Smuggle me down under

People smuggling is quite distinct from people trafficking. The former involves treating people as clients who want to move illegally across a national border. The latter is about slavery. With that distinction out of the way what is the current market price for the service of being smuggled into Australia?

I don’t actually know the answer. However the following suggests an answer:-

http://www.friends-partners.org/lists/stop-traffic/1999/0532.html

most anecdotal evidence placed the cost of being smuggled to Australia at between $30,000 and $50,000.

In addition to any direct monetary cost there is also some risk of death and legal repercussions associated with being smuggled into Australia. Presumably people would pay a higher fee to be smugged down under without those extra risks. Also the fee suggested in the quote above is about ten years out of date.

What would happen to the smuggling business if the government let anybody into the country and made them permenant residents for a flat entry fee of $50,000? Would the illegal arrivals mostly disappear? How many immigrants would we get each year? How much revenue would it raise? Would it entail greater procedural fairness than the current system?

54 thoughts on “Smuggle me down under

  1. I wonder if that also indicates the price that foreigners are willing to pay to marry an Australian citizen for the sake of getting an Australian passport?

  2. Terge,

    Do you mean by ‘anyone’ people with sick relatives who can be chain-migrated under family reunion rules to benefit from a free public health system and social security and do you include criminals and terrorists? Do you want families with 10 kids who will be educated at public expense?

    Do you want mainly old people with lots of wealth who will retire here or young people without a lot of wealth but with good educations and good prospects?

    A scheme based purely on an entry fee would be foolish. The rationale is to promote free trade in labour but then, as discussed before on this blog, the optimal fee would not be $50,000 but $0. That would maximise the ‘gains-from-trade’.

    But it would also mean wages in Australia that were driven to the levels of Bangladesh but with a minority of rich capitalists who would enjoy colossal gains on their land and other assets.

    Market logic works in many areas but not in the area of migration policy. It is more complex because the economy is distorted already with lots of public handouts. It is also affected by priorities that limit redistributions from labour – priorities I for one strongly support.

  3. to benefit from a free public health system and social security

    Harry, the public health system is not free, neither is the social security system. It is paid for through the tax burden on high income individuals. Anyone paying $50,000 entry fee, will have paid more than many Australians pay in tax over several years. Those individuals will then enter into the Australian tax system. Your argument suggests that Australia should put up with mediocrity in human capital selection because there is a strata of our existing population who are too lazy to get off their bums and work.

  4. But it would also mean wages in Australia that were driven to the levels of Bangladesh but with a minority of rich capitalists who would enjoy colossal gains on their land and other assets.

    That’s an interesting conclusion. Astonishing in fact. Can someone remind Harry that during the period of open border immigration in the US which was up to 1915 wages rose and rose smartly all through the period of industrialization.

    Harold isn’t talking to me so he won’t respond.

  5. Harry – you are speaking below your level of competence with that comment about Bangladesh.

    Labour is not homogenous. The return to, not the wages of labour are related to the raw capital/labour ratio. Real wages are determined by marginal productivity as well.

    More specifically, any rent that labour receives will be minimised. This is good. Productive and allocative efficiency will improve.

  6. Harry,

    I think some but not all health and criminal issues might need to trump a fee based system. However a lot of people who want to be smuggled here are not necessarily a threat in either regard. In any case if they applied via a fee based system at the front door we could let in all the good apples and have a vastly smaller queue to deal with at the back door.

    If a healthy family with 10 kids wants to pay the Australian government $600000 to live here then is it really going to upset you?

  7. Mark – if we had open immigration, which is what Harry was refering to, then the labour to capital ratio would be rapidly altered. I have not suggested open immigration.

  8. The idea that Australians would receive Bangladeshi wages for all but the most unskilled of labour is questionable, and even unskilled labour is on shaky ground – even if we experienced a “flood” of immigrants.

    Sudanese refugees and immigrants can earn the same wages in meat processing plants, and until the GFC and Rudd’s macroeconomic mismanagement, employment was trending below levels not seen since the 1960s. No one was losing out on wages and no one was being put out of a job. This was 1-2 years ago. We simply have a valuable enough capital base to improve the productivity of even the most unskilled in a global sense.

    The level of immigration required for nominal wages to fall, given the K/L ratio dominating the marginal productivity of labour would require yet unforeseen levels of global immigration to one country. A falling K/L ratio does not indicate a fall in real wages, just the return to wages, or possibly also nominal wages.

