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May 27, 2014

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Jim

"if low-paid foreign workers are excluded from the UK, they will bid down UK wages via trade instead of migration."

So presumably all those Polish construction workers will be constructing things in Poland and having them shipped over ready built then? Ditto all the Eastern Europeans working in service sector jobs - hotels, restaurants, shops etc? When I want to go to Birmingham I'll stay in a hotel near Warsaw instead?

aragon

I don't wish to have the immigration debate here, but do object to human rights v.s. malign preferences. You don't have a human right to live in any country other than the one you were born in.

Perhaps you should look at the consequences of lack of social cohesion and that far from been malign preferences, opposition to mass immigration, is normal, rational, logical. As opposed to free movement driven by idealism and ideology, with no foundation in reality.

Tower Hamlets might provide an object lesson, or that schools are becoming ghettoised.

I have no confidence in the economic analysis which apparently excludes such trivial as the cost of providing housing.

And some services and activities are not fungible, and economic policies can vary between nations.

Contrast: African Nations and South Korea, who has the cheapest labour and who the higher standard of living?

Fred Fratter

@aragon Why do you think you have a human right to live in the country where you were born?

BenSix

"Now, I don't know whether good economics makes for good politics in this case. I'd like to think so. After all, Quislings do sometimes end up getting shot."

I would dispute the equivalence drawn between border controls and national socialism but I'm too amused by "support my politics or you might get shot" as a rhetorical gambit.

leslie48

A lot of commentators in the last days responding to Labours wafer thin lead over the Right suggest we are 'out of touch'. This is odd because generally areas like Rotherham etc are Labour seats represented by Labour MPs. Does this mean our Labour MPs are too remote, spend too long in London, have weak links with their constituency officers. If this is true why have our working class constituent MPs or Northern MPs been so withdrawn in the face of the so called isolated Metropolitan elite who any way probably stand for working class areas anyway. Someone has been AWOL?

aragon

@Fred
Two sources of nationality.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_sanguinis
At least one parent is a citizens of...

@Leslie48
Frequently; Northern MP's (e.g. Ed Miliband - Doncaster North, Ed Balls - Morley and Outwood) are (North) Londoners (Oxford Uni) or Southerners (Norwich, Oxford Uni).
Sarah Champion - Rotherham is local (Sheffield Uni).

Fred Frater

@aragon Those are just conventions. You said a human right. Why so?

From Arse To Elbow

Apologies to Fred if I'm knicking his punchline, but aragon fails to consider how the presumed right to live where you were born (or anywhere, for that matter) is potentially in conflict with the actually existing right to own land and exclude others from it.

Some countries recognise a "right of return", which effectively means they can't exile you, but this entails no specific settlement rights within the borders. The only thing that keeps the propertyless from being trespassers in their own land is the extent of public space.

aragon

The conventions are part of international law and associated with the right of abode and citizenship.

Chris set the Human Rights hare running...

"it's not obvious that people's human rights should be abridged"

This is with respect to a right to and a family life - Art 8, ECHR (e.g. Marriage) linked to the crookedtimber post.

Art 8. is a qualified right.

Countries can and do qualify it. e.g. marriage of convenience (a crime) or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Blissex

«"if low-paid foreign workers are excluded from the UK, they will bid down UK wages via trade instead of migration."

So presumably all those Polish construction workers will be constructing things in Poland and having them shipped over ready built then?»


I suspect that some of those who who use partially ridiculous arguments in support of labor arbitrage from low wage to high wage countries engage in some dissembling.

My guess is that both ChrisD and myself realize very well that immigration and free trade with countries with much lower labor costs offer huge opportunities for property owners in the countries with higher labor costs to bend the distribution of income to their benefit by increasing the offer of labor and the demand for property in their country.

But since that labor arbitrage redistributes also income or income growth from high wage country workers to low wage country emigrants, he may well think that makes it worthwhile on *global* rather than national welfare grounds.

The welfare function of some people tells them that even if it is property owners who make the most out of distributional changes from labor arbitrage, the smaller gain for extremely poor immigrant workers overall matters more than the loss of much better off work workers.

Putting it in numbers, suppose that immigration from country P with a medial annual salary of £3,000 a year to country U with a median annual salary of £18,000 has these effects:

* Value added in country U grows faster by 1% a year.

* Property prices and profits in country U rise by 6% a year instead of 3% a year (large absolute gain).

* Median wages in country U decrease by 1% a year instead of growing 3% a year (small absolute loss, larger relative loss). This median wage change results from an increase in high end wages of 5% instead of 3%, in average wages not growing instead of growing 3%, and in low end wages going down 2% instead of growing 3%.

* Two million young single workers (15% of the working age population) move from country P to country U and get a wage of £12,000 a year instead of £3,000 a year and by living 2-4 per room etc. they remit a significant part of their wages to country P and substantially lift the income of their relatives there.

Well, for some people the latter point overwhelms the former: the redistribution that results in small actual losses to country U workers and larger actual gains to country U property owners also results in the massive gain of country P emigrants and their relatives back in country P.

