May 7, 2012

Another theory of corporate lust for immigration

Jack Strocchi offers another theory of why corporate elites favor immigration besides keeping labor costs down and labor unions weak:
There is no doubt something to the theory that the New Right wanted to Open Borders to crush wages. On the flip ideological side It's clear that the New Left supported Open Borders to "elect a new people" and pad welfare rolls.  
But the most pressing reason to Open Borders is to boost retail turnover, particularly in household formation goods (including houses), particularly in the era of declining birth rates. The easiest way to turn a profit and amortize the cost of capital is to increase turnover, extra sales go right onto the bottom line.

Say you are the head of the American division of a big, fairly capital intensive toilet paper company with major operations in the U.S. You want sales to grow so you can run your already-built factories closer to full capacity. But demand per capita for toilet paper is flat. So, your best hope for growth is to add some capitas in the U.S. to buy more of your product: e.g., via immigration.

Now, the downside of immigration from your perspective would be if some of the immigrants started their own big toilet paper companies to increase competition against you. But, there are a lot of industries where this isn't that big of a threat. 

Moreover, there are a lot of sources of immigrants where this isn't that big of a threat. For example, importing into America the fraction of ambitious Swedes who are fed up with Sweden's restrictions on their entrepreneurial energies could be a problem for established American corporate interests in the long run. On the other hand, importing unambitious Mexicans is not likely to produce much additional competition for the Fortune 500.

So, what's not to like about immigration from the point of view of the Toilet Paper Barons?

62 comments:

V said...

It's not clear to me that it's that much better to sell toilet paper to Mexicans in America than it is to sell it to Mexicans in Mexico. The only benefit seems like you would charge "American" prices rather than "Mexican" prices, but why would you expect them to be willing / able to pay more in America than Mexico? They're working higher wage jobs here? But part of the point of immigration is to lower wages.

I find the wages explanation a lot more compelling than the consumption explanation.

Weltanschauung said...

According to the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom (http://www.heritage.org/index/),
Sweden has greater business freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, property rights, and freedom from corruption, while having comparable trade freedom, and monetary freedom, to the United States.

The Swedish welfare state is financed by high taxes on personal incomes and on consumption. Up to now they have been pretty good at not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Anonymous said...

This is has the familiar privatizing-the-profits/socializing-the-costs sound but is incomplete for reason which commenter #1 cites. TP boss probably prefers a stable American market (from which he can branch out). Whether it's oil or Pepsi the management really would rather see continuation of the same.

Camlost said...

Cell phone companies also want unfettered immigration.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, whatever. I have thought about immigration from these angles. There are only a finite number, and a bear of little brain can stumble on most of them. The important point is that all the folks who lobby for immigration, no matter how they benefit -- whether by selling, building, servicing, or regulating shit -- are the 1%. They are totally shielded from mass immigration's deleterious impact on society. They don't give a damn what happens in the town squares because they all hang out at members-only yacht and country clubs where they are unlikely to catch a bullet. And of course, they rely on universities to formulate the religion of multiculturalism as an excuse to destroy our right to free association and equal proptection under the law.

Beecher Asbury said...

Support for open borders on the right is inextricably linked to free trade. The ultimate model of free trade is that which exists among the 50, or 59, US states :)

Among the US states, there exists free movement of goods, services, capital, and LABOR. So if you have a labor need in one state, labor can easily cross state lines to fill the need.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s maquiladora factories in Mexico enabled US businesses to offshore work from the US and then import the finished product tariff-free from Mexico. This was a form of free trade in that it allowed US companies to freely bring products into the US.

But to the greedy elites, this was not good enough. After all, they had perfectly good factories in the US. So might as well bring the labor to the factories rather than the other way around. Hence, you have support for open borders.

Ultimately, those who have been pushing for free trade want for nations what we have among our US states. They won't admit to it if directly asked, but you cannot have free trade without free movement of labor.

So all those republicans pushing for free trade, whether they realize it or not are pushing for free movement of labor. Which in turn is leading to the importation of a hostile electorate. Which in turn has removed California from competitive status and threatens the same in several other states.

White middle class republicans are like the guy in the Sopranos who owned the camping store that Tony and his crew wrecked. First by ordering everything they could until the vendors would no longer accept credit terms, and then by burning the store to collect the insurance. In this example, the neocons and chamber of commerce play the role of Tony and his crew.

