- Religion and Philosophy
“Multicultural societies create more problems than benefits.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
A “multicultural society” is one consisting
of people from a diverse variety of national, linguistic, religious and
cultural backgrounds. More than four million non-white Britons live in England, making it one of the most ethnically
complex countries in Europe. Almost half of this
number lives in London
and almost 300 different languages are spoken in all of the capital’s schools.
Two areas of London have become the first in the
to have a non-white majority – Newham and Brent. Races are mainly of Indian,
Pakistani, Afro-Caribbean and Chinese origin. There are a wide range of
benefits that these migrants bring with them, many of these are hidden by the
smoke screen of the media which brings bad publicity and make big money off
small problems which are common place in most cases with white people anyway. A
prime example of this is the Indian family in London found to be on benefits- The Sun
publicises this story, instantly spreading a widespread bad reputation for the
migrants, raising aggression and problems between the natives and migrant races;
the only people that benefit off this is going to be the newspaper that made
money off the story. This story of the Indian family on benefits however is a
very small minority of migrants. Compare the number of white people that stay
at home on benefits that could very easily be working and it can quickly be
seen that it’s these people who are the true people living off the system.
The economic advantages of migrants for the UK are great in comparison to the problems they bring. In general they have good work ethics, with some races being more focused than others. They are very willing to work for lower wages making them favourable by many employers who are employing low skilled staff. In many cases, these jobs they are doing are the jobs the natives aren’t willing to do, the ‘dirty jobs’, examples of these jobs are agriculture, catering and hotels. The migrants, the employer, the industry and the prices charged to the customer all benefit.
At current Britain is developing a top heavy population pyramid, which is about to boom at the top further more as the 1960s baby boom comes through. The ‘working population to dependent population’ ratio will therefore drastically increase which could cause taxes to increase as more people live off the state and the people paying taxes reduces. Therefore, the working migrants are a helpful boost for improving this ratio, and could even potentially stop any potential taxation increases. Here are some figures to back up the fact that migrants do add a large value to the UK’s economy:
-In 2002, migrants contributed over an estimated £2.5 billion to the economy in just one year
-A 1% population increase through migration can lead to a 1.25% to 1.5% increase in Gross Domestic Product
-Migrants now account for one in eight of the UK’s working population which is estimated to boost economic output by £6 billion
These statistics show that migrants aren’t by any means hindering us when it comes the economy; they are instead greatly helping us.
So what economic disadvantages do the migrants bring the UK? Well first of all, as previously mentioned, they can create tension between the natives and themselves when seen as ‘taking the natives’ jobs’. However, these proposed arguments normally arise at times of economic hardship (recession) when unemployment rises. The frustration begins when migrants still seem to have jobs, despite being much lower paid jobs than the natives would ever do and the natives don’t. This causes racial hatred and the tabloid newspapers will often feed off this, spreading hatred for these people here doing the jobs no one else wants to do in the first place.
The second part of this idea of the migrants taking jobs is the higher skilled workers who come to the country, bringing skills with them. Despite most people thinking of migrants as manual workers, this is not true. The banking and finance sector employ 13% of migrants, followed by 12% in hotel and restaurants. Since we saw a large influx of Polish workers into the UK, the plumbing and building market has seen an increased amount of competition. There have been native plumbers losing out on contracts and work to Polish plumbers as they have built themselves a good reputation of being hard working, cheap and efficient. Thus again giving the natives good reason to have racial aggression against the migrants. A TV programme: Rogue Traders recently investigated this new trend in the UK. They set up 2 identical houses, both with similar problems where the owners needed some plumbing fixed. Hidden cameras were set up round the house to observe the plumber. The Polish arrived on time, got straight to work and finished the job in good time. This was then compared to the British plumber. He arrived late, he spent twice as long doing the job, had a long lunch break halfway through (which he charges for) and then hands the invoice. In comparison, the Polish was largely cheaper, firstly because he spent half the time doing the job and secondly because he charges less per hour. The general public will almost always go for the cheaper option. Hence the Polish have won this reputation for themselves.
The migrants have been known to send money home to their family in order to support them. In some cases this has been up to and over 50% of their wage. In terms of the economy, this is bad as it is taking the circulating money out of the system by sending it to a foreign economy.
Finally, there is the issue of migrants taking advantage of the state benefits. A child costs on average, £3000 a year to send to school which is paid for by the government. When migrants send their children to state schools it is therefore the tax money paying for them to be there. The members of the host country will see it as them paying for these migrants to get an education. What they don’t see is what was mentioned above, that the working migrants are actually contributing a large amount of money to the government so effectively are paying for themselves.
