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I just saw another comment implying that immigration was good because it increased GDP. Over the years, I've seen many similar comments in the LW / transhumanist / etc bubble claiming that increasing a country's population is good because it increases its GDP. These are generally used in support of increasing either immigration or population growth.
It doesn't, however, make sense. People have attached a positive valence to certain words, then moved those words into new contexts. They did not figure out what they want to optimize and do the math.
I presume they want to optimize wealth or productivity per person. You wouldn't try to make Finland richer by absorbing China. Its GDP would go up, but its GDP per person would go way down.
It's great to make people more aware of bad mental habits and encourage better ones, as many people have done on LessWrong. The way we deal with weak thinking is, however, like how people dealt with depression before the development of effective anti-depressants:
- Clinical depression was only marginally treatable.
- It was seen as a crippling character flaw, weakness, or sin.
- Admitting you had it could result in losing your job and/or friends.
- Treatment was not covered by insurance.
- Therapy was usually analytic or behavioral and not very effective.
- People thus went to great mental effort not to admit, even to themselves, having depression or any other mental illness.
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