Anonymous said...

This is the correct explanation. TPTB do not want more labor, they want more consumers.

We already have a sizable labor surplus as shown by the true unemployment rate being over 12%. But - from the standpoint of the Chamber of Commerce - you can never have too many consumers.


It's not clear to me that it's that much better to sell toilet paper to Mexicans in America than it is to sell it to Mexicans in Mexico.


You can't sell houses or cars or cable TV or cell-phones to Mexicans in Mexico, but you can sell them to Mexicans in America.

Anonymous said...

Usually in those sorts of competitive industries, as soon as you have plants working at capacity and efficiently making money for their owners, other businessmen move in or even other people already in the game build bigger plants. And then no one ends up making any money.

Anonymous said...

For the country's entire existence, immigration policy has been based on 1) wage suppression (a.k.a. cheap labor) and 2) settling land on behalf of the government.

Well, the American frontier has long-since closed, but wage suppression remains at the heart of immigration policy, as it always has.

Dennis Dale said...

Cue Gladwell:
Looks like somebody has a low estimation of toilet paper merchants!

It's a tough racket. But you'd think these of all people would know to clean up after evacuating!

Anonymous said...

Jack Strocchi offers another theory of why corporate elites favor immigration.

This entire discussion rests on a false premise.

In truth, the "corporate elites" tend to be conservative and uncomfortable with immigration.

This discussion is starting to remind me of the totally unfounded "wisdom" that oil companies have been pushing for war against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.

Anonymous said...

The important point is that all the folks who lobby for immigration, no matter how they benefit -- whether by selling, building, servicing, or regulating shit -- are the 1%.

Don't you mean the 2%?

Anonymous said...

Please someone show me a "corporate elite" who is lobbying for open borders.

Anonymous said...

“The Swedish welfare state is financed by high taxes on personal incomes and on consumption. Up to now they have been pretty good at not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.”

The taxes took their toll. If you go back to the late 1960s, Sweden and the U.S had roughly the same output per capita and roughly the same tax rate. But now the U.S is about a third richer per capita. What other plausible explanation than tax/spending is there for 90%+ white Sweden to produce less per person than 65% white U.S?

This is the part of the debate when Krugman changes the subject.

Luke Lea said...

Immigration also builds a more powerful state (bigger GDP, larger share goes to biggest capitalists, who control the state). More money for arms, more boots on the ground.

Anonymous said...

We'd ultimately have to get into the minds of Hart, Cellar, and the host of individuals who came out in support of opening our borders to know what they intended, and whether or not they were merely useful idiots.

I'm inclined to believe that they had a specific set of anti-American goals at heart, and that everything else has been gravy for them.

justine bieber said...

So, your best hope for growth is to add some capitas in the U.S.

Don't you mean some termini.

Anonymous said...

Per capita GDP is useless as a standard of living measurement for a country with an extraordinarily skewed income distribution like the United States. Billionaire Wall Street financial scammers and multi-millionaire basketball dribblers in no way enhance Joe/Jane Six-pack's daily life.

Real median household income is much more illuminating when comparing the United States to Sweden. This data series clearly shows that the typical Swede has a higher standard of living than the typical American for most of the past 40 years.

Anonymous said...

The elites want a serf a class? SHOCKING!

Anonymous said...

In truth, the "corporate elites" tend to be conservative and uncomfortable with immigration



In truth, "corporate elites" are not remotely conservative and are enthusiastic champions of open borders.

Anonymous said...

Please someone show me a "corporate elite" who is lobbying for open borders.


The Koch bothers?

The Wall Street Journal?

The US Chamber of Commerce?

Ag-business?

The tech industry?

The real estate business?




It might be easier for you to list the "corporate elites" who are not in favor of open borders?

Anonymous said...

Agro-business needs illegals...

Anonymous said...

One point I'll make as an immigrant who started in the US on an L-1, changed to a TN, and is now on a GC.

I work a hard job that requires a huge commitment in both my personal relationships and physically. I watch college kids come in for a couple of months and then drop out because it's too hard for them. In my five years I have seen this same trend maybe 2000 times. This is a high paying job (100-400k) and the fact is the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas.

If you look at the industry and a whole we (immigrants) are probably 40% of the workforce.

As long as you have snowflakes from early childhood to grad school you're going to need the immigrants to do the hard work.

