« Freakonomics Radio

137. Who Are the Most Successful Immigrants in the World?

2013-08-29 | 🔗

It's impossible to say for sure, but the Lebanese do remarkably well. Why?

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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An original, can you look back to when he met the one you loved him, remember exactly how it was peering through me, so brothers joined the army, Tom HOLLAND. I have this joys of some sometimes have already seen everything else can have. I bear Sherry radar. streaming on apple tv plus frigate radio sponsored by three m. What do the adhesives used in both posted? No, Then aeroplanes have in common they both made with innovations from three m. In fact, there are lots of three M products. Hiding in plain sight that you might not realise, including in lending I've respirators in response to that The banking pandemic three M has increased respirator prick option to make more respirators than ever before, helping those on the front
I now continue the fight learn more at three m dot com, slash covert once upon a time I was on a plane was not seem taller, Pisa, philosopher of sorts, any rights, fascinating books, most recently the black swan and anti fragile hello Nothing tell at an author, I would say that such a solution it, the talent, is originally from Lebanon. These others back a few times a year. He lives just outside in New York City now and on this plain trip he told me something I'd never heard before, which is that if you look at ten or twenty years thirty of the richest countries around the world, that among the richest people in those countries, is someone from
when we met last, where we were going from London to South Africa and beautiful trifled with extremely hospitable people. So and then suddenly we start discussing lovelier, diaspora and then started talking about this about successful the lebanese diaspora is at three quick reactions. Number one interesting. If it's true too, is it true and three? If true, why from the w and my see this is free economics, radio, the pot calves that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen Governor,
really, so. The author not seem Taliban, who is lebanese American, tells us that the lebanese diaspora has been incredibly successful and he's got some furies, some deep, seated historical theories as to why that is, but before we get back to him, let's take a closer look at the lebanese community in the states and elsewhere will start with a friend of mine, name's, George Italic Junior. Remember, the junior George is thirty. Five years old, he works for the
fell players association, and he too is lebanese America. I, Sir George, if there is one person you could think of who could explain the mysteries of lebanese prominence and prosper? around the world. Where would I go? You'd have to talk to my dad. He is probably as encyclopaedic a character as there is on. The lebanese commute you're, my daddy's to always tell me stories about you know, and I will use his axe and here the richest guy Brazil is lebanese. The most famous guy in Mexico is lebanese. I'm gonna say I'm gonna I called Georgia tell us dad MRS Susie Luxembourg. I Susie guy she's a producer on the ship. He was in the so a lovely evening? When I talk to him, I love him. The balcony looking overboard and enjoying a nice little white light
these daisy splinters time between New York and Beirut, and basically he echoed much of what his son told you. Ok and we should do. the the Carlo Slim that he mentioned is not just the most famous guy in Mexico, but actually the richest man in the world. So Susie tell me more about the taller family rate, so basic, Ebay emigrated to the United States after the civil war broke out. Nineteen. Seventy five eleven, fundamentally, seventy eight We made our home in Queens New York. I want three months, chime cookies in its little Georgia, tallow Junior, he's talking now yet in the family- has this classic bootstrap immigrant tale, dad had high school degree. My mom had icicle degree neither from went to college. The elder italic could only speak a few words of english
when he arrived in the United States, my first languages, fresh by invitation, is fresh. Even so, he became super successful. He gonna job is a banker anything if the build up of client base, and how did he do that by opening a phone book and looking for lebanese names, you look through the way ages found anybody whose names sounded like I was lebanese and called him up out of the blue, so the ideas You have a lebanese last name. Do you want to be my client at my bank? That's right and just by looking at their names, he could tell even more about them, so he recognized where the last names correlated with what parts of Lebanon there were from. Clearly, this guy has a thing or two about lebanese names. Okay, so when I talk to George Junior, he told me about his father is intense pride in their heritage and that whenever the name of any successful person comes up, George,
Your tries to claim that person as Lebanese is that is that actually true is definitely ready. He I'm ready gray hair Gus, you have so many comments, gets the gates and gave me five. Have you heard of Jamie Opera, you re corporal, cleaner, Frank, a man who knows Can I get the section eight a gang of Geneva? I you know who else is lebanese? Who else is living everyone else? Like Marlowe Thomas, the model of the daughter of Danny, also Helen Thomas, the former White House correspond hell yeah? Ireland should have its own money, gonna push niece, who else George Mitchell it partly beneath twenty shallow, these eleven easier when you're afraid of needles, milk heights, spiders sand left only slew from monk great actor.