    Harry has also not explicitly considered the differences in Australian or Bangladeshi outward orientation, thus the ability of Australia to earn export incomes and increase marginal labour productivity, or also attract FDI for the capital base. If our population increased, we would become a destination for market seeking FDI. Furthermore, no consideration of tacit knowledge contributing to the level of human capital or savings of migrants adding to the savings rate and capital stock has also been implicitly ignored.

    As JC said, US wages rose rapidly and continually during open immigration. The benefits of specialisation and innovation and population growth and density increases cannot be ignored. The US also was a centre for innovation during and since this period.

  9. And besides I didn’t argue for open borders. Merely a fee based entry criteria.

  10. Basic underground economics suggests that crims would offer $49,999.95, and people would pay them, not the full $50,000.00. (If the 5c piece disappears, this price would be modified.) I don’t think the $50K price is all costs, so they may have some elasticity in there, Taya! There’s no need to worry about the criminals, they’ll find ways to survive.

  11. Sorry about the mispelling Terje.

    Sinclair ignores the point. Would you give preference to a old family that is going to draw heavily on a public health system and a young one that will contribute towards it? Adverse selection is built into Terje’s proposal.

    I was making the point that ability-to-pay cannot be the only criterion for entry.

    But you are right Sinc I do put the welfare of the current citizens of Australia above that of immigrants so adverse movements in the general level of wages are (to me) a serious distributional consequence.

    I don’t think Australian’s are lazy at all. It is that people at the bottom of the skills ladder own no assets whose value will be increased by immigration and only suffer a decrease in their real wages. Ask Melbourne’s taxi drivers.

    Claims by Mark are not sensible. So long as the demand for labour slopes downwards increasing labour supplies will reduce wages. That’s true in any sector.

    Per capita incomes rose strongly during the period up to the 1920s because labour and capital were being combined with an underutilised capital base. By the 1920s though Australian policy concern was definitely with real wages. The Brigden Committee advocated protection of manufacturing to sustain the real wage in the face of continued immigration – the so-called ‘Australian case for protection’.

  12. Harry – not following the bit about the taxi drivers. Invariably taxi drivers that I speak to are all migrants or students. (Or is that the point you’re trying to make?)

  13. Harry,

    How about this for an alternative? Anybody that passes a health and criminality check is allowed in if they pay a fee of $50000. However they can apply for a discount which is based on various criteria (eg age).

  14. p.s. We currently give a 100% discount to people if they are New Zealanders. I’m not sure if that is adverse selection or not.

  15. So long as the demand for labour slopes downwards increasing labour supplies will reduce wages. That’s true in any sector

    Harold, Japan’s working population is falling and has been falling dramatically without a commensurate rise in wage and salary rates?

    It’s not the supply of labor alone that determines wages growth. The capital to labor ratio has more than a little bit to do with it. As usual your focus is far too narrow and involves your personal prejudices than anything else.

  16. Competition with cheap foreign labour/capital happens in two ways… through the flow of labour/capital, or through the flow of goods & services produced by that labour/capital.

    The benefits of free trade are (thankfully) quite well understood by most economists. Following from this, most economists understand that there are similar benefits from the free flow of capital. Unfortunately, fewer people take the next logical step and also recognise the obvious benefits from the free flow of labour.

    I’m not talking about the free changing of citizenship. Perhaps those funny looking foreign people shouldn’t be given citizenship and the consequent vote & hand-outs. But they could be given “long-term living and working rights” fairly easily, to the benefit of both them and us.

  17. Terje, I think proposals to allow purchase of entry rights (like proposals to sell your right to vote in elections) are superficially attractive because they provide seem to provide ‘gains-from-trade’. But we are not trying to make money out of migrants but to determine what our future society will look like.

    The difficulty is that the economy is distorted so that people have motivation to migrate that have nothing to do with their ability to contribute. For example, migrants have the right to chain migrate family, the right to draw on social security and public health benefits.

    Skill externalities make it clear we should accept many without payment of a fee.

    Of course checking for health and criminality improves things. But it isn’t enough.

    Skilled migrants transfer unpaid-for human capital to a destination economy via the brain drain. Countries are increasingly targeting such migrants although Rudd has backtracked recently in reemphasising the family program. I’d let nuclear physicists from the former Soviet Union into Australia for nix but oppose migration of agricultural scientists from Bangladesh with a speciality in jute production even if they could pay $50,000. The latter don’t deliver skill externalities.

