Post-Capitalists Must Understand the Role of Migration in Global Capitalism

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Yves here. This article focuses on how migration is often extolled as a way for people in poor countries to better their lot, when the personal cost of leaving your culture and most of your relatives and friends behind is high, and establishing yourself in a new country is vastly more difficult than most imagine. In other words, the author argues that migration is not often enough recognized and called out as a mechanism of exploitation.

By Hannah Cross, a senior lecturer in International Relations at the University of Westminster and is chair of the Review of African Political Economy‘s editorial working group. She has a book in progress on Migration Beyond Capitalism, due for publication in 2020 with Polity. Originally published at openDemocracy

This article is part of ourEconomy’s ‘Decolonising the economy’ series.

Following a decade of the global financial crisis, the unravelling of neoliberal centrism and the hardening of right-wing immigration politics, the urgency and renewal of socialist politics have brought its core ideas to the centre of mainstream debate in many high-income countries. There is a popular appetite for alternatives to disastrous capitalism. Yet as it stands, post-neoliberal or even post-capitalist visions of society tend to ignore or take for granted the role of over-exploited migrant labour in successive capitalist orders. Without this understanding, socialist transformation will not be possible.

Migrant Labour and Neoliberalism

The character of the globalised labour market challenges the idea of emancipating workers only on a national level. It is not that all migrants, and migrations, are driven by the market under oppressive conditions. Fundamentally, migration has always been, and will always be, a part of human development. There is no use in casting it as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ phenomenon in itself: the notion of being ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ migration is a useless hook for popular debate and undermines the dignity of people who have migrated. It makes no more sense than being ‘pro’- or ‘anti’- women or any other group of humans that forms a constant part of society. Migration represents the diversity of humanity and human experience in all its turbulence, complexity and wonder.

What does need recognition, however, is a global regime of labour mobility which overly determines the character of migration as people finds themselves constrained by the destruction of livelihoods at home, narrow and unstable channels of migration, arbitrary and violent border and detention systems, and labour markets that are structured to enable firms’ ‘bottom line’ at any cost to working people. The vast majority of economic migrants have not become so by choice.

In capitalist production, unending demands for natural resources, land and labour at lower costs creates structural migration as people are compelled to move from one place to another for work. Concerted labour policies such as, historically, the slave trade, colonial or apartheid-type labour regimes, and now many guestworker programmes and selective immigration regimes with varying restrictions on citizenship and legality, are a constant feature of capitalist development in wealthy economies.

Legal-bureaucratic structures control discriminatory mobilities of racialised groups of people with an impact far beyond the individuals who confront these constraints directly as they travel and work. It amounts to an apartheid-type system in which geographical regions contain impoverished people who are forced to migrate for household survival and whose labour is exploited in the service of dominant capitalist interests. In a world where as much as 88 percent of people are strugglingagainst poverty, many are forced out of their communities and into the unknown as ‘surplus labour’, while 70 million peoplehave also been displaced by conflict and persecution. This sustains capital’s power over labour as a whole.

Migration in Imperial Development

Migration is not only a consequence of imperial development but is also at its foundation. Samir Amin, the late Marxist political economist who was based in Dakar, Senegal, wrote about distinct patterns of development and coercive labour migration within regions of Africa, starting by the end of the nineteenth century. He observed that mobility of labour was a core feature of West and Southern Africa’s regional patterns of colonial development, which were based on agricultural export crops and extraction of mineral wealth respectively. In the Congo River Basin, the colonial economy was based on plunder, forcing societies into a vicious labour regime that many resisted by escaping.

The underlying patterns of trade that generated labour migration dynamics have persisted within the uneven development created by the system of global capitalism. Labour migration has created and reproduced regional paradigms of uneven development and has aggravated inequalities, ultimately sustaining the global hierarchy of so-called developed and developing countries.

Amin’s theorisation has proven useful for understanding other regional patterns, including contemporary migrations from Mexico to the US in agricultural labour – where activists demand ‘the right to stay home’ as people’s livelihoods and land have been destroyed by corporate farming, and with some food imports from the north cheaper than the cost of production. 1994 was a pivotal year in both migration systems: a devastating currency devaluation in West and Central Africa’s franc zones, and the establishment of NAFTA in the Americas, created enormous displacement, instability and forms of migration and remittance dependence in entire communities.