The girls to normal spoke of the governor of Origami, was at the government at EU very successful the one who started game called river. He likes you can live unease, the certainty Baking Carlos Costa Neves, Billy thought you have one famous scientists also measure, but I dont know his name tag. Could break between Canada and the Detroit everybody's guy model on Google. so George Attali Junior was right. His dad does try to claim Justin but everyone as Lebanese, even if they might not be. I may I tell even athletes look at his name and he'll say you know, John always lebanese I'll say what are you talking about yes I'll away the Holloway family, and we grew up with that. All the time he's he's just the best when it comes to that stuff and we take
partner cultures was anybody in your father's view. Not lebanese something worry. I give you an example of someone who plainly couldn't be Or even my irish principle, Mr Healy at one point was considered to be lebanese, so he was clearly not as for John outweigh the truth. Is we don't know his name is listed on a website of prominent lebanese Americans, but when we try to ask him directly via the Denver Broncos where he started as quarterback and is now an executive, we didn't get an answer. Whatever the case with John away, I do understand the ayatollahs families pride in all things lebanese, but just think of the successful Italians and Irish swedes in this country. Could we make a big list from any of them? Did you know that Nigerians are one of the most educated immigrant groups in America? Did you know that
slovaks at the highest rate of home ownership and look at the Jews. Jews make up less than point two percent of the global population, but more than twenty percent of all Nobel Prize winners or jewish, so is the his diaspora, really that successful, it's very difficult to sort of say across the board. They were before Sensible diaspora, Accra cater is a professor of middle eastern history. It North Carolina State University. He moved here from Lebanon in eighteen. Seventy eight during a long and brutal civil war while cater tells us there the Lebanese may not be the most successful diaspora. The data show that at least in the U S, They are doing pretty where there is no doubt that if you look at the statistics today- and this is from the senses
the lebanese community on average, they actually do seem to have in terms of economic measures on average bigger houses there more professional in terms of their employment. They have better income, If one is to take that as a measure than their fairly highly successful in the U S, median household income spent fifty thousand dollars Four lebanese Americans sixty five thousand dollars, pretty impressive. So what else? What you find? on average in terms of Phds. They are usually as many as three lebanese Americans of these two every one sort of general population American was a phd, so they're really much higher jobs are masters. You see a rate of about two point, four to one and battles: degree, it alone more than that on average, I think you will find the most The lebanese Americans, I really by the way most Americans tend to be
or highly educated than the general population, so if lebanese Americans are doing so well, the next logical question: why, coming up on for economics, radio, what makes the Lebanese do what the Lebanese are so good a little more. performance.
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So try Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch, offer your ticket to fund and get yours. Did I keep on scratch? It must be eighteen or older. Please pay responsibly benefits older pennsylvanians every day, I am giving Jacobs and I'm Deanna reasonable. We ve got a new podcast called if that worry basically talked to scientists, engineers NASA folks, just a bunch of really smart curious people about cool stuff Julian. I think most people know you from your work on love and community, and most people would know you as friends, EC scientist Casey Heinz on Anti I ass. So we were both but what most people don't know is that we're both really curious and passion about stem. If we have a more the first outlook in how we look at science and engineering and technology and map, then what This is possible. I get heavy. When I get to speak to these people carriages tat back into my curiosity excitement. You know that
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their veins, you know, maybe maybe in the dream Lebanese has in his blood- is a hard working. I like to improve his life and he has some networks that he can count on. He wants to go into business call a government in Brazil or Africa or whatever the network is very important that he planned in society and had that's what and here's his son also George, who works for the NFL Players Association. We tend to trace it back to the folk lore of our phoenician merchant days, all that's part of our history, and I think we pride ourselves on our relationship with people. That's really what I would attributed to. We.
