The Other I

November 18, 2019

And the greatest of these?

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 5:09 pm

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul told them that between faith, hope, and charity, the greatest is love.  He didn’t say love only toward those who are “one of us.”

And yet again and again, that is how religious believers repeatedly for millennials, and around the world, have degraded what Paul said.

Even in America, the Land of the Free.  When Columbus discovered America for the Europeans in 1492, there were possibly as many as 112 million American Indians who had lived and thrived there for thousands of years.  By the end of the Indian wars in the late 1800’s, less than 240,000 had survived, killed by war, imported European diseases often deliberately spread by the white immigrants, and land theft.

At the same time, between 1650 and 1865, America imported 10 1/2 million slaves from Africa.

The conviction that people who are different from us are fundamentally inferior underlie these profound ethnic discriminations  and are still  thriving throughout the world today.

But I have just been astonished to learn that not only are these convictions a religious outrage.  They are economically utterly stupid.  The most economically successful countries in the world have, by far, the highest number of immigrants.  Yes, blue-collar immigrants provide cheaper plumbing, child-care, and delivery services.  But the drag on salaries of native workers in usually exaggerated, as is the threat of immigrant crime and drains on welfare.

Actually, overall immigrants in both America and Britain pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

But they do much more than that.  In America and Britain, where data is available, immigrants are more than twice as likely as native-born citizens to start a business, and three times as likely to patent an idea.   43% of the Fortune500 companies in 2017 were founded by an immigrant or one of their children.  Over 55% of companies worth more than a billion dollars were start-ups involving at least one immigrant.  They employ millions of people, and make a vast contribution to America’s GDP.

Actually, I’m beginning to think that the biggest mistake we make is not to realize that “love, the greatest of these” is as important an economic principle as a religious one.  Loving others brings us as many advantages as it brings to the loved one.


  1. As an immigrant myself, I’m very glad to read this article. I was not the sort of struggling immigrant who stepped off the boat without a dime in his pocket but a dream in his head. I was the privileged sort – qualified, well-paid and very much welcome in his home country. I was never discriminated against, unlike millions who are, around the world. Yet I feel a certain solidarity with THOSE immigrants, because we are all citizens of humankind, every one of us, and immigrants realize this more than others.


    Comment by psriblog — November 19, 2019 @ 4:07 am | Reply

    • Thank you so much for your comments. Like you, I also left my home country not as a struggling immigrant, and was welcomed as an American almost as if I were upper class. Like you, I was highly-qualified but my own father and mother were both second-generation immigrants to the United States, and I am NOT upper class. I too feel solidarity with immigrants who did not arrive with degrees already secured in their pockets. Although I do know that, possibly like you, I have been immensely fortunate, and being an immigrant, even a very fortunate and educated one, has given me a lot of insight into what it’s like to learn the subtleties of other cultures. And even now, after some regrettable misunderstanding and more than three decades, I’m still learning.
      Oh yes: we are all citizens of humankind – every one of us!
      Again, thank you.


      Comment by theotheri — November 20, 2019 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

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