Overcoming Global Divisions

It is common to look to people in oppressed countries to fight for their own emancipation, but socialism cannot exist in one country alone – it needs transformations elsewhere and in particular in advanced capitalist countries where economic power and influence is concentrated. Samir Amin, in assessing popular movements towards socialism, hence reflected on the lack of succession to the Paris Commune or to Russian, Chinese and Mexican revolutions in Asian and African countries. For him, the tragedy was not in the “inadequacies – then, the fatal deviations – of the peripheries’ nations” but in the pro-imperialist alignments of the peoples of the centres.

Not only was this imperialist alignment unhelpful to the liberation struggles of the global south, but also, as Rosa Luxemburg argued from the socialist perspective, ‘no nation is free whose national existence is based upon the enslavement of another people’. This internationalism is not just about having sympathies with oppressed peoples. It also demands recognition of the basis of that oppression and an understanding that the position of working people in imperial centres is also weakened by segmented and divided labour markets.

Illustrating this, in 1870, Karl Marx had written a letter to German-American correspondents that focused on Ireland’s national question but also presented an extensive picture of migration from Ireland to England. He argued that the secret of the power of the ruling class in England was found in its use of tools such as the media and entertainment, indeed any tools at its disposal, to aggravate antagonisms between English workers and those who had been evicted from Ireland. The way to upend the ruling class was found in English workers’ recognition that their own emancipation would be realised in the national emancipation of Ireland. Hence there should be no real class division between migrants and native-born people.

Accordingly, the most radical route to empowerment for all working people is found in their alliances. Such alliances, whether between outsourced cleaners, activist groups, trade unions, students and left-wing politicians in London, or between racialised local communities in US cities who are coerced into competition and hostility, must be vigorously reported and supported by the left as their fierce capacity for transformation is met by violent counter-revolutionary force.

Impoverished communities and punishing workplaces of the global north are a battleground for dignity and survival. Such communities find themselves excluded by what Walter Rodney described as the ‘imperialist worker elite’ that dominates northern labour movements in politics and the media. Such description needs a concrete class analysis in the present day as working classes have been destabilised by runaway neoliberalism, which expands the importance and scope of heightened transnational solidarity.

Learning from Marx

Marx’s letter was not only about understanding the position of migrants, who had been evicted from the land to make way for the export of cheap meat and wool to England, but also about liberating territories and workers in both oppressing and oppressed nations. He considered that there would be a decisive victory for labouring classes both in the overthrow of the English aristocracy in Ireland and in the advancement of the Chartist movement in England.

To conclude, when reading and hearing of ambitious programmes for social transformation, it is our task to consider whether or not such programmes have a sense of the ‘real’ determinants of economic development that Marx recognised: international relations of production, the international division of labour in a world market, exploitation of resources and emigration of displaced people, and at the forefront of these processes, the inner structures of middle and working classes and relations between them.

The fight for the dignity of working people and for the abolition of the racist and imperial structuring of the world is inextricably linked with the fight for an ecologically viable system of production. The displacements exemplified above emerge in environmental as well as economic devastation. Nostalgia for the Keynesian welfare state and aims to ‘improve’ this model in the UK and elsewhere lacks this sense if it neglects the state’s historical reliance on the imperial exploitation of resources and labour to grow. Visions of universal basic income or full automation risk doing precisely the same in the post-colonial world unless they fully acknowledge the social relations of globalised labour and production.

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27 comments

  1. Peter

    In other words, the author argues that migration is not often enough recognized and called out as a mechanism of exploitation.

    What also gets usually forgotten in the EU context is that most “illegal” immigrants – and they are illegal as they do not fall under the definition of refugees according to UN rules in most cases except maybe Syria – use the help of criminal gangs, thereby funneling vast sums (between 2000-3000€/person) towards sustaining other criminal activities undermining law in the receiving countries. https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/crime-areas/facilitation-of-illegal-immigration?ct%5Barticle%5D=article&ct%5Bevent%5D=event&ct%5Bguide%5D=guide&ct%5Bpanel%5D=panel&ct%5Bmultimedia%5D=multimedia&ct%5Bnews%5D=news&ct%5Boperation%5D=operation&ct%5Bpage%5D=page&ct%5Bdocument%5D=document&page=1

