June 2, 2012

It's not even autumn, but ...

For years, going back at least to October 2006, every fall we read about the latest agricultural crisis caused by insufficient illegal infiltrator peasants. One harvest time, it's pears rotting in the field, the next it's kumquats. Just fill in the blanks on the press release. Each one-time-only outsized crop caused by fluke weather justifies a permanent change in the American population.

But last year, American farmowners enjoyed their most profitable year in history. So, this year, they aren't even waiting for fall to start agitating for lower wage workers. From Bloomberg News in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Farmers scrambling to find harvest labor

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/opinion/brooks-the-segmentation-century.html?_r=1&emc=tnt&tntemail0=y

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and we don't even have any 'homophobes' around to pick on fruits.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/-PQN5r2WIvg

Valerie Jarrett's influence over Obama

the mulatto-mafia or mulafia.

Anonymous said...

A feminized society is a fearful, gullible society.

Tell the people they'll starve if the borders aren't thrown wide open. Some of them are submissive and stupid enough to actually believe it.

Pincher Martin said...

Unemployment rates in the agricultural counties of California's Central Valley are astronomically high -- sometimes above 20%. A highly disproportionate number of these unemployed are Hispanic.

Fresno county, for example, has an unemployment rate of 15.8%. Yet the Fresno farmers in that article are complaining about the lack of migrant labor when all around them are the descendants of previous generations of migrant workers who are now without work.

The parents and grandparents of these American-born Latinos were often hard-working people, but they usually are not any more hard-working than their fellow Americans. What's more, they rarely demonstrate academic distinction or entrepreneurial ambitions.

It's a crazy spiral to the bottom.

Anonymous said...

So between the end of the braceros program, the Spanish pear pickers, and the Australian grape growers we have farm labor scarcity leading to higher wages, productivity, capital investment, tax revenues, ultimately cheaper produce and so on.

But in America now we have cost push of mass immigration, lower tax revenue, lower wages, less investment in new capital and technology, and thus forth. Why are so many of our elected representatives working against the interests of the country as a whole in such a blatant way? And second, are Americans fed up with this nonsense yet?

Anonymous said...

California will end up doing as the Midwest does-growing commodity crops like wheat, beans and corn-when the mestization is complete because then they won't work for those wages either. We'll probably get all our veggies from literal banana republics as in the twenties.

sunbeam said...

I think to expand a little on what Pincher Marin said, they hire the migrant labor to work exactly when and for as long as the farmer wants.

Then the rest of the year, the migrants are a problem for someone else, either at another location, back in Mexico, or using the welfare system, which not considering the immigration status they surely qualify for.

It's hard to make a decent life for yourself as a farm worker. Always has been, probably always will be. I don't have any connections to California, but I imagine lots of Okie descendents talk about how hard their grandparents and great grandparents worked in the field and didn't ask for anything.

Only thing is the people involved got into more rewarding employment during the war and the boom time that followed.

They never seem to consider what the history of their family would have been like if condemned to picking peaches or in some kind of sharecropper system.

That said, automation and robotics are going to come into play in agriculture big time in the very near future.

A discussion for another time, but I personally can imagine in 10 years or so there won't be any jobs for these kinds of migrant workers, except in very niche applications.

If you look around on the internet, I think it is very easy to see all the pieces in place, or very close to being in place.

My opinion anyway, but I feel good about the prediction.

Anonymous said...

Asparagus farmers end season on high note

http://agalert.com/story/?id=4235

My No. 1 concern is asparagus imports from other countries, but my next biggest concern is labor,

Marchini said one of his concerns is running out of land on which to plant asparagus.

Anonymous said...

Farmers scrambling to find harvest labor

There was a rumor going around recently that George Soros Inc had invested heavily in USA agricultural commodities operations - large grain farms and grain silos and the like.

Which, if true, might make George Soros one of the "farmers" in search of cheap labor.

Anonymous said...

The parents and grandparents of these American-born Latinos were often hard-working people

It really is shocking to watch the inexorably pernicious effect which the Welfare State has on the minorities.

Anonymous said...

Framers are just too bloody cheap to pay a fair wage.

Power Child said...

Kind of "Grapes of Wrath", innit?

Anonymous said...

"It really is shocking to watch the inexorably pernicious effect which the Welfare State has on the minorities."

It could also be regression to mean. only the hard working risk takers made the trip initially, screening out everyone else.

Beecher Asbury said...

If there are any readers from Australia here, could you please elaborate on how Aussie farmers harvest their crops. Given that you are surrounded by oceans and have no land border with Mexico, I imagine you don't have a whole lot of 'migrants' to pick the crops. Isn't Australian farming, truck farming that is, more mechanized than what we have in the US?

