Immigrants Helping Revitalize Philadelphia by By Matthew Yglesias
Excerpt from "Immigrants Helping Revitalize Philadelphia" by Matthew Yglesias, May 22, 2009, Thinkprogressive.org
When thinking about the immigrant role in the urban retail ecology, you also see the positive-sum aspects of immigration. When Vietnamese immigrants come to an area and open a banh mi shop, for example, that is competition with existing sandwich outlets. But banh mi is an imperfect substitute for other culinary options and vice versa. The immigrants haven’t just added such-and-such number of new labor inputs, they’ve put genuinely new capital into play (in terms of recipes, skills, and at times kinds of equipment) and expanded the choice set. And you see this sort of thing to an extent up and down the ladder of “cultural products”—not just food, but music, movies, television, advertising, video games, architecture, design, etc.—which are enormously important to the American economy.
Link to the full article: http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2009/05/22/193059/immigrants-helping-revitalize-philadelphia/