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David Card Wins Econ Nobel for Not Noticing Most Flagrant Cocaine Boom in Economic History
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From the Nobel Prize foundation:

Natural experiments help answer important questions

This year’s Laureates – David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens – have shown that natural experiments can be used to answer central questions for society, such as how minimum wages and immigration affect the labour market. …

Another important issue is how the labour market is affected by immigration. To answer this question, we need to know what would have happened if there had not been any immigration. Because immigrants are likely to settle in regions with a growing labour market, simply comparing regions with and without many migrants is not enough to establish a causal relationship. A unique event in the history of the US gave rise to a natural experiment, which David Card used to investigate how immigration affects the labour market. In April 1980, Fidel Castro unexpectedly allowed all Cubans who wished to leave the country to do so. Between May and September, 125,000 Cubans emigrated to the US. Many of them settled in Miami, which entailed an increase in the Miami labour force of around seven per cent. To examine how this huge influx of workers affected the labour market in Miami, David Card compared the wage and employment trends in Miami with the evolution of wages and employment in four comparison cities.

After all, who ever heard of Miami’s economy in 1980-1984 being in any way different than in the four comparison cities? Surely, the only economic difference among the five cities was Miami’s labor supply shock. Nobody with a Ph.D. in economics has ever noticed that there was a demand shock in Miami in 1980-84.

The economics profession would like to remind everybody that one annoying unmentionable — who has been pointing out for a decade and a half that in 1980 there was a simultaneous demand shock in Miami known as History’s Most Flagrant Cocaine Boom that invalidated Card’s celebrated “natural experiment” by boosting demand in Miami for labor (whether construction workers, maitre d’s, escorts, ethically challenged bankers, drug mules, Jeb Bush, kingpins, or henchmen) — that Scarface, Miami Vice, Cocaine Cowboys, and Narcos were not published in peer-reviewed journals, so, as far as we are concerned, they don’t exist: ergo, nyaah-nyaah-nu-nyaah-nyaah, we economists have our fingers stuck in our ears so we can’t hear you!

Despite the enormous increase in labour supply, Card found no negative effects for Miami residents with low levels of education. Wages did not fall and unemployment did not increase relative to the other cities. This study generated large amounts of new empirical work, and we now have a better understanding of the effects of immigration. For example, follow-up studies have shown that increased immigration has a positive effect on income for many groups who were born in the country, while people who immigrated at an earlier time are negatively affected. One explanation for this is that the natives switch to jobs that require good native language skills, and where they do not have to compete with immigrants for jobs.

Thus, Americans with strong verbalist skills have been penning touching paeans to how the wretched refuse are Who We Are, while Americans with weak verbalist skills, those semi-literate losers, have been complaining that immigrants are taking their jerbs. And then …. after decades of our verbally eloquent essays on the moral superiority of us for letting the huddled masses come to America, those verbally-unskilled Americans still voted for Trump.

As this Nobel demonstrates, vengeance is ours.

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  1. Mike Tre says:

    And any economist who advocates for a minimum wage of a fraud.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  2. Card is a good example of a political choice for this Nobelish award.

    Steve, as you have frequently noted in colorful language, he was obviously unable to even approximately answer the counterfactual question for Miami. He has the same problem with his other very high-profile analysis cited by the cmmttee (“Minimum wages don’t significantly decrease employment”). See here for a good plain-English description of why:

    He is an economist who conveniently discovers conventional left-of-center findings through analysis of “natural experiments” that are like the old quip about the Holy Roman Empire.

    Angrist and Imbens are a lot more serious analysts of causality.

  3. Real good point about studies and surveys and statistics and all that all of you put so much stock in.

    The lesson, the take-home, the moral to the story?: There are always–always–invisible, un-for-seen, un-after-seen, unnoticed, buried, and deliberately overlooked–but absolutely essential, necessary, sufficient–variables hiding in the woodwork.

    And you can never, never rule every single one of them out when you’re surveyingstudyingstatistifying people, societies, behaviors, intangibles. Because the variables, she is infinite.

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @Technite78
    , @El Dato
  4. Dan Hayes says:

    I vividly remember when some time ago you pointed out the big-hole in Card’s Miami study. Too bad the faux Nobel Economics Committee didn’t notice and/or pay attention to you!

