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Immigration & “low wage” jobs, and stupid Europe

deafplayer

TRIBE Member
Beat the Press
Dean Baker's commentary on economic reporting
beatthepress.blogspot.com


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Thursday, April 13

Immigrants and “Low Wage” Jobs

One of the great absurdities in the debate over immigration policy is the frequently repeated claim that the U.S. economy is generating more “low wage” jobs than can be filled by the domestic workforce. This line has been endlessly repeated in news stories on the issue.

Quick trip back to econ 101: recall the concepts “supply” and “demand.” What makes a job a “low wage” job? In econ 101 world, a job will be a “low wage” job if the supply is high relative to the demand. When there is insufficient supply, then the wage rises. My students didn’t pass the course if they couldn’t get this one right. Econ 101 tells us that there is not a shortage of workers for low wage jobs; it tells us that there are employers who want to keep the wages for these jobs from rising.

Immigration has been one of the tools that have been used to depress wages for less-skilled workers over the last quarter century. Many of the “low-wage” jobs that cannot be filled today, such as jobs in construction and meat-packing, were not “low-wage” jobs thirty years ago. Thirty years ago, these were often high-paying union jobs that plenty of native born workers would have been happy to fill. These jobs have become hard to fill because the wages in these jobs have drifted down towards a minimum wage that is 30 percent lower than its 1970s level.

In response to this logic, the “low wage” job crew claims that if the wages in these jobs rose, then businesses couldn’t afford to hire the workers. It’s time for more econ 101. Businesses that can’t make money paying the prevailing prices go out of business – that is how a market economy works. Labor goes from less productive to more productive uses. This is why we don’t still have 20 percent of our workforce in agriculture.

So the economic side of the debate over immigration is a question about employers wanting access to cheap labor. That part is pretty simple. There are other questions in this debate about human rights and basic decency. It’s outrageous to threaten people with deportation and imprisonment who have worked in this country as part of a conscious government policy. (No one enforced employer sanctions. That was a deliberate decision by the government.)

There is another side to this debate that gets less attention. The fact that immigrants are mostly less-skilled is not an accident. The current “die at the border” policy (so-called because you get the opportunity to work in the United States if you are willing to risk death in a dangerous border crossing) ensures that the flow of immigrants will be primarily less-skilled workers. Workers in developing countries with few employment opportunities might be willing to take this risk, in addition to the risk that they could be subsequently deported if they get picked up for a traffic ticket or some similar offence.

However, an established doctor, lawyer, or economist in the developing world will not try to slip over the border to work off the books in the United States. This fact ensures that the highly educated people who design immigration policy, and their professional colleagues, will not be subjected to the same sort of competition as less-skilled workers.

We could design an immigration policy that encourages highly educated people from the developing world to work in the United States. Such a policy would provide enormous economic gains, while also making income distribution in the United States more equal. While this could create a problem of “brain drain” from the developing countries, it is easy to design mechanisms to ensure that developing countries benefit from this immigration flow as well.

Since professionals are not working under the table (many actually have to be licensed by the government at regular intervals), it would be very easy to apply a modest tax to the earnings of immigrant professionals. This tax could be paid to the immigrants’ home country, so that they can educate 2-3 doctors, lawyers, economists, etc. for every one that comes to work in the United States.

U.S. trade negotiators have not pursued such policies, because trade and immigration policy has been deliberately intended to redistribute income upward. We can debate whether this is a desirable goal for trade policy, but only if the media stops making silly claims about “low wage” jobs.
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Sunday, April 16
Immigration: Die at the Border and Open Borders

I want to follow up quickly to a couple of notes on my posting where I referred to the “Die at the Border” policy. I was not arguing for open borders. [...]a literal open border policy would almost certainly imply an inflow of hundreds of millions of people in the next couple of decades.

My point is [...] we have very serious limitations on immigration. Immigration is restricted both by the danger of the border crossing and the prospect of deportation due to a random encounter with law enforcement (e.g. a traffic ticket). These threats ensure that most immigrants will not be well-educated, since well-educated people in the developing world will not take these risks to work in the United States.