And as I post this there's probably 100k jobs available in the industry because people don't want to put in the effort required to make half a million a year.

Jeff W. said...

Here are some other pieces of evidence that support my case, for those who might be interested.

Real average wages peaked in 1973, yet nobody seems to care. The elites seem completely unbothered by the fact that wages have not risen in 40 years.

The Fed and the banking system have "printed" (created new credit money when new debts are created) trillions since 1981, yet have kept the inflation rate consistently between 2-4%.

Democrats seem unbothered by the precipitous drop in union membership in the private sector.

All of these facts are curious and seem to require some kind of explanation.

Anonymous said...

Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are lobbying for open borders for America. Meanwhile they are lobbying for perserving the borders of Scotch-Irishistan.

Gilbert Ratchet said...

Just make sure you don't import too many people from cultures that don't use toilet paper.

Anonymous said...

I work a hard job that requires a huge commitment in both my personal relationships and physically....This is a high paying job (100-400k) and the fact is the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas.

And as I post this there's probably 100k jobs available in the industry because people don't want to put in the effort required to make half a million a year.


Would you mind saying what the industry is? I might be interested in entering its workforce.

Wes said...

All this is true about companies wanting immigrants, but is that really why the 1965 immigration act was passed? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 5:48 PM - What kind of job pays 100k-400k that college kids can get? Is this some kind of degree requiring job that puts you in an unpleasant environment (oil rigs?)? I'm honestly curious - I'm a college kid who wouldn't mind making that sort of cash.

Matthew said...

"They won't admit to it if directly asked, but you cannot have free trade without free movement of labor."

What the hell does that even mean? I've heard it said before but never explained. Free trade means the labor doesn't have to be moved - you can manufacture or create anywhere and move goods across borders without moving people.

"We already have a sizable labor surplus as shown by the true unemployment rate being over 12%. But - from the standpoint of the Chamber of Commerce - you can never have too many consumers."

In the eyes of big business, you can never have too many unemployed. It is the army of the unemployed which keeps wages from increasing. Corporate pofits are setting records, yet wages are still stagnant.

"For the country's entire existence, immigration policy has been based on 1) wage suppression..."

No, there were times of sanity: see the Chinese exclusion laws, or the 1924 immigration act.


"And as I post this there's probably 100k jobs available in the industry because people don't want to put in the effort required to make half a million a year."

Really? So...why don't you tell us what this industry is, and where these half-million dollar jobs can be found. If these jobs are so plentiful and there are so many immigrants in them you aren't going to be giving away your identity by telling us what you do.

Anonymous said...

"I watch college kids come in for a couple of months and then drop out because it's too hard for them... the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas."

Or is it possible that the students are smart enough to have figured out that the companies have identified an endless supply of overseas labour that will be used to place them in an endless no-win race to the bottom? A race against desperate guys with no alternatives or other prospects, such as yourself?

Before we take your word on lazy "native" US college students (I presume that is who you are talking about) can we see how your kids will act? Will your kids want to do the work that you are doing today? Do you want them to? Let's hear it from your kids, not you. Then maybe you can talk. Or are you willing to sign your kids into serfdom, in return for a few dollars today?

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

In truth, the "corporate elites" tend to be conservative and uncomfortable with immigration."

I see no evidence for this contention. I see lots of evidence to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

This is a high paying job (100-400k) and the fact is the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas.

Where can I find a job like this??

Anonymous said...

"This is a high paying job (100-400k) and the fact is the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas."

It is crystal clear that if we don't hire an endless pipeline of really hard-working guys like you from overseas, we are never going to beat the Soviets to the Moon! Or win WWII! We probably won't even beat your esteemed high-tech home countries to the Moon! We probably won't ever be able to engineer continental-scale railway or highway systems and catch up with all those other places that did so, where everyone is an above average engineer. When you think of it, we really have no choice, I'm sure we all agree.

Anonymous said...

I work a hard job that requires a huge commitment in both my personal relationships and physically....This is a high paying job (100-400k) and the fact is the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas.



Personal relationships and physically? Pays 100-400k?

Let me guess - you're a call girl who has sex with politicians?

Anonymous said...

If you look at the industry and a whole we (immigrants) are probably 40% of the workforce.



I's called "brown skin privilege". Stop patting yourself on the back for your non-existent intelligence and work-ethic.

I'm a white guy with a computer science degree. For somebody like me, that piece of paper is worthless.