    Reply
  2. David

    The article is poorly written and not very clear. It also contains some dubious arguments. Being for or against migration is not the same as being “for or against women”, for example. Migration is a process, not an object or a social group, and taking a position on migration is like taking a position on crime, or international trade.
    It is true, though, that migration is, and always has been, an instrument of exploitation. For that reason, I find it helpful to mentally replace the word “migration” by the word “slavery” from time to time, not least because migration is increasingly coming to literally resemble types of slavery in the past, with the difference that these days the slaves have to borrow the money to traffic themselves. Indeed, many of the current justifications of forced migration recall past justifications of slavery. For example, slavery was originally introduced in the Caribbean because there were jobs there in the sugar plantations that “whites would not do.” Likewise, apologists for slavery in the Ottoman Empire or in pre-colonial Africa are fond of pointing to individual cases where slaves rose to powerful positions in royal courts, much as today it is assumed that many migrants will become successful entrepreneurs.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree this is full of jargon and slips in some not-on-point-virtue signaling, but I ran it because so few people in the US who are of the liberal/leftist persuasion will question migration.

      Reply
      1. Anarcissie

        I thought many on the Left thought immigration was undesirable because it reduced wages. But when one questions immigration, and decides it is not so good, the next question is what one is going to do about it. One solution is now apparent on the southern border.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Very few on the “Left” think Immigration is undesirable because it reduces wages. The few remaining Political Ecomomy ( PE) Leftists think so. But the vast majority of Leftists are Coalition Of Wokeness ( COW) Leftists, and they support illegal immigration, open borders and etc. Perhaps I am being unfair to them when I say they support it for either superior-morality-virtue-stuffstrutting reasons or otherwise because they want childcare, lawncare, foodservice , etc. for as nearly free-of-charge as they can get away with.

          If any COW Leftist has a different reason than those two for supporting illegal immigration and open borders, I am willing to consider accepting correction.

          Reply
          1. Anarcissie

            Well, if you’re going to use force to stop peaceful people from proceeding from Tegucigalpa to New York pretty much as they might proceed from Dallas to New York, for instance by buying a bus ticket, I think you may want some kind of justification.

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            1. Peter

              Peaceful people get stopped at any border all of the time – except for now within the Schengen area of Europe. It has to do with controlling (raher ineffectually) who enter your country, does the person have funds to care for itself, what is his background, if he does break the local laws – where can yo send him back to……borders are delineated to mark the extend the law of the nation within this border has effect.
              Unless you have a referendum that as its outcome the elimination of any border controls and the dismantling of any physical or virtual border – what right do you have contrary to the will of the majority to allow anyone without checking – and maybe denying – entry into a nation you claim to be a citizen of?

              Reply
              1. Anarcissie

                By those principles, we should have a big fence with armed guards and so on between us here in New York, and Texas — or New Jersey. And, as I’m in Queens, what about all that riffraff coming in here from Brooklyn?

                Or maybe we can have a serious discussion?

                Reply
          2. The Historian

            Since nobody else will, I accept your challenge. Since we live in a post enlightenment world where morality is so passe and self interest v. community interest is all that matters and since I certainly would never want you to accuse me of virtue signaling, I won’t even discuss human rights. But let us instead look at immigration from a historical point of view.

            People have always migrated – that is hardly news to you, certainly your ancestors migrated. I myself have migrated over 2000 miles from one coast to the other several times for better jobs. Note that this is farther than some of the people you call illegal migrate. Is the only reason I am not an illegal is because there wasn’t a man made border in my way?

            And speaking of borders, were any borders created with the consideration of the people who lived in these lands? One of my ancestors was French, and then German, and then French, not because they moved, but because the borders constantly moved around them. Borders are artificial and are only tools of the aristocracy that create them. Should people be bound by these borders in some sort of new age serfdom where they cannot leave the land they were born on? Should people be tied to whatever boundaries that the industrialized elite give them so that you can have cheaper oil or cheaper bananas or cheaper refrigerators?

            And let’s discuss historically what immigration has done for this country. Do you think that those high paying manufacturing jobs in the 50’s would have existed without the immigrants and their children who fought for unions in the earlier part of the century? And then there are the great innovations that made Americans so wealthy – do you think they came from native born Americans? Most of the scientific advancement that happened in this country came from immigrants. I know you will no doubt immediately bring up Edison, but it is Tesla, an immigrant, who gave us the transmission system so that we could use all that electricity. Our nuclear program, the basics of our computer revolution, and our space programs also came from immigrants. Americans may be great at business but they really aren’t all that good at the discoveries that created those businesses. Immigrants have always brought creativity to this country and I see no reason why that should suddenly change.