Our computer. the historian at and see state pinpoints to pivotal moments in lebanese history. Two major waves of immigration. The first ran from about eighteen, eighty, two, nineteen, twenty, the Christians of Lebanon left because they our being persecuted by the Ottoman author But religious persecution was just one reason. The reality is the predominant reason they left as economic specifically. What happened in that time period? The lebanese economy have become very dependent on silk production, Cater says: a crash in the silk market drove people into poverty and subsequently out of the country the next exe
during Lebanon's civil war, one thousand nine hundred and seventy five forty percent of the population left the country. Basically, the violence led to a severe economic difficulties and instabilities between one thousand nine hundred and seventy five and one thousand nine hundred and ninety answer. What you find is that these universal garage door sitting there trying to figure out what to do they could not find jobs. That they would leave so these highly educated middle class Lebanese fled places like Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the? U S, south african Australia, which is what leads us to one of the most interesting things the lebanese diaspora. If you look at the diaspora with these two waves that I spoke about eighteen, eighty, two, nineteen, twenty
we think somewhere around three hundred sixty thousand left from that time period and a few we have sought to multiply by about three four generations. I mean you can't really get an accurate number, but by three four generations you're looking at about maybe two to three million globally, then of course, from nineteen seventy five forward. You have another one point: seven million that left so sensibly, there at least as many lebanese outside Lebanon, as they are with Lebanon, there are roughly four point two million people living in Lebanon today and we ve seen estimates that as many as fifteen to twenty million full of lebanese descent live outside the country and when they leave lebanese stick together, they network they work hard. They place a lot of emphasis on education which sideways two highly skilled and highly paid jobs. I think what you fathers, the two
areas or engineering and medicine. Those were sort of for myself speaking, porcelain are. You know why I'm part of the nineteen seventy post, one thousand nine hundred and seventy five. I came here, one thousand nine hundred and seventy I'm in the time that I was attending high school. Basically, every good lebanese boy, every bit ass, a boy really had to be a doctor, an engineer, those where the two venues of success- those were your entry points into middle and upper middle class at home. You succeed, outcome cater did become an engineer, but he was also interested in the EU. Vanities. He studied history and somewhat unusually women's studies. He is in fact the only double major in engineering and women studies we have ever come across. I don't know I have to be quite honest. I don't know if I should say if his foot, so the matter as I took the studies course because they told me that a lot of girls in the class
so. The lebanese success story really does seem to be about a certain kind of entrepreneurial spirit, but not seem Ptolemy says it's more than Taliban. You remember is where we began so he's a lebanese american author, most recently of a book, called anti fragile things that game from disorder. In his view, Lebanon, self and the Lebanese have in some ways gain from disorder Three a natural setting anything natural, analysing organic anything that biological up to a point, three ass, a lot better to stressors.
Then without another word now, for example, I'm talking to you on this line is a line as some noise on it a little monsieur there and those of noise. Then the listeners will draft a message, a lot better and remember it longer. You need a little bit of adversity, results in them and things or limit is strangely trust himself, a little more performance on end and anything and explain in the case of the phone line. Why that is you switch from what Daniel condiment protocols system want doors? Reverse will have won a system where were you sort of passive and not making an effort to an effort for one and that's which takes place? The US? Russia, though you know you punish, trees, grow stronger legacy,
it is the same kind of response, but in a different domain and and what, when you and I were on a plane under the coordination, was definitely about what was that this anti fragile, a reaction by people in the face of verse city exile? They tend to fare better when you vote and the state of yes, wherever we got to South Africa and sure enough, the Lebanese yes, but there is very small but most successful. I let me ask you this. Then we had the Ottoman Empire collapse in the Levant became Lebanon and Syria, and and and things changed politically there then a voice. Bad, civil war, in Lebanon, in nineteen seventies, more immigration and now the situation in Lebanon is changing daily as we speak, but it's rather chaotic with Hezbollah. Chaotic. Let me tell you something about eleven on several times. A year later, in my village,
and which is an entity and have a chapter in and then anti fascist, where there was always a comparative analysis I went to. I would I be, and other buildings university hoping to get to the people in order to have their industrial revolution stuff, like that, I thought about it and I went to my hometown of illicit, had been destroyed in the war and now has a vision and ever was bunch of village, realising value stressors. So Lebanon has you, know you're not business year with a note in the news not about the enemies by the anomaly social abundant or it. If you take the homicide rate eleven out of gay, including a few, the few problems we ve had the stillness of the lower them dates and faster than Brazil, so much more stable anything. Now. The other thing about tat being anti factual, Lebanon has got war. I think it has some immunity to war, because every time I think
