t wish us out of number 2 occurring as it is part and parcel of high in-migration rates — as shitty as number 2 always is! A common effect of higher or perceived out-of-control immigration is that these right-wing parties achieve ascendance as discontent spreads among the already-xenophobic and the neutral begin trending that way, too.
A sub-prediction: those countries which experience the most immigration from the most-disparate cultures will crash their social welfare programs the hardest, though I think this will be more challenging to gauge (especially with my lack of statistical/mathematical ability) since so much is just contingent and always will be.
The null hypothesis being of course that social support and social programs remain unchanged or increase rather than become diminished (or exhibit divergent results, which will then require further examination).
My thinking though is amenable to being changed by evidence either way. These are just hypotheses awaiting the test of time.