    I’d also maintain a refugee/humanitarian program that had no ability to pay requirement.

    I’d also exclude migrants who have cultural backgrounds that lie opposed to our liberal democratic traditions. But subject to that proviso I’d pursue a mix of migrants that fosters Australian links with the rest-of-the-world.

    I’d end family reunion migration entirely. I’d impose strict minimal English language requirement tests.

    There are a whole set of things but the ability to make a monetary payment should be neither necessary nor sufficient to gain entry.

  18. And what about New Zealanders? Should we slow them down with a skills test?

  19. hc: But we are not trying to make money out of migrants but to determine what our future society will look like.

    I disagree with this approach. I don’t think the government should be trying to control what our future society will look like. I don’t think they can, and when they try I think they generally only achieve discrimination, bigotry, less dynamic culture, less social/cultural/economic evolution and overly bureaucratic micro-management of civil society.

    So long as people are peaceful and act voluntarily then I think they should be able to pursue their own life goals, and dynamically build up culture from the bottom-up instead of having it imposed from the top-down.

    The desire for a government controlled society seems to be consistent with a conservative view of the world, and is an obvious point of differentiation between more liberal/libertarian minded people.

  20. I’m not convinced that permitting people to come here because we want to extract the utility of their skills is any more noble than simply extracting the utility of their cash. Why aren’t we trying to make money out of such people if utility extraction is the nature of the game.

  21. Fact is we do sell a variation of an immigrant visa in a way…. People can come here on a business visa if they demonstrate they have $X that they are going to invest in a business venture.

    It’s not strictly speaking selling immigration in the same way discussed above, however it’s not a bad variation.

    As far as I know, the US, Canada and New Zealand also do it. New Zealand has been more successful as the threshold is much lower.

    Fact is if a person has 50G to give to the government s/he isn’t giving the money away for free….. and s/he generally expects a possible return.

    Harold, should we stop business visas? LOL.

  22. Terje, I don’t think the bottom line is the only issue. For example I’d prefer myself to have people who respect western liberal democratic traditions. It is again a non-monetary entry requirement. I am not overly keen on 100,000 Taliban per year making their voluntary and self-interested decision to set up shop in Melbourne.

    John H, We don’t have open door immigration and Terje emphasises that he does not want that. Nor does anyone I know. Hence we are talking about selecting rules for entry. Who decides that? Normally a consensus decision implemented by government.

    Are you saying that relying on a fixed charge of $50,000 is politics free. It isn’t because the Libertarian solution would be open door i.e. $0.

  23. For example I’d prefer myself to have people who respect western liberal democratic traditions.

    If you had your way, Harold, I’m sure you would also include they would be required to commute by public transport if they were going the opposite way to you each morning: we know how much you hate that.

  24. For example I’d prefer myself to have people who respect western liberal democratic traditions.

    And speak English…

    As someone that lived in Japan for 18 months and has considered returning long-term I have to say that I think language is far more of an asset to the immigrant than the country receiving the immigrant. If someone is able to cope in their lives without knowing English what is the problem? If they find their life hard generally they’ll make an effort to go out and learn it… But why should that be a requirement?

    And if it’s a requirement for permanent residents what about people on Working Visas, Working Holiday Visas or hell, Tourist Visas?

    As for 100,000 Taliban moving to Melbourne well I’m all for Muslim immigration so long as they are law abiding. I’d rather devout Muslims in Melbourne than most Frankston-natives…

  25. Harry,

    I’d be more than happy to offer a 100% discount for the citizens of developed liberal democracies in so far as those nations reciprocate. So for instance the bi-lateral free immigration agreement we have with New Zealand could be replicated with other nations such as Singapore, Canada or Ireland. So with these nations we would then have essentially open borders. I doubt the Japanese would reciprocate which might disappoint Shem.

    In terms of defending our liberal democratic tradition another modest measure we could take is to do like Switzerland and require a ten year delay before residents can become citizens.

    What do you think of these compromises Harry?

  26. p.s. Perhaps we could debate whether Singapore qualifies as a liberal democracy but you get the idea.

  27. hc — I didn’t say anything about open immigration (though it would be my preference in an ideal world).

    What I said is that the government shouldn’t be using immigration to try and mould society. If you want restrictions, then a fee works fine to decrease the number of immigrants. But I was pointing out that I have grave concerns about the consequences of a government that is trying to micro-manage society, as you suggested.