I don't know if that is the correct term, but to me 'truck farming' is what I imagine they do when they grow vegetables versus farming huge corn and wheat fields like we do in the midwest. In that case America farms are highly mechanized.

Anonymous said...

Beecher,
For crops still needing hand picking (cherries, bananas etc) we do use 'guest workers'.
Australia gives out one year working holiday visas to first worlders under the age of 30. If they want an extra years visa, they can get one by doing three months work in rural areas, often picking crops.

I don't know about mechanisation first hand, but I seem to remember that sugar cane harvesting machines had been introduced by the fifties, maybe earlier. I saw a documentary about a decade ago about the US still importing caribean workers to cut cane by hand.

Anonymous said...

Illegal infiltrator peasants?

Peasants are often salt of the earth, rooted to the land they work, oppressed. They often evoke feelings of sympathy, have credibility of authenticity. Look, many, many of these migrants are good, hardworking people. But it is also true that we are facing an invasion and having our country stolen out from under our feet.

Illegal infiltrator peasants in the US = Illegal infiltrators in Israel.

Netanyahu doesn't say illegal infiltrator "peasants."

Anonymous said...

Does anyone ever report on wage price levels in these labor scarcity stories? Wage price levels are the most important and most objective indicator of labor supply.

Anonymous said...

It could also be regression to mean. only the hard working risk takers made the trip initially, screening out everyone else.

Yeah, I thought about that angle.

But, even there, the Welfare State is going to take a terrible toll on the procreation dynamics - rewarding the slothful while punishing the industrious & the risk-takers.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intouchables

progo french movie with magique negro ... as servant.

lib fantasy lives on.

Anonymous said...

Steve, these is right up your alley.

Interracial affair with black guy ends marriage between UK's two most powerful Jewish families, the Rothdchilds and the Goldsmiths:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2153789/Rothschild-heiresss-marriage-Goldsmith-scion--falls-rapper-called-Jay-Electronica.html

Anonymous said...

There were some questions directed at the presidents concerning his thoughts on the role of religious leaders in a more civil political dialogue, which then lead to the inevitable question — how does he feels about Israel? Obama joked that Lew always warns him it will get to “the kishkes question.”

“Rather than describe how deeply I care about Israel, I want to be blunt about how we got here,” Obama said, reminding his guests that he had so many Jewish friends in Chicago at the beginning of his political career that he was accused of being a puppet of the Israel lobby.

Anthony said...

Hey - they broke the template:

In the Napa Valley, where growers are in the midst of thinning grapevine shoots, they've upped hourly wages $1 to $3 to entice workers away from other agriculture areas, said Steve Matthiasson, of Premiere Viticultural Services.

"I've heard in some cases of signing bonuses," he said. "There's talk that vineyards are paying $3,000 as an incentive to crew bosses to bring in a van load of workers from somewhere else."

Whaddaya know - if you pay more, you'll find more workers!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm not from Australia, but I'm in California. In the late 70s or early 80s I was avidly following early robotics development (it was one of the things folks first started to use microprocessors for and it was the time of CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing), essentially the idea was to make factories of general purpose cell-bots.

I very clearly remember an article from around that time, maybe 1980-1, in a short run almost homebrew robotics magazine, can't even recall it's name, something like Robotics Today.

Anyhow there was a short editorial/article about how politics had forced UC to stop participating in agricultural robotics research projects (apparently any ag automation). Basically agricultural robotics research in the UC system had been killed. The mind boggles, given the importance of ag to California, but it was Ceaser Chavez's price for keeping the lid on, apparently. That's always rankled me. Can anyone else recall that magazine, that article, or the exact issue?

Here's one oblique reference:


http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/06/robo_picker

"But it wasn't just technological challenges
that held back previous attempts at building a
mechanical harvester –- politics got involved,
too. Cesar Chavez, the legendary leader of the
United Farm Workers, began a campaign against
mechanization back in 1978.

Chavez was outraged that the federal government was funding research and development on agricultural machines, but not spending any money to aid the farm workers who would be displaced. In the '80s, that simmering anger merged with a growing realization that the technology was nowhere near ready, and government funding dried up."



Does anyone know exactly what this was that "stopped" research? Something as simple as some NSF or UC funding policy change, with no laws or regs needed?

California, bravely showing the rest of the world what the future will be... or not.

Anonymous said...

It is true that, at least here in California, the farm owners are the most powerful lobby in favor of increasing the flow of illegals in to our State.

