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If it’s a tsunami you’re afraid of, what happened in the Indian Ocean last month is probably not what you should be worrying about.

The tsunami Americans need to fear is the man-made wave of globalization that has helped gut the American work force by exporting its jobs overseas in part through the cute little trick known as “offshoring.” We know the threat is big because last month even Business Week started paying attention to it.

In its Dec. 6 issue Business Week sported a sizeable article titled Shaking up trade theory by Adam Bernstein. The article is newsworthy because, for probably the first time ever, an establishment business magazine raised some serious questions about the free trade dogmas that underlie globalization and much of the economic theory and policy of the last several decades.

For a pillar of the business establishment like Business Week to do so is a bit like Scientific American raising questions about the law of gravity.

What worries a good many of the economists cited in the article is that the basic assumption of free trade theory—the doctrine of comparative advantage, as it’s called—doesn’t add up. Under the doctrine,

“most economists have concluded that countries gain more than they lose when they trade with each other and specialize in what they do best. Today, however, advances in telecommunications such as broadband and the Internet have led to a new type of trade that doesn’t fit neatly into the theory. Now that brainpower can zip around the world at low cost, a global labor market for skilled workers seems to be emerging for the first time—and has the potential to upset traditional notions of national specialization.”

The article cites no less an icon of the economic high priesthood than Nobel Prize winner Paul Samuelson, who recently raised his own questions about the benefits of free trade in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Mr. Samuelson’s questions had some negative answers.

As Business Week summarizes his argument:

“The fact that programming, engineering, and other high-skilled jobs are jumping to places such as China and India seems to conflict head-on with the 200-year-old doctrine of comparative advantage. With these countries now graduating more college students than the U.S. every year, economists are increasingly uncertain about just where the U.S. has an advantage anymore—or whether the standard framework for understanding globalization still applies in the face of so-called white-collar offshoring.”

Not all economists agree, and the article offers a nutshell of the debate that’s beginning to ripple through the academic and business communities. But what’s news is that there’s a debate at all.

For nearly two centuries the doctrine of comparative advantage,formulated by economic theorist David Ricardo in the early nineteenth century, has held much the same status as the Virgin Birth. Now even the high priests are starting to doubt.

One reason they’re doubting is that while it’s long been known that free trade scuttled blue-collar workers out of their jobs, nowadays it’s starting to carve into white-collar workers. That means—eventually—the kind of people who write about trade policy—like Mr. Bernstein and his friends.

“Until now,” Mr. Bernstein writes, “the pain of globalization has been borne by less than a quarter of the workforce, mostly lower-skilled workers, whose wage cuts outweighed the cheaper-priced goods globalization brings.”

But someone else is sharing the pain—namely, the very class that thought free trade was such a hot bargain.

Mr. Bernstein cites a study from Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., as offering “the most detailed projections so far” of how bad the white collar hit might be.

The Forrester study sees “the pace of U.S. job flows abroad averaging 300,000 a year through 2015, probably a conservative estimate.”

“Already, some 14 million white-collar jobs involve work that can be shipped electronically and thus in theory could be moved offshore,” yet another study has found. “White-collar workers have a right to be scared,” says Harvard University’s labor economist Lawrence F. Katz.

So did blue collar workers, but nobody cared much about them.

It’s hardly surprising that nobody paid much attention to the real costs of free trade and globalization until they started eating the very people who promoted them and gained from them. That sort of thing is common enough throughout history.

It remains to be seen if the wreckage of the white collar class—the business, political and intellectual elite of the country—turns out to be quite as devastating as some of the pessimists are predicting.

If it weren’t for the problem that the wreck of those elites would probably wreck the country along with them, we just might all be better off if the devastation turned out to be real.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Trade 
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After some 30 years or so, the Washington Post finally sent a reporter to the movies to discover the astounding news that Hollywood doesn’t like corporations. The occasion for this revelation is the re-make of the 1962 thriller The Manchurian Candidate, a film I have never cared for and the new version of which I have no desire to see. One difference between the two films is that in the original, the bad guys are Chinese communists; in the new one, they’re an “evil corporation” called Manchurian Global. A ‘Manchurian‘ Capstone to Movies’ Hate Affair With Corporations, Washington Post, Aug 7, 2004

The thrust of the Post‘s story about this major discovery is that it’s been going on for decades—the story traces the anti-corporation theme in the movies back to Fritz Lang’s Metropolis in 1927—though the theme became dominant (not to say a cliché) only in the 1970s. I knew something funny was going on when James Bond, whom his creator Ian Fleming had fighting communists, started popping off crazed capitalists.

The movies’ “evil corporation” theme is of course evidence of the left-wing bias of the folks who make the movies, and for decades conservatives who like business, capitalism and corporations have groused about it. They’re right. Hollywood has turned what originally was a somewhat clever twist into a tedious and preachy caricature of both what business is like and where evil in the modern world comes from. But real conservatives, as opposed to the Economic Men who pretend to be conservatives, have some good reasons to be wary of corporations.