            And then there is the claim that immigrants take away American jobs, but do they really? Perhaps that comes from the common misconception that all immigrants are alike and are all uneducated masses of poor people, or perhaps it comes from anecdotes that are everywhere about immigrants. I find that people who actually work with immigrants tend to have a different view of them and know that they are a mixture of all economic classes and educational levels. I live in a welcoming city, as opposed to a sanctuary city, and we have many immigrants here from all over and most of them haven’t taken American jobs, rather they have started their own businesses. We have a flourishing international market and many new and wonderful ethnic restaurants because of the immigrants. And as far as services like lawn care being cheaper, the man who does my lawn care comes from Montana – is he an immigrant? When I shop around for services, I haven’t found that immigrants work any cheaper than Americans. What I have found though, is that many companies are afraid to hire immigrants. One of my neighbors is a refugee from Iraq. She was a civil engineer in Iraq – yes, women were allowed to have careers under Hussein – but she cannot get hired here because companies fear ICE rule changes. She speaks several languages and has started her own interpreter business to earn money, and that is not something most Americans with their limited linguistic abilities could do.

            I don’t see immigration as a bad thing – I see it as a historically normal response to changing conditions and yes, we too will have to adapt to those changing conditions. Stopping immigration will not stop the underlying conditions that cause it. Those governments that have tried to stop immigration have ended up destroying themselves because they were too rigid to deal with the causes: I think you can find prime examples in the histories of Rome, China and Japan, for example. And I would also ask you to consider that since history tells us that no country or economic system ever stays the same for very long, what would you do if your future isn’t the same as your past? If the US ever gets to unwielding to govern and breaks up into separate countries, where will you immigrate to?

            Reply
      2. David

        And you were right to do so: as you say, few people in that part of the political spectrum are prepared even to talk about the practical side of the subject. In that context, it’s interesting that the author makes a ritual genuflection to “right wing immigration politics” (maybe she meant “policies”). In fact, if you departed from first political principles, you would assume that bringing a large and desperate workforce from their own countries to work for lower pay and worse conditions in the West, so depressing wages, would be a classic cause for the Left. Yet because migration is now seen almost entirely in normative and moralistic terms, with the economic side ignored, the Left is all for it.

        Reply
    2. nothing but the truth

      one of the largest legal migrations is the h1b program from india to the US for IT workers mostly.

      This has turned into some modern slavery now with millions living in dread of losing a job and losing status (even a promotion can derail the visa status).

      A green card wait for workers from india is now 150 years, apparently.

      Reply
      1. John Wright

        But the USA House of Representatives with 224 Democrats and 140 Republicans passed a bill to remove this restriction.

        https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/07/10/bill-to-scrap-per-country-green-card-cap-passes-house-with-bipartisan-support/

        The bill is blocked in the Senate.

        One wonders if this will be eventually passed in the US Senate when voters are distracted by some other event.

        Voting US citizen tech workers could view this bill as an attempt to suppress tech wages, perhaps explaining why this bill is blocked, for now, in the Senate.

        More House Democrats than House Republicans voted for this.

        Reply
  3. Andy Raushner

    In the US, Republican missionaries and businesses do the financing, creating faux-immigration scams/flows. They were the main reason why after close to a decade of border stability in the southwest, there was a surge last year from central america. Yet you won’t hear one Democratic candidate have the guts to admit that and call the Republican party on the bs.

    Reply
  4. Rod

    PDF]
    The Impact of Illegal Immigration on the Wages and …
    https://www.usccr.gov › pubs › docs
    and
    Wage Stagnation in Nine Charts | Economic Policy Institute
    https://www.epi.org › publication › charting-wage-stagnation

    Half my working life I was a wage earner in the US Construction Industry–the other half as a salaried earner in the US Construction Industry. 1975-2013 in the eastern part of the US.

    In 1994 Centex Residential based in Texas bought out Crosland Dev. in the Carolinas and began a subcontractor relocation program moving workers from Texas to N Carolina. Centex management expressed no interest to me in grooming and growing a local workforce–time and money cited as reasoning.

    Half of all Texas construction workers are undocumented
    http://www.workersdefense.org › …

    The increased presence of undocumented workers who are vulnerable to employer exploitation also undercuts not only the wages of these workers but also those in similar fields.

    Impact of Remittances on Household Decisions in Guatemala …
    https://www.imf.org › external › blog › dialogo

    Aug 14, 2018 – Remittances are critical to Guatemala’s economy—accounting for more than 11 percent of GDP in 2017. Coming mostly from the U.S., these income transfers have helped to reduce poverty in the country and have contributed to higher investments in education by households that receive remittances.

    just speculating a repercussion here: if you were wanting to rip someone off in your small Guatemalan village, to relieve your own poverty or resentment, which family would you choose??