But Svigor blames the Scotts Irish. He is wrong. Very few of the farms are owned by Scotts Irish

Anonymous said...

"Interracial affair with black guy ends marriage between UK's two most powerful Jewish families, the Rothdchilds and the Goldsmiths"

Ben Goldsmith and Kate Rothschild are each only one-quarter Jewish by ancestry. Sir James Goldsmith, Ben's father, was half-Jewish and half-French. Ben's mother was Annabelle Vane-Tempest-Stewart, sister of the Marquess of Londonderry. Kate Rothschild's father Amschel was half-Jewish and half-British/German by ancestry. Kate's mother, Anita Guiness, is a member of a branch of the well-known Irish Guinness family.

Aaron B. said...

"Whaddaya know - if you pay more, you'll find more workers!"

Amazing how that works, isn't it? I keep beating this drum: picking up garbage is a highly sought-after job in my town, not because it's enjoyable, but because it pays well. Pay people that well to pick vegetables, and they'll line up for that too.

Of course, that would mean prices in the grocery store might have to rise a little, instead of stagnating behind inflation like they have for decades. In 1950, we spent about 25% of our income on food; in 1970 it was 15%; and today it's about 9%. (And half of that is eating-out, so if people cooked for themselves more, it'd be even lower. We pay a ton for convenience in food that our grandparents wouldn't have considered.) If we went back to having Americans harvest our food, that might have to go back up over 10%! Wouldn't that be horrible?

Anonymous said...

Steve, it's funny how everything is a conspiracy if it serves a perceived agenda. Might it just be the truth?

irishman said...

I am from an agricultural area in Ireland. I spent my childhood and teen years(I'm in my 20s now) picking strawberries and working on a horse stud. I know farming and I know farmers and I think I'm in a position to make a few general observations about them which I think are pretty true the world over.

Firstly; they are the meanest employers you will ever have.

Secondly; they tend to do better than they let on.

Thirdly; they have an undeserved reputation as a working class hero. The prototypical farmer in the public consciousness is the farmer from Babe, the sheep-pig movie. In my experience the farmer from animal farm is much more representative.

Fourthly; I'm pretty centre left on economics but I can't for the life of my think of a single rational argument for farm subsidies. They are the worst form of rent seeking capitalism. Few are as bad as Irish farmers. They receive generous subsidies from Europe (much more generous than America's) get lots of daft protectionism and income supports(sugar for example is much more expensive here than in america because we have to grow our own sugar beet rather than get cane sugar for a fraction of the cost). In Ireland they almost wiped out a valuable tourist fishing industry with a combination of pollution and net fishing(they eventual cleaning up of the ofcourse was paid for by the taxpayer). Poor Ireland was not a constant phenomenon. Ireland was wealthier than Piedmont and Sweden around 1900. We slide some after the loss of the nation's industrial heart in Northern Ireland but were still wealthier than Austria and Italy on the eve of World War 2(I think Paul Bairoch documented this). It was after the war we fell way behind. What was the cause? Farmers! We pursued a relentlessly agrarian economic policy until recently even giving away the right to 80% of the EU's best fishing ground as a price of admission and access to those farm subsidies from the common agricultural policy. They pay minimal taxes so much so that a sports team from Dublin used to call nickname themselves the taxpayers before the neoliberal revolution cut taxes. You should consider yourself lucky with Mexicans. Our strawberry farmers used to employ Irish youngsters for strawberry picking in summer now they employ authentic Roma gypsies who survive by begging the rest of the year. Progress.

We've had one of the toughest austerity programmes in the world. Living standards in Ireland have fallen further here than anywhere in Europe except Greece and they still have decent weather to console themselves. We on the other hand are having a wet summer. My dad canvassed door to door in the February 2011 election just as he had done for 40 years. He said the one thing he noticed most of all was the number of people who came to the door in coats because they couldn't afford heating. He said he'd never seen anything like that before. Not even in the 80s which were bad times in Ireland. We have an ultra low corporation tax so personal taxes are higher to make up for it.Everything has been cut. My mother has been on a hospital waiting list to see a consultant for about 2 years. Irish farmers are doing well as they are in america, many of them profited handsomely from the housing bubble but despite this and all the rest that has happened to Ireland the worst thing about them is that they are about the only sector which can successfully frighten an Irish government. Not the church, not the unions, just them. They won't be touched even if the rest of us are crucified.

And I'm not one bit sorry for ranting are making ad hominem attacks.

To see a typical Irish farmer in action see below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q7g7ENiEjw

Whiskey said...

Anon at 3:13 nailed it.

NOTA said...