  5. Altai says:

    It’s also, if true, the only example ever seen. The EU tried to explain that EU immigrants had been good for the British (Materially, socially, again, no way to claim they were vibrant enhancers rather than quite dull sullen people) but found that their marginal increase of GDP didn’t actually increase per capita GDP. In Ireland it was even worse, they actually led to a decrease in total GDP.

    As in the real sciences, can we ask economists to explain the supposed method of action of masses of unskilled immigrants into a developed economy making everyone richer? Surely some evidence of how it happens must be clear.

    In the largely progressive world of ‘over-tourism’ studies I came across the term ‘social pollution’ to describe the impact of masses of tourists on the public spaces of the natives.

    I propose the terms ‘over-immigration’, ‘social pollution’ and ‘labor pollution’ to inject a bit more pace into the issue of immigration and wages and the social atomisation and robbing of public spaces of the natives.

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @notsaying
  6. In the case of Card, this is an obviously political selection.

    Steve, you’ve pointed out in colorful language how poorly his boatlift analysis established a counterfactual baseline. The same is true for his other major study cited in his award, his finding that minimum wage increases don’t substantially increase unemployment. For a good plain-English description of why:

    Angrist and Imbens are a lot more analytically serious, but Card just keeps claiming proof for entirely conventional left-of-center policy positions using “natural experiments” that are like the old quip about the Holy Roman Empire.

    • Replies: @Altai
  7. Ralph L says:

    while Americans with weak verbalist skills complain that immigrants are taking their jerbs

    Derb’s jerb is safe from more recent immigrants.

  8. vinteuil says:

    Everything is fake now.

  9. bomag says:

    It’s also, if true, the only example ever seen.


    I like how economists are now anxious to throw basic supply and demand under the bus in service to a political narrative. I guess they are answering Ulam’s query: “there is nothing true in economics”.

    This also hearkens the biblical story of Lot: find one righteous man, and the city gets spared. Now, it has become: find one righteous immigrant, and your country gets flooded unto destruction, but you have that one shining example to sustain you for all eternity as you circle the drain and get flushed into oblivion.

    • Agree: HammerJack
  10. One thing i learned rolling through life is how little interest most people have in truth. We all like to think well of ourselves, our group, our team, our ideas. But lots of people just have very little ability and interest in even trying to set that aside. (And i’m talking about even generic white people. Never mind foreign tribes.)

    The basic supply+demand labor market impact of immigrants is undeniable. As George Borjas has pointed out the frequently pointed at “gains from immigration” are precisely that–lower wages allowing more production per dollar of input. Ergo higher economic efficiency. That’s precisely why lots of businessmen like it. And labor unions–used to, before that was racist–oppose it.

    But there are people–economists!–who willingly pimp themselves out telling you apples fall up.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad
    , @Anonymous
  11. bomag says:

    Some infinite series converge to a value.

  12. @AnotherDad

    Minoritarianism is a religion. But unlike traditional religions that tell stories about specific incidents long ago, one must take on faith, minoritarianism tells all sorts of fables about the here and now. I.e. lies about existent, visible reality. Harmful lies.

    It is a pretty weird creed to adhere to–to swear each day to stuff that is so obviously false. But obviously it serves psychological purposes for its adherents:
    — punishing ones ethnic enemies,
    — making one feel better about deciding to leave one’s nation–and live around other people who’ve done a better job with there’s
    –patting oneself on the back for your virtue
    — simply parroting what the people with \$\$\$ will pay to hear.

    Lying just comes easy to many folks.

  13. notsaying says:

    Steve Sailer:

    Did you see the professor you wrote about recently is having the last laugh? His lecture at MIT was cancelled but a colleague got him a Zoom presentation at Princeton.

    Thousands are signing up. There is still hope.

    More details I don’t think you had and another invitation from MIT here:

  14. @obwandiyag


    “If the result of a study or survey is in opposition with my world view, I will desperately try to justify my opposition by pretending (without any real proof) that there must be some type of fault in the analysis”.


    • Agree: Wade Hampton
  15. notsaying says:

    You are right. I wish economists would try honestly try to show how a country like to be US can get richer by importing poverty and high school and middle school dropouts. Let them show their work.