This means that less-skilled workers in the United States have to worry about competition from undocumented workers, while the people who design and debate immigration policy (economists, lawyers, reporters) don’t have to worry about professionals from developing countries slipping over the borders and undercutting their wages. The implication of the current immigration policy is that the people who design and debate it are largely its beneficiaries, since they can get low cost home repairs, bargain restaurant prices, and cheap nannies.

We can debate whether this is good immigration policy, but we first have to acknowledge the policy in place. The reason that most immigrants are less educated is not because of any shortage of more educated workers willing to immigrate to the United States, it’s because our policy acts to exclude them.

As far as the evidence of the link between immigration and the declining wages of less-skilled workers, I can point to the papers by Borjas, Katz, and Freeman, but I confess to being more influenced by what I take as the stylized facts. If immigration was being driven by a shortage of people willing to take certain jobs, then we should expect to be seeing sharp increases in the relative wages of the occupations that have large shares of immigrant workers. In other words, we should have expected to see sharply rising wages in construction, restaurant and hotel work, as employers raised wages in a desperate effort to attract more workers. In fact, we see the opposite. Wages in these industries/occupations have fallen sharply relative to the wages of more skilled workers.
[...]
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Tuesday, April 11

Firing the French

The reporting on the battle over a new law in France, that would make it easier to fire young workers, has been especially weak. The coverage has included numerous assertions that making it easier to fire workers will reduce the unemployment rate. (The story goes that firms will more readily hire new workers, if they know that they can fire them later, if they find it necessary.)

In fact, the evidence on this point is extremely weak. There has been considerable research within the profession trying to demonstrate the link between labor market protections (like restrictions on firing) and higher unemployment, and most of it has come up short. David Howell, John Schmitt, Andrew Glyn, and I have done several papers examining this evidence.

In fact, one result that most economists familiar with the literature would be quick to acknowledge is that there is no clear link between the strength of employment protections and unemployment. Some of the countries with the strongest protections (e.g. Ireland and Austria) enjoy very low unemployment rates. Most of the literature simply finds no relationship between the strength of employment protections and the unemployment rate.

In fairness to the reporters who cover this issue, I put the blame here primarily on the economists. They are very quick to present their views, without pointing out that they are not supported by the evidence. My own view of high European unemployment (also not well-supported by evidence) is that the biggest factor is the European Central Bank’s (ECB) restrictive monetary policy. It is not easy to show a simple link between high interest rates and unemployment (the relationship is somewhat complex – exactly what the true believers about the negative impact of employment protections would say), but no one disputes the fact that if the Fed had followed policies that were as restrictive as the ECB, then the U.S. would have a considerably higher unemployment rate. So, I would say that it would be appropriate to at least get a little agnosticism into these articles.

There is one other point that really should not be in dispute – other things equal, employment protections are GOOD. People value security in their life. They buy insurance for their home, their life, their health, obviously if they can get insurance that they will not be hastily dismissed from their job, this is a good thing. If there are large costs, in the form of higher unemployment or lower productivity, then this insurance may not be worth the cost. But this conclusion depends entirely on the terms of the trade-off, an issue where the evidence is very weak, as noted earlier. In other words, the contempt expressed by many reporters for employment protections belongs on the editorial pages, not news stories. By the way, according to the OECD, the productivity of French workers is 7.0 percent higher than the productivity of U.S. workers.
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Friday, April 14
Sick Europe and the Italian Elections

The elections in Italy prompted another round of knowing comments about how Europeans must get over their silly attachment to employment security (e.g. “Europe Stalls on Road to Economic Change”). None of the comments I saw even considered the possibility that the contractionary policies of the European Central Bank (ECB) play any role in Europe’s economic weakness.

The basic story here is fairly simple. While Alan Greenspan lowered the overnight interest rate in the United States to 1.0 percent in the summer of 2003, the ECB never lowered its overnight rate below 2.0 percent. This is in spite of the fact that inflation in the euro zone has been the same or lower than in the United States and the euro zone has consistently had higher rates of unemployment. The story does get more complicated (the Fed’s overnight rate is now 4.75 percent, compared to 2.5 percent in the euro zone), but I would argue that the ECB has consistently been more contractionary than the Fed in its policies. Everyone recognizes that the Fed can stimulate the economy with low interest rates and slow growth with high interest rates, why don’t we think that the European economy works the same way?