To be fair, these yearly media stories are always followed by actual shortages and sky-high prices of the fruits and vegetables in question, right? I mean, it will probably be impossible to find a pear in any supermarket in the US due to this labor shortage, right? And certainly, the stenographer who uncritically reported exactly what some industry group spokesman said as news will be watching for those shortages and high prices, and will do a follow-up story on the shortages that didn't appear if they don't appear. Right?

Anonymous said...

irishman is correct. The farmers are too powerful a lobbying group

eah said...

Where are duststorms in Oklahoma when you really need them?

Anonymous said...

OT, but Steve you've covered before the rise of steroids in sports. Here's an interesting report on steroid use in the military:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfiQYvfoMow

I know steroids have been rising in popularity among regular guys who lift weights.

I have heard it's becoming a part of police culture as well.

Anonymous said...

You could troll liberal forums by praising people who have huge families for doing their part in this dangerously underpopulated country. When they take the bait and talk about overpopulation, pollution etc, you can respond with 50 links to crops-rotting-in-the-fields-for-lack-of-illegal-immigrants articles. We are on the brink of famine and we need more people. Mexico will eventually run out of people to send here, what will we do then?

Steve Sailer said...

Blackwater and steroids ...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know exactly what this was that "stopped" [mechanization] research? Something as simple as some NSF or UC funding policy change, with no laws or regs needed?

A 1979 policy directive by then-Secretary of Agriculture Bob Bergland that public funds were not to be used for farm automation.

From the Center for Immigration Studies' website:

"Harvest labor productivity must be greatly increased so that production costs can decrease and worker income can increase. This is a key factor that the U.S. Government has been neglecting since 1979, when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture of that time, Bob Bergland, stated, 'I will not put federal money into any project that reduces the need for farm labor.' This policy supported an anti-mechanization movement that had brought a lawsuit against the University of California for using public funds to conduct mechanization research. The Court eventually dismissed all charges, except the need for a public interest representative on the project review committee. However, the Bergland policy has gradually ended the availability of public funding for research and development projects focused on reducing the cost and increasing the labor productivity for harvesting horticultural crops. [As of December 2000], the USDA has only one poorly funded harvest mechanization project (13). Higher wages can be paid when workers are much more productive, but since 1979 the Bergland policy also has reduced that opportunity."

http://www.cis.org/FarmMechanization-ImmigrationAlternative

The Bush Administration left the Carter-era ban largely intact, especially where California agribusiness was concerned.

Anonymous said...

I should be possible to train monkeys to pick strawberries and and put them in a basket. A truck filled with dozens monkeys unloads at a field. One monkey for each row. They pick the strawberries, put them in a little wagon. Other monkeys pull the full wagons to a truck where a non non human primate unloads them into a truck.

...And yes, I saw Planet of the Apes.

Monkey College

Anonymous said...

"Blackwater and steroids ..."

If I was the one who had to pick a name for the company I would have suggested "Greywater".

Anonymous said...

Anthony said...

"upped hourly wages $1 to $3 to entice workers"

The horror.

Anonymous said...

This scam won't work once the fruit picking robots come on line.

Anonymous said...

"The parents and grandparents of these American-born Latinos were often hard-working people"

It really is shocking to watch the inexorably pernicious effect which the Welfare State has on the minorities."


Would they even have come here in the first place if we didn't have a Welfare State?

ben tillman said...

It really is shocking to watch the inexorably pernicious effect which the Welfare State has on the minorities.

You mean Non-Whites. Only 10% of the world's population is White, so how are we not minorities?

Anonymous said...

"It could also be regression to mean. only the hard working risk takers made the trip initially, screening out everyone else."

Leaving behind the lazy and cautious to manufacture jet packs.

Mexico’s Tecnologia Aeroespacial Mexicana, or TAM, will sell you a custom-built Rocket Belt

TAM is the first and only company in the world that produces a complete package of a custom designed Rocket Belt

Anonymous said...

"It could also be regression to mean. only the hard working risk takers made the trip initially, screening out everyone else."

Menial labour is unpleasant and people of any ability avoid it at if all possible. The lowest members of society get stuck with unpleasant jobs because they can't move up because of lack of intelligence or ability or mal-adaptive behavior.

So the 'underclass' get the accolade of being 'hard-working'.

Ten Most Wanted

Anonymous said...

(Cliff Arroyo)

Pass it on, no one is illegal!

The correct term should be 'undocumented infiltrator' which actually sounds more sinister (to my ears).

Anonymous said...

You mean Non-Whites. Only 10% of the world's population is White, so how are we not minorities?

Anonymous said...

