E-Ska-nomics of Immigration – EconLib

In a previous EconLog post I discussed the origins of Ska. But how did we get from ska to ska punk?

Jamaican immigration to England was crucial to the birth of ska punk. Evan Nicole Brown writes that:

In 1948, the United Kingdom opened its doors to citizens of the British territories, as it needed a larger labor force to help rebuild its economy after World War II. As a result, West Indian immigrants traveled to London in large numbers, particularly to neighborhoods such as Brixton and Peckham. These families were firmly settled in their new place across the pond when ska was born on Orange Street, so, in time, ska music also found a home in London. By the early 1960s, the first British-Jamaican sound systems were in operation, and British youth began to be introduced to ska music through their proximity to these Jamaican enclaves, which, like Kingston, were working-class areas. “They got together at house parties because it was their culture, and they missed home,” Augustine said of the immigrant community.

It wasn’t long before their English neighbors embraced the sound and ethos of ska music, playing from classic Jamaican vinyl rising through the sound system and the growing presence of bands such as The Specials, The Selectors and Bad Manners. , the second wave of ska, Two-Tone, was born. “[The British] loved [ska], and then they mixed it with what they knew, which was early punk rock,” says Augustine. This European twist on Sky has not forgotten its roots. In fact, two-tone bands were known to be diverse, as there were usually one or more Jamaican members. A popular band from this era, Madness, got its name from a Prince Buster song of the same title.

Migration allows people to connect with and learn from very different knowledge and life experiences. One result is that they can combine their ideas, creating something new and wonderful. In this case, a genre of music and a scene that brings joy to many people these days.

As economists, we can quantify the many benefits of immigration. For example, a substantive literature Space is at a premium It shows how much immigrants can increase their earnings by moving to a richer country. This clearly benefits immigrants immensely. But it also benefits many other people, because immigrants are earning more because they are able to do labor that creates more value. This is part of why some economists speculate that immigration restrictions could be largely repealed Double world GDP.

However, not all benefits of immigration will be captured in price. Although ska punk may not have come about without immigration, not all ska punk artists were Jamaican immigrants. Even if we combine all the final sales prices of ska punk records, concert ticket sales, and merchandise, this may underestimate the benefits. While I’ve bought all this, most of my ska enjoyment happens when I listen to ska music on YouTube or streaming sites. In this context, I am getting substantial consumer surplus compared to what the artist is paid!

Ska punk may not be your favorite genre. But chances are at least one thing you like, whether it’s a genre of music, food, art, technology or consumer products, is a similar result of the creativity, cultural exchange and entrepreneurship that immigration enables.

But in recent decades, rich countries have increasingly imposed restrictions on immigration. This hits potential immigrants hard. But it also hurts the rest of us. As Michael Clemens teaches us, migration restrictions go away Trillion dollar bills on the sidewalk. When you see a trillion dollar bill on the sidewalk, be a cautious entrepreneur and pick it up, pick it up, pick it up!


Nathan P. Goodman is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Economics at New York University. His research interests include defense and peace economics, self-governance, public choice, institutional analysis, and Austrian economics.

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