It is striking how commentators can make seemingly contradictory claims about Europe’s dire fate with great confidence. The basic story is that Europe’s high wages and labor market protections lead to high unemployment. This is crisis # 1 – too many workers.

Then we find crisis # 2 on the horizon, a surge in the ratio of retirees to workers, which is compounded by Europe’s slow population growth. The essence of crisis #2 is not enough workers. There are economists who will try to rationalize this picture to explain how Europe will be in crisis from both too much unemployment, while also suffering from a labor shortage, but on its face this does seem to be a stretch. (The link runs through high labor taxes discouraging work. The problem with the story is that after-tax wages, not labor taxes, determine willingness to work. The impact of high before tax wages, caused by the labor shortage, should swamp the impact of higher taxes.) In other words, the Europe critics seem to be telling completely contradictory scare stories, without even recognizing this fact.

There is another scare story that some of us have been telling that the Europe critics have largely ignored. This is about the imbalances created by housing bubbles. The United States is just one of several countries that are experiencing inflated housing prices. It is hard to gage how much of the run-up is justified and how much is due to irrational exuberance without some very careful country by country analysis, which I have not done. (For example, Ireland has had among the sharpest run-ups, but it has gone from being a relatively poor European country to ranking among the richest in the last two decades.)

However, the imbalances created by bubbles are easier to recognize. These show up in low domestic savings rates and high current account deficits. The countries that stand out on this list are the United States and Spain, with current account deficits of more than 6.0 percent of GDP, and New Zealand with a deficit of more than 9.0 percent of GDP. These deficits are unsustainable, as virtually all economists agree. The adjustments from large current account deficits to manageable deficits are almost always painful. Typically the adjustment is associated with rising inflation, and then high unemployment as central banks raise interest rates to stop inflation. (Think of increasing annual tax revenue and/or cutting government spending in the United States by $600 billion – the order of pain is comparable.)

The countries on which the Europe critics focus their wrath (France, Italy, and Germany) have small current account deficits or surpluses, meaning they don’t face the painful adjustments that loom for the Spain, the United States, and New Zealand. This means that when the adjustments actually occur, we may have a different assessment of which countries’ economies look good and which ones look bad. Until then, we will have to listen to many more tirades from the Europe critics, whose voices go virtually unanswered in the media.
 

SellyCat

TRIBE Member
That is a truly astounding quantity of textual date. I feel overwhelmed and bloated.

I read the first article. I like the argument about "well, then economics says you have to go out of business...so go out of business if you beleive in economics". If you said that to anybody who is pro-business, they would suffer an aneurism...you can't make THEM suffer!
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
I read the first article. I like the argument about "well, then economics says you have to go out of business...so go out of business if you beleive in economics". If you said that to anybody who is pro-business, they would suffer an aneurism...you can't make THEM suffer!
Completely right.

I took a course on air line economics (starting in Sept 01) and from what I got out of the course the reason the air lines in the US are in trouble is because there are to many of them but the government doesn't let any of them fail because there would be to many lost jobs.

As for labour shortages... good articles. I think I might have more about that in due time because it's a big issue out here as the summer nears. There are help wanted signes in all kinds of retail outlets and I was talking to one contracter who said that labour, ie lift rock - put over there, is now up to 15 $/hr out here.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
good article,


though he ignores the basics about the situation in western europe, specifically italy and france where people have been retiring at early ages thanks to generous benefit packages granted in the 70's and 80's.

the ratio's of those working and contributing to pensions vs. actual retiree's cashing in pensions is lessening. not sure of exact numbers but ive read how in germany the projections show that it is coming closer and closer to having 1 working civil servant for every retired civil servant. keeping the current scheme of pension benefit contributions vs. payouts is only possible w/ more civil servant hiring or greater returns via pension fund investments.

what may start to happen is that to sustain the system, workers will have to postpone retirement, increase contributions or get lowered actual pensions when they do retire. its already happening in italy now from what my family over there tells me. back in the day you could start a civil service job at 18, and retire 30 years of service later at 48. that would equate to upwards of 30 years of pensioned benefits, so they created a system where people could be getting pensions for as long as they were working.

it doesnt seem sustainable at that level.
 