The late, great British radio journalist, Alastair Cooke, was entranced by the annual autumnal leaf reddening and shedding in the deciduous forests of the state of Vermont, USA. Every fall he never failed to give a rapturous radio desciptio of this event. It became notorious amongst BBC staff who termed it 'the annual Cooke Vermont lecture'.

Anonymous said...

It's economic illiteracy to the nth degree.
The most basic, basic consideratio possible of elementary economics will tell you that the mass importation, settlement and citizenship granting of a workforce that can only add value of fractional cents on a dollar (this is the USP of the fruit pickers), will only add cents on the dollar to the aggregate US GDP. Of course, it's even worse than that, since when you gross out their contribution to the per capita US income you will find that they have dimished it!, ie the polar opposite of 'economic development'.
Plus considering that the modern USA is highly socialized, this says nothing of the enormous transfer payments of government programs from Americans who actually pay their way.
So all in all it's a very bad deal for the American citizen. Forget Esau and his 'mess of pottage', the politicians have sold your birthright for 5c off a box of strawberries!
Ah, the USA and all the bounty it contains, yours for a box of peaches courtesy of a fat, obese pampered, dumb supermarket shopper.

Anonymous said...

It could also be regression to mean. only the hard working risk takers made the trip initially, screening out everyone else.

I don't think this is the case that there is strong selection for type. Pretty much every young male from certain regions makes the trip.

Anonymous said...

Interracial affair with black guy ends marriage between UK's two most powerful Jewish families, the Rothdchilds and the Goldsmiths:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2153789/Rothschild-heiresss-marriage-Goldsmith-scion--falls-rapper-called-Jay-Electronica.html


Obama and certain black professional sports stars are excellent marketing tools to promote interracial dating.

"Get pregnant by a black guy and your child will grow up to dominate society."

Anonymous said...

It is true that, at least here in California, the farm owners are the most powerful lobby in favor of increasing the flow of illegals in to our State.

But Svigor blames the Scotts Irish. He is wrong. Very few of the farms are owned by Scotts Irish


Immigration policy is set at the federal level. What evidence do you have that "farm owners" in California are most responsible for the flow of illegals to California?

Anonymous said...

"Whaddaya know - if you pay more, you'll find more workers!"

Amazing how that works, isn't it? I keep beating this drum: picking up garbage is a highly sought-after job in my town, not because it's enjoyable, but because it pays well. Pay people that well to pick vegetables, and they'll line up for that too.


Do the liberals and progressives who profess such concern with income disparity in our country realize that the only way to address the problem is for lower-class wages to increase significantly?

Anonymous said...

Poor Ireland was not a constant phenomenon. Ireland was wealthier than Piedmont and Sweden around 1900.

Which Piedmont?

Anonymous said...

Is "undocumented infiltrator" better than "illegal infiltrator"?

Conatus said...

When it comes to immigration the law of supply and demand has been repealed by our thoughtful mainstream media commentariot. If we let the market determine wages(the rational, consider-every-possibility,allocate-all-resources correctly market) with open borders all wages are driven down by the willingness of immigrants from 10k per captia countries to work for less.
With no immigration, legal and illegal, the law of supply and demand operates,strawberry pickers might get 15 bucks and hour and like Aaron B says we will pay more for food. With no immigration, IT and programmers would have more of a wedge in salary negotiations. The Gini coefficient might not be .46, it would be .38 like it was in 1960.
We would pay more for store products but less in taxes for social services.
In Australia the minimum wage is 15 an hour for 20 year olds.
http://www.fairwork.gov.au/pay/national-minimum-wage/pages/default.aspx

Anonymous said...

http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2012/06/another-hate-industry-start-up-the-omar-thornton-memorial-fund/

Anonymous said...

You mean Non-Whites. Only 10% of the world's population is White, so how are we not minorities?

That needs to repeated again and again. As with the whole racist & racism BS. Too many people including many on the right/traditionalist etc just accept the premises thrown at them. We can not allow them to define the argument or parameters.

Anonymous said...

To answer Anonymous:
"Why are so many of our elected representatives working against the interests of the country as a whole in such a blatant way?"

Because politics is a business, at least as it is practiced in modern America. The entire focus of a politician is to stay employed by being re-elected, and morals/principles are a burden and a hindrance. It should be no surprise that amoral men such as Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards were so successful.

sunbeam said...

I think low population, high resource states skew everything when you try to compare economic systems by saying it works this way in this particular country, so it's obviously a fundamental building block of nature.

Without commodity and mineral exports both Australia and Canada's economies are going to look very different, I don't think the price of their labor has too terribly much to do with how competitive they are in international trade.

