Submitted by Mousumi Roy…
History is a great laboratory because so many data are available. Open Borders makes sense, both economically and socially. Immigration. The idea that more than a handful of immigrants come-for government handouts is simply inconsistent with the facts. The reality? Immigrants labor lowers our “real” costs of living. Immigrant labor, whether “legal” or “Illegal” reduces the costs of construction, food, maintenance, … and on and on. An incredibly long list.
I studied the immigration issue even more seriously while in graduate school. Having considered this issue for a long time, barring people who primarily intend to come to work and improve their lives and the lives of their children has been, like our “War on Foods”, a waste of resources and taxpayer money.
Overpopulation? Urban areas all over the world seem overpopulated, but would it have been reasonable to ban movements of rural into big cities across the past 200 years? Or to have prevented urban sprawl by forbidding city dwellers from migrating into the suburbs after WWII? Either approach would have been silly.
China criminalized rural to urban migration for more than five decades following WWII. That policy proved as catastrophic as its ‘one child” dictum. Further: “Blending” goes both ways. Immigrants and their children are far more likely than “born Americans” to become entrepreneurs or doctors or inventors or engineers.
Another major benefit: We have many more good choices about food, music, and art because of waves of immigration. Think about this: My parents considered bread “foreign food.” Life is now far better, and richer, and more varied for the vast majority of folks.
Dating back to biblical times, many early thinkers viewed commodity production as being the only ‘true’ production. In the 18th century, French physiocrats argued that all value ultimately derives from natural resources — land. More modern views of production and value originated in the late 19th Century with neoclassical marginalism, when calculus broadened insights into a lot of economic theory. Prominent early theorists who used calculus extensively included the Austrian Carl Menger, the Lausanne general equilibrium theorist Léon Walras, and William Stanley Jevons, an English mathematician and economic theorist.
An economic definition: PRODUCTION occurs when knowledge—or technology—is used to apply energy to transform materials in ways that make the materials more valuable in satisfying human wants. Increased value is the key here. Productive enhancements in value may occur in form, place, time, or ownership.
Examples: Place: A driver and truck and fuel are productive when hauling place to place where the product will be more highly valued. Time: The time value of wheat harvested in late summer increases when the wheat is stored, so that it will be available in January, in the winter. Ownership: A realtor is productive when conveying the ownership of a house from a homeowner who values the house less than does the subsequent buyer. Successful speculators and arbitrageurs also tend to enhance the total value of world production — though frequently by less than the income they extract from these processes.
The rich Middle East despotisms are not more open to immigration than almost any place on earth. Those countries do not welcome immigrants. They welcome laborers who are granted only limited rights and who can be deported at will.
Immigration tends to enhance value in the Middle East. Misrepresentation of opportunities and then compulsion is an exception. The cruel exploitation of workers from Indonesia and India and the Philippines is an institutional problem in the Middle East, or anywhere, and is separate from issues about flows of human resources across political boundaries. People’s lives are usually enhanced by their ability to voluntarily relocate. Apparently, voluntary can sometimes be okay. Being pimped by force is never okay. Petro-despotism is a cruel structure for most citizens, and even worse for almost all non-citizens. Tends to perform well for the local ‘royalty.’ The only non-citizens who tend to do well are foreign military personnel or foreign diplomats or executives for international firms that operate within these countries…
Food, clothing, and shelter seem to be basic human rights, from my perspective. This is not a matter of voting. Should some children, because of circumstances of their birth, be doomed to very short and miserable lives without adequate food, clothing, and shelter? And without access to health care, and a reasonably good education? I don’t see this issue as appropriately dependent on a vote by tax payers. These issues hinge on ‘natural law’.
Human life is now far less imperiled by violence, either domestic or foreign, than it was in earlier times. In 1900, the average Human lifespan was less than 50 years. Now, men live, on average to about 75, and women’s longevity is, on average, 82+. My sense is that rates of honesty or dishonesty haven’t changed. But dishonesty is far more publicized. The 24-hour news cycle leaves the media starving for sensationalism. But the statistics are still relatively straightforward. Nothing is definitely safe. Nowhere. Still, the statistics are irrefutable. We live longer, on average, than at any time in history. Overall, average longevity has increased by about 60% during the past century. Harmed by foreigners? Statistically, we are much more endangered by people born and raised. Rates of violent crime by unauthorized immigrants are lower. It is impossible to absolutely guarantee perfect safety.
Not many can be as defiantly flint-hearted as Ebeneezer Scrooge. They would much prefer to be seen as benefactors, offering tough love. If they had a megaphone they would speak to the poor, and cry: “Arbeit macht frei!” Meanwhile, as has been the case historically, the poor are poor not because they are lazy and immoral, but because of systemic flaws, including but not limited to, a lack of well-paying jobs…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.