    Linking migration to the machinations of global capital re-clarifies the situation–again.

    Reply
  5. scarn

    Excellent post. In the American context, left-liberals tend to be true believers in the parable of the upwardly mobile migrant. Even when they do understand that some of those migrants are fleeing conflicts promoted by the US government, they misunderstand the processes of imperialist relations. People think of the ‘US Economy’ and the ‘Mexican Economy’ but they don’t think of the system that both of those concepts are embedded within. If left-liberals (or progressives or whatever the label is) can learn a new story about immigration that accounts for both the destruction of communities outside of the Imperial centers and the way the labor regime functions between center and periphery, then perhaps they will take a more critical, realistic, and moral stance on this subject.

    Amin (and Wallerstein) are just so useful for anyone trying to understand how capitalism works, in my opinion. I’m happy to see both of them mentioned on nakedcapitalism. What a treasure this site is.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I do not understand why things like Russiagate and fabulous notions of free and open migration could ever have acquired the traction they seem to have with “… people in the US who are of the liberal/leftist persuasion” [as Yves characterizes them in her comment above]. These things make no sense to me, seem completely beyond belief, and yet they occupy a place in what passes for ‘public debate’ elbowing out other more pressing matters like Climate Chaos, the near term decline of fossil fuels as a source of energy, the world populations growing beyond food and water supplies, and the obscene transfer of wealth and income to the obscenely wealthy, powerful, psychotic and sociopathic miscreants who have somehow acquired mastery of our world as it careens toward collapse.

      Reply
    2. David K

      Thanks for a comment that both praises this article and puts it in its proper context: the piece is by an author familiar with the tradition of global Marxist critique. I would not call the piece particularly bad written or full of jargon when measured by the standards of writers in that discourse, and as for the virtue signaling, it’s of an odd kind, not aimed at liberals at all. Pieces like this are pretty standard in Jacobin or Catalyst. I guess you need to go to a Marxist and put up with their terms of argument to get an historical/ economic perspective on anything.

      Reply
  6. Susan the other`

    The underlying problem is a rock and a hard place. The first corporations who forego profits to pay an honest wage will not be able to compete and will go bankrupt. But the delusion that profits are desirable also comes to a similar end when all the customers are bankrupt. And the stubborn idiocy of a congress full of financial conservatives who always want to balance an unbalanceable budget makes it impossible to even approach a solution. Migrants need to be able to migrate for their own well being, not for the profit of industry. It’s funny, if we asked the migrant and minimum wage employers to solve this wage injustice they’d say something self-preserving like “competition is good.” None of them would start with a basic premise that capitalism should not cause hardship. That reality needs to be introduced into the argument yesterday. And in the big hash it would have to be concluded that we need a new capitalism, one in which every interest has a share. Will that look like socialism? I’d guess that the cost of any economy that serves people and the environment would be pretty much 6s no matter whether socialist or capitalist. And then we can go on from here and ask, So just exactly where should profit come from? So many questions, so little time.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The way around the conundrum you cite . . . of the First corporations to do good being at the mercy of the Worst corporations who are devoted to maximum exploitation . . . . is to withdraw America from all Free Trade Treaties and Agreements, going all the way back to GATT Round One if necessary. That way, the Worst corporations would be forced to follow the same standards as the First corporations.

      What we seek is impossible in a Free Trade World.

      Reply
      1. The Historian

        I think you are confused. What we have now is not free trade as Adam Smith described it, but mercantilism, which Adam Smith’s view of free trade was opposed to.

        I am not sure what you want, but there have been two big instances where trade between nations came to a halt, once in about 1200 BC and then again after the Roman Empire fell – and both times, the world was plunged into a dark age.

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  7. David in Santa Cruz

    It seems that the neoliberals have been reading Karl Marx’s mail. “Free” Trade agreements, Climate Change, and Militarism have combined to create masses of immiserated migrants whose exploitation drives down wages, crushes unions, and creates chaos in our classrooms.

    Yet the self-styled “liberal” response is Paternalistic Rascism — the notion that these manufactured refugees are a bunch of simpletons who can be “saved” by eking out survival wages raking our leaves and wiping our children’s bottoms, in complete denial that they are human beings with agency, who will seek better-paying jobs and whose experience of trauma often drives them toward a right-wing agenda.

    Meanwhile, all complain about the army of the “Homeless,” whose livelihoods have been displaced by globalization and migration and whose miseries are salved by the drugs pouring across our open borders.