What I'm saying is that if your economy is ultimately based on exporting raw materials, things like health care systems, minimum wage laws, and environmental regulations are purely an internal matter. If your high wages or other benefits make your commodity too pricey to be competitive you have a problem, but in today's world this doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

I'd have to do a lot of reading and thinking before I could say much about minimum wage laws.

As regards health care, I think there are any number of systems in the world that produce better results and cost less than the US system.

Though it's pretty obvious the US system is designed to benefit insurance companies, not to solve a particular problem in an effective manner.

Anonymous said...

"This scam won't work once the fruit picking robots come on line." - They have to ultimately compete with 400 dollar a YEAR labor. yes there are parts of the 3rd world that wretched.

"The Bush Administration left the Carter-era ban largely intact, especially where California agribusiness was concerned." - Well that explains why it is all happening overseas now.

"I don't think this is the case that there is strong selection for type. Pretty much every young male from certain regions makes the trip." - Today perhaps not, but the people who first started out before the social and immigration networks were established, absolutely.

Beecher Asbury said...

Amazing how that works, isn't it? I keep beating this drum: picking up garbage is a highly sought-after job in my town, not because it's enjoyable, but because it pays well. Pay people that well to pick vegetables, and they'll line up for that too.

This reminded me of John McCain in 2006, when he said Americans would not pick lettuce, even for $50/hour. Here is a video clip of him making that remarkable claim.

Richard Woland said...

The Latino lobby does not want a formal guest worker plan instituted because there will be no reason to hire Mexican contract workers when you can get far more pliable workers in SE Asia. They could have used Mexican workers to build the Transcontinental Railroad but instead chose to import the Chinese. Workers from Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia are more dependable and will do anything they are asked without becoming uppity, drunk, or violent. Because they can be relied upon to come and go when they should the farmers will have far less turnover and there will be fewer people simply drifting around and inevitably settling down.

Victor Emmanuel said...

Which Piedmont?

Italy, of course!

Anonymous said...

Why not import ukranians to pick the fruit? I think ukranians have genetically quite high iq but still earn very little money in ukraine. If the plutocrats insist on cheap fruit pickers i humbly suggest ukranians.

Aaron B. said...

Another way to look at it: how long does it take for one immigrant to pick a head of lettuce, another to wash it, and another to package it? Maybe 30 seconds, when you add up the time it spends in someone's hands? Let's round that up to a generous 60 to be conservative. That means that if the grower has to raise wages by $3/hour (the high end of the scale mentioned above) to get workers, the head of lettuce I bought today for $1.79 would have been $1.84. Raise wages by $20/hour to make people seriously compete for the job, and that head of lettuce could be $2.12. The horror!

I don't like to call these employers farmers, because my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents are/were all farmers, and I live among farmers in the Midwest, and none of them run their farms like this. These owners who hire illegals and use their political clout to push for more legal foreign labor and benefits aren't farmers in any sense of the word that I understand. They're factory owners; their factories just happen to be outdoors on dirt instead of indoors on concrete.

Kylie said...

"I am from an agricultural area in Ireland. I spent my childhood and teen years(I'm in my 20s now) picking strawberries and working on a horse stud. I know farming and I know farmers and I think I'm in a position to make a few general observations about them which I think are pretty true the world over.

Firstly; they are the meanest employers you will ever have.

Secondly; they tend to do better than they let on.

Thirdly; they have an undeserved reputation as a working class hero. The prototypical farmer in the public consciousness is the farmer from Babe, the sheep-pig movie. In my experience the farmer from animal farm is much more representative."


This was certainly one of the main messages I took from Ronald Blythe's Akenfield and The View in Winter. IIRC, even the well-to-do people in the Halls and big houses were more generous or at least less punitive than the farmers were to the farm laborers in Suffolk. Apparently, nothing has changed in the last 45 years since their recollections, stretching back decades, were recorded.

society for the advancement of fire said...

Did y'all hear this guy on NPR this morning? -- Jeremy Waldron, "The Harm in Hate Speech"

He's English, and daring to tell us Yanks about our laws, in the name of the 'human dignity of vulnerable minorities'. It's only a book, but I'm sure we'll be reading and hearing about it for the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

"Anthony said...

"upped hourly wages $1 to $3 to entice workers"

The horror."

I wouldn't work for 3 dollars an hour. It's a disgrace.

At least the slave owners of the past had to take care of their slaves the whole year.

These "farmers" or corporations really are worse than slave owners.

irishman said...

Anonymous 1:49 said:

"Poor Ireland was not a constant phenomenon. Ireland was wealthier than Piedmont and Sweden around 1900.