Reason One is bureaucracy. Corporations from IBM and AT&T to McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are no less huge, faceless and unresponsive machines than the welfare state, the post office or the other publicly funded labyrinths that conservatives want to abolish. The difference, libertarian champions claim, is that the “private” bureaucracies are responsive to the market and the “public” ones aren’t.

Well, not really. Corporate bureaucracies have a zillion ways of shielding themselves from market forces, from propaganda (advertising) that manipulates and massages their consumers to outright privileges squeezed out of the state itself. The market helps control “private” bureaucracies effectively when they’re really private and small enough to be swayed by what consumers can see, know, and deal with. On the national and global scales of corporations today, that’s seldom possible. The result is that corporate bureaucracies can swallow small businesses like whales gobbling plankton.

Reason Two is Economism, the belief that economic values are all that’s real or important and that human beings are motivated mainly by economic drives. Business people tend to believe this, but modern corporations, coupled with both Marxist and capitalist ideology, have encouraged the belief and made what should be an obvious myth a commonly held but unacknowledged assumption.

Probably the best exposure of the whole mythology of “economism,” who believes it, and what’s wrong with it is a small monograph by economist John Attarian called “Economism and the National Prospect,” published by the American Immigration Control Foundation.

“Economism,” Dr. Attarian writes, “clearly serves the agendas of the corporations and other powerful interests which run this country, and they are not about to drop it.

“Corporations’ profits depend on expanding their market shares, which means expanding exports, and on driving down their costs, which means using cheaper imported inputs, low-wage immigrant labor, and transferring production overseas. Mainstream news and opinion media are owned by these selfsame corporations, hence are globalist. Most think tanks depend upon corporate money, hence are unlikely to generate serious criticisms of globalization and economism.”

Which brings us to Reason Three of what’s wrong with corporations—disloyalty to nation and people. As corporations have gone global, they have simply ceased to be part of any nation or to identify with any people, race, or civilization—as their managers love to boast. Some years ago Ralph Nader asked the directors of 100 big companies to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance at their stockholders’ meetings. Only one agreed; half never responded; the rest got snippy at the suggestion.

Corporate disloyalty to nation and people is obvious in corporate support for NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and mass immigration and the cheap labor it imports. Much of the hatred the left exudes for corporations comes from or plays on the theme of disloyalty, but—since the left itself doesn’t really believe in nation or peoplehood either—it’s limited in how clearly it can make the disloyalty charge.

The people who could make that and other charges against corporations and the global grabfest that they want to replace Western and American civilization are conservatives—the real kind, not the fakes who are little more than hired guns for Big Business. Maybe if real conservatives started telling us what’s really wrong with Big Business, Hollywood would put them in the movies.

• Category: Economics 
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The good news, as reported across front pages last week, is that some 250,000 new jobs were created in the American economy in the last month.

The bad news, at least for those who hold the jobs or would like to, is that they may soon go overseas.

The June issue of American Demographics explains why outsourcing,” the economic counterpart to ethnic cleansing, is the wave of the future—unless it’s controlled. [PROFITS vs. JOBS, June 1, 2004 (Pay Archive)]

In 2003 Forrester Research projected that by 2015 some 3.3 million white-collar jobs and the $136 billion those who hold them earn will bid a fond farewell to American shores, about 2 percent of all jobs. Last year also, another firm, DeLoitte, reported that some 2 million financial services jobs will take a powder in the next five years.

There are other projections of similar or larger job losses from others—universities, consulting firms, corporations. Paul Craig Roberts, economist and columnist, predicts the United States “will be a Third World country in 20 years.” That’s not even mentioning Third World immigration. [Economist's Challenge Puzzles Free-Trade Believers, By Paul Blustein, Washington Post, February 26, 2004]

The reason is that the Third World as presently defined can now perform the same jobs Americans do at far lower costs. Therefore, in the inexorable logic of capitalism, the Americans get dumped and the foreigners get hired. Today the mountain does not have to go to Mohammed, so to speak, because Mohammed—the job itself, especially if it can be done online or over the wires—can go to the mountain.

Fans of outsourcing, including the Bush administration and its supporters, are not worried. Like the chap in the first Bush administration who, being told that the country was losing the computer chip industry to foreign competitors, replied, “computer chips, potato chips, what’s the difference?” The champions of outsourcing see it all as part of the “creative destruction” that capitalism generates.

This was also the argument for NAFTA, the 1993 free trade pact that promised to help Mexico become a 21st century economy. Even though American jobs might move to Mexico to take advantage of lower labor and production costs, new jobs would pop up here, so displaced American workers would simply readjust.

That hasn’t happened, and it won’t happen with outsourcing either.

One reason it hasn’t happened is that as soon as the “new job”appears, those who offer it start figuring out how to get it done more cheaply.