Anonymous said...

Again Steve, I think this is barking up the wrong tree.
In what used to be a highly capitalized highly technological society like the USA, economic growth should be coming from exporting hi-tech high value added goods to what are supposedly underdeveloped economies (eg China), that is how 'free trade' was duplicitously sold to the USA in the 60s and 70s - the idea was that it would mutually enrich both rich and poor coutries. In return, the undeveloped nations would sell low added value products like toilet paper to the USA - wiping out (definitely no pun intended!) the American toilet paper industry, but allowing American labor and capital to migrate to hi-tech manufactueres who would export computers to the toilet paper exporter.
That's how it was missold to us.

Beecher Asbury said...

Matthew said...

"They won't admit to it if directly asked, but you cannot have free trade without free movement of labor."

What the hell does that even mean? I've heard it said before but never explained. Free trade means the labor doesn't have to be moved - you can manufacture or create anywhere and move goods across borders without moving people.


There are plenty of jobs that require labor on the spot and cannot be performed offshore, such as building homes, harvesting crops, plumbing, and health care.

Free movement of labor allows people in the US to move from state to state, without permission, to meet the needs of the local marketplace.

What the free traders would like is to have this same movement of people that occurs within the US occur among nations. In effect it is already taking place because the government does little to stop illegals from taking jobs in industries like construction.

In addition, not all corporations want to move their factories offshore. There are advantages to having factories in the US provided you can bring in foriegn labor to keep wages in check.

Having factories in other countries comes with a risk, namely, the other nation could nationalize your factory and leave you shit out of luck. In addition, if you build a factory overseas, you probably have to bribe local officials and maybe even give that nation partial ownership. I think this happens in China. Also, infrastructure and contract law might be more favorable in the US than in some third world nation.

So all in all, it would benefit a lot of companies to keep their US factories and be able to bring in foreign workers.

That is why the free movement of labor is necessary for true free trade and it is why the Feds are already turning a blind eye to a large chunk of the illegal labor force.

Anonymous said...

Beecher Ashbury,
No you've got it entirely wrong. Free trade and 'free movement of workers' are two absolutely separate and distinct concepts and ideas.
Free trade means just that. That is people stay put and goods flow between them. I don't need to move to Colobia to eat bananas, likewise a Colombian doesn't need to move to Scotland to drink Chivas Regale. That's the whole idea as formulated by the classicists such as Adam Smith and Ricardo ie optimisation of production, labor and capital occurs when nations voluntarily exchange what they are best at producing - supposedly a 'win-win' proposition on all sides.
'Freedom of movement of workers' was soomething the classicists never, ever theorized about - why it has become tacked on to free trade and conflated with it (by those who should no better), I have no idea. It has absolutely no classical theoretical backing whatsoever - although wolves in sheep's clothing deliberately confuse the two and trick the ignorant into believing thaey are one and the same when they are not.

Svigor said...

So, what's not to like about immigration from the point of view of the Toilet Paper Barons?

And divorce. Toilet paper sales may not rise much, but divorce does increase sales of homes, home appliances, electrical utilities, etc.

Divorce and immivasion, two good reasons why it's obvious free enterprise isn't (necessarily) our friend.

Svigor said...

One point I'll make as an immigrant who started in the US on an L-1, changed to a TN, and is now on a GC.

I work a hard job that requires a huge commitment in both my personal relationships and physically. I watch college kids come in for a couple of months and then drop out because it's too hard for them. In my five years I have seen this same trend maybe 2000 times. This is a high paying job (100-400k) and the fact is the "hard working" American college students don't want to do it so the companies have to look overseas.


They don't "have" to look overseas. They're allowed to look overseas. If they weren't, they'd make do.

Maybe we should look overseas for companies to replace them. Why should we be the ones getting replaced. If these companies like foreigners so much, they can go do business in foreign countries. What's that sound? That's the sound of the companies screaming in protest at the prospect of having to sleep in the bed they made, or if you prefer, not getting to have their cake and eat it too.

If you look at the industry and a whole we (immigrants) are probably 40% of the workforce.

As long as you have snowflakes from early childhood to grad school you're going to need the immigrants to do the hard work.


You have not made the case for us "needing" immigrants. No more than southern planters made the case for "needing" slaves, anyway.

And as I post this there's probably 100k jobs available in the industry because people don't want to put in the effort required to make half a million a year.

