This article by Nathan Smith is an excellent response to the article by George Borjas in the NYT of Monday 27 February. Many thanks to Ray whom I quote below and who in turn quotes Adam Smith.
“An economist invoking the need for moral sentiments in economic calculations of migration – reminds me of Adam Smith, who in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1790) explains our natural proclivity for empathy that leads to compassion and sympathy, but where he also states: “There are some passions of which the expressions excite no sort of sympathy, but before we are acquainted with what gave occasion to them, serve rather to disgust and provoke us against them. The furious behaviour of an angry man is more likely to exasperate us against himself than against his enemies. As we are unacquainted with his provocation, we cannot bring his case home to ourselves, nor conceive anything like the passions which it excites. But we plainly see what is the situation of those with whom he is angry, and to what violence they may be exposed from so enraged an adversary. We readily, therefore, sympathize with their fear or resentment, and are immediately disposed to take part against the man from whom they appear to be in so much danger. … [The] disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least to neglect, persons of poor and mean condition, though necessary both to establish and maintain the distinction of ranks and the order of society, is, at the same time, the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.” With these passages, I think of Donald Trump…..”
To read the full article by Nathan Smith, in Foreign Affairs, please click here.