    What I say is poor people are needy people. Our own poor people cost us a lot and new poor people coming in who can’t speak English and have even less education than our own poor cost that much more. Paying for them will deprive our own poor and retirees of help they desperately need in an America of more people and higher costs.

    People who do not believe that will find out when we finally legalize the illegal immigrants. All those people who stupidly said they were saving Social Security will find out how quickly the formerly illegal immigrants will run through their meager contributions and we have to pay for their Social Security shortfall somehow. Their Medicare shortfall will be paid out of general tax revenues, as will their Medicaid and nursing home costs.

    • Replies: @Altai
  16. George says:

    Fun Fact: Surfside’s Champlain Towers South started collapsing in 1980, but did not fully collapse until 2021.

    YouTube channel “Building Integrity” has multiple videos on the collapse including ‘Crime, Corruption, and Incompetence – The History of Champlain Towers South’

  17. The dismal science indeed.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
  18. Joe H says:

    As I recall George Borjas took another look at Card’s data and his conclusions, showed how wrong they were, and basically did a sack dance over Card’s injured body.

    • LOL: Ben tillman
    • Replies: @res
  19. Paul Krugman has one of these Economics “Nobel prizes.”

    He predicted a stock market crash and a depression the day after Trump was elected. I nominate Paul Krugman as the dumbest cunt in public life but I am biased.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  20. Rob says:

    This year’s Laureates – David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens…

    Angrist sounds like the name of a philosophy that values being angry. I’m angry, but it’s cool, cuz I’m an angrist.

    • Agree: Ben tillman
  21. Anonymous[234] • Disclaimer says:

    That is a classic iSteve post! Very much on point, yet also quite funny.

  22. SafeNow says:

    George Borjas of Harvard, America’s leading immigration economist, disagreed with the official boatlift findings and instead found that wages for Americans had been reduced. But anyway, he wrote “We wanted workers, we got people.” So, if Borjas can deviate to write about culture, I guess it’s fair game. “Social pollution” was Altai’s term; thank you. My California term has always been “the affronts, compromises, and humiliations of everyday life.” But your term is more direct. Basically, I care very little about the economic niceties. For me it’s all about the culture.

    Regarding SE Fl, I made about 35 annual vacation trips to south Florida. (August. 86-degree water. “I’m off on a raft trip!” I would cagily boast.) SE Florida trips until around 1995, and then I switched to the Gulf beaches. There I found the traditional US culture, rather than the unraveled culture of SE Florida. (Also better beaches, and calmer water.)

  23. Has Kentucky’s senior Senator weighed in?

  24. Altai says:

    But even talking about things like social security and taxes misses the point. Those are surely just debates about using immigrants as tools to move wealth around the economy in a certain way.

    The point is they don’t actually increase the resources in the economy.

  25. Since haven’t read all of Card’s work regarding the early ’80’s Miami boom, it would be of relevance to remark here that the US experienced roughly from 1981-the end of 1982 something (at the time) called one of the worst economic recessions in modern history. It definitely is relevant as to what impact the recession, affecting most or all of the US during the early ’80’s, had on Miami’s economy at large. Perhaps on the immigrant communities not so much. On the native born South Floridians, however, perhaps a great deal more so.

    • Replies: @res
    , @Stan Adams
  26. Altai says:
    @Recently Based

    It’s also as Steve has alluded to before, weird. In the soft sciences they seem perfectly content with singular papers and studies standing tall without replication or possibly becoming no only valid in the present or future. (Since, unlike the physical sciences you are studying something which changes)

    Try doing that in the real sciences. If a paper describing something stands without new papers or work which take it’s premise to successfully prove something further or which replicate it’s findings stands for decades it’s probably because what it’s talking about has been completely ignored for decades. In economics and social sciences, it can become an issue of political and social existential importance.

    Almost like the point is to arrive at your position and further investigation could only bring the chance of contradiction.

    • Agree: Clyde
  27. Cato says:

    Just like with Paul Krugman — the Economics Nobel is given to someone with a political slant the elite loves. The politicization of the Nobel is already very clear with the Literature prize (the more intersectional points, the more important the author), and the Peace Prize (given to Obama, before he did anything — and what he ended up doing was a whole lot more killing than his successor).