Which Piedmont?"

The Italian one.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/06/03/what-russia-doesnt-forget/


Do cons ever care about Christians as they do for Jews?

Norville Rogers said...

Shouldn't the newspapers bill the growers for the paid Help Wanted advertisements

Anonymous said...

The Latino lobby does not want a formal guest worker plan instituted because there will be no reason to hire Mexican contract workers when you can get far more pliable workers in SE Asia.

Actually, their primary motivation in opposing guest worker programs is that such programs make explicit that residence in the United States is to be temporary. That is problematic when what is really going on is an invasion and grab for resources in perpetuity.

Anonymous said...

You mean Non-Whites. Only 10% of the world's population is White, so how are we not minorities?

I think that number is from 40 years ago. It seems that the percentage of the world's population that is White has fallen to only 6%.

commonwealth contrarian said...

"Unemployment rates in the agricultural counties of California's Central Valley are astronomically high -- sometimes above 20%. A highly disproportionate number of these unemployed are Hispanic."

It's the same the Anglo world over. Downunder we have Slavic Europeans immigrants doing the jobs that Polynesian immigrants don't want to do any more.

Somebody must have forgot to send them their white privilege cards.

hbd chick said...

@irishman - "...for the life of my think of a single rational argument for farm subsidies."

the only reason i can think of to subsidize or otherwise encourage farming in a country is to make sure you have enough farmers in your country to feed everyone. you don't want to be dependent on russia or the ukraine for all your grains if/when wwiii happens.

Anonymous said...

Commonwealth contrarian, can you clarify please which slavic countries the farm workers in Australia are coming from?

The problem is of course that the children of agriculture workers will refuse to do agriculture work, so you need to make damn sure that you have jobs for those children that they are actually willing to do that they can do effectively.

This is not a problem if you import young ukranian females to do the fruit picking. True, their children won't be willing to pick fruit, but due to genetically high Ukranian iq their children will have the IQ to be ironworkers or nurses or to have some profession that pays much better than farm work

Sounds like Australia has farm workers now who can be counted on to produce high IQ offspring, but I would like clarification of this

Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't work for 3 dollars an hour. It's a disgrace."

I think the first commentator was saying that wages had been increased by up to $3 per hour. So if they were getting paid $8 before, maybe now it's $11.

Even illegals don't make as low as $3/hour in the US.

Anonymous said...

All my life (I'm in my 50's now) I've been reading stories in the press about how employers are desperately seeking people with basic reading and arithmetic skills. If you can read and write then you can not only have a job, but a darn good job too!

As with these stories about the need for more farm workers, the problem is that our journalists act as stenographers for the Chamber of Commerce. Because journalists now mostly come from the upper class they have no first hand experience to let them know that what Joe Employer is telling them does not pass the laugh test. And they're too lazy and/or incompetent to do any investigating.

DirtyTricks said...

Action Item
When you hear of employers hiring illegals, complaining about labor shortages, etc. place help wanted ads on free sites like Craigslist as if you are the employer.

Use phrases like
Apply in person at their address
We need 25 people immediately.
Ask for Mr Complainer
Must be US citizen or legally authorized to work in US.
Bring your own tools.

Enjoy!

Google my name.

elvisd said...

Here's the roll call of the largest farm subsidy recipients:
http://farm.ewg.org/top_recips.php?fips=00000&progcode=total

Anonymous said...

the only reason i can think of to subsidize or otherwise encourage farming in a country is to make sure you have enough farmers in your country to feed everyone. you don't want to be dependent on russia or the ukraine for all your grains if/when wwiii happens.

OTOH, cross border food trade is a hell of a disincentive to waging war.

Still, I have to wonder how disingeous these people really are... All about more illegal immigrants to pick crops, not near so much about how we need to fund new research programs to boost yields...

pat said...

I believe the first case of importing minority labor for agricultural purposes was done by my direct ancestor Alistair Piersay.

He brought in the first black slaves to Jamestown. The situation was well documented. Piersay had brought white Londoners to work in the fields. The deal was that they had their passage payed for but they were indentured for seven years.

It didn't work. More than half died in the first six months. Hardly any survived a year. The colony government asked Piersay to procure some Africans. He did. The colony survived and the slave trade began.

This is a true story that is easy to verify. You can look on Ancestry.com and find the link from him to me through twenty three generations. I have a cousin who is interested in such things.

