Take Europe as an example.
The threat comes from the following factors:
(1) market economies do not automatically adjust to full employment. The governments of Western Europe – in thrall to neoclassical economics and neoliberal insanity – refuse to use fiscal policy to create full employment. The result is, as any Post Keynesian would expect, a problem of involuntary unemployment which forces people to go onto welfare, and into welfare dependence.Eventually, the combination of these factors may well create a backlash against the welfare state from free market conservatives and libertarians: especially because of (4).
(2) but it is worse than (1). It’s not just some low-level, involuntary unemployment we’re talking about here. Because of the hammer blows of neoliberalism, loss of manufacturing, outsourcing, the 2008 financial crisis, the Great Recession, the vicious Eurozone and EU love of austerity, and the straitjacket of the Euro currency, Europe is suffering mass unemployment. As of August 2016, Eurozone unemployment stood at 10.1%. As of late 2016, Eurozone youth unemployment stands at about 21%.
(3) with mass unemployment and deficient aggregate demand, unemployed people are left to become welfare dependent. Many become deskilled, demoralised, dependent people. Some come to have social, criminal and substance abuse problems.
(4) but it is even worse than (1), (2) or (3). Europe has seen huge mass immigration, whether legal migration, illegal migration, or the flood of refugees and economic migrants in 2015 and 2016. However, many of these migrants are uneducated and unskilled. Many of them do not speak the relevant European languages of nations in which they have been settled, nor do they have the skills to get anything but low-grade service jobs.
Large numbers of these migrants will simply add to the huge pool of unemployed, welfare-dependent class in Europe, and will severely exacerbate the problem of unassimilated immigrant communities in Europe and the threat from Islamism.
If the populist right conservatives who support free market economics sweep into power in the coming years, and it is quite likely that many will bring with them a hostility to the welfare state, and act on this. Even the populist conservatives more open to protectionism and left-leaning economics might also do this.
And if European people in general come to feel extreme resentment that their welfare states are subsidising segregated immigrant communities with a profoundly different, illiberal, and regressive culture (and one increasingly hostile to the West), there is likely to be a popular backlash in favour of reducing the welfare state.
The solution? This is just another reason why opposition to open borders and mass immigration should now be a perfectly good left-wing political position, given how many good economic, social and cultural reasons there already are in favour of this.