    The core problem with the Economics Nobel is that they ran out of deserving people in the early days: Paul Samuelson, who brought comparative statics into advanced economics and set out the parameters of the Principles of Economics textbooks; and Friedrich Hayek, Gunnar Myrdal, Milton Friedman, etc., who provided valuable alternative perspectives. What do you do after that? The answer is apparently: yield to the elites.

    • Agree: Clyde
  28. Still no ‘hidden figures’ in economics, huh?

    The subtext of this award is the Committee couldn’t find a single worthy black.

    • Agree: Charon
    • Replies: @International Jew
  29. @Mike Tre

    OT – Superman is coming out as bisexual.

    Does he attend the Metropolis Community Church?

    • Replies: @Clyde
  30. @Mike Tre

    And any economist who advocates for a minimum wage [is?] a fraud.

    Not when it’s for immigrants. They should pull their weight or go home.

  31. @Recently Based

    The Foundation opines:

    natural experiments can be used to answer central questions for society

    Central Questions! Such as How many migrants are best for your country: 500 million or one billion?

    Why are white people still with us? What purpose do they serve, scientifically speaking?

    How many trillions of dollars can be printed before we run out of trees? Thank God for electronic money right?

    If a negro shoots up da club, but the MSM ignore it, are you racist?

    AND so on.

    • Agree: Ben tillman
  32. You still hear people wax rhapsodic about those days. The people – evil people, admittedly – who made it snow also made it rain. A few bloated corpses here and there didn’t make a hell of a lot of difference.

    My late uncle was a homicide detective during the cocaine-cowboys era. He was one of the first cops on the scene after the Dadeland liquor-store shooting. One time I asked him if it was difficult to deal with so much death.

    “I didn’t give a s- about the dealers,” he said. “They knew what they were getting into. They could kill just as easily as they could die. The only time I ever really got upset was when I had to deal with dead kids.”

  33. Mr. Anon says:

    OT – NASA promotional/”educational” video with Kamala Harris:

    The VP talks to school kids in Washington for Space Week. Some people are alleging that at least one of the kids is a child actor. If so, it’s yet another fake photo-op for the Harris-Biden administration (like the weird White House game-show set they built in the EOB).

    More importantly notice the demographics of those kids. Black boy and girl, asian boy and girl, white girl. No white boy at all. It’s on purpose.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  34. Dmitry says:

    Miami Vice,

    I guess there is some non-coincident connection between Castro sending his gangsters across the ocean, and Miami developing the coolest aesthetics of the late 20th century?

    • Replies: @J
  35. Mr. Anon says:

    OT – Why did Europe even bother at the battle of Vienna:

    Germany’s largest mosque to broadcast call to prayer on Fridays

    The mosque, in Cologne, has only existed as such since 2018.

  36. It’s amazing how myopic economists get when it comes to immigration. Sure, in a world with no welfare (government subsidies for individuals) immigration has an overall positive economic benefit. I recall The Alternative Hypotheses did a very sloppy analysis, rounding in favor of the Diverse, and still found that the average Mexican cost the government approximately \$7,000 (Whites – and presumably Asians – were a net positive, Blacks a much larger negative). This would be per capita tax revenue minus all use of benefits. And all this is before you even try to measure the value of lost social capital from having a “diverse” society. But anyways, New York is so much more vibrant than Tokyo!

    Z Man on Taki made a great point to the effect that we’re in a post-factual world. Think about basic, well-established facts related to police shootings of Blacks, gender pay gaps, minority loan discrimination et al. On every issue the right has facts on its side but that is of no consequence. You can’t fight religious zealotry with muh facts.

    Economists opportunity to shine was during the initial lockdown, where cost-benefit analysis based on competing interests over limited resources and tools like least cost avoiders could have offered a great counterpoint against the lemming-like hysterics of “if all of our policies save just one life it will be worth it”. Oh well, perhaps even autistic economists understand that facts don’t matter.

  37. Anon[346] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, the entire prize is based on fraud. It’s not a real Nobel but the Sveriges Riksbank i.e. Swedish Central Bank Prize. It was established decades after the real Nobel Prizes for the purposes of reputation laundering and fraud by the economics and financial establishment and elite. It was precisely so that they could use the prestige and air of objectivity of the real Nobels for their propaganda purposes like these pro-immigration studies by Card.