I told a pair of lovely young women this story once. They were appalled. It's an interesting story but not effective. Now I skip the slavery part and point out that Piersay also owned the first windmill in America. Being a pioneer environmentalist works better than being a pioneer slave trader.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Cesar Chavez was very much against immigration. Unlike much of our current chattering classes, he knew what that would do to the wages of those he represented. This is interesting because he is routinely held up as hero by the "leaders" of the "hispanic community" - the same leaders in favor of unrestricted immigration. Army Street in San Francisco was renamed "Cesar Chavez Street" 15-20 years ago - I doubt it was because of his immigration restrictionist views though.

I used to live near Cesar Chavez (street, not the guy) and used to get a kick out of telling people I live near the intersection of "so-and-so and Army"...most people seemed confused but those who knew better became furious.

Doesn't Like John McCain said...

Beecher Asbury said...

...This reminded me of John McCain in 2006, when he said Americans would not pick lettuce, even for $50/hour. Here is a video clip of him making that remarkable claim."

John McCain is Exhibit A of what happens when you take stupidity, mix in an enormous sense of entitlement, add a bad temper, and finish with a complete lack of intellectual curiosity. I'm sure there are worse politicians in terms of their sheer destructiveness (Ted Kennedy, last seen at the drunk driving checkpoint into hell comes to mind) but I'm not sure there is a worse person in Congress, either house. Btw,I used to know one of his sons socially a few years back and he was much the same - loud, arrogant, spectacularly uninformed yet constantly on transmit, and convince that people disagreed with him for only one of two reasons: 1) evil, or 2) corruption.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 6/3/12 11:59am
said..." Do cons ever care about Christians as they do for Jews?"

Sure. Surely you've read all of the 5,000 word starting-above-the-fold articles in various influential organs about the decimation of the 2,000 year old Christian populations in Egypt since Mubarak fell, in Iraq since Hussein fell, Libya since Cud-Hoffy was killed, and which will soon happen in Syria once their Moslem hordes learn the wonders of democracy.

You can't pick up a NYT without reading about the destructive effect of our foreign policy on ancient Christian populations surrounded by Moslems. Its non-stop: Christians, Christians, Christians. All of our foreign policy should be oriented towards defending Christians. Oh wait...I'm sorry, I had the wrong group in mind.

David said...

To the Wall Street Journal crowd, the moral worth of anyone outside their circles is gauged by how willing he is to work for free. If you want a dollar more than the next guy, you're a lazy bum who doesn't want to work.

In the eyes of our economic overlords, the ideal human worker is the slave. Forget about minimum wage laws; the true bete noir of the economic right is the constitutional prohibition against slavery.

But even better than the human slave (who after all has to be fed and housed and otherwise maintained) is the machine. And the best machine is one that requires no maintenance, no oil, no fuel, and no attention. Something nearly like an iPad or a Blackberry. Push a button, make a trade - and earn thousands on the backs of Chinese coolies.

It's a wonderful life for the few who hold the whip hand. No so much for those under the whip, which will include many of our grandchildren, if we have any.

David said...

>You can look on Ancestry.com and find the link from [the first slaver in Jamestown] to me through twenty three generations.<

Assuming that you're around 40, and given that the Jamestown settlement was founded in 1607, it seems that you believe a generation is equal to 16 years. Yet according to the authority you cite, Ancestry.com, one most accurately calculates "three generations per century (33 years each) for male lines and 3.5 generations per century (29 years each) for female lines." Which is about double your definition of generation. You would in fact be roughly 12 or 13 generations removed from Piersay, not 23. Perhaps you typo'ed.

I am unable to find a record of an Alistair Piersay connected with the Jamestown settlement, but I do find mention of one Abraham Piersay (b. circa 1587), described as "the colony's wealthiest resident" here. In 1619 he and Governor Sir George Yeardley bought from a privateer about half of the 50 or so African slaves or black indentured servants working in the Jamestown colony in its early decades. Lazy whites being kept alive by superior Africans I am unable to find mention of: I do note, however, that the slaves or black indentured servants were brought in to help the work of the tobacco plantations after these were successful. The mainstay foodstuff of the colony was wheat, grown from 1618. The importation of German and Italian craftsmen (who built sawmills and made glass for export) also had something to do with the colony's eventual success, as well as a great deal of English reinvestment and reorganization after the disastrous winter of 1609-10. (Here is a good article; note that Rolfe made his fortune some years prior to Abraham's shepherding in his 20 Africans).

Anonymous said...

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/judge-orders-adolf-hitler-kept-child-custody-173659145.html

Idiot parents but this is unconstitutional. People cannot be targeted by government for their creed. Otherwise, communist parents naming their children Mao, Lenin, or Che should lose their kids too. Where is the ACLU on this?

In new America, gays can adopt but wrong creed gets kids taken by the state. Chilling implications.