If the job is menial, you can hire illegal immigrants, but if it requires something like high-tech or white collar skills, you have to send it abroad.

And today there is precious little that can’t be exported.

“Conventional wisdom,” one economist with the AFL-CIO tells American Demographics, “is that there is this Promised Land out there somewhere, the next innovation that will soak up all these American workers. But now, anything delivered over telephone or computer can be outsourced. We see outsourcing move up the skills ladder, we’re going from data entry up to radiology—there’s no logical end to the trend.”

So what are Americans going to do when all their skilled jobs vanish to Bangladesh and Burundi? “The answer, says [Paul Craig] Roberts, seems more and more like jobs at deli counters.”

If you thought the 250,000 jobs created in May was great, consider the 308,000 created in March. But looking closely at the March jobs,American Demographics notes, suggests a less cheerful picture:

“Manufacturing jobs showed no gain, nor did semiconductors and electronic components, computer and peripherals, chemicals. IT [information technology] lost 1,000 and telecom and ‘electrical equipment and appliances’ sector lost 2,000 each. Sectors that added jobs paid an average of 21 percent less than those that lost.”

Moreover, as attorney Thomas Piatak noted in the May issue of Chronicles, “the growth areas in our free-trade economy are government and areas subsidized by government … and areas insulated from foreign competition.”

It was those two sectors that accounted for more than 70 percent of the March job growth.

In general the people who like outsourcing are the same people who like mass immigration—to them the nation, as a cultural and even as a political unit doesn’t exist and isn’t important, and neither are the people who make up the nation or their way of life.

If they can be replaced by immigrants, that’s terrific, and if their jobs can go to immigrants before they immigrate, that’s even better.

Mass immigration may be starting to produce a popular reaction among Americans who see what it’s really doing to them and their country.

Outsourcing and the whole jungle of globalization that goes with it can only accelerate that reaction, as those who live on the receiving end of globalism experience the economic as well as the political, cultural and racial dispossession it inflicts.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Outsourcing, Trade 
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If you ever get into an argument about immigration, sooner or later (probably sooner) somebody will majestically inform you, “But immigrants take jobs that Americans won’t do. Without immigrants, lettuce would cost 10 dollars a head.”

Sometimes the lettuce will cost 20 dollars a head, but the point—and absence of facts—is still the same: Immigration is necessary for national economic survival.

The argument was never very compelling, if only because it’s long been known that the labor that goes into producing a head of lettuce accounts for a measly 10 percent of its retail price, so it would take a good deal more than raising the wages of farm workers to hike the price to 10 dollars a head.

Today, however, the cheap labor argument has been definitively exploded.

The explosion took place last week on the pages of the New York Times, where a major story by Eduardo Porter went through the facts and figures—about how the cheap labor that mass immigration provides has helped keep American farm technology in the Dark Ages and caused American agriculture to wither in the face of global competition—and how the federal government has helped undermine the American farmer on behalf of Third World immigrants.

For decades, as everyone knows, American farmers have relied on the cheap, mainly illegal and mainly Mexican labor immigrants provide, but now, because of such nifty gimmicks as NAFTA and similar global trade agreements, the even cheaper labor of such paradises as Brazil, China, Chile and Turkey is making illegal immigrants unprofitable for the American farmer. American workers long ago discovered what “unprofitable” meant for them: They had to go, and that’s what it means for the immigrants too. [In Florida Groves, Cheap Labor Means Machines, By Eduardo Porter, March 22, 2004, also here]

“The Florida industry has to reduce costs to stay in business,”one agribusiness manager told Mr. Porter . “Mechanical harvesting is the only available way to do that today.”

As a matter of fact, it has always been the way to do that, but agribusiness didn’t want to believe it. Hence, as Mr. Porter writes , “Rather than make such investments [in new technology], farmers mostly focused on lobbying government for easier access to inexpensive labor.” The result was guest worker programs that let immigrants come here temporarily to work.

In 1979, President Carter’s Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland ended government financing of research into farming technology because he didn’t want to replace “an adequate and willing work force with machines.” That was just about the time we started hearing about how Americans wouldn’t take those jobs anyway.

The “adequate and willing work force” Mr. Bergland was talking about was made up of immigrants.

Later still, in 1986 “farmers were instrumental in winning passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which legalized nearly three million illegal immigrants—more than a third under a special program for agriculture.”

Another result was that the progress of American farm technology shriveled. “Farmers’ investments in labor saving technology all but froze, and gains in labor productivity slowed,” Mr. Porter writes. As mass immigration rose in the 1980s, “Farmers’ capital investments fell 46.7 percent from their peak in 1980 through 1999.”

Today, with the competition from the cheaper labor of those portions of the Third World that remain where they are supposed to be, the days when American farmers could ignore technological improvements and investments are gone.

Hence, orange growers in Florida, for example, are now desperately trying to deploy mechanized “canopy shakers” that rake some 35,000 oranges out of a tree in 15 minutes. It would take four workers all day to do that.