    Peter Nobel describes the “Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” as a “false Nobel prize”. Mr Nobel says that this prize dishonours his relative Alfred Nobel, after whom the prize is named. Peter considers “economics” to be a pseudoscience.[159][160]

    Peter Nobel is a descendant of the industrialist and humanitarian Ludvig Nobel, the founder of Branobel.

    Like several other members of his family, among them Marta Helena Nobel-Oleinikoff, he is a fierce critic of the Bank of Sweden’s prize in Economics, and what he and his family sees as misuse of their family name by the awarding institution. He argues that no member of the Nobel family has ever had the intention of creating a prize in economics.[1]

  38. The title sequence for Miami Vice was pretty cool, back then, and makes Mr. Sailer’s point that that city had indeed become quite different, on the demand side, back in 1984, from the others in the study.

    To a lesser extent, so do the opening sequences of Brian De Palma’s Scarface, released the previous year, and the obvious inspiration for the TV series, with the exposition of the boatlift, and the very entertaining interrogation scene by sceptical immigration guys of Al Pacino’s Tony Montana character, who give up in exasperation and let him through.

  39. res says:
    @Joe H

    I think it was a bit more complicated than that. The controversy went on for a while. Does anyone here know the detailed background on that? Here are some references.

    The Great Immigration-Data Debate
    This article references a number of the papers relevant to the debate.

    10.2 The Borjas versus Card debate: is labour immigration bad for US workers?

    The Mariel Boatlift Controversy

    It is amazing that even with that extended debate Steve is the only one making the point about Miami’s economy being so different from those other cities. Here is a 1982 article. Emphasis mine.
    Changing Economic Patterns in the Miami Metropolitan Area, 1940-1980

    A substantial portion of the money flowing into south Florida -no one knows exactly how much – is illegal drug money. From its earliest days as a tourist playground, Miami and Miami Beach attracted gamblers, bookies, and gangsters. Racketeering became even more widespread in the post-war era, and in 1955 the Miami Herald called the city the nation’s leading gangster haven. When mobsters began buying up swanky Miami Beach hotels in the 1960s, Newsweek labeled the place “Mob Town, U.S.A.” 22 In the 1970s, a new kind of crime wave swept metropolitan Miami – illegal drug smuggling, mostly organized by gangs of Columbian “cocaine cowboys.” Like much legitimate business, smuggled cocaine, marijuana, and quaaludes come to Miami by sea and air from Latin America and the Caribbean; like legitimate business profits, much of the drug money, properly laundered, finds its way into Miami banks, real estate, and business operations. “Illegal money is the major factor in the current boom in south Florida,” says real estate man Kimball. Almost half of all Miami real estate sales to offshore corporations or foreign investors, Kimball contends, are paid for with laundered “narcobucks.” At least four Miami banks, law enforcement authorities say, are actually owned by drug smugglers. Federal officials estimate that at least 28 billion dollars worth of illegal drugs come into the United States through south Florida each year. Miami in the 1980s is the undisputed drug capital of the world. Joel Garreau argues that drug
    smuggling has become south Florida’s number one industry- surpassing even tourism. Illicit drug dealing, another writer claims “may be Florida’s biggest retail business.” True or not, even as staid a source as the New York Times agreed in 1980 that the multibillion dollar transfusion of drug money protected Miami’s economy from recession.23

    And a Nobel Prize for that work. Clown world.

    • Thanks: epebble
    • Replies: @epebble
  40. Haha, I live in S. Florida and personally know and work with many people who either made a fortune or ended up doing time in prison during those years. I remember being at the beach in Fort Lauderdale around 1985 and people rushing into the water because \$50 & hundred dollar bills were washing ashore. I know a few people who found “bricks/square groupers” washed up on the beach either early in the morning or later at night, some alerted the authorities about their discovery, some didn’t. The documentary Cocaine Cowboys did a good job covering the Miami boom in the late 70s-early 80s, as did John Roberts book “American Outlaw”, and on a larger outlook Mark Bowden’s “Killing Pablo” which shows the staggering amount of volume of cocaine being shipped into the US per month, and the massive profits from it being shipped out.