things got a collapse like in Syria and nothing happens and effectively and the blacks one. I was warning against sort of stability, Syria, the more you stabilize the place among the place, seemed non chaotic like today, Saudi Arabia, the moors gonna have problems or look at Egypt's. Her at that was very stable. Lemon and, on the other hand, is continues. of chaos and yet very stable. If you look at, if you forget the loose ends as look on the ground, a remarkable stability even prospect, in spite of everything so in
I'll have to view the lebanese people have developed an inner stability, an inner drive to succeed, even because of a continued fear of chaos. Now as interesting as you may find, his thesis, you may also be tempted to argue with, and there are plenty of countries were chaos and war didn't leave behind population. It was ready to take on the world, quite the opposite, in fact, but the success of lebanese immigrants around the world is indeed something to admire. We should also note, however, that when we talk about the success of one or another group of immigrants, we should focus on one key component of that equation. These were people immigrants here again is North Carolina. State historian outcome cater. The first thing I would say is that anybody emigrates is already a self selecting population. In other words, when you make the decision and this kind of growth
a large an ocean- are understanding of immigration. Is of this sort, are desperate souls at our clinging to a lifeboat and arriving here anxious. That's it it's a very nice narrative, but is a false narrative of fact, most people, whether we're talking about the great migration of the nineteenth century or the current migration Hispanics. What have you? They don't come here beyond the fact that most of them, the great majority of them, come here to make money with a full intention of going back By the way, and if you look at the rate of return and the nineteenth century that great migration period, you know what are you talking about Germans with eighty percent return rate or northern Italians with about sixty percent or southern italian with thirty percent, or even the Lebanese, with about thirty seven percent, these people came here. They uprooted themselves from their culture from their family from the familiar world. They exist in many of them, especially in the turn turn of the twentieth century money that will not even award of English and
today's Oliver better, but still people arriving in this whole new alien place in which they had to have to adjust and also to ways of coming here specifically to make money. So it takes a particular kind of individual too. That's right. I mean you take somebody who is already self selecting, so you looking at a population that, as you know, has the tools that sort of entrepreneurial adventurers, pioneering spirit, personality mentality, and so that already prepares them to undertake this incredibly risky process investment. If you are now, I must hasten to add by the way that not everybody succeeded. It's a great point that cater makes. When you look at a big group of people or a big pile of data, our attention is often
captured by them rate, shiny success stories, and we forget about everyone that failed. This is called survivor, ship bias, but sour to ask you to name a high tech company that started in a garage. What company comes to mind, depending on your age, you might say Apple makes a huge packard? But what about the thousands and thousands of other people who started tech companies and their garages and failed their pretty much forgotten so The fact that you are alive to listen to this programme someone somewhere, your family tree survived Maybe they beat some all nods. Maybe they escaped were an economic depression or Sabre tooth tiger out for lunch. In any case, congratulations you made it and happened to also be lebanese double. Congratulations.
pay packets listeners on next week's show. We talk about a little known fact. Each year in the: U S their roughly. twice as many suicides is homicide now, why don't people talk about that more and where our people most likely to kill themselves the american suicide belts? Comprised of about ten? states, a sort of wide longitudinal, swath running from Idaho and Montana down to Arizona and Mexico and the least likely so I'm standing and fan Lincoln, Memorial, can suicide be contagious an odd little meadow problem. Isn't it I mean I'm doing a story about like whether what I'm doing a story about could possibly cause of suicide, contagion and. can it ever be considered a rational act? Now, there's an anthropologist, the past rail narrowed, who considered suicide, an indication of a six society,
and so in my writings, I've argued it. No, it's an indication of a healthy society. So if you know it is a puzzle, it is a paradox. Perhaps we should We revisit the suicide paradox that next time and for economic, three freak economics, radio is produced by W and Y see and debonair productions. Our staff includes David Herman Gregg results ski Bahrain, Lamb, Susie, Lichtenberg, increased banning with help from Rhine Haagen. If you want more frequent comics radio, you can subscribe to our podcast on Itunes or good, a friggin Alex dot com. We'll find lots of radio Blog, the books and more.
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-15.