You mean, 100k jobs where employers have unreasonable expectations for prospective employees, such that only people from living hells consider them attractive.

Anonymous said...

More Coporate Elites who are lobbying for open borders:Bill Gates,Steve Balmer,Larry Ellison,Charles Wang,Michael Bloomberg,every CEO featured in the Long Island Business News.

Larger point:To the extent that a pro-White American national origins immigration policy induces a very severe labor scarcity, it would be a wondeful thing. Never came across a labor scarcity that I didn't like.

By the way, a severe labor scarcity induced by a complete shut down of all nonwhite immigration would be great for the ecosystems of the US. And if we can start deporting the various nonwhite racial fifth columns out of the US, it would be even better for endangered speices and ecosystems in the US.

Svigor said...

Before we take your word on lazy "native" US college students (I presume that is who you are talking about) can we see how your kids will act?

Precisely. In a generation or two, our grind immigrant's bloodline will have forgotten hell, and will need replacing with immigrants from hell, to do "the work the grandsons of immigrants won't do."

Q said...

Free movement of labor allows people in the US to move from state to state, without permission



That's not "free movement of labor". That's America being a country. You might as well write that "free movement of labor allows people in England to move from county to county without permission".

What your notion of "free movement of labor" requires is that the entire world must be made into a single political unit. The is the "New World Order" dream: One government to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.

Q said...

it would benefit a lot of companies to keep their US factories and be able to bring in foreign workers.


That is why the free movement of labor is necessary for true free trade



That's sloppy thinking. Assuming that it would benefit a lot of companies to keep their US factories and be able to bring in foreign workers, it does not follow that that which benefits a lot of companies equals free trade.

No doubt a lot of wealthy but stupid people imagine that "free trade" means "whatever makes me richer". But it does not.

Anonymous said...

Well, true, a dumbed Republican in California wants to move to Texas to get away from illegal immirgants, Texas is number 2 behind Calif in illegal immirgnats and actually in the past 5 years has grown faster in the illegal population,true that Perry had to finally back down on in-state tuiton for illegals but business as usual in TExas.

Anonymous said...

"I watch college kids come in for a couple of months and then drop out because it's too hard for them. In my five years I have seen this same trend maybe 2000 times."

Don't take this personally, but are you sure they leave because it's too hard? Perhaps they leave because they don't like working with you or in groups dominated by your co-ethnics and your cultural practices and communication norms, little things like the language you speak in hall meetings and the ability to understand your english during phone conference calls. And numerous other practices that say "we aren't in Kansas anymore", like blowing one's nose in the sink or spitting in the break-room sink. And perhaps they just don't like your overt racism and the ability of you to be an approved racist and get away with it, while they are held to another standard, to say the least.

And one of the few things kids these days seem to have really gotten out of PC is the ability to detect racist cliques. They can tell in no time what they are dealing with and that racism from you is considered okay, in fact it's a good thing, while they know for a fact they will endlessly be berated for being racists if all they do is just show up with a white skin. They know they can't win. So perhaps they just have better things to do with their time then play patsy.

Besides, how do you know how hard they are working, wherever they are at?

peterike said...

Want to know what kinds of businesses pimp for immigrants? Check out the corporate sponsors for the cultural cancer of La Raza, on page 4-5 of their annual report:

http://www.nclr.org/images/uploads/publications/2011NCLR_AnnualReport.pdf

It aligns perfectly with many of the thoughts above: consumer goods companies, fast food, cell phones, etc. Also airlines and automobiles. Not sure why there.

Don't look at too much of the report, however, as it is far too depressing. The glee that La Raza takes in white genocide is really a thing to behold.

FredR said...

"And as I post this there's probably 100k jobs available in the industry because people don't want to put in the effort required to make half a million a year."

I join all those other posters in being very curious about this industry.

Anonymous said...

You've been watching too many movies about evil corporations. The prime movers behind immigration are local government and small time real estate interests that need large numbers of immigrants to fill their class rooms, then jails, and slums apartments. Large corporate home builders are the closest thing to the evil corporations featured in Disney movies involved, but they probably would have done well without immigration.

You TP theory does not work as immigration fueled inflation raises the cost of materials. The way to profit from TP is more expensive luxury products. Forestry products are a better example, not paper.

Anonymous said...

