1 in 3 Londoners Born Overseas, United by Greed and Fear

Every day, as we walk back to our apartment along the South bank of the Thames we are amazed that there seem to be almost no Englishmen in London. We pass people speaking Russian, Persian, Italian, French, Chinese – any one of dozens of different languages. When we hear people speaking English – it is as likely to be American or South African English as the British variety.

It seems as if a new life form is taking hold in this city. One in three people in London were born overseas, according to the paper. Here in the centre of town, it could be more like one in one. These people are usually single, youngish, wealthy (relatively), and remarkably mobile. Talk to them and you find that they have lived in other major metropolises. They are in London because their jobs are there or because they like it. They are looking for opportunities; they’re open to new ideas. But they’re not English and never will be. They may hold a British passport and may spend most of their lives in England. They will contribute the culture and wealth of this great metropolis…but they will never share the values, attitudes, and prejudices of the native British peoples.

A lot of real Englishmen do not particularly like this situation. They remember when immigrants came to England and wanted to become as English as the people who welcomed them. Not these new Londoners. They are a new breed with no particular cultural attachment to Britain; it’s just a nice place to live and do business.

These new cosmopolitans are living where the living is good – not where they were born. They speak several languages. They earn high salaries and often own significant assets. They are likely to spend a few years in New York…then a while in Tokyo…then move to Vancouver.

They are transforming the world’s major metropolises too. Cities that attract these people are rich and expanding. Those that don’t are getting left behind.

But what does it mean when a substantial part of a capital city’s population is not connected to the culture or politics of the nation itself? And how does a government control and direct these new smart, well-educated, moneyed and footloose masses, these large groups of people with no real loyalty to the host country, who speak different languages and worship different gods?

We don’t know, but in London, as in America, two things seem to unite these worldly tribes – greed for making money…and the fear of terrorism.

Bill Bonner
Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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4 Comments on "1 in 3 Londoners Born Overseas, United by Greed and Fear"

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Chris. Fulker

Bill Bonner, it seems you’ve been watching too much TV or reading a few too many popular papers! Terrorism??? Few well-educated people, much less the worldly, truly fear that shoe bombers will suddenly pop out of the nearest cafe, perhaps with a Dirty Bomb… This is merely the latest mass media sensation, and it follows tainted pet foods from China, SARS, shoe bombers, Iraq, bird flu, global warming, “hoodies”, Anna Nicole Smith, “polish plumbers”, offshore tax evaders… Don’t give it credence!

While I may not be living in London, but I’ve been living in three different countries apart from my home country. Perhaps, I speak for myself only, but I do feel a fairly strong sense of attachment and for all of them. It’s hard not to eventually bond with the countries that you’ve lived in I think, unless, you’re a really cold person. While our ties to our host country will never supercede those of our birth country, it doesn’t mean we do not care at all. We do try, as far as possible to absorb a country’s way of… Read more »

London just isn’t what it used to be. Good post.

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