There are theories about why the Greeks and Romans, who acquired a respectable knowledge of science and engineering, never developed an industrial revolution. One such theory is that they had too much cheap labor to need labor-saving industry—in the form of slaves. When you conquer the world, slaves are a lot cheaper and easier to take care of than machines.

Today, we have our own form of slavery in mass immigration. Instead of America conquering the world, the world conquers us.

There are agricultural jobs that machines can’t do, and there are certain kinds of crops and terrains for which machines aren’t appropriate (yet), but one benefit that the otherwise disastrous globalization of the economy may yet bring may just be the end of mass Third World immigration into this country.

With the remorseless logic of Economic Man, the agribusiness manager Mr. Porter quoted earlier in his story summed up the implications of the new interest of American farmers in technological innovation: “If there’s no demand for labor, supply will end. They will have to find another place to work, or stay in their country.”

If a commitment to nation and civilization won’t stop mass immigration, maybe economics finally can.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Immigration 
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If even Harvard professors can figure out what mass immigration is doing to America, can Big Business be far behind? The Washington Postthis week ran an insipid satire ["Hey Professor, Assimilate This!"Letters responding] on Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington‘s forthcoming book on the cultural dangers of mass immigration, but ironically Business Week treats it a bit more respectfully.

“Ironically,” because Business Week is the weekly bible for Economic Man, the creature who has convinced himself that nothing matters—to him and everyone else—but money and who therefore has been all on board for mass immigration as long as there was a buck or two attached to it, as there usually has been. Now, though the magazine’s cover story tiptoes around the subject, between the lines there’s a good deal more skepticism about immigration than you might expect.

The problem the story tries to confront is whether the 39 million or so Hispanics in the United States, who are mostly recent immigrants or their immediate descendants, will “be absorbed just as other waves of immigrants were?” as the headline asks. “It’s possible,” the headline answers, “but more likely they will continue to straddle two worlds, figuring out ways to remain Hispanic even as they become Americans.”

Even that concession is a major victory for those who have argued for years that allowing millions of culturally distinct aliens into the country would create subcultures that clash with the dominant and historic culture of the nation—an argument Professor Huntington has discovered and developed. His own recent essay in the magazine Foreign Policy explains many reasons why “absorption” is not really taking place anywhere near as much as the Open Borders lobby has always liked to claim, and much of what Business Week cites reinforces his arguments.

The story dwells on the problem of language. Yes, Hispanic immigrants and their children learn English, but “a study of assimilation and other factors shows that while the number of Hispanics who prefer to speak mostly Spanish has dipped in recent years as the children of immigrants grow up with English, there has been no increase in those who prefer only English.” One study cited in the article “found that the group speaking both languages has climbed six percentage points since 1995, to 63 percent, and is likely to jump to 67 percent by 2010.” [Hispanic Nation, March 15, 2004]

It’s great to know two languages, but this country has always had one—English—and if it acquires another, the unity and identity a single language helps create and sustain will start to shrivel.

Moreover, as the magazine acknowledges, there now exists a vast subculture that reinforces retaining Spanish as the main language. One Mexican-American family featured in the Business Week story lives in Cicero, Illinois, where Al Capone once ruled and where today 77 percent of the residents are Hispanic and Spanish dominates.” The more it dominates, the more other cultural habits of the old country are reinforced—what kind of food they eat, what they think about work and family and politics, and what they remain loyal to. That’s the problem.

Business Week can’t resist gloating over all the money to be made off immigration, but it’s also honest enough to admit that Big Business does all it can to assist the cultural fracturing that Professor Huntington warns about. “In its eagerness to tap the exploding Hispanic market, Corporate America itself is helping to reinforce Hispanics’ bicultural preferences,” the cover story notes, by pitching ads to Hispanics in Spanish and appealing to their distinct cultural values and habits. One health insurance company executive told the magazine, “We knew we had to remake the entire company, linguistically and culturally, to deal with this market.”Who’s assimilating to whom?

For decades the entire debate about immigration (such as it was) turned on the question of assimilation—would the new immigrants from countries and cultures radically different from the European traditions of most immigrants of the past be able and willing to adapt to the European core of American life? Your answer to the question largely determined your opinion about immigration. Today, it’s pretty clear that assimilation in the sense the Open Borders crowd insisted would happen isn’t taking place.

“Straddling two worlds,” which is Business Week‘s conception of what will happen, may not be quite as destructive as Balkanization pure and simple, but it’s a far cry from what anyone in this country ever wanted and a lot closer to what the critics of immigration have been predicting for years and what the vast majority of Americans have always known. Harvard, at least in the person of Professor Huntington, has now figured that out. Maybe “Corporate America”is about to learn that too. Can Washington be far behind?