In the majority of cases, migrants are lowly paid so will often be found living in areas of poor housing in major cities within the inner city area. They are also unsuccessful in securing mortgage loans which results in very low owner occupancy rates in these areas. These areas are rough and unattractive, common characteristics include: - high crime rates, widespread graffiti, sub standard living conditions and rough gangs. These characteristics are blamed on the migrant population in these areas, in particular the Asian and Afro-Caribbean population. Ethnic minorities have also been discriminated against when accessing local authority housing; this being another example of taking from the system. However, there are some migrants that aren’t living in sub standard inner city areas. In recent times, highly skilled migrants have moved into higher end suburban areas where they live a well off life. These people are normally overlooked when looking at migrants.
As previously mentioned, education is a large expense for the state. Schools in and around these inner city areas are often found to be dominated by one ethnic group. Being brought up in a home where they speak a foreign language for many of these school children results in special education requirements such as English language classes for the pupils and often for the parents as well. These special lessons affect the schools performance. Entering geography exams where the student is still not fluent in the language is seriously going to damage the results produced. This detracts other potential pupils from the school and also staff. The government has recently announced bonuses and increased salaries for teaching staff willing to teach at some of the inner city under performing schools to try attract better staff. This along with the expensive extra lessons results in an expensive education for pupils which often aren’t British anyway. The problem after education for the UK is migrants then leaving the country with the qualifications learnt. So the UK has invested a large amount of tax money into educating this person and then, the country/economy receives nothing in return in terms of income tax received and so on.
On the other hand, having many schools with a diverse range of pupils has helped open up the minds of school children. It has encouraged the dissipation of racism which was present in prior generations by allowing the children to experience first hand different races and realise the common urban myths aren’t true. It also allows children to have a broader knowledge of different cultures, languages and so on. This all helps the next generation of ‘mixed race’ people integrate into society and be accepted as a ‘British’ citizen.
Healthcare was once a concern among newly arrived immigrants as they had not had the immunization jabs that the rest of the UK population had, making them more susceptible. It was hard to communicate to the migrants that they needed these jabs and also their religions would somehow restrict them. However, as successive generations have had access to better educations and broadened their minds, this has become a rare problem.
The language of the migrants is an obvious initial barrier when it comes to making relations with the natives. This can be a problem when trying to find employment as well as it limits the tasks the worker can carry out. When dealing with legal work such as the police, it can take six times longer to fill out the paper work than it would do with a fluid English speaking person. A translator is normally needed which takes time and is costly. These barriers are only short term, and it normally doesn’t take any longer than a year for the majority of migrants to pick up enough of the language to be able to communicate freely.
Finally, the last social factor is religion. In today’s society, this is most probably the largest racial discrimination the native people will have against migrants, particularly when it comes to the Islamists. The recent terrorism attacks and propaganda has scared the general public to an extent and caused them to be weary of minorities. Despite a very small minority of people actually believing in the extreme Islamist laws which leads them to terrorise non believers, these few extremists build up a bad reputation for the rest of the race. Another story the media will feed off encouraging racial hatred. Leaving terrorism aside, the continuation of the cultures of a race in the host country brings with them a lot of trouble. Shariah law is the Islamic law which has been brought to the UK and in some areas where the Islamists dominate, the law is implemented. There are some ridiculous laws within the Shariah which gives the natives good ammunition for racial hatred. Mosques are the second big argument point brought over. They are often large buildings which don’t in most cases fit into the surrounding environment so considered eye sores. This angers natives when they aren’t granted planning permission for comparatively small plans yet a large, unsightly mosque is granted permission. Some may call the building of mosques a symbol of a multicultural society and other people will call it an ‘invasion’. Other migrants who are not such strong religious believers aren’t much of a problem on the religious side of affairs. The Eastern European, Americans, Afro Caribbean’s and Chinese all fit in generally well within the religious aspect of society as they either are Christian or non religious.
In conclusion, UK has and still is adapting to a multicultural society successfully. Although the media publicising off a minority of bad stories, the migrants are generally well behaved and as subsequent generations of both native and mixed race people continue in the future, they will know no different and live side by side in harmony. The list of benefits migrant populations bring to the UK are endless and not publicised enough, they out run the problems with ease and as seen in most cases, the UK would be in a slightly tougher situation if the migrants were never there. They boost the economy significantly; £6 billion is estimated and are beginning to become far more important in supporting the non working population of the UK. There are disadvantages to them, with some races being better or worse than others but the majority of these problems are small integration problems which causes a bit of tension with the natives. There are some larger problems which are of concern such as terrorism but this is such a small minority of people, it shouldn’t affect the rest of the migrant population because a few people spoil it. Migrants will probably always get themselves some sort of bad reputation amongst some people, partly down to the media, however the benefits should be considered and compared to the problems they do bring. If this were done more by the press, then perhaps integration would be a whole lot easier. What will you do next time you read a discriminatory article about a migrant population?