Colonialism and the roots to British Immigration and how it all connects to crypto
At its peak, the British Empire was the largest in history. By 1913, the British Empire oversaw some 412 million people, 23% of the world’s population at the time. Coining the phrase “the empire on which the sun never sets” due to its expanse being so global, the sun would always be shining in at least one of its territories. And as a result Britain’s linguistic and cultural footprint can be found virtually everywhere in the world you visit today.
With much focus on the territories the British Empire controlled we’re going to shift our focus back to the UK itself to understand what impact the empire had on immigration to the UK and how it shaped the future of Britain.
The early 1900’s was traditionally a low period of immigration for the UK. Sailors and workmen on ships from India and the West Indies would be part of the small number who did migrate but comparatively it was a much smaller number compared to what Britain would see later in the century. This was particularly due to the natioalist approach adopted during the first World War, and this sentiment continuing into the first half of the 20th century and the second World War. However, a labour shortage once WW2 finished in 1945 sparked mass immigration that would transform the make-up of Britain. Starting with an influx from the Commonwealth.
THE WINDRUSH GENERATION
Famously named after the ship “Empire Windrush” which brought the first group of 500 migrant workers from the Caribean. These migrants were all encouraged to make the move by the 1948 British Nationality Act that granted citizenship and right of abode in the UK to all members of the British Empire. And migrant labour from the Commonwealth helped reconstruct the country after World War Two including developing the transport and health services.
Kenyan Asians forced to migrate to the UK
During the Empire, Britain encouraged thousands of Asians to migrate and work for British companies in Kenya. However after Kenya was granted independence in 1963, many chose to keep their British passports unaware that the Kenyan Government would introduce a new law insisting foreign nationals can only hold a job until a Kenyan national can be found to replace them. Thus thousands of Kenyan Asians turned to Britain, emigrating to start a new life. By the end of the 1960’s 6.4% of the UK’s population was born from a UK foreign national, over one million people.
The infamous Idi Amin
One of the most infamous Dictators to set themselves in the History books. In 1972, Idi Amin accused Ugandan Asians of “milking Uganda’s money” and expelled 50,000 African-Asians, seizing their assets in the process. A move which hugely impacted the Ugandan economy and meant the UK welcomed 28,000 migrants, many originally from part of the UK commonwealth having come from India.
In the UK migrant factory workers were essential components for businesses in the 1960s and 1970s. As well as the tourism and catering sectors which were a major earner for the British economy and continue to be heavily staffed by immigrant workers today.
Immigration today – has it had a positive or negative impact?
The main concern with immigration is that it can cause a rise in racism from those settled people who feel threatened by new arrivals. However evidence suggests that racism is higher in areas of segregated communities compared to areas such as London where people are mixing with people from many different backgrounds. And a major factor behind the increased levels of immigration is due to the many negative attitudes that were common almost 100 years ago being regarded as unacceptable.
Reducing immigration was also a key foundation to the success of the vote leave campaign for Britain to leave the EU, but with a potential misrepresentation of the impact EU citizens are having on the UK. Last year, Non-EU migration peaked to its highest levels in 2018 at 240,000 vs EU migration to the UK of 74,000. At the moment over three times as many migrants are coming to the UK from non EU countries compared to the EU. Although it must be said EU migration was increasing prior to Britain’s decision to leave the EU and almost matched that of Non EU migration in 2015 but has never exceeded non-EU migration in any given year.
Statistics also show that EEA migrants tend to have more skills than British workers and are not causing a drain on public services. Not only is their contribution net positive, i.e. they pay more in taxes than the cost of providing them services, they also make up a significant portion of social care and health workers. In the current UK population 922,000 have come from Poland, which is the highest number of immigrants by country. Followed by two traditional commonwealth countries India, 829,000 and Pakistan 522,000 individuals in the UK respectively.
So has migration been good or bad for the UK? When you look at figures pertaining to economic contribution, job creation and increased tax revenue they fully support the notion for immigration having a positive impact on the UK economy. This of course not factoring the cultural richness they importantly contribute to as well. Economic insecurity, including difficulty in finding new jobs can cause anti-immagration beliefs but looking deeper are these issues necessarily due to immigration itself or the failure of the UK government to implement sufficient policies to support its people?
How it all connects to Crypto
Although the Bank of England has shown interest in creating its own cryptocurrency, their general stance is still highly negative towards any and all cryptocurrencies, as do other central banks and governments across the globe do. Only a week ago its chief economist called Bitcoin speculative and unreliable, and most importantly the Financial Conduct Authority which is regulating financial products has banned all crypto sales.
If you think long and hard the reasoning of Brexit and the ban of cryptocurrencies are quite similar. It’s fear of the unknown which has been drip-fed to a pampered nation with a spoiled generation.
Migration has been good to the UK, to a very large extent. The British colonial empire became what it is based on cheap labour and misuse. Modern Britain thrived off of poor and work-depraved immigrants who came to the UK to build it from the ground up.
Cryptocurrencies will lower the barrier for immigraiton, for granted, but it’s something the people of the UK, its government nor its central bank is interested in.