• Category: Economics • Tags: Immigration 
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As a belated Christmas gift to the country, President Bush this week unveiled what amounts to an amnesty program for illegal aliens—an amnesty I have been predicting his administration would endorse as soon as the smoke from the 9/11 attacks of 2001 cleared a bit. Amnesty was already on the table when the attacks occurred and was merely postponed.

Of course, the president and his mouthpieces strenuously deny that what they are proposing is amnesty, but looking at it closely, there’s no other word for it.

“This program,” the president said in announcing the plan, “will offer legal status, as temporary workers, to the millions of undocumented men and women now employed in the United States and to those in foreign countries who seek to participate in the program and have been offered employment here.”

Foreign workers will be able to go back and forth between this country and their own under “temporary work visas” valid for three years and eligible to be renewed (for how long Congress will decide) if they have jobs in this country and have behaved themselves.

After that period, the president also said, “Some temporary workers will make the decision to pursue American citizenship. Those who make this choice will be allowed to apply in the normal way.”[ Read The Transcript View Listen]

The decision to stay or go home is entirely up to the aliens, though the plan supposedly contains financial incentives for them to return home. But there is nothing that makes them go. They can stay if they wish, and millions will.

There is no other word for this but amnesty—even though Mr. Bush brazenly said in his next sentence, “I oppose amnesty.” Either he doesn’t understand his own plan or he just plain lied.

Eight million illegal aliens are believed to be in this country already (some estimates say as many as 11 million), and the prospect of legal entry and eventual citizenship will mean that millions more will come. Moreover, they will be able to bring their families and will bear children who will automatically become U.S. citizens regardless of the legal status of their parents. Even if the government had the capacity and the will to enforce the “temporary” visas rigorously (which it doesn’t), the president’s plan is an open invitation for the repopulation of the United States by the Third World.

Of course, Big Business is delighted at the prospect of a virtually bottomless source of cheap, docile labor that will be unable to complain about its treatment without having its visas jerked and sent home and at the added benefit that employers can use the vast army of aliens to discipline American workers, threatening them with lower wages and dismissal if they get out of line.

Of course also, most Republicans care nothing for American workers, so that’s not a problem as far as they’re concerned.

But the most remarkable aspect of the president’s plan is the total indifference to the identity and interests of the American nation it reveals. In unbosoming this monster, Mr. Bush pontificated that America is “a nation that values immigration, and depends on immigration,” that the “current situation” with immigration is “wrong” and “not the American way”—because it is unfair to illegal immigrants!

Out of common sense and fairness,” he continued, “our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling. We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane.”

It’s Mr. Bush who is wrong, of course. America has no responsibility to foreigners, let alone to foreigners who have broken our laws to get here. It has a responsibility to its own people and its own identity and interests.

It is pure and simple nonsense—and an insult to the country—to say that enforcing the security of our own borders to protect our own people and nation from the invasion taking place is “not the American way.” What is un-American is the refusal to enforce our laws that has brought the country to its present immigration disaster.

But Mr. Bush, like most of the American ruling class today, no longer believes in his own nation and people and is largely indifferent to them. It is the interests of the global power structure the ruling class has constructed and rules that he cares about and protects, and that is what his immigration plan seeks to do.

More than anything else he and his administration have done, it exposes the real fault lines of power in America today—between the ruling class that seeks to destroy the nation and those Americans who wish to preserve it.

Now that the lines are clear, we will see who wins the power struggle that will ensue.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Immigration 
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With the state of California at the edge of financial—and perhaps political—chaos, the truth about the real meaning of uncontrolled immigration is finally seeping into the state’s major newspapers.

Last week in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Fred Dickey unleashed a 5,000-word feature on the impact of illegal immigration on the state’s legal—and lower-income—workers. In a word, the effect is disastrous. (Undermining American Workers | Record Numbers of Illegal Immigrants Are Pulling Wages Down for the Poor and Pushing Taxes Higher By Fred Dickey, July 20, 3003.)

Mr. Dickey recounts the plight of a lady named Patricia Morena , “a U.S. citizen of Mexican descent,” a single mother who lives with three kids in a “ratty little one-bedroom apartment.” Mrs. Morena is on her pathetic way down the drainpipes of history—and she’s beginning to figure out why.

“If she didn’t have to compete with unauthorized workers in the cheap motels that cluster just north of the border, she thinks,”Mr. Dickey writes, “she could lift her wages from $7.50 per hour to maybe $10 and bargain for some health insurance.”

But, she told him , “If I ask for money, the bosses say, ‘I can get a young girl who is faster and cheaper.’ The bosses have power over illegals. They know they’re afraid and not going to ask for overtime, even though I know the law says they should get it.”

Mrs. Morena “has learned a fundamental economic truth: The only leverage unskilled workers have is scarcity of labor. Morena can’t work her way up the economic ladder because the bottom rungs have been broken off by the weight of millions of new illegal workers. The Census Bureau says the number of illegal immigrants in the country doubled in the 1990s, from 3.5 million to 7 million, the largest such increase in the nation’s history.”

