Lego politics, part 1: Introducing Geertsen’s Constant

The biggest party in Denmark is called Venstre, which, translated literally, means Left; it is the dominant party of the right. Its full name is actually Left – The Liberal Party of Denmark; it is advocating that Denmark is too liberal when it comes to immigration, crime and gender politics.

After a few years where Danes have spent a lot of time talking about increasing inequality, stagnating wages and unemployment, Left are eager to get Danes talking about immigration again, since this is how Left usually win elections.

Left won three elections in a row in the 2000s by increasing public spending, lowering taxes and making immigration more difficult, but then lost the first election after the Financial Crisis. Left needs immigration to come back on the agenda.

However, since the ruling Social-Democratic party has lurched so far to the right on social issues that immigration policy has stayed almost constant after they came to power, family reunification and other standard immigration policies will hardly do if you want to win the next election. And Left really want to win the next election.

Enter the asylum seekers.

While not immigrants in the conventional sense, asylum seekers in Denmark still do tend to come from Muslim-majority countries. From 2011-2013, Denmark has faced a surge of asylum seekers with Syrian nationality (and also of stateless people, of which most are Palestinians). In total, Denmark received 7,557 applications for asylum in 2013, up from 6,184 the year before and 3,806 the year before that.

That is why Left decided to send its spokesperson on immigration, Martin Geertsen, on a frontal charge against the government’s asylum policies. By 2020, claims Mr. Geertsen, Denmark will receive no less than 83,355 applications for asylum – almost as many as eleven-times-bigger Britain received at its peak in 1983.

But some would say that this is still a surprising number. So where did Left get it from? Simple. They applied Geertsen’s Constant.

Making the observation that the development in applications for asylum received from 2011 to 2013 amounted to an annual increase of 40.9 %, Geertsen and his party were able to reliably predict the number of asylum-seekers in 2020. It did not involve complicated and contestable discussions about the development of conflicts around the globe. Instead their solution was intriguingly simple: they expected the annual increase in asylum-seekers to be constant unless more Danes start to vote Left.

(Unfortunately, one would imagine that this also means an annual increase of 40.9 % in the number of bloody conflicts forcing people to flee their home countries, which does not bode well for the world. Then again, Left and the rest of the right does make a point out of neglecting the push factors of migration.)

As a few Danish journalists noted, this would lead to rather unmanageable numbers of asylum seekers in the future. They predicted that by 2050, 8.5 billion asylum seekers would arrive in Denmark in that year alone.

Going even further, we can see that within the lifespan of generation Y, the annual number of applicants will rise beyond the number of human beings ever to have lived. One can only start guessing at how Danes will make universal social services work for an estimated 110 billion people.

Geertsen forecast of the annual number of asylum-seekers coming to Denmark through the year 2150, compared to other, very large numbers (logarithmic scale)

Will it never end?

Will it never end?


By the turn of the century, Denmark will receive 68,573,637,424,690,800 asylum-seekers. If we accept the average mass of a human being to be c. 62 kg (Walpole et al. 2012), the total mass of asylum seekers arriving in 2100 will be an astounding 4.25157*10^18 kg, or a million times the mass of Mount Everest. Further applying the Geertsen Constant however, we find that by February 2141, the mass of asylum seekers arriving in Denmark that year will be greater than the mass of planet Earth, which could affect the planet’s gravitational pull. How many large-scale wars will be going by then? The answer is 46,389,622,711,637,100,000. That is what a failed Middle East policy looks like. Thanks a lot, Obama.