That is the small per-person losses to a large number of well off country U workers are less important than the much larger per-person gains to a smaller number of the much poorer country P workers and their relatives, even if overall most of the total gains go to a very small number of country U property owners and high wage earners.

George Hallam

"After all, Quislings do sometimes end up getting shot."

Yes. And by acknowledging the resemblance you have conceded mens rea.

If it ever comes to trial I don't give much for your chances.

As the article you linked to said:
"Quisling was convicted of all but a handful of minor charges. .. The death penalty was justified largely on claims that his design for Norway was for it to be, at best, a vassal state under Germany."

Boffy

"Property prices and profits in country U rise by 6% a year instead of 3% a year (large absolute gain)."

How is a 6% rise in property prices as opposed to a 3% rise a large absolute gain??? For all first time buyers, and for everyone wanting to move to a better house it is a large absolute loss! Their wages go much less far in being able to buy a decent house, or in other words, their real wages have been significantly reduced, just as if the price of food, cars, energy or anything else rose by 6% rather than 3%.

In the same way, the bubble in other asset markets has meant a significant reduction in real living standards for the large majority. Take the massive bubble in stock and bond markets. It means that the cost of buying bonds and shares for workers pension funds has risen massively. That means that for any given monthly pension contribution, workers are able to buy much fewer stocks and bonds.

The same rise in stock and bond prices has caused the yield on these assets to fall. So, because pension payments whether it is a final salary scheme or a defined contributions scheme - are paid out of the yield from these assets, not from any capital gain made on them, workers have been doubly screwed by these bubbles.

First, they get to buy much fewer stocks and bonds for their contributions, second the yield on the stocks and bonds they did get to buy is significantly reduced, the collapse in annuities being just one reflection of that.

In the meantime, the big capitalist owners get to keep a larger share of their capital rather than it being bought up by workers pension contributions, and those capitalists can and do use the capital gain for their further investments and revenue.

George Hallam

"small actual losses to country U workers and larger actual gains to country U property owners also results in the massive gain of country P emigrants and their relatives back in country P."

Remittances have a lot of very negative effects on the recipient country. These are economic as well as social.

leslie48

aragon- at the risk of being contradictory - I am not convinced that the origins of the MP matters much; look at the popularity of one Mayor Boris who seems to delight the common folk of London town. As one of my sociology students said "...He's one of us...!?!"

Plenty of working people have voted for plenty of Oxford/Camb leaders like Harold wilson, Lady Thatcher or Tony Blair. What matters is what and how they say it and how comfortable they are when they say it. Getting back to the rotherham/essex problem even if the MP is a big beast in London they should have their agents and officers back in the constituency wherever it is. Maybe its the advisers who need a few weeks in Balsildon.

Blissex

«"... the massive gain of country P emigrants and their relatives back in country P."

Remittances have a lot of very negative effects on the recipient country. These are economic as well as social.»

Perhaps, perhaps, but please define "recipient country". Because I can see there are winners and losers, but it is always hard to me to consider a "country" as a whole when there are huge distributional disparities...

Blissex

«"Property prices and profits in country U rise by 6% a year instead of 3% a year (large absolute gain)."

How is a 6% rise in property prices as opposed to a 3% rise a large absolute gain???»

It is a simple matter of arithmetic: going from 3% to 6% is a gain of 100% in the rate, according to my calculations. For property owners it is a big deal indeed.

George Hallam

"Perhaps, perhaps, but please define "recipient country". Because I can see there are winners and losers, but it is always hard to me to consider a "country" as a whole when there are huge distributional disparities..."

"A country is a collection of huge, interconnected distributional disparities."

Will this do?

Remittances increase the distributional disparities in the recipient country.

To the extent that remittances raise up some families above the average standard of living they can also increase imports and undermine local industry.

BillyDubh

I once had a temp job as receptionist at a factory in Glasgow, a city not famous for its endemic labour shortages.

The people on the production line were, to a man and woman, Polish. This was neither coincidence nor a result of open competition against lazy, too-expensive locals: staffing had been outsourced to an agency, guaranteeing the firm so many man hours a week without the risk of building up long-term employment rights to any given worker. A Glaswegian guy came in with his cv one day, and was explicitly turned away because he didn't speak Polish and wouldn't be able to follow instructions on the floor.

The agency rep (also Polish) supplied labour to several other businesses and was not slow to discipline her people for minor infractions of timekeeping or whatever. She was under pressure from both ends - it wasn't just that lost half hours added up to impact her quota, a free hand with summary dismissal also helped make room for the newstarts who arrived every week from Poland and for whom she had to find work.

I believe passionately in open borders. But this was not an influx of adventurous, educated young people upping sticks on a wing and a prayer to make their fortunes. It was organised trafficking of the desperate. I think if people understood more about how modern mass migration actually works, the anger and calls for regulation might focus on the employers and recruitment agencies where they belongs rather than on individual migrants.

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