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Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member
SellyCat said:
That is a truly astounding quantity of textual date. I feel overwhelmed and bloated.

I read the first article. I like the argument about "well, then economics says you have to go out of business...so go out of business if you beleive in economics". If you said that to anybody who is pro-business, they would suffer an aneurism...you can't make THEM suffer!
Restricting immigration policy in order to increase unskilled wages is just as much of an economic control as opening policy to keep wages low. The right choice really is just a matter of educated opinion. His attempt to convey a sense of irony on the issue is subject to the same circular logic he uses to prove his point.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
Bass-Invader said:
Restricting immigration policy in order to increase unskilled wages is just as much of an economic control as opening policy to keep wages low. The right choice really is just a matter of educated opinion. His attempt to convey a sense of irony on the issue is subject to the same circular logic he uses to prove his point.
nice, i dont know what you actually mean but it sounds so well stated,
im inclined to blieve it!! ha!!!

for real, the biggest beef i have is how immigration is explained to the masses and the sheer level of outright bullshit perpetrated.

if immigration is to help fill the gap in our supposedly declining popultaion, why are immigration levels still only a fraction of the total needed to fill this gap. coupled w/ the fact that a share of any immigrant pool consists of elderly family members who negate some fo the population gains of actual working or young immigrants.

the federal government has endeavoured to increase the family class sector of immigration totals which means an increasing share of people comig here will not be for work or economic needs but because they belong to the family of an immigrant. this makes sense because you shouldnt be without your family when you come here, but dont dress up immigration as an exercise in population boosting when as a net increase of people it is so small it doesnt even begin to address the supposed massive decline the pro-imigration advocates spout off.

w/ respect to immigration to lower/increase wages, this is tricky, there isnt really a correlation as many people may change jobs or occupations during their lives, immigrants may arrive here w/ one skill and switch over with time, why asssume a computer programmer that immigrates here is a net gain to programmers when he like anyone else may change his career path, even if he can get a decent job.

many european systems didnt really practise economic based immigration, they followed the dutch type model in a watered down way which permitted immigration from colonies as a large determinant to entrance. something canada used to do along time ago. i see that system as inherently rascist other than the argument that people from colonies can speak the language.
is that system any better than ours? not really sure, the only fact is that immigrants of today face less lucrative prospects than their 50's, 60's counter parts.
 

deafplayer

TRIBE Member
Bass-Invader said:
Restricting immigration policy in order to increase unskilled wages is just as much of an economic control as opening policy to keep wages low.
Yes...
The right choice really is just a matter of educated opinion.
Its a matter of values, which is he very upfront about (e.g., employment protection = good, equalizing incomes = good, subjecting high paid professionals to income-reducing competitive markets while paying developing countries for their 'drain' = good, etc)
His attempt to convey a sense of irony on the issue is subject to the same circular logic he uses to prove his point.
What circular logic is that?

judge wopner said:
if immigration is to help fill the gap in our supposedly declining popultaion, why are immigration levels still only a fraction of the total needed to fill this gap.
what?
...our population isn't falling is it?

w/ respect to immigration to lower/increase wages, this is tricky, there isnt really a correlation as many people may change jobs or occupations during their lives, immigrants may arrive here w/ one skill and switch over with time, why asssume a computer programmer that immigrates here is a net gain to programmers when he like anyone else may change his career path, even if he can get a decent job.
about the immigration lowering wages thing, I dont know how it could be made "tricky" with "not really a correlation" by your reasoning...
the point of the article was that in the areas were immigrant workers tend to work (which is relatively clear, and he explains why), they would lower wages
if they swich from one low-wage unskilled job to another that does not affect this

And in more specialized, "skilled' work that takes years of training, and is more privileged, the more skilled and specialized it is the less likely the worker is to just wander off to a totally different job after having invested so much in that uccupation
 

Bass-Invader

TRIBE Member
Well that raises the question as to whether or not forcing up low wages would indeed increase employment protection and incomes, and whether paying other countries to produce competitors to drive professional wages down would be a good thing. In fact it could very well destroy as many jobs as its designed to improve by making labour too expensive to remain competitive, reducing local incentive to better educate oneself. His response to that simply consists of, "Businesses that can’t make money paying the prevailing prices go out of business – that is how a market economy works...this is why we don't all still work as farmers" which basically equates to "the free market will fix itself lolz."