White middle class republicans are like the guy in the Sopranos who owned the camping store that Tony and his crew wrecked. First by ordering everything they could until the vendors would no longer accept credit terms, and then by burning the store to collect the insurance. In this example, the neocons and chamber of commerce play the role of Tony and his crew.


That's a classic mob move called the bust-out. It leverages the good name of an existing business to enable the new "owners" to bankrupt the joint and fleece the suppliers.

Beecher Asbury said...

That's not "free movement of labor". That's America being a country. You might as well write that "free movement of labor allows people in England to move from county to county without permission".

You take it for granted that all countries at all times allowed for the free movement of labor within their own borders. That is not the case. Even in the 20th century there were nations that did not allow citizens to move or travel within their borders without permission. Free movement of internal labor helped to spur the economic development of the US.

Beecher Ashbury,
No you've got it entirely wrong. Free trade and 'free movement of workers' are two absolutely separate and distinct concepts and ideas.


Labor is a market like any other. If California needs roofers, residents of other states are free to fill the void. Just like if California needs coal, producers in other states are free to meet the need.

What your notion of "free movement of labor" requires is that the entire world must be made into a single political unit. The is the "New World Order" dream: One government to rule them all and in the darkness bind them.

That is why I don't support so-called free trade among nations. Because I don't want the free movement of labor coming across international borders.

The problem is people today cannot differentiate between trade and free trade. If you tell someone you don't support free trade, they think you don't support trade and want to become a hermit kingdom like North Korea. I support the trade policies America used in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the ones Japan, Korea and now China have emulated to much success.

Otis McWrong said...

Beecher: Hans Herman Hoppe has addressed this "free trade = support for open borders" nonsense quite effectively.

Free trade means the right to conduct - or not conduct - a transaction without interference. In the case of open borders, I am being forced to conduct a transaction I did not choose to conduct. This trade is no more free than if a band of squatters set up tents in your backyard.

Since we (at least theoretically) are free people, and thus all property is either private or public - and public property is owned by the citizens, it logically follows that for an immigration transaction to be "Free Trade" the immigrant would have had to be invited. The hordes were not invited and thus my being forced to engage with them and trade with them is UnFree Trade.

Anonymous said...

Otis Wrong

I don't want to be pedantic about this..but there is something called the price factor equalization theorem..blah blah...the wages of the natives can be driven down through free trade by accessing foreign labor markets as a substitute blah blah

And then there is the very nasty problem about economic externalities...very nasty.

And then there is that even more fundamental issue about being able to choose freely choose free trade policy which is not possible in the US with a political system owned by Bill Gates and friends. It is meaningless to talk about free trade. The Ayn Randian..or is it Randy(just go ask Alan Greenspan)...Libertarian hell..or to use Emma West's scientifically accurate terminology..F....hole allows for the extreme concentration of wealth and the enormous political power that comes with highly concentrated wealth that forces "free" trade on the rest of the human species.

So for what its worth neo-classical equilibrium economics framework links free trade and labor mobility in these types of models. You can always read Jeffrey Williamson's and his colleague's book...they did the big study on this three decades ago.

A much more legitimate set of data points are the millions of White American Workers who have had first hand experience with globalized labor markets via "free" trade and open borders.

As I wrote yesterday:the racial composition of the US is the fundamental issue..not free market exchanges. And yes, severe labor scarcities have alwas been a great benefit to Millions of White American Workers...think the Golden Age of American Economic Growth.

"Free" Trade has been a disaster for many nations..and the ones that violated free trade-free market principles are the ones that became the economic giants of the 19th,29th and 21 centuries(read Kicking Away The Ladder".)

Anonymous said...

Watching too many movies? Actually, all I have to do is follow the money trail which goes from the psychopathic Corporations to the psychopathic Republican and Democratic Corporate Whores the Corporations own lock,stock and barrel . The documentary that you are referring to is just making public what millions of ordinary White Americans already understood to be an obvious truth...an obvious truth since the late 18th century.

Q said...

You take it for granted that all countries at all times allowed for the free movement of labor within their own border.

I do nothing of the sort. I take it for granted that in England by the time of Smith and Ricardo people were free to move from one county to another as they wished.


Labor is a market like any other.

No, it is not. Bushels of wheat and barrels of oil do not have the vote, or a claim on government resources, or a claim on our charity. Bushels of wheat and barrels of oil cannot get sick, or starve to death, or wage war on us. The allegation that "labor is a resource like any other" is just flat out stupid.


