Monday, September 14, 2015

What Will Tomorrow Bring: Austri-zona

As Arizona is to the US immigration issue, Austria is for western Europe. The same radical nationalism and anti-immigration politics will blaze through Austrian politics. Some of the same tactics will be tried. Very similar cultural impacts will be felt in terms of dilution of the "Austria-ness" of the place. However, the religious differences will create a vastly more complicated and, at least initially, untenable situation. Mideastern immigrants who are relatively parochial will have a tough choice to make, similar to that faced by countless migrations around the globe in the past, and recently in Europe (north Africans in Paris circa 1980's or Turks in Germany circa 1995). "Do we prefer to live separate from the local culture in order to preserve all our traditions, religions, and mores? Or do we integrate?"

20 years from now, the answer will be "neither" - as both sides will have met somewhere in the middle or some sort of clash will have occurred.

By then, the debate will be about what to do about the fact that ethnic non-Austrians, on average:

  • earn less than Austrians
  • are incarcerated at a greater rate
  • attend university at a lower rate
  • and feel they have less opportunity
And, despite likely changes to Schengen to limit mobility, this will not just be an Austrian problem.