The circle completes itself when you realize that he is using the notion of the free market to justify a view that immigration should be used to control the market.
 
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judge wopner

TRIBE Member
deafplayer said:
what?
...our population isn't falling is it?

about the immigration lowering wages thing, I dont know how it could be made "tricky" with "not really a correlation" by your reasoning...
the point of the article was that in the areas were immigrant workers tend to work (which is relatively clear, and he explains why), they would lower wages
if they swich from one low-wage unskilled job to another that does not affect this

And in more specialized, "skilled' work that takes years of training, and is more privileged, the more skilled and specialized it is the less likely the worker is to just wander off to a totally different job after having invested so much in that uccupation
mr. deafplayer,

one of the main rationale trumpeted by immigration advocates in canada and europe is that our working age population is on the decline and that immigration will account for much of the growth in our population in the future by way of both inflows of actual people and the claim that immigrant families average more babies per couple than canadian born couples do.

im surprised youre not familiar with this piece of propaganda constantly thrown at us.

we may have a lowering or aging population, thats not really the debate, but the actual totals of incoming immigrants represents a fraction of the actual stated declines in population thanks to our lowering birth rates. even worse the situtaion becomes when you subtract from incoming immigration levels the family class members who are of retirement age.

again i always found it funny that this rationale was a mainstay of immigraiton debate when it has so many holes in it.
besides immigraiton was never to build the population as much as it was to fullfill an economic need.

w/ respect to jobs and immigrants: do cab drivers make less money now because mostly immigrants do the job or because the job itself has become less valued over time like many professions have over the years?

low skilled jobs generally pay less, but i wouldnt give full wieght to either the market or immigrant theory, its probally an ammalgum of both and other factorts, its grey in my mind as is so much of economic and social theory.
 
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judge wopner

TRIBE Member
oh oh almost forgot,

its interesting the way people seem to draw a straight line b/w jobs predominantly done by immigrants and the draw down of wages.

during the 50's and 60's the skilled trades were swelling with immigrants from post war europe. it was during this time that the most successful wage gains were solidified along with union consolidation in the contruction and trades industry.

i dont know hwat a carpenter in the 40's was making compared to his 50's counter part, especially in light of volatile inflation followig the post war boom but suffice to say the many immigrants that flowed into high demand areas like trades and construction were increasing their wages, or at the lease stabilizing their employment through better unions.

was that a function of increased immigration or purley economic that happened in spite of the influx of foreign workers?

if the latter, could todays lower wage proliferation be the product of bad economic pressues rather than immigrant inflow?
 

deafplayer

TRIBE Member
Bass-Invader said:
Well that raises the question as to whether or not forcing up low wages would indeed increase employment protection and incomes, and whether paying other countries to produce competitors to drive professional wages down would be a good thing. In fact it could very well destroy as many jobs as its designed to improve by making labour too expensive to remain competitive, reducing local incentive to better educate oneself. His response to that simply consists of, "Businesses that can’t make money paying the prevailing prices go out of business – that is how a market economy works...this is why we don't all still work as farmers" which basically equates to "the free market will fix itself lolz."

The circle completes itself when you realize that he is using the notion of the free market to justify a view that immigration should be used to control the market.
#1) No ones suggesting that "forcing up low wages would indeed increase employment protection"

#2) "Forcing up" isn't very fair, as his point was that they have been forced down - which is consistent with the odd pattern in the real world, the stagnation of incomes since the 70s while higher income segments rise

#3) "Forcing up low wages" would by definition increase incomes (assuming we're talking about "real wages"), barring any additional economic trickery

#4) "Whether paying other countries to produce competitors to drive professional wages down would be a good thing" thats even less fair... the countries are already producing professionals; they are already being prevented from competing by protectionist barriers barring the productive rational use of their valuable skills. The "paying other countries" part would be to compensate for 'brain drain'


#5) "In fact it could very well destroy as many jobs as its designed to improve by making labour too expensive to remain competitive, reducing local incentive to better educate oneself." Maybe it could, like ending child labour did... but again, considering the distribution of incomes in society, and which income levels have gained and which have not for decades, suggests society can afford to pay people more
And reducing the dominance of the role of the incentive of mere personal material gain in pursuing higher education may not be such a horrible thing.. and at any rate, professional incomes becoming less above the average doesnt seem to suggest that people would abandon such rewarding and privileged work... it would also probably mean less demanding hours (and professionals hours can be notoriously demanding), and of course, the small matter of actually providing more of their valuable services to society (ahem, doctors)

#6)
His response to that simply consists of, "Businesses that can’t make money paying the prevailing prices go out of business – that is how a market economy works...this is why we don't all still work as farmers" which basically equates to "the free market will fix itself lolz."