That’s the truth that newspapers like the Los Angeles Times—after more than 30 years of unchecked mass immigration, legal and illegal—have finally gotten around to writing about.

Of course the truth is not at all compatible with the brazen lie by which the Open Borders lobby has derailed political discussion of the immigration issue—the lie that mass immigration is a substantial if not essential economic boon. The illegals with whom Mrs. Morena’s employers threaten to replace her are themselves part of the vast 33 million people living in poverty in the United States, and so of course is Mrs. Morena herself and her three children.

Mass immigration, so far from benefiting the economy, has simply multiplied the numbers of poor.

The other big lie of the Open Borders crowd Mr. Dickey exposes is the companion myth that (as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says in its brief for yet another amnesty for illegal aliens), “undocumented workers” are “performing tasks that most Americans take for granted but won’t do themselves.”

Mr. Dickey tells his readers a little story. He recently discussed painting his house with an American contractor who offered the lowest of three bids if he were paid in cash. His reason for that stipulation was,

“‘If I’m going to stay in business, I have to do what the illegals do. They never pay taxes, on profits or on their employees’ pay. Right there, I’m at a 20 percent disadvantage. They’ll come in here with about six guys with paintbrushes who work for peanuts, do a fair job, and then they’re gone.’ These competitors have driven every American out of gardening, he added, and are doing it to house-painting, roofing and car repair.”

It is simply a lie that American gardeners, roofers, painters, roofers and mechanics are too lazy to work at their professions. The truth is they have been pushed out of such occupations by the cheap illegal labor imported by Big Business and its Open Borders shills.

And the larger truth is that as pathetic as Mrs. Morena’s plight is, it’s the same plight that more skilled American workers face. The Detroit Free Press recently reported on a Mercedes Benz plant in Alabama that has imported Polish workers—supposedly legal—to paint luxury cars assembled there. [Officials To Check Alabama Workers, by Jennifer Dixon, July 26, 2003]. The company claims the work is highly specialized and Americans can’t do it. The reality is that the Polish workers “earn only a fraction of their American counterparts,” so it makes sense to hire them instead of the locals—whose taxes helped subsidize the incentives that led Mercedes to build the plant there in the first place.

It’s terrific that newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press—which have supported mass immigration editorially for years—are now telling the truth about what they’ve endorsed for so long has done to this country and its workers.

Once those truths sink in, the Americans whose jobs and nation are being destroyed may even now still be able to save both.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Immigration 
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Not the least of the problems that mass immigration inflicts on the Americans whose nation the immigrants are colonizing is how it affects the creaking Social Security system. The Open Borders lobby holds that immigration will save the system – a claim peddled by the Wall Street Journal and various professional Open Borders activists.

But, like most of claims of the Open Borders lobby, this one isn’t true either.

A new study by economist John Attarian, a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan and a free-lance writer, takes the untruth apart in a new monograph, “Immigration: Wrong Answer for Social Security,” available from Americans for Immigration Control.

Anyone who thinks mass immigration will support us in our old age needs to read it through.

One of the major myths comes from Open Borders activist Stephen Moore, formerly of the libertarian Cato Institute. In 1998 Mr. Moore came out with a study that laid the basic building block of what would soon become an entire pyramid of unexamined assumptions and untested assertions.

The argument is that, since the American population is aging and a smaller generation of taxpayers will be contributing to the Social Security funds in the future, only vast numbers of immigrants can save us from ruin. Mr. Moore argued that immigration was already “keeping Social Security afloat” and, as Dr. Attarian writes, “that an increase of annual net immigration would raise immigration’s revenue contribution to $2,148 billion. Therefore, immigration would be crucial to any solution to Social Security’s problems.”

But, Dr. Attarian points out, Mr. Moore’s study is seriously flawed. It “rests on a confusion of three totally unrelated concepts,””employs an unsound method” that mixes up present-day monetary values with others corrected for inflation, and – probably most important – comes up with calculations that don’t even add up.

For the period 1998-2072, the Social Security deficit is projected to be some $16 trillion, but “Increasing annual immigration to one million [as Mr. Moore advocates] would increase revenue by 0.9 percent and reduce the deficit by just 3.0 percent. The inescapable conclusion is that immigrants are hardly ‘keeping Social Security afloat,’ and that massive increases in immigration will not do much to save it.”

Mr. Moore is not the only Open Borders advocate to claim that immigration will save Social Security.

Ben Wattenberg, long a boomer of virtually bottomless immigration, has written that mass immigration “is the easy solution to the Social Security crisis” because it increases the population of working adults who pay taxes.

Mr. Wattenberg thinks that if we “doubled our annual net immigration … it would reduce Social Security’s deficit by 28 percent,” a claim even more extreme than the flawed projections of Mr. Moore.

