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September 28, 2006

Comments

Barry Marshall

Neither: he's a politician, which means he can say two opposed things at the same time.

Hang on, didn't someone (a US president?) famously remark that that was a sign of genius? Argh!

james higham

Short and to the point, Chris. We have this problem here with the southern republics. They're poor and wish to escape their lot but there's strong resistance to their entry. It's really a vexed issue because I take your point in your post and yet ... and yet ... do we want to be overpopulated with a poor underclass?

Backword Dave

What surprises me about John Reid is how popular he seems to be. Did you see Frank Luntz on Newsnight? When he did his focus group thing (they're probaly called something else now), he showed Reid saying something like "If terrorists attack us, we must give up liberties immediately or we'll all die." And the Labour-supporting group thought Reid was tough (rather than insane). I think Luntz is a sort of mass-hypnotist rather than a serious psephologist, but if he's right ... well god bless us every one, is all I can say.
PS the answer to your question is 'Moron.'

Paulie

There is the argument that a liberal immigration policy in developed countries can strip developing cultures of their skills and the very people who could be the engines of reform?

If I were Mr Reid looking for a post-hoc rationalisation, that would do...

Quinn

"What surprises me about John Reid is how popular he seems to be."

You're not kidding. On that Newsnight poll only about 7 apparently Labour votors recognised John Reid, but that didn't stop around 15 of them still wanting him to be the next Labour leader. He must be some sort of scary political alchemist.

stuart

"There is the argument that a liberal immigration policy in developed countries can strip developing cultures of their skills and the very people who could be the engines of reform?"

the highly skilled are already very mobile, they pretty much move where they like anyway. countries do suffer when their skilled move and the unskilled stay. if many workers moved the wages of unskilled will actually be bid up.

often, just one member of a family moves remittances back to their families, this is already a big chunk of GDP for some countries and it's better than giving large sums to poor governments.

stuart

The reform argument pops up on every post on immigration i think there is a case to be made the other way. Over 3 million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa, which is not particularly (I was so proud when I read that we had manfully deported fifty thousands of the buggers). If all countries opened their borders to Zimbos, more would flee, charities would help and businesses could make money by transporting them. In 5 years there would be barley anybody left in Zim. Is this really better for Mugabe? Better than when other countries use their own resources to send people back to Mugabe’s open arms?

chris

Yes, Stuart. I'd add that a poor country can benefit from the emigration of skilled workers in two other ways. The possibility of emigrating can encourage people to gain skills in the first place. And if their emigration is temporary, they return to their home country with valuable experience. Here are two papers that support this idea:
http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/izaizadps/dp819.htm
http://econpapers.repec.org/paper/ecjac2003/192.htm

Reid could be worse than Pol Pot

So, you're saying 'are we being run by a Scots mafia'? I don't think Reid;s working class roots have much to do with his immigration rhetoric, rather it's his ravenous hunger for polical advancement. You'd be better off asking how a Commie became a NeoConnie than how a Weegie became a Xenaphobe.

Bob from Brockley

I don't think Reid would be worse than Pol Pot, folks, but I can't believe anyone can seriously consider him a potential deputy prime minister.

Watching Them, Watching Us

@ Barry - almost a textbook example of what George Orwell called "doublethink"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink

Reid would be as bad as Ceausescu

better?

nz conservative

The reason Reid is right is that their are far more poor non-westerners then well off westerners.

A liberal immigration will only make a small dent on third world poverty while causing massive social dislocation in the receiving country. Furthermore the only way to get third world countries to face up to their overpopulation problems to force their most able people to stay at home and sort out their own countries.

This is not an unfair argument if you think the rights of the majority are as important as the rights of the individual.

Martin Kelly

'being born in a poor country is a terrible accident of birth' -

Hmm, can't help but think that there's some stinky thinky at work here.

Why are these countries poor?

Not because of the racial majority's skin tone, that's for sure.

Let's kick off with describing Islam and tribalism as global inequality's root causes and work our way up from there. Economics' great unmentionable, its real invisible hand, is culture. The phenomena that Smith observed were the products of British culture - the rule of law, social stability, sanctity of contract and secure banking. These things do not exist in 'poor countries' - and that's why they're poor.

It is very doubtful if Smith would be able to observe the same phenomena were he to set out to describe the economy of Rwanda circa 1994, or Afghanistan c. 2006.

The abbreviated title of his book is 'The Wealth of Nations'; not the wealth of worlds, tribes or races but nations. Without nations there are no economies - which is why all talk of a global economy is nothing but a pernicious, anti-historic lie.

Nationality and nationhood are pretty critical to the whole economics malarkey. And I have to disagree when you say there is no case for limiting immigration based on fairness. Of course there is. Fairness to one's own nationals should be the sole factor in determining whether immigration is allowed at all.

Having Tourette Syndrome is 'an accident of birth' - I know, I've got it. It's a pain in the jaxie. But one deals with it. Being born in a poor country should be the same. The best way to alleviate poverty is to imitate the historic habits of the British.

And the wonderful thing about that is that you don't have to live in Britain to do it.

stuart

this rather begs the question, I've read studies that show that the recipient countries benefit from immigration. Just assuming that immigration hurts a country isn’t an argument and neither is, “I don’t like the fact that they can’t speak English”.

“A liberal immigration will only make a small dent on third world poverty while causing massive social dislocation in the receiving country.”

500 economists recently signed a letter containing the following sentence, “Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.”

Martin- I’ve taught kids in desperately poor townships, they would give their eye teeth to move to a richer country, suggesting that they imitate the habits of the British just blows sunshine up their arses.

“Having Tourette Syndrome is 'an accident of birth' - I know, I've got it. It's a pain in the jaxie. But one deals with it.”

I suppose you favor the abolition of all welfare programs, 10 year old with leukemia? Deal with it.

If you’re not interested in foreigners rights, remember that limits on immigration restrict natives rights by denying them the right to employ or house (or whatever) anyone they damn well please.

Martin Kelly

Stuart,

Economists who did not sign the letter of 500 included Milton Friedman, Robert Samuelson and George Borjas. Contrary to what you might think, the signatories do not speak for the entirety of the economic community by any manner of means.

You have to excuse me, but while one wishes them no harm I couldn't give a rat's toss for the kids in the township. For a start, they're certainly better off than their fathers were - having sunshine blown up their arse is probably a more amenable experience than having a sjambok shoved up it, or having their genitals being given electric shock treatment on Robben Island.

Oops. Was that tactless?

Kids learn by example. Do their parents imitate the habits of the British? Not the historic ones, anyway. Do their pastors? Their political leaders? Have their political leaders ever done?

Why should you be able to export your problem to me and why should my nieces and nephews face future competition in their native job market that they wouldn't otherwise have to face because South African culture, both black and white, is thoroughly, profoundly, abjectly defective?

I do happen to favour the abolition of the vast majority of welfare programs; just yesterday I was arguing in favour of the lobotomisation of violent autistics. By extension that means restriction of the right to medical care free at the point of use to none but the very young and the very old; the sickly nipper with a failing platelet count would thus be treated in the bosom of the state, so you can shove your patronising wee 'Deal with it' where you blow sunshine.

Because there is a problem with your argument the size of Rorke's Drift.

A 10 year old British child with leukaemia is in a totally different class of victimhood to a non-HIV+ South African AIDS orphan. Why is that child orphaned? Because of their parent(s)' sexual incontinence and refusal to take very simple and well-publicised precautions.

Has Mbeki retracted his comment that HIV is not responsible for AIDS yet?

Whose is at fault in this situation? Their parents, for persisting in their defective shagging and voting habits. Why should it become mine?

Could you please advise me when the right to employ whomsosever you damn well please became law? Law? What's that? Heck, that's the barrier to the progress of economic ideology.

I knew there was something missing from your argument...

nz conservative

500 economists recently signed a letter containing the following sentence, “Immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.”


- It is interesting that no one from a Japanese university has signed this letter.

-This letter is politics not objective science.

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