The circle completes itself when you realize that he is using the notion of the free market to justify a view that immigration should be used to control the market.
No, sorry his response really is not that, and no "circle completes itself"... the market works inside of a society, inside a given set of social rules and relations and so on.... this is entirely unavoidable, it works like this by definition right now, always has always will (for example right now employers aren't allowed to buy slaves... or use child labour. They have to make due with those rules.)....... hes suggesting changing the environment in which the markets function, to change 'the playing field'
The "that is how a market economy works" justification is not saying "the free market will fix itself lolz.":rolleyes:
The markets had to adjust to no longer being able to exploit 8-year olds, and could be expected to do so... it can also adjust to these changes, even though, like w/ 8-yr olds, it is currently 'used to' exploiting illegal immigrant labour
I simply dont see where he "is using the notion of a free market to justify a view that immigration should be used to control the market."
He explains at some length and explicitly how immigration is already used as a tool to control he market - he argues against particular ways it is used
Hes suggesting changing the ways its used, to change the rules in which the market operates
That is simply not advocating non-interference with the market... except to say in passing that employers will have to adapt to better conditions for those large parts of the population who are not well off that they exploit
If we set any rules by which the market works, as we always do, inevitably, they might as well be ones that encourage it to improve peoples lives and not exploit their misery, as opposed to ones that specifically keep people desperate and weak
Its not like the resources aren't there to for people to live better, or society is incapable of using them for that purpose
 

deafplayer

TRIBE Member
judge wopner said:
mr. deafplayer,

one of the main rationale trumpeted by immigration advocates in canada and europe is that our working age population is on the decline and that immigration will account for much of the growth in our population in the future by way of both inflows of actual people and the claim that immigrant families average more babies per couple than canadian born couples do.

im surprised youre not familiar with this piece of propaganda constantly thrown at us.

we may have a lowering or aging population, thats not really the debate, but the actual totals of incoming immigrants represents a fraction of the actual stated declines in population thanks to our lowering birth rates. even worse the situtaion becomes when you subtract from incoming immigration levels the family class members who are of retirement age.

again i always found it funny that this rationale was a mainstay of immigraiton debate when it has so many holes in it.
besides immigraiton was never to build the population as much as it was to fullfill an economic need.

w/ respect to jobs and immigrants: do cab drivers make less money now because mostly immigrants do the job or because the job itself has become less valued over time like many professions have over the years?

low skilled jobs generally pay less, but i wouldnt give full wieght to either the market or immigrant theory, its probally an ammalgum of both and other factorts, its grey in my mind as is so much of economic and social theory.
the immigration theory is a market theory...
yes its obviously an ammalgum of all kinds of factors

Im am vaguely familiar with the immigration ideas you outline.. what I asked about was your comment, repeated again in this post, that the inflows are insufficient to make up for the falling population...... so...... this would mean our population is decreasing wouldnt it? but it isnt?

[edit: Im not 'disagreeing' w/ you or mean to challenge this in any way, I just dont know about the topic, Im asking you]

suffice to say the many immigrants that flowed into high demand areas like trades and construction were increasing their wages, or at the lease stabilizing their employment through better unions.
wooooah there.... suffice to say I see no evidence at all in your post that there was a causal connection between immigration and the increased incomes in those fields, just correlation

there are lots of reasons labour did so well in the post-war period, obviously any macro-economics like this is complicated and ambiguous but there do seem to be pretty reasonable historical explanations imo
Generally speaking, imo, it was in large part a continuation of the New Deal / WWII factors
Keep in mind, this 'Golden Age' came to an end with the arrival of Neo-Liberalism (omg what a weird coincidence!), which included 'liberalizing' capital flows and money markets, etc, reducing income security and social services, etc....