Dr. Attarian pinpoints the arithmetic fallacies in Mr. Wattenberg’s calculations but also points out that the argument is “simplistic, because it assumes that immigration has only one, positive effect on Social Security’s outlook: immigrants take jobs and pay Social Security benefits.”

In fact, mass immigration, at current levels and even more so at the level Mr. Wattenberg wants, would “affect things like labor productivity and wages,” which are likely to decline. Since Social Security is financed by taxes on labor incomes, its revenues would decline as well.

“Furthermore,” Dr. Attarian writes, “the majority of immigrants have little education and low skills, and work in menial, poorly-paid jobs. Such immigrants are necessarily poor Social Security taxpayers, which implies that adding many more of them is unlikely to save the program.” The Wattenberg thesis, he reasons, is without merit.

“The case for increasing immigration to save Social Security,” Dr. Attarian concludes, “is illusory,” and the unexamined faith in mass immigration is in fact a “naked emperor.”

Moreover, a “massive increase in America’s population” like that the Open Borders pushers demand “would calamitously overload our environment” and resources like water, land and energy.

Aside form the social and cultural damage that would ensue, the economy itself would be harmed and potential revenues for Social Security diminished still further.

Of course, the Open Borders lobby cares nothing for the environment and it really cares nothing for Social Security either. The libertarians and free marketeers pretending to fret about the future of the program have typically advocated its abolition anyway.

What the Open Borders lobby really cares about is immigration pure and simple — to bring in cheap labor to drive down the wages of American workers, and import a new electorate that can be manipulated into supporting its candidates.

The “saving Social Security” myth is simply one more fairy tale invented by the advocates of mass immigration to lull the rest of the country to sleep.

If more Americans take a look at Dr. Attarian’s impressive dissection of the fairy tale, they may start waking up before they lose their country and their future.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Immigration 
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Back in 1993, when the propaganda campaign for passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement was swinging, there were three main reasons offered as to why NAFTA should pass. It would help reduce illegal immigration from Mexico; it would help modernize the Mexican economy, and it would help Americans by removing trade barriers. Not one turned out to be true.

The effect on immigration is obvious enough: Immigration ever since has been bigger than ever. The “Mexican modernization” myth went south during the Mexican peso crisis a few months later. As for the impact on Americans, NAFTA has been pretty much a zilch as well, except perhaps for the mega-corporations that benefit from it. But how much of a zilch NAFTA and similar globalization measures have been is made a little more clear in a recent report in the New York Times. What NAFTA and similar agreements mean is probably the extinction of America’s small towns.

“All along the nation’s back roads,” the Times reports, “hundreds of towns … are teetering in the recession, and some worry that they may never recover.” [NYT, Changes in World Economy on Raw Materials May Doom Many Towns February 16, 2002] The reason the Times offers is sound: “Since the last recession, in the early 1990′s [before NAFTA], China, Russia and the former Soviet republics have charged into the world’s commodity markets. At the same time, new trade agreements have erased quotas and tariffs that long insulated United States industries from competitors.” NAFTA is not explicitly mentioned, but what other “new trade agreements” can you think of that have been adopted since the early 1990s?

As a result, small American towns wither. In Brady, Texas, farmers who relied on the export of angora wool “are victims of low prices and competition from New Zealand and Argentina.” For Bartow, Ga., “high production in countries like China have led to an oversupply and plunging prices” and the consequent devastation of the town. In Loving, N.M., which is near the “nation’s largest deposits of potash, a basic ingredient of fertilizer,” the agricultural recession and Canadian potash competition is destroying the farming economy on which the town relies. “The mining companies say most of those jobs may be gone for good.”

The free trade myth, of course, is that it all balances out. Farmers, miners and any other kind of worker put out of business by free trade can always find some new job doing something else. Right—like the people who used to be farmers and now sell antiques, as some in Silver City do, or those in Brady whose “game-stocked woods bring in money from hunters.” Of course, too, there is another kind of “balancing out,” which is simply that small towns that can’t compete with the slave labor of China and the low prices of South America simply vanish. The economic reality for workers and farmers who are middle-aged, middle-income and middle-educated is that they can’t adjust by becoming software engineers. Even if they did, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs would hire imported Indian technicians instead of the Americans. The economic reality is that Americans put out of business by the glorious globalization celebrated by business and political elites become a proletariat and the small towns from which they come cease to exist.

Aside from the economic consequences of globalization, the social and cultural—and perhaps ultimately the political—effect will be incalculable. As small towns cease to exist, cities will expand. Independently owned firms and farms will vanish along with the towns on which they depended. Workers will become more dependent on big businesses and big bureaucracies and will lose not only their economic independence but also their social and intellectual autonomy. In other words, workers and farmers who were once independent will become the equivalent of post-industrial serfs, bound not to the land but to vast organizations they don’t own and can never control.