    I also note that an entry-fee actually does provide a significant amount of self-selection. Not many Taliban would be able to afford the fee. In contrast, successful businessmen, and those with positive future financial expectations would be more likely to pay.

    Anyway — it is a big jump between the Taliban and a peaceful educated hard-working Japanese family with only intermediate level English.

    I also like the idea mentioned by Terje of having fee-free immigration between other approved developed countries who reciprocate. I expanded on that idea in an IPA Review article a while ago…

    http://www.ipa.org.au/publications/1225/the-case-for-free-immigration-agreements

  28. Harry,

    I personally take offence to your claim that what I wrote is “not sensible”.

    What you wrote was sensationalist and imprecise. The supposed conclusion of what you wrote can never, ever happen. I added some precision to the definition of the return to labour and marginal productivity to lead to a realistic conclusion.

    Once again, you have written something below your level of competence as a response. Yes labour demand curves are downward sloping – so what? How does that explain that increased immigration will lower real wages, not just the return to labour as a share of (expanding) national income?

  29. Again you are wrong Mark. Draw a downward sloping labour demand – this is the value of labour’s marginal product. Fix the supply of labout at L and increase it to L’. You will see that wages fall as does labour’s marginal product.

    The price variable isn’t the share of labour in GDP. It is the real wage.

    This is high school economics but if you want to see this idea written up in a trade theory setting read the Berry and Soligo analysis of labour migration published in the JPE just on 40 years ago.

    Real GDP rises as a consequence of the immigration but the extra gains more than cover the reduced wages paid to the original residents. Thus there are ‘gains-from-trade’ to the original people from their ownership of real assets. But wages fall provided that (and this is sometimes questioned) the demand for labour slopes downwards.

    John you didn’t deal with my point that charging a fee is a way of controlling the intake that is engineered by government. You raised other new issues but did not address that.

  30. I suppose the difference between a fee and a checklist is whether you macro manage society or micro manage it.

    I like a fee for a few reasons. In political terms I think it mitigates the popularist claim that immigrants are some how free loading. It removes the need for queues and beauracratic waiting lists. It mitigates a lot of the black market activity. It creates a clear point of negotiation with other nations from which we can negotiate reductions in exchange for reciprocal access. It puts a clear price on decisions.

    In terms of some back door education scams we are in essence already selling access. People are also paying for illegal access. I think a fee tidies up the system. However as stated I don’t have a real problem with discounts for special people. Even if defining special is a political process. If we give open access (ie 100% discount) to Irish citizens in exchange for reciprocal access for our citizens but we don’t extend this to Mexicans it would overall still be an improvement.

  31. p.s. I would argue in favour of a 100% discount for a limited number of refugees in line with our UN treaty obligations. Private charities could buy extra spots for extra refugees.

  32. HC — if you are making the point that a government fee involves the government, then I agree. But the point I is that a fee doesn’t involve government managing of culture or social trends.

    This was in response to your comment: But we are not trying to make money out of migrants but to determine what our future society will look like.

    I note you also didn’t follow up on my point that trade in the factors of production creates the same result as trade in the produced goods & services. It makes no sense to be in favour of the latter, but not in favour of the former (except on the grounds of welfare provisions).

  33. Harry just won’t admit I was right. What he wrote above is nearly technically correct.

    Harry fails to mention to increase in per capita wealth vis a vis the gains from trade would increase both the K/L ratio and the marginal productivity of labour. Harry just assumed the demand for labour doesn’t change in quantity or elasticity – and hey presto he was right.

    If Harry still thinks I am incorrect, he can quantify the level of immigration we need to have Bangladeshi real wages. He made the claim, he can back it up. He can also explain how the nearly accumulated capital is productive without any labour to utilise it above idle capacity.

  34. It’s truly amazing that he also assumes that capital stays constant, which ought to mean that say US living standards should not have budged since the big pulse of immigration.

  35. Suppose you allow for induced capitqal flows by immigration. So migrants come and depress labour costs then capital rushes in to take advantage of the now cheaper labour. In fact it rushes in until wages are back where they were before. Now residents get no gains-from-trade at all. The migrants get better wages but resident wages are back to what they were initially. Returns to the new capital accrue to the foreign owners of the capital. This is a bleak prospect because residents get no advantage from migrants – all the gains get scouped off by the newcomers.

