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June 05, 2018

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Scratch

The standard response to this argument tends to replace counties or whatever with "your house."

One might further point out that there are fairly rigorous barriers to entry to the more salubrious parts of the UK, there are no routes from the Ford Estate, Birkenhead to Belgravia.

NL

Maybe workers in Rutland haven't spent the last 20 years being threatened by their bosses to work harder, work more precariously, or we'll fire you because there's a million hungry Leicestershire men willing to do your job for peanuts you know...

Rex_Oper

There are internal migration controls in the sense of "local" connection rules/ preferences for eligibility for taxpayer subsidised housing. Born in Belgravia stay in Belgravia is govt policy.

Alex

"Maybe workers in Rutland haven't spent the last 20 years being threatened by their bosses to work harder, work more precariously, or we'll fire you because there's a million hungry Leicestershire men willing to do your job for peanuts you know... "

Er, they've spent considerably longer than 20 years doing that! The idea of a reserve army of labour was specifically based on British capitalism after the enclosures!

Mental Queer Solid Snack Eater

Ahem: https://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/britons-demand-to-live-in-medieval-village-surrounded-by-a-wall-20160609109418

Lord

Then if you seek more open immigration, perhaps you should be promoting the expansion of government to larger areas. Borders can be moved.

Blissex

Our blogger very cleverly misconfuses migration between areas of similar levels of factor prices, where factor price arbitrage does not happens, with migration between area with very different levels of factor prices.

Because he also very cleverly misunderstands that migration is a leisure activity like cycling on a rural road, totally unrelated to economic motivations like job seeking in areas with very different levels of factor prices.

For example, hundreds of thousands of romanian and polish financially independent gentlefolk have come to live in London because they were cycling by, and loved the beaches, the weather, the wide open spaces, the low prices, the leisurely pace, of living in London, and decided to stay for a while and relax.

On planet Earth (in a parallel dimension from planet Rutland I guess) very often people move to compete in markets where they have a price/skills advantage, that is for business reasons, and the question to ask then becomes also a business question: if people from country B moving to country A find an economic advantage in doing so, is there reciprocity of benefit? Can people moving from country A to B find a similar advantage to moving from B to A?

I can see for example reciprocal advantage in free movement between France and Japan or Australia and Germany to be a very viable exchange, but less so between Belgium and Sudan or Italy and Myanmar.

There can reciprocal advantage in free movements between two areas even when the free movement itself is not of equal value, for example long term political deals: there is after all free movement between Gateshead and London, even if it pretty much one-way only, and even if that produces frictions.

Blissex

«financially independent gentlefolk have come to live in London»

The assumption that where to live is a practically free choice devoid of economic consequences is also at the basis of many ridiculous discussions of the London housing market, resulting in absurd misreporting of a housing
crisis, when instead the issues is a job crisis in the north and other places.
It is also at the basis of the standard misrepresentation of the job market by right-wing Economists, who discuss job supply and demand as if people can in practice decide equanimously whether to be employed or not.

«is there reciprocity of benefit»

I think that reciprocity can be the basis of much advocacy for socialdemocracy that champagne leftoid instead base on "morality".
For example I reckon that arguments like "it is immoral to deprive the poor of free health care" are at best ridiculous (if not vile when morality stops at the border), but reciprocity seems to be something even the rich can understand: if they became poor they too would get that benefit.

Ralph Musgrave

“Nor does it explain why so many support controls on immigrants from other wealthy countries.” Do they? Got any evidence to back that up?

So called “far right” parties have always made a distinction between immigrants from the rest of Europe and immigrants from the Islamized parts of the World. The former have always been relatively welcomed, while the latter have not.

The reasons for that will be a mile above the heads of Guardian journalists, but the reason is that people from the Islamised areas bring a load of trouble with them: a relatively high proportion do not work, plus there’s FGM, suicide bombs, the murder of authors and cartoonists, mowing down innocent pedestrians and a dozen other revolting activities.

Amazing how none of the dim-wits who write for broadsheet newspapers and who want to turn the UK into something resembling the Islamic part of Nigeria choose to help themselves to instant Nirvana by moving to the latter location.