    “Operation Odessa” on Netflix is a good watch and “Cocaine Cowboys 2” was ok, but not nearly as good as the first one. One thing they all get right is that Miami and most of S. Florida was built on & with drug money. Then on the west coast of FL, you had this, almost every man in the town was arrested in a massive sweep.

    • Replies: @Sick 'n Tired
  41. I think Card’s nomination was helped along by work he did that purportedly shows that the minimum wage doesn’t produce unemployment.

  42. res says:

    Looking at FRED economic data, Miami-Dade County, FL personal income per capita did a bit worse than all of the US from 1980 to 1985. Not what I expected. Though perhaps a clue that the cocaine boom did not boost incomes. Now why might that be? (hint: Ctrl-F “immi”)

    Here are the page and image for the comparison.

  43. Has there ever been actual demand for Jeb Bush?

  44. @Change that Matters

    Roland Fryer would have won it by now, if he hadn’t gotten me-tooed a few years back. He was riding high there as Harvard’s highest-paid professor, and doing undergraduate-quality work.

  45. Anon[104] • Disclaimer says:

    Talk about an open secret:

    “And Ernie Senatore, president of the Miami Marinas Association, said, ‘The price of boating to the middle class person is no longer within reach because marinas built for his use are no longer within reach,’ Senatore said. ‘What you are costing them out for is the cocaine economy.’”

    Miami Herald, March 8, 1981, pg 4, “Commissioner Corollo Attacks Proposed Hike for City Dockage”

  46. What the Nobels clearly needs at this point is a gaudy, over-the-top TV show like the Oscars or Grammys

  47. Card, the cheap hussy, gets around quite a bit. Apparently Harvard hired him to use “stats” to establish that there is no racial bias against Asians in admissions at Harvard

    Classic prostitute. Just says whatever he is paid to say.

  48. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Without professing support for immigration, I will point out that my own native-born grandfather (born a few months after the ‘29 crash) did pretty well for himself in the early ‘80s without resorting to drug dealing. But he was in an industry that benefited from population growth.

    My grandfather owned a logistics (appliance delivery and installation) company. Having been a top sales executive in the appliance division of one of the largest corporations in America, he parlayed his connections into lucrative contracts covering the Dade-Broward-Palm Beach area. The refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, and even AC units in many of the new townhouses, apartment buildings, condos, and hotels that sprouted up throughout South Florida in the early ‘80s were installed by his company.

    There was a huge construction boom in the Miami area around that time. Most of the buildings featured in the opening credits of Miami Vice (1984) were built after 1980. The infamous Champlain Towers South tower was completed in ‘81.

    One of my hobbies is tracking the history of local retail. I like to know when specific stores opened – to the exact day, if possible. My research indicates that retail construction, driven by wealthy Latin American tourists who regarded Miami as the shopping mall of the Americas, peaked in the late ‘70s but continued at a torrid pace for over a decade. These are only a few of the major projects in Dade County: the Omni in 1977; Kendale Lakes and Cutler Ridge in ‘78; Mayfair in ‘79; The Falls in ‘80; Miami International in ‘82; Aventura in ‘83; Town and Country in ‘85; the Bakery Centre (now Sunset Place) in ‘86; Bayside in ‘87.

    (Most of these malls didn’t do very well over the long haul, mind you. The Omni had a brief brilliant heyday but peaked before its tenth birthday and died at the age of 22. The Bakery Centre was a failure from the get-go and was demolished after only a decade.)

    Existing malls were expanded and improved – hardly a sign of a stagnant local economy. The open-air 163rd Street shipping center was converted to an enclosed mall in ‘81. For example, the Crown Liquors store at Dadeland Mall, site of the ‘79 massacre, was replaced by Saks Fifth Avenue in ‘84. The Burdines at Dadeland had the highest sales per square foot of any suburban department store in America.

    A number of decaying establishments along downtown’s Flagler Street were repurposed into Latin tourist-oriented shopping arcades. An enterprising Argentine bought the venerable Paramount theater, a Jazz Era relic reduced to a peep-show venue, and converted it into the Galeria Internacional mall in time for Christmas ‘78. The old theater marquee was converted into an advertising billboard splashed with the name of every consumer-electronics company known to man. (No doubt those newfangled videocassette recorders were selling pretty well.) The original building was demolished in the early ‘90s but the site is still home to a (seedy) shopping center.