Politically, the result will be the enhancement of the power of the elites that do run such bureaucracies and the further erosion of republican self-government. The whole point of republicanism as the Founding Fathers and their predecessors understood was that the economic and political independence of the citizen was essential for the existence of a republic. When citizens lose their autonomy and become dependent on others— government, corporations, unions—the self-government that defines republicanism dies.

The globalization that today is starting to wipe American small towns off the map merely helps complete a process of consolidation that started as early as the nineteenth century, when big business and big government between them swallowed whole communities. The difference is that back then many Americans resisted the dispossession they saw coming. Today, few Americans resist at all, and most are perfectly happy to play with the new toys the global economy promises them—and so far has failed to deliver.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Trade 
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“Free trade” and its partner, “globalization,” are the happy thoughts of the day, with few in either party of any ideological persuasion expressing disagreement. But there are reasons to disagree with the direction in which the words point. Last week an article in the New York Times reminded us of some of them.

So dependent on exports to the United States have both Mexico and Canada become, the Times reports, that our recession means they slump too. Each country now sends the United States more than 85 percent of its exports, but when we have a recession, which we now do, Americans stop buying. That means Mexico and Canada suffer. But, because both nations are now linked with the American economy through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

“This is the price both countries are paying for their close integration with the United States,” Riordan Roett, an international economist at Johns Hopkins University, told the Times. “They benefit greatly when the United States grows, but when there is a downturn they feel the social and economic consequences immediately.”

In the case of Canada, the slump means that its manufacturers are stuck with a large inventory of goods they can’t sell—expected to carry over until 2002. That means Canadian companies halt production, since they can’t sell any more goods, and start laying off workers. Unemployment in Canada is now 4.7 percent and may rise to more than 6 percent this year.

In the case of Mexico, as the governor of the country’s central bank, Guillermo Ortiz, told the Times, “The weakened economy in the United States will mean decreased Mexican exports, less direct foreign investment and delays in the start of important new manufacturing projects.”

Eventually, both countries will no doubt recover, but even so, there are some lessons to be learned.

Lesson One is that trade means dependence. The more a nation trades with another, the more dependent its economy becomes with those of other nations. That’s the main reason Free Trade Utopians always gabble on about how free trade means world peace. Unfortunately, it has never meant peace, and it’s not uncommon for major trading partners to go to war with each other.

The more one nation trades with another, the more dependent they become on each other, and the more vulnerable each is to the weaknesses in the economy—and government and society and culture of the other. If the consumers of Nation A no longer want to sip Wonder Cola during their siestas, then Nation B, which exports Wonder Cola, takes a dive—and so do all the workers and investors who depend on the nasty beverage in Nation B. But if Nation A has a revolution or a religious awakening or a civil war, it may start restructuring its economy to avoid any connection with Nation B at all. Then Nation B may take a dive and not come to the surface again.

But, if Lesson One of Free Trade is dependence on economies, states and cultures over which we have no control or influence, Lesson Two is that Lesson One may mean political integration as well. Free trade drives transnational government and the erosion of national sovereignty—precisely so one (or each) country can have control of what goes on in the other one. Indeed, that’s exactly what the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci, suggested last summer.

Bubbling with glee at the immense success he thinks NAFTA represents, Mr. Cellucci told Canada’s National Post that he believes the borders between the three North American states should be dismantled. “Mr. Cellucci,” the Post reported, “the former governor of Massachusetts and a close friend of George W. Bush … suggested the borders between Canada, the United States and Mexico be dismantled with the aim of achieving a more fully integrated economy.” A Canadian transnationalist, Maurizio Bevilacqua, chairman of the Canadian House of Commons finance committee, made similar noises. “With NAFTA, the economies of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are becoming increasingly integrated…. we have to take the logical steps in maximizing the benefits of such an agreement.”

Just so. The next logical step after free trade breeds economic interdependence is the political and cultural interdependence that dismantling the borders would mean. If tax policies, regulations, labor laws and other politically driven forces in Nation A affect its economy, then those dependent on Nation A’s economy in Nation B will have to have a say in determining what they are.

Most Americans bought into the premises of free trade and globalization without thinking through their implications for national sovereignty, national independence and the survival of the American identity as a civilization and a nation. But the implications are clear enough, and maybe we should start thinking about them now.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Trade 
Sam Francis
About Sam Francis

Dr. Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005) was a leading paleoconservative columnist and intellectual theorist, serving as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan and as an editorial writer, columnist, and editor at The Washington Times. He received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in both 1989 and 1990, while being a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation those same years. His undergraduate education was at Johns Hopkins and he later earned his Ph.D. in modern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His books include The Soviet Strategy of Terror(1981, rev.1985), Power and History: The Political Thought of James Burnham (1984); Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (1993); Revolution from the Middle: Essays and Articles from Chronicles, 1989–1996 (1997); and Thinkers of Our Time: James Burnham (1999). His published articles or reviews appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, National Review, The Spectator (London), The New American, The Occidental Quarterly, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which he was political editor and for which he wrote a monthly column, “Principalities and Powers.”