Jim

"Amazing how none of the dim-wits who write for broadsheet newspapers and who want to turn the UK into something resembling the Islamic part of Nigeria choose to help themselves to instant Nirvana by moving to the latter location."

Its also odd they never suggest that darker parts of the world could be improved by the importation of some white folk........whereas the whiter parts of the world are always improved by the addition of some darker folk. The benefits of diversity only work one way apparently.

Frank Little

Nobody has mentioned language.

Tom

"Mancs don’t want to control immigration into Manchester, except perhaps from Liverpool."

You say that, but the two groups are more familiar with one another than many would expect, although admittedly that's mainly because of the massive Ikea in Warrington.

Blissex

«So called “far right” parties have always made a distinction between immigrants from the rest of Europe and immigrants from the Islamized parts of the World.»

I don't see that much, except as a an euphemism: most "Islamized parts of the World" have colored (brown, black, yellow, red) populations (and in many of those parts the lighter skinned muslisms discriminate against the darker skinned muslims, sadly and ironically). The same "far right" parties are not too happy about hindu and animist migrants either, not many of them lighter skinned either.
Unless they live segregates and are only seen outside their reserved areas to be docile and cheap servants.

«people from the Islamised areas bring a load of trouble with them»

Well, that's a very gross generalization and I think rather misguided: the problem is most come from places with completely different social and political cultures, and they carry some of those with them even when they emigrate to escape them and not for economic reasons.
Different cultures create conflict, and it takes several generations to amalgamate them.
In particular it takes a lot of intermarriages and common schooling, and if there is a social problem with some religions (not just Islam) is that they largely forbid intermarriage and common schooling, precisely because.

Blissex

«“Nor does it explain why so many support controls on immigrants from other wealthy countries.” Do they? Got any evidence to back that up?»

Indeed: the great novelty of the June 2016 vote was that a large chunk of the left-behind working class voted for "Leave", mostly because of immigration and competition for jobs and housing in the south-east and London.

My impression is that before T Blair followed the advice of M King that lots of low-wage immigration would be "anti-inflationary" (of course M King was entirely wrong on this :->), only right-wing "little Englander" cranks objected to free movement among England, France, Italy, Germany, and other countries with similar levels of wages and cost of living; also, because of those similar levels of wages and cost of living, migration flows were not huge.
The flood that won "Leave" was that of very "biddable" low-wage workers form eastern Europe, because the "left behind" areas of the UK added their votes to the right-wing cranks who were aghast that bloody foreigners did not have to beg for a work permit because of the EU treaties, insolently behaving as if they really had a right to work and live in England.

mike w

Your essay is called: 'Britain's open borders policy'. Surely it should be called, Rutland's open border policy'? If only from the old fashioned, democratic perspective.

Mike W

'In particular it takes a lot of intermarriages and common schooling, and if there is a social problem with some religions (not just Islam) is that they largely forbid intermarriage and common schooling, precisely because.'

You mean like the 7% who go to Public school, PPE at Oxbridge and into the Establishment professions? Wellington's 'the 10,000 families that matter' in 1820 :)

Our political elite have known this for years.I remember laughing my socks off at worried Danish and Swedish politicians being taken around London boroughs, circ 2000ish to be shown how 'succesful' integration policies here where from the 1960s onwards.
Cool Britiannia Plaster.

I suspect that's why economists like Wrenn Lewis and Chris are being used to explain their data about 'real wages' and immigration 'causes demand too' over here in economics land; when the problems and 'solutions' are over there in history, politics and sociology land.It can take hundreds of years to settle nationalism and its wars(even without the skin issue you allude to) witness Spain and Ireland, Scotland, as for the USA :(

The political class has learned nothing but herding the people. I always say, Darwinisn is not about race (there is no such thing) it is about sex. If the NeoLibs are going to run a HG Wells type, Scientific, World Government, with free movement of labour etc, and the destruction of nationalism and the 19th century states, then they had better co-opt the Feminists and put sex and reproduction at the center. And if they are not.....

Blissex

«You mean like the 7% who go to Public school, PPE at Oxbridge and into the Establishment professions?»

That too! THAT TOO!!!
Not many english people realize that:

* English classes are largely concident with ethnic divisions, and the Glorious Revolution was largely an ethnic (and thus class) conflict.
* Until a few decades ago (and largely still) England in "apartheid", in which it was at first illegal and then unthinkable for the nobility to marry commoners, and with separate justice systems for the nobility and commoners.

Even today upper class people have almost no contact with anybody else, except for their servants, they live completely isolated in their immense mansions and manors, engaging socially only with their peers.

Arthur Murray

There are 17 different separatist regions in Europe.

If all succeeded in getting independence and EU membership we would have an EU of 43 members: a real increase the balkanisation of the continent, as Europe divides into smaller and smaller countries.

Will Northumbria, Aquitaine, Prussia and Lombardy re-appear? Are we starting a journey back to the Europe of the 17th century but with us now owning 21st century weapons?

You would have thought that, as transport and electronic communication improved, the idea that “people living in the next valley were foreigners” would be dying out.

George Carty

Blissex: « Indeed: the great novelty of the June 2016 vote was that a large chunk of the left-behind working class voted for "Leave", mostly because of immigration and competition for jobs and housing in the south-east and London. »

Doesn't ring true to me -- most Leave-voting types are very parochial and wouldn't want to move to another part of the country in search of work. In fact the older ones may well have been motivated by resentment that so many of their offspring were moving away!

https://fromarsetoelbow.blogspot.com/2016/07/phone-home.html

Blissex: « The flood that won "Leave" was that of very "biddable" low-wage workers form eastern Europe, because the "left behind" areas of the UK added their votes to the right-wing cranks who were aghast that bloody foreigners did not have to beg for a work permit because of the EU treaties, insolently behaving as if they really had a right to work and live in England. »

My impression is that most of the really nasty xenophobia in the run-up to the referendum was directed not against EU27 nationals, but against Muslims in general and Syrian refugees in particular.

MJW

"the problem is most come from places with completely different social and political cultures, and they carry some of those with them even when they emigrate to escape them and not for economic reasons."

I think it goes further than this, the social and economic culture cannot be easily separated, for example the traditional social culture in the 'old country' may be that husband goes out to work whilst wife stays at home producing large numbers of children and can only leave the house covered by a blanket with eye slits (*); but that's very different to the social culture which underpins modern Western economies. Those pre-modern cultural practices are probably part of what makes the 'old country' underdeveloped versus the country they have migrated to.

"Even today upper class people have almost no contact with anybody else, except for their servants, they live completely isolated in their immense mansions and manors, engaging socially only with their peers. "

I'm not convinced there are very many people in this category, most people in the 1% overlap spaces with those not in the 1% even if their wealth allows privileges. I think there are far larger groups who are self-segregating themselves with a paradoxical approach to social culture; they or their recent ancestors migrated to escape the consequences of pre-modern social conventions only to reapply them upon arrival.

Going back to the original post, the people of Rutland and Leicestershire probably share a culture close enough that they can integrate without too much friction. This isn't the case with all migration into the UK.

(*) It's important to note that pre-modern conventions may correlate with religious affiliation, but not actually be a religious requirement e.g. a religious requirement from both men and women to dress modestly is not the same as a cultural requirement for women only to wear a blanket with eye slits and refuse to communicate with any male who isn't a relative.

Nanikore

"So called “far right” parties have always made a distinction between immigrants from the rest of Europe and immigrants from the Islamized parts of the World. The former have always been relatively welcomed, while the latter have not."

Maybe for the far-right Ralph Musgrave, but I think it was the unusually rapid and large sudden inflow from Eastern Europe that has been the game-changer with immigration. Before it was not a major issue.

And I think this is where the blogger may be partially wrong. It is partly about economics. More specifically it is about jobs, services, prices and housing. The connection might be indirect and subtle, but I suspect it is there. (I also suspect that neo-classical models are not the sensible way to capture such subtlety and complexity.) For example, we need foreign doctors and nurses, but that is because we come to rely on foreign supply of that labour, even though we have had high unemployment, especially youth unemployment, in hinterland Britain for decades. Someone who moves from Rutland to London (or who are from Sussex or Essex with parents formerly from London) - will find it a tough place to live - and that will partly be because of immigration. So they will stay on benefits in Essex and Rutland. But still the incentive to move from Poland or Romania (where thanks to the former communist systems that had a highly developed apprentice scheme), trained labour will find it profitable to move to London. The result is that arguably both Poland/Romania and the UK have had a net negative welfare effect from such immigration. We don't train our native labour, and they lose their trained labour at great cost. (Note, I am only talking here about the skilled component of Eastern European immigration - ie relating to doctors, tradespeople etc).

Ralph Musgrave

Blizzex claims far right parties have not made much distinction between Muslims, Hindus and other groups. I have loads of BNP literature from 5-10 years ago which is totally free of anti-semitic material (unlike the supposedly “anti-racist” Labour Party) but which is strongly opposed to Muslim immigration (as are the majority of people in Europe nowadays). Moreover, the BNP had a Jewish councillor.

Blissex also questions my claim that “people from the Islamised areas bring a load of trouble with them”. What planet is Blissex living on? As everyone with an IQ above 3 well knows (and as is confirmed by Home Office figures) a Muslim is about a hundred times more likely to commit a terrorist offence than a Hindu, Jew, Catholic, Athiest, etc etc.

Mike W

Chris just one methodological question. I appreciate you have produced a neat essay which makes your point about trade and immigration and produced the most interesting discussion above.You have also linked glorious Rutland to your previous essay asking,'Does Economics matter?

Could a social scientist say that it is clear that Chris thinks 'mainstream' economic methodology and philosophy matters very much. For embbeded in his Rutland thesis is the idea that arguments about 'Macro' migration/border questions must be reduced down to 'Micro' immigration and border questions? In short,this paper conforms to the mainstream economic approach that macro arguments must have micro foundations.

Blissex

«I'm not convinced there are very many people in this category, most people in the 1% overlap spaces with those not in the 1% even if their wealth allows privileges.»

Let's say that I am familiar with middle-upper class people, let's say the top 10% (or maybe even 20%) and they live in a different social world from the servant classes. Intermarriage is rare, social contact is rare.
The top 1% have very little contact with even the 10%, and the members of 'the 10,000 families that matter' are almost entirely insular.

This creates situations like that described in this series of twitter posts:

https://twitter.com/RichardBridger/status/926052048579301376
“About 7 years ago, I toyed with going into politics. Maybe I could make a difference, I thought (I was young & naïve, okay?) So I took some advice, joined a few things, went to a few Tory party events. It was… fucking awful. ...
I cannot stress how many weirdos and oddballs I met in the Tory party. North of 80% (though that might not be representative). Proper rah-rah crews. Totally in their own world, apart from reality and real people across the country. I knew they weren’t like real people because I was a state school kid and had some solid experience of non-elite, real people
And I was doing focus groups for years across the country, so met a good range of other ordinary people These ordinary people were a mix of amazing and god-awful, but at least they were pretty *normal* human beings - unlike many party folk So I pretty soon gave up on politics due to the oddballs.”

and here:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/09/brexit-talks-stall-making-hard-brexit-even-more-likely.html
“I have the tiniest smidge of sympathy for May because the party her leadership is supposed to corral in to some semblance of coherent, logical thinking (a necessary precursor to a strategy which isn’t a dingbat delusional) is in a world of its own.
I spent the holiday weekend at my mother-in-law’s and went to a garden party hosted by her neighbour who is a bit of a leading light, as so often haughty well-heeled women are, in the local constituency Conservative Party Association. The Constituency itself is hard line swivel-eyed Brexit-land.
I attempted to engage some of the other guests (a lot of party members) in conversation about what compromises they were willing to make for Brexit, what the trade-offs should be, what the electoral implications were and so on. [ ... ]
In the end, I got told to stop making conversation awkward as people were beginning to stare. I listened in on their conversations, they were merely talking the Brexit book with self-reinforcing beliefs that we just need to tell the EU to sod off. Little chance, then, of May being able to get anywhere with that lot. Daily Mail land isn’t a handy cheap-laugh metaphor; I just spent the weekend there.”