    There were massive public-works projects, as well. Most of them owed their origins to the successful 1972 Decade of Progress bond initiative. The Metrorail, which began operations in ‘84, got its seed money in ‘72. The project received a huge boost from the Carter administration’s support of mass transit during the oil crisis. Federal funding was justified by ridiculously-optimistic ridership projections based on dubious assumptions (\$3-a-gallon gasoline by 1985).

  49. ‘For example, follow-up studies have shown that increased immigration has a positive effect on income for many groups who were born in the country…

    This is why Andrew Carnegie et al so vigorously promoted the immigration of Eastern Europeans to the coal fields in the late nineteenth century. They understood that the increased supply of cheap, docile labor would empower the miners and enable them to successfully press for higher wages.

  50. epebble says:

    Talking of Natural Experiments, Rust Belt has been losing about 100,000 people per year due to Opioids. Can Card’s research be used to analyze its impact on labor markets? Is the average wage increasing due to removal of labor from market?

    Or how about the Natural Experiment called Covid? If a million people are removed ( and many more millions rendered unwell) does it lead to wage increase? On first look, it seems so.

  51. @Technite78

    I’m with Sailer on the survey in question.

    A. It doesn’t fit with my world view, and

    B. Its analysis is utterly faulty.

    And you are a chump, studies show.

  52. epebble says:

    Interesting analysis. I wonder if someone can answer a few questions that come to mind.

    1. Is Miami area economy still energized by drug trade? If not, what changed?

    2. I don’t see a similar uplift in Rust Belt economies due to Opioids (except may be Purdue Pharma/Sackler family). If anything, many weaker counties are under distress due to excess police, EMT and legal expenses. Why this bubbling in Miami but Flatlining in the Rust Belt? I also don’t remember much of economic stimulus due to meth or a whole lot of good coming out newly legalized Cannabis economy. On the other hand, everyone knows Alcohol and Tobacco have huge positive economic impact ( prior to consumption; consequent costs come much later).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  53. @epebble

    Miami in 1980 was the cocaine import and distribution hub for the whole U.S.

  54. J says:

    From Wikipedia:In 1980, tThe Cuban government permitted approximately 125,000 Cubans to board a decrepit fleet of boats in Mariel Harbor; of the 125,000 refugees that entered the United States on the boatlift, around 16,000 to 20,000 were estimated to be criminals or “undesirables”. In a 1985 around 350 to 400 Mariel Cubans were reported to inhabit Dade County jails on a typical day.

    Card found that they made no difference at all, from the economic point of view.

  55. @Mr. Anon

    That video is really fake and cringey. It’s way over-produced and scripted. The kids are 100% actors, And Kamala is incapable of being a serious human no matter how hard she tries.

  56. Anonymous[225] • Disclaimer says:

    “ I had supposed that intellectuals frequently loved truth, but I found here again that not ten per cent of them prefer truth to popularity.”

  57. El Dato says:

    Nobel Prizes in Economics are awarded for absurdist constructions that prove something is happening in an alternate dimension of toon people which just randomly happens to have “economic indicators” that have the same value as “economic indicators” of the real world at the time they are measured.

  58. El Dato says:

    The lesson, the take-home, the moral to the story?: There are always–always–invisible, un-for-seen, un-after-seen, unnoticed, buried, and deliberately overlooked–but absolutely essential, necessary, sufficient–variables hiding in the woodwork.

    Absolutely not, but that text could be found in an airport shop science book.

    Also, those adjectives are used wrongly, in particular “necessary” and “sufficient”

  59. Anonymous[231] • Disclaimer says:

    The *only* thing that matters in the whole pseudo science of ‘economics’ is the law of supply and demand.
    Basically everything else is extraneous bullshit.

    David Card has managed to win his prize by producing reams and reams of writing, graphs, equations etc which somehow manage to have the effect of convincing the prize giving committee that the law of supply simply does not exist when it is politically correct to declare it doesn’t exit.

    It’s really the equivalent of that ancient trope that a committed hard core fanatical sophist can argue that black is white – no doubt with reams and reams of verