Sunday, 24 June 2018

They're Fellow Humans, It's Not Rocket Science!

As most of us have known for years, migrants and refugees are good for economies - and now there appears to be 30 years of evidential data to back this up. This ought to be considered though in line with an important distinction between the benefits of having free movement of labour, and the problems of having free movement of people instituted in regulation (I blogged about this distinction here).

Because, you see, the thing that human beings ought to do, that they don't do enough, is think primarily about the benefit of immigration to the immigrants themselves, not through the very parochial lens of counting costs of immigration on indigenous folk. The two key benefits of immigration for immigrants are:

1) They work hard and try to make a better life for themselves and their family.

2) The better life they are making for themselves and their family is better here than it would be in their home country.

Some people assert that “It’s alright for you, you don’t live in a community that has been negatively affected by immigration!” This is true, but I would swing the twit-ometer back their way by saying “It’s alright for you too, you don’t live in a community like the ones from which the immigrants were escaping when they chose to come here!”

And we all know about Schrodinger’s immigrant – the one that simultaneously comes here to steal your job and sponge off the state on benefits. Schrodinger’s immigrant is largely based on the phenomenon of being angry at immigrants whatever they do, putting on your parts when immigrants work, and putting on your parts when they claim benefits; putting on your parts when they integrate too much, and putting on your parts when they stay in their own communities.

Lastly, you'll also know of those who complain about foreign aid, declaring that we have people on our streets that we should be helping first. It's a familiar piece of virtue signalling, but I would suggest to you that the kind of people who wish to care more about people in their own country by caring less about people in even poorer countries are not likely to be the kind of people who care about either group of people very much.

To end, here's a meme I shared recently that nicely sums up my feeling about treating people as human beings worthy of our love and kindness and generosity, irrespective of where they come from:

Edit to add: In this debate, most people forget to ask the primary question: why are wages low in a poorer foreign country and higher in the UK? The reason they are higher in the UK, of course, is because productivity is higher in the UK, thanks to better technology and advanced capital investments. Consequently, higher wages in the UK are the result of economic growth and prosperity - but equally, where wages are low in foreign countries that have the competitive advantage over the UK in a particular industry, this is wrongly seen as a threat, when in fact, it is another part of the UK’s increase in prosperity. 

This is also where confusion comes about lower foreign wages that are thought to be ‘unjust’ relative to UK wages. If industries in the UK cannot compete with industries abroad, it is not because of low wages abroad, it is because of high wages here: we have bid up wages so high that domestic industries are no longer as profitable and better off outsourced. This is another reason why tariffs are only pursued by economic imbeciles - they add weight to inefficiencies and starve efficiency by keeping prices high for consumers, and keeping competition and innovation down. They also misallocate resources, as industries that are protected from competition keep people and raw materials in areas of the economy that deny other areas of the economy those resources.

Immigration brings about similar benefits in terms of all the above!!