if the latter, could todays lower wage proliferation be the product of bad economic pressues rather than immigrant inflow?
immigration is one tool in teh arsenal of 'bad economic pressures' that are very deliberately imposed on the population... imo
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
deafplayer said:
Im am vaguely familiar with the immigration ideas you outline.. what I asked about was your comment, repeated again in this post, that the inflows are insufficient to make up for the falling population...... so...... this would mean our population is decreasing wouldnt it? but it isnt?

wooooah there.... suffice to say I see no evidence at all in your post that there was a causal connection between immigration and the increased incomes in those fields, just correlation

there are lots of reasons labour did so well in the post-war period, obviously any macro-economics like this is complicated and ambiguous but there do seem to be pretty reasonable historical explanations imo
Generally speaking, imo, it was in large part a continuation of the New Deal / WWII factors
Keep in mind, this 'Golden Age' came to an end with the arrival of Neo-Liberalism (omg what a weird coincidence!), which included 'liberalizing' capital flows and money markets, etc, reducing income security and social services, etc....

immigration is one tool in teh arsenal of 'bad economic pressures' that are very deliberately imposed on the population... imo
im highlighting the point youre asking me to prove, but im saying its BS,
i dont know that conclusively our population is on a decline in the measure to which massive inflow's of people are needed or else our society is pooched,

many many immigrant activists and cheerleaders make this point very clear that immigration is needed to shore up our population. id say this is the #1 or #2 rationale used in mass media for some time now.

again ive always questioned this idea of "replenishment" via immigraiton, it strays from the original intent of immigraiton which was to fullfill an economic need in underservice sectors or areas of our country, suddenly we simply need bodies to fill the gaps or something horible will happen apparently,
accept by the numbers of actual immigrants arriving annually they represent a tiny slice of total poulation and total growth vs. population decline.

i havent said at all that immigrants were the ones securing wage increases, im begging the quesiton of immigrants effect on wages in the first place. i have trouble accepting this line too many draw between immigrants and low wages or the lowering of wages becuase immigrants dominate certain jobs.

i see in many ways simply that our economy is not as robust and plentiful as it was in the post war boom, and see an overall tightening of wages across the board. yes at the top they are increasing, and i believe this will in time reverse itself too as corporate greed eventually works its way back to the source.

i dont think its as much to do with immigrants as many people are giving credit to. i think the poor employment situation of many immigrants is a symptom of a much greater issue.

in terms of increasing peopel's wages, regardless of any economic argument there will always be those that decry any sort of increase in workers saftey or wages. any minimum wage increase is claimed by big business as disastrous to the local economy, any saftey measure or regulation that ensures the air is clean in a fume ridden factory, or compensation paid to those hurt or killed on the job is met with indignation that it will destroy commerce and business.

all those factories havent closed since our min wage just got upped, and any problems facing the big auto plants or the forestry secors, who are the hardest hit right now these days are all above average wage industries. if some dude running a mom and pop place will go out of business because he has to pay his staff $0.25 more an hour then he can go fuck himself because i dont buy it at all, the natural state of business is to constantly bitch about anything that deny's them the ability to make more money, im sure if minimum wage was $4 per hour and the government said raise it to $5 an hour they would shit their pants saying thats too much for unskilled labour.

there has to be a reasonable rate to pay people in the lower scale that keeps business robust but doesnt leave people pooched.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Some information on population growth:

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050928/d050928a.htm

Between 1994 and 2004, Canada's rate of natural increase of 0.39% was exceeded only by that of the United States (+0.58%) among the G8.

What distinguishes Canada the most was the size of its gains in migratory exchanges. At 0.61%, the Canadian net international migration rate was the highest of any G8 country from 1994 to 2004.

Because of the contribution of migration, Canadian population growth kept pace with that of the United States. Whereas US growth was primarily due to a high rate of natural increase, the growth of the Canadian population was largely and increasingly due to its net international migration.
 
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atbell

TRIBE Member
^^^^^^

I ran into this group while looking for work in Vancouver. They do economic forcasting based on demographic trends. The forcasting is unique because it looks so far into the future, 40+ years ahead even.

www.urbanfutures.com
 
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