Nanikore

"The other is that people want governments to be in control"

Although I don't think you can ignore the economic reasons behind those opposing the recent large scale surge of immigration from Eastern Europe, I think you are right - this is about control.

If the Government made the case as Merkel did that for compassionate reasons Britain had to accept refugees, and that it was one off (and remember the disturbing pictures of children washed up on Greek beaches), enough people would have accepted that they had to do the right thing.

What they don't like is that they see a huge increase of similar magnitude of eastern European workers, without any sign that it will stop or that the government can stop it. When they see them take jobs, while, they or their children over many decades can't get jobs, they feel the 'government needs to take control of the situation'.

Hence Brexit.

The Mrs Duffy incident summarised the whole thing very well ('why are we letting in so many Eastern Europeans when there are no jobs here', and Gordon Brown's response was exactly the sort of response of the elite that rubbed people up the wrong way. Brexit was there way of telling the elite where to go when they finally got the chance.

What was even worse was that Christian Dustman and the Government said there would be no immigration from Eastern Europe if Britain opened its doors. When this was widely wrong, the response of the elite and neo-classical economics establishment was not to apologise, but to say that this immigration had no effect or that it was even good for people.

It is interesting that Christian Dustman has just published an article in a major US journal(featured on Mark Thoma's blog) which says that deregulation of the labour market in Germany has strengthened its economy.

Somethings never change.

rogerh

People want to see governments in control. There is the rub, in the UK and most smallish well developed countries governments have less and less control over things that matter - money, growth, land, jobs. Worse still, doing the governing has become a very boring job, all that detail and negatively interacting factors. Not much to cheer up any government except a nice little war or perhaps a plan to break away into some unicorn land.

Immigration hits on government as 'they are taking our jobs and our houses and filling up the prisons'. Well, scarcely any immigrant is going to look at Rutland as a home but they will look at London, Birmingham and the big cities. But immigrants are only a symptom of low growth and a rising human population. Governments cannot do much to bring in growth, well developed countries are too expensive for manufacture and new services require investment in social technical and academic education. Scarcely worth the bother if you won't build the infrastructure and social housing.

Then there is competition, most developed countries are fighting for the same patch of market. They can't all win. The emergence of giga factories, AI and robotics is a mixed benefit. Ultimately the employed and the capital providers will be funding the flat screen TVs and homes of those on social wages. All this means that government is a miserable job for anyone with a brain, nothing is going to work out well and government will never look as if it is in control. Better to plan and campaign for unicorn land.

MJW

"But immigrants are only a symptom of low growth and a rising human population"

Hmmm... think they are more than just a symptom. Immigrants are a significant driver of rising UK population, for cultural reasons they are more likely to have larger families (related to economically inactive and socially excluded females). I also suspect that part of UK's low productivity is down to availability of cheap immigrant labour, which for some sectors acts as a drag on investment in productivity raising measures.

Blissex

«Immigrants are a significant driver of rising UK population»


Then spot the massive surge, the hockey-stick like bend, in UK population in this graph:

https://mazamascience.com/PopulationDatabrowser/output_en/6f03bf21db5f5469786faa011f192f9ed8bfdad9b49920018cc4e065cd280aab.png

Nigel Sedgwick

Chris's original post calls for the UK's external borders to be managed in the same way as the UK's internal non-borders. There are many interesting follow-on comments, which are too numerous to read fully, and acknowledge where my points are replicating earlier ones.

However, the main point on which I think Chris's argument is wrong is that (surrounding Rutland and surrounding other regions of the UK) there are no (material) differences of law and of culture as one cycles across one of those internal non-borders.

All the issues about what we should or should not do on near-permanent immigration and other short- and medium-term migration are actually very complicated. On them, I contribute a link to the ASI blog, particularly for my long comment (the second comment) written two days after Chris's original blog post here.

Best regards

MJW

'Then spot the massive surge, the hockey-stick like bend, in UK population in this graph:'

Who said anything about a massive surge? Your graph does not show what proportion of the population growth is coming from recent immigrants and births and deaths related to this category. See link below for more details:

https://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/the-impact-of-migration-on-uk-population-growth/

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