    Whether borders are open to goods or to people, ultimately they become a basis for class-based exploitation. Yes, this post is full of jargon and virtue-signaling, but at least it raises the issue of class exploitation that is everywhere ignored. It is possible to hate migration without hating migrants — but only if their exploitation is at the center of the framing of the discussion.

    Thanks for posting.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The self-styled “liberal” response is not EVen paternalistic. It may disguise itself that way in public, but that threadbare disguise does not hide the self-styled “liberals'” naked lust for next-to-unpaid rent-a-slave slave labor.

      Hmmmm . . . . I wonder what the Pelosi family pays the laborers in its restaurants. I wonder how many of those laborers are infinitely exploitable illegal migrants.

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    2. Lewis Padgett

      The exploitation and wage suppression of citizen workers should also be “at the center of the framing of the discussion.”

      Reply
  8. smoker

    Speaking in regards to the US, and ‘legal’ immigration.

    It’s not just poor people immigrating, an utterly undiscussed amount of upper class persons are given visas (which many times appear to extend to their relatives, who are of a lower income level), contending with and sometimes wiping out, the small businesses, and jobs of US citizens. I’ve particularly noticed flagrant labor (particularly as regards children, work breaks, pay, et al) and tax violations, among foreign owned businesses; and horridly despotic attitudes amongst upper class immigrants who appear to magically acquire Managerial positions in Silicon Valley, for decades.

    Immigration is an incredibly complex issue, courtesy of the US State Department and its puppeteers, which I’ve yet to see any mainstream acknowledgement of. For the life of me, I don’t understand how the words ‘legal immigrant’, have somehow been considered 100% analogous to the struggling, ‘lower class.’ Oh wait, yes I do understand.

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  9. Peter

    There is often little difference made – also in some posts here – between refugees who under UN rule have a right to be accepted by the first safe country they enter. This especially in the EU context has been regularly violated as those refugees travel often to the most desirable places crossing several borders in the Schengen area.

    And then there are the illegal migrants, who by usually engaging criminal services trying to enter a country.
    The situation is often made worse as those gangs tell the migrants to throw their passports away, which in the receiving country poses a problem how to register them and then the inability because of the unknown background to release them into the population and supply services – so those folks are stuck in temporary accommodations turning long term because of this.

    In many case in Europe the countries they enter first or the country they want to gain access to lack any regulation regarding immigration. Germany especially is a sad case lately, having fallen from a well managed country to the dump on the hill incapable of even solving the problem of building a minor airport in time and on budget.
    This incapability is reflected by stupid comment by Merkel to yell: “Yes we can” but not being able to follow up many times to properly register those incoming masses, provide housing or even control in the camps.
    The idiocy in Germany goes even further because Germany for years now has refused to accept its status as an immigrant nation and therefore not providing in and out of country service to become a legal immigrant.

    Canada has those regulations, and at the time I emigrated to there from Germany it took a year to collect and process all the necessary info, a long process but at the time with a quota of about 250000 immigrants a year still working well. Canada has established a point system that mainly allows for educated and trained immigrants to enter but also a quota for less qualified persons. This way Canada protects its own workforce and allows for a controlled influx.
    Of course – with refugees it is a different situation, but the overall system is able to accommodate those because of the rules for legal immigrants.

    To allow without proper border controls, registration and quotas immigration is a joke and just a boon for those who have the means to exploit those folks.

    Reply
  10. Sancho Panza

    Just wondering – is there any data on how much US-bound migration from Latin America might be attributable to Chinese manufacturing dominance? I have to imagine the Made in China explosion of the last 30 years has second order effects that are not well explored.

    Reply
  11. Maurice

    Canada’s immigration policy has both an official face and an un-official face. The latter allows in a constant influx of migrants (through Roxham Road, Quebec, mainly) that seem to immediately integrate a low income, bad conditions workforce. Combined with the Philippine domestic help official program, one is facing a situation very similar to slavery, except that the new slaves must pay for their transportation, as David points out.

    On the the other hand, immigration economists such as George Borjas show that 10% new workers means 3% less salary for the affected sector. In other words, modern slaves are used to depress wages. But on this side of the border as elsewhere, some people consider all this as some charity endeavor. since the new comers are presumably fleeing worse conditions elsewhere.

    And employers’ think tanks regularly equal cheap immigrant workers’ employment to refugees welcome. Under this guise, labor cost minimization has certainly more public appeal that its crude and flat reality!

    Reply

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