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March 27, 2006

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» Other Thoughts on Immigration from the mindful mission
Here are some good (and somewhat diverse) thoughts on immigration that have come out of the weekend protests. They each are worth a look: Street Prophets: Religious Leaders Speak Out on Immigration Urban Onramps: L.A. High School Stud... [Read More]

Comments

Barbara

Hugo, could you provide some principled analysis for your last statement that people and capital have to play by the same rules? Is that because it sounds good or because you have thought through all of the social and economic implications of the two and decided that there is no difference between the infusion of capital (basically, money) into an economy and the infusion of a large number of people into a society? Do you imagine a world in which people scoot around the globe chasing after the capital that has been exported by their countries? In truth, capital flows to labor markets with, generally, an excess of labor (depending on what kind of labor is needed, of course) while labor tends to gravitate to those places where capital has been created or stored -- not to where capital is being newly invested. Neither one of these things has much bearing on what are perceived to be the issues raised by robust immigration from countries with small economies and corrupt governments into, largely, a single, very large economy with an increasingly corrupt government -- ours.

So go read the following:

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/03/immigration-conundrum.html

Hugo

Gosh, it's Adam Smith, isn't it? I'm with the socialists, who want free movement of labor and restricted movement of capital. But if you are a free trader in the Adam Smith tradition, then you must also support free movement of human capital.

I don't have Smith in front of me, but if I google it, I'm sure I'll find the Smith reference.

Barbara

No, Hugo, I'm not preaching Adam Smith, and I guess I'm not surprised that you thought my rejoinder is anti-people and pro-capital when it's really the opposite.

People have more tangible needs for protection, social support, education, health care, etc. than capital does (capital's needs are for things like a banking system with integrity and not a whole lot else). Likewise, the free flow of capital is VERY free; it simply looks for the greatest rate of return, and cares nothing for any other value -- and it has different consequences for society than the flow of people (who, in reality, don't really want to move if they don't have to and may properly refuse to move for reasons like, oh I don't know, taking care of their elderly parents). People should be treated as permanent, and capital as evanescent based on the reality that capital can vanish, forever, not just hop from location to location, but people do not, and once they are in your midst, you might forgive me for thinking that we ought to take care of them -- which also means that we might try to decide how many people we can assimilate into our existing safety net, frayed as it is.

In short, people are not commodities. While your formulation, I know, is intended to lift up people, in reality, it debases people to view them as being "just like" capital.

And for these and many other reasons it may make sense for a society to pass laws that don't treat the two identically. Slogans are nice, but they are usually too simple to result in very good policies.

Hugo

Barbara, we're on the same side. I'm not making myself clear: I am taking issue with the free traders who want a different standard, because they are at odds with the founding principles of the free trade movement. You can't be anti-immigration and a disciple of Adam Smith; you can be a disciple of the Gospel (or Marx) and want to privilege human labor over faceless capital.

flawedplan

Hiya Hugo,

I come by occasionally for the poetry, but hadn't heard about the passing of Buck Owens and wanted to offfer quick congrats on the recognition before I blow the dust off some long lost elpees, God rest him.


The Gonzman

If you have restricted movement of capitalism, the only free movement of labor will be from the closed doors of the business to the unemployment line. Then when everyone is out of work, who is going to pay the taxes for these social programs and the social engineering you are so fond of?

I'm with the people, though, who think it is high time to crack down on businesses which employ illegal invaders, be they the Irish that invade the northeast, or the central Americans which invade the south. The next step is to police people overstaying visas, and in policing the banks who enable such illegals to stay under the radar, and continue to buy property, use credit, and end run the system.

We have laws governing the influx of immigrants for several reasons, which include both economic ones and reasons of national security. And if it takes a wall and militarizing our border to show we mean business on it, I am for it. It's a slap in the face of those who have played by the rules to extend the benefits they waited for, paid their dues for, and earned to cheats who sneak into the country.

There's a way to get all the consideration due to immigrants by illegal immigrants - go home, and come back through proper channels; and if your government is so bad and corrupt your home country is a hellhole, either renounce it, or have the moral courage to stay and change it.

Lee

"Is it not contradictory to the gospel to prefer one's own people to those who live abroad?"

I'm not sure what the answer to this is, but I'm guessing a lot of it depends on what you mean by "prefer." Don't we prefer our countryman by the fact that our government only (as a rule) protects U.S. citizens, provides benefits to U.S. citizens, etc.? If we were really being impartial shouldn't we advocate that all the money we spend on domestic needs be diverted immediately to, say, Africa?

I'm not saying we don't have any obligations to non-fellow-citizens - far from it - but it does seem to me that there is a preferential ordering of our attention that is justifiable. We - justifiably, I think - dedicate more of our resources to our family and friends than to strangers for instance (though maybe too much in many cases). The particularity of our relationship to certain people seems to license a certain partiality - or at least I think most of us think it does.

Antigone

I also feel that as a moral country, we should make it illegal for US corporations to out-source to countries that don't meet OSHA and min. wage requirements.

No more importing goods that was made in the US would be considered illegal. The people in devoluping nations are just as much people as people in the US.

And I would also advocate for making it easier to apply for refugee status in the US. Fleeing FGM? Refugee status. Fleeing honor killing? Refugee status. Fleeing blood wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia? Refugee status.

The Gonzman

I also feel that as a moral country, we should make it illegal for US corporations to out-source to countries that don't meet OSHA and min. wage requirements.

Or tax them on the savings. I'm with the left when it comes to corporate welfare - I call mine "Economic Darwinism."

No more importing goods that was made in the US would be considered illegal. The people in devoluping nations are just as much people as people in the US.

Agreed. Slave Labor and such is repugnant, and US corporations profiteering from them is even more so.

And I would also advocate for making it easier to apply for refugee status in the US. Fleeing FGM? Refugee status. Fleeing honor killing? Refugee status. Fleeing blood wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia? Refugee status.

I agree too. And I'd extend and expand that to western hemisphre nations like Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, and such.

Ben Martin

You mention the socialists, Hugo, but I note that, somewhat ironically, many Marxist and conflict-theorist types think that we shouldn't have free movement of capital OR labor, in some sort of anachronistic attempt to preserve locality of economy. I think that's terribly short sighted, but there you have it.

And, incidentally, to kick up a notch as it were, I've decided to claim, officially, that I believe that freedom of movement (which would encompass immigration) will within a few decades (though hopefully sooner) be recognized as a fundamental democratic right. And then all these economic arguments will just go away (assuming we try to be principled democrats - hah!), just as they should. Unfortunately, until then, here we are.

Col Steve

GMU was a stunner; however, Florida and LSU were not. Florida or BC were the more likely choices as well as LSU or Texas in their respective brackets (Villanova and Duke lived by the 3 pt shot and few teams will shot consistently well for 4, let alone 6, consecutive games).

The women's game has not reached the point where a team ranked higher than # 4 still has any realistic shot (okay, Utah at 5 this year). But, what's with the rant against UCONN? Is that personal about their coach or just one team dominating - because would you have the same sentiment if UCLA went on a similar run as during the John Wooden era?

Hugo

Oh, it's personal about Auriemma. Nothing against a man in women's basketball (Leon Barmore, one of my heroes), but his personality grates. I don't like UConn's men's team either.

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