The problem is people today cannot differentiate between trade and free trade.


You seem to be having some difficult with this yourself. There is nothing in the economic doctrine of "free trade" which demands that people be able to move freely between countries. No reputable economist has ever made such a claim. From Adam Smith to Milton Friedman, free trade was never understood in the sense you are presenting it.

Anonymous said...

You cannot consider economics and property rights without considering the fact that the US is, in a very real sense, property. It is an asset, owned by its citizens. The value of those assets, of the investment made by the American people in their country, add up to tens of trillions of dollars. We're talking public lands, national parks, national forests, mineral rights, watersheds, roads, highways, bridges, dams, levees, sewers, prisons, schools, and an endless array of other government buildings - all assets. By allowing someone to move here without charge, without consideration of what that person will give back to the country, you devalue those assets for everyone.

Mexicans and Salvadorans and Somalis who come here, legally or illegally, move from a low public investment country to a high public investment country. In so doing they expropriate a share of our assets to themselves. And what do we get in return? Even if we had the right to move to Somalia or Mexico, would we even want to? No most of us. Some retirees, maybe, in the case of Mexico, but not Somalia in any case.

In the United States there is adequate labor of every kind to fill every need. We now have labor participation rates lower than they've been in decades. Teen non-employment rates are sky high. When I was a teen (just 16 years ago) almost every teen I knew (in an upper middle class town) had a summer job. It was expected. It was a given. If you didn't you were a layabout.

With possibly rare exceptions, there is no labor need in the American market not ready to be filled by American labor, with or without the 11 million people illegally here.

A visit to the La Raza Annual Report someone here linked to will give you an interesting and depressing fact: 22% of all American high school students are now Hispanic. That's much, much higher than their share of the overall population - only about 14% - and doesn't even factor in the high average dropout rate for Hispanics.

This country is screwed.

Difference maker said...

Robbers want more people to rob. The people they let in have no money however

Anonymous said...

Speaking of cell phone fees, Carlos Slim is getting protested over them in D.C. (apparently he's a local philanthropist) by an established Politispanic outfit in town on a visit from the big A. So far NYT site is kinda scanty this morning but I'd be surprised if they don't put up something late Weds.--it's too much of a priceless opportunity for truth-to-power preening.

Otis McWrong said...

Anonymous 5/8/12 @ 1138am
You and I are talking past each other I’m afraid. You are largely against “Free Trade” as far as I can tell. I am as well, at least as it is defined by silly organs such as the WSJ that continue to pitch their support for “free trade” as somehow linked with economic liberty. Free Trade as defined in our politico-sphere merely means rent-seeking corporations.
My point was that unfettered immigration is forced on us and therefore is not “Free”. We are being forced to engage in a transaction that left to our own choices, we would not choose. All the Jeffrey Williamson and other economists’ assumptions about movement of labor don’t change that fact.
I would also like to see this Immigration discussion moved out the economic realm (though find it absurd that people claim to make a coherent argument that on one hand we shouldn’t fret about the loss of manufacturing employment since we are a “knowledge-based economy” while on the other hand millions of unskilled illiterates are an economic net positive). Whether “immigration” is good or bad for the “the economy” should be beside the point. What should matter is do Americans want it. And if the polls are to be believed, we don’t.

Anonymous said...

Otis Wrong

Looks like we are on the same page. I think you might find this interesting though. There was a debate a few year back between Herman Daly and Jagdish Bhagwatti about free trade. Go google it..if you can find it, take a look at each of their rebuttals. Also, Ravi Bhattra has exposed some of the logical flaws in the free trade enthusiasts statisical and conceptual reasoning. Bhattra made a fool of himself with his so called predictions...as does Gerald Celente...however, Bhattra has a very strong grasp free trade fundamentals. The most outstanding statistical critique of anti-protectionist enthusiasm is by a young Korean economist who teaches at Cambridge..his book:Kicking Away the Ladder.

But as you and I both agree, the economic arguments are so beside the point..and are a massive distraction.

scottlocklin said...

It's a little simpler than that. The easiest way to grow an economy on paper, measured in GDP, is to grow the population.
There used to be a simple "gross national income" measurement, which was pretty much adding up everyone's salaries (it's not the same as GNI). Dividing that by number of residents (or workers) produces something which is a little more useful for optimization.