    Admitting capital flows does not improve the case for having migrants – it reduces it – though wage reductions are now limited.

    John, I know about factor price equalisation in simple Heckscher-Ohlin models but these very restrictive models do not imply that immigration is a perfect substitute for trade. Trade is a better outcome if there are unpriced public goods (free education) or public bads (congested roads). Oh, of course they should be priced – I agree in anticipation.

  36. Oh no, not the “congested roads” schtik again. This is becoming a Homer’s Sanke Ho moment.

    Somehow Harold would blame the global banking crisis on the non congested Melbourne roads if he could.

    Look Harold, if immigration/ increased labor force is matched with an increasing capital ratio living standards will rise. Now you can cite whatever swill you like, but that is as close to proven economics as you can have.

    You downwards sloping demand curve would of course apply if the capital ration wouldn’t rise… something you either left out or know nothing about.

  37. oops

    Your downwards sloping demand curve would of course apply if the capital ratio doesn’t rise… something you either left out or know nothing about.

  38. Harry,

    I have a problem with you assuming gains from trade accruing to natives in increased per capita wealth {not necessarily derived purely from a direct application of capital investment} before (thereby raising the K/L ratio and marginal productivity of labour), but not now simply because foreign capital is allowed into the country (as well as assuming [increased] foreign capital doesn’t increase all or native wages).

    Why would the inclusion of foreign capital alter the gains from trade to zero? What about rent? What about economies of scale? What about market seeking FDI or local firms? What about increased specialisation and increasing benefits from internal trade vis a vis higher real (but not necessarily per capita) national income?

    I have a problem with this assumption, and it is on that assumption you conclude that immigration and foreign investment are “bad”. (Ignoring spillovers etc).

  39. HC — I agree that immigrant labour gets the advantage of government-supplied goods (which I referred to as “welfare”, but should be understood to include all under-priced government services)… but:

    1) to some degree that is also true of “immigrant capital”, yet we seem more readily able to recognise the benefits of capital inflow;

    2) this can be decreased by quarantining benefits (where possible) from immigrant labour;

    3) any pre-existing benefits in Australia justifies the use of an “entry fee” as Terje suggested;

    4) the pre-existing benefits also go to many non-immigrant people who never contributed to paying for the “public goods” (sic), but we tolerate this; and

    5) to some degree there are always positive and negative spillovers from all human interaction, and we should have a general tolerance of this except in exceptional circumstances.

    I also agree that capital/labour flows aren’t exactly the same as the flow of goods & services in terms of their outcome… however there are enough similarities so that if you believe in one it makes sense to give the benefit of the doubt to the other.

  40. I agree that immigrant labour gets the advantage of government-supplied goods (which I referred to as “welfare”, but should be understood to include all under-priced government services)…

    That would also apply to the newly born or the infirm. Harold has this “externality” thing in his head now that just doesn’t ever seem to go away.

  41. Furthermore, Harold’s argument is an intellectual dogs breakfast the more one thinks about it.

    Harold argues against fee paying and then suggests immigrants are free riding but the fee would go some way towards mitigating that.

    Harold castigated someone earlier suggesting their argument wouldn’t make it through year 1 uni. Harold’s argument wouldn’t make it through 3rd grade critical thinking.

  42. I agree with most of John Humphries comments.

    Mark Hill is still not quite seeing the point. You wanted to introduce foreign capital flows which I did. Foreign capital which is perfectly mobile internationally drives wages back to what they were before and the benefits accruing to the capital go to its owners not to locals.

    So if you have just two inputs (labour, capital) then admitting perfectly mobile capital means all the gains-from-trade go to the new arrivals. Locals get zilch.

    Of course economies of scale, introducing a third factor ‘resources’ etc….When all other arguments are rejected these get dragged out. You can do this.

    The gains-from-immigration require a fall in real wages. Its like introducing free trade in pogo sticks – gains occur when you can get them cheaper.

  43. Yes, Silicon Valley’s wages fell with 25% of the labor force being immigrants. NOT.

    The gains-from-immigration require a fall in real wages. Its like introducing free trade in pogo sticks – gains occur when you can get them cheaper.

    That makes no economic sense at all. A very large component of wage earners in the US high tech industry are immigrants from China and India, or actually kids that went to US universities and stayed on.

    What’s happened to tech prices over the years? It’s fallen. What’s happened to wages over the same period. Umm… perhaps they’ve risen? Yep they have too at at very fast clip.

    In other words looking at the price of “pogo sticks” shows the price has fallen but it tells you nothing about the price of labor which in Silicon valley’s case they rose.

    Why? The capital to labor ratio went up.

  44. I’m so sorry, I was wrong. The percentage of foreign born in the San Jose/ San Francisco area is around 36% instead of 25% I quoted earlier. So the actual foreign born figure is higher than the one I originally quoted.

    Global migration is a growing phenomena.
    As a result of global economic and political
    factors, the foreign-born population in the United
    Silicon Valley has cultural ties around the
    world. With 36 percent of its population
    born in another country, the San José area
    tops every other U.S. metro area, besides
    Miami, in its percentage of foreign-born
    residents (2)

    And what does the income distribution look like in the area. Let’s take a look shall we.

    San Jose California
    Median household income $85,236 $57,493
    Average household Income $102,499 $78,644
    Per capita income $32,908 $27,088
    Median Disposable Income $67,678 $47,981

    This indicates that immigration quite possibly had the opposite effect to what Harold is arguing. I would suggest that high levels of immigration actually helped raise real wages as capital was able to locate labor so the net effect was that immigration may have raised real wages in the area.

    These people are the most likely willing to pay/afford Terje’s immigrant fee. It could also assert that high immigration levels actually helped raise real wages, which is the oppiste of what Harold suggests.

    Harold:

    I don’t think you are being totally honest here saying you agree with John Humphreys. It was only a short while ago where you argued against Chinese investment in RIO on what seemed purely nationalistic grounds so an apology for misleading us may be in order. (Another example of personal preferences cloaked up to appear as economics reasoning perhaps?)

  45. The copy of the stats came out confusing. It’s a comparison of income dist for San Jose compared to the rest of california.

    San Jose/ California
    Median household income $85,236/ $57,493
    Average household Income $102,499/ $78,644
    Per capita income $32,908/ $27,088
    Median Disposable Income $67,678/ $47,981

  46. JC – I don’t think the USA has open immigration with India and China. So I don’t think your stats say much. Plus silicon valley is exceptional in many ways.

    For what it is worth I’m with Harry on much of this. I don’t think local labour, especially the type that owns little land or capital, has much to gain from an influx of immigrants – especially in the short term. I think the owners of land and capital on the other hand do have something to gain. My sentiments tend to lay with the first group which is more numereous, although also to some extent with the immigrants themselves. Having said that I do like the idea of open borders with other developed liberal democracies, such as we have with New Zealand, because it provides opportunities and allows for bidirectional flows. I don’t think my support for a fee based immigration system conflicts with my sentiments.

  47. Terje

    What are you talking about? I’m not suggesting open borders. I’m agreeing with your earlier proposition. Perhaps you need to focus a little more.

    Harold is jumping around everywhere on this.
    Silicon valley is not a special case as Harry’s model doesn’t allow for special cases.

  48. Harry,

    I didn’t “want” you to introduce foreign capital flows*. I wanted you to explain to me why the gains from trade to domestic owners of capital, and in turn workers disappear in either case. Your explanation is lacking in either case.

    An increase in FDI or FPI would not decrease the size of the internal market. This is the main reason why gains from trade occur. The K/L ratio back and forward between D and D’ but economies of scale emerge.

    *Your description of foreign capital flows does not reflect reality or any modification of micro level models made since the 1960’s when Mac Dougall’s macro model was still considered useful.

  49. Silicon valley is not a special case as Harry’s model doesn’t allow for special cases.

    Harold says:
    The gains-from-immigration require a fall in real wages.

    A case could actually be made that Silicon valley had the effect of raising real wages in the San Jose area.

  50. Should have written: “the K/L ratio may to and fro to K/L’and labour demand from D to D’, but economies of scale will increase”.

  51. Harold, in a zero-sum economy, someone can gain only if someone else loses. But Economies are never static. Newcomers can work, thus increasing the amount of wealth in a society. Money is only a way of keeping track of the wealth, not wealth itself.

  52. JC – perhaps I have lost focus. However there does seem to be two issues under discussion here and some of the points and counter points are not clear on the context they are being made within. One issue relates to open immigration. It is in this context that I believe that Harry was disputing the benefits of immigration for existing native workers. And it was in this context that I saw data from Silicon Valley as being out of context hence my comment. I figured you had lost focus but perhaps it was me. Either way I’ll wait for Harry to respond with a clarification of his position.

Comments are closed.