country for immigrants.
I have the pdf of a book by Lant Pritchett sitting on my desktop somewhere. He talks about global poverty and migration from what I take to be the most ethical angle available to us. Reason does a bang up interview with him here on his new book, and I just love this title, Let Their People Come:
highlights: almost half of the interview, with my comments:
Pritchett estimates that labor flows would be at least five times greater if people were free to move. What’s keeping so many would-be migrants in place? “Men with guns.”
We shouldn’t create hostages. We shouldn’t keep people locked in place within some arbitrary post-colonial boundaries just so we can continue with the bold experiment of trying to make nation-states develop. People should be free to move.
Goods should be free to move, and privileges should be eliminated. The innocents should be set free.
If you look at what has happened with enormously successful trade liberalization in the past 40 or 50 years, price differentials have fallen a lot. The only remaining enormously egregious price differential in the world is in the price of labor.
Free trade has treated us all well. I can now buy a great car for @ $10K. My granny paid the same in 1983 real dollars for hers.
we’re giving all this intellectual and political and analytical attention to mopping up that last little bit of trade liberalization.
Beating a dead horse. Trade has been liberalized. It really has. Some people think that’s a bad thing, that we’ve lost some of the sense of what it means to be “American” in the process. If by “American” you mean “elitist,” fine. I’m glad to see it go. If you mean shallow moralism, great. If you are referring to weak public safety nets, cut ‘em down.
Being against migration to the United States is wrong for two reasons. One, I don’t think it gets the scale of the poverty in the United States vs. poverty in the rest of the world right.
I is so po’ I only ate McDonalds’ tree times ‘dis week, ‘an den I had to cut my cell fone minutes ‘an stop textin my bff durin engich class!
Second, if you are really concerned about inequality in the United States, there are many things you can do that would be better than blocking other people from coming to our country… taking that concern and using it to keep people from coming to the United States is victimizing the world’s true victims in favor of people who happen to live closer to you.
That’s privilege again. Its also anti-foreign bias, and anti-market bias, as Bryan Caplan talks about in The Myth of the Rational Voter.
The free mobility of labor is incompatible with the welfare state if every person who is physically present in a location to perform an economic service automatically comes into the same set of welfare benefits as a local. That needn’t be the case.
Perhaps a trial period would work.
Milton Friedman is wrong. It’s not incompatible with a welfare state; it’s incompatible with a welfare state that doesn’t differentiate between people within its territory. Singapore manages to maintain an enormously high level of benefits for its citizens with massive mobility. Kuwait has one of the highest immigrant populations in the world, and you can’t ask for a more cradle-to-grave welfare state than what Kuwait gives its citizens. So it’s obviously possible to maintain whatever level of welfare state you want and have whatever level of labor mobility you want, as long as you’re willing to separate the issues.
Look, anytime you start a sentence with “Milton Friedman is wrong…” you’d better have one heck of a qualifier at the end. Pritchett does, and I buy most of it. I’m against multiple classes, though he points out it is a second-best solution. If Christians would accept responsibility for these people the problem would be mitigated.
citizens have a property right to their country. But the beautiful thing about institutions that create property rights is that they’re a free good. If we allow in another 10 million, 20 million, 30 million people, then what has created American wealth—its economic institutions that allow entrepreneurship, that allow free markets, that allow people to innovate, that allow people opportunity—none of that is eroded by letting in more people.
And we’ve got plenty of room for the extra trash they will generate, too.
The wealth of America is that we have developed fantastically successful economic institutions. Those institutions are not zero sum. No one has suggested we should have limited America’s natural population growth because with 300 million people there are fewer benefits of our institutions of property rights to go around. It’s the same thing with migration.
That’s it, we need a policy like China’s, since it worked so well for them! Let’s start killing babies at random! People: It’s not a mouth, its a mind, and a soul.
The differences in well-being between people born in poor countries and people born in rich countries are orders of magnitude larger than differences between the genders within those countries. But books written about gender probably outnumber books written about this point by 100 to 1.
Cosmo is so never going to publish this…
The thrust of my book is, let’s look for politically acceptable mechanisms with which to make incremental changes that are feasible now. If we wait for the grand shift to happen, we’ll be waiting forever.
Ah, my greatest failing! But look, he would have no argument at all if he were not capable of articulating and making a strong argument for the ideal!!!
What it means to be an American is to be open to migration. Being an American is an open idea, not a closed idea. It’s not a blood relationship. The idea of being American is an idea of being open to people from other places coming and making a contribution. I think we’ve lost sight of that.
These really are strictly monotheistic values. The Jews always accepted converts, as did the Muslims and the Christians. Pagans are not interested in tearing down walls, but in building them. As the state grows, our culture becomes more pagan. As the church turns to the state to accomplish its mandate it eats food sacrificed to idols.
Given the things that democratic egalitarian societies have been willing to stomach, in both recent and current history, I find it difficult to believe that the hardest of all moral things they would have to do is get tough enough to have a guest worker program. Not to criticize America—which I love; I’m an American—but to say that a country that had Jim Crow laws in my lifetime doesn’t have the stomach to have a guest worker program? It seems pretty inconceivable to me.
You’d be doing something tough that is in the interest of enormously greater global justice. We have found the stomach to do morally reprehensible things without any greater interest of global justice. We’re willing to put millions and millions of young African Americans behind bars for drug offenses.
Oooh, a dig on drug laws!
You can’t enforce the border at the border. You have to enforce the border behind the border. And you can’t enforce the border behind the border unless citizens believe the enforcement’s fair. If people become convinced that sending pregnant temporary workers home is a necessary part of a fair and legitimate system of migration, we’ll be willing to do it. If we don’t think the system we’ve created is fair and legitimate, we won’t be willing to enforce it. The conundrum we’ve backed ourselves into is that we have a system that no one thinks is fair or legitimate.
It’s not about enforcing the law, it is about making the law just.
I am so looking forward to years and years of reading great stuff like this, and to more openness in trade and migration.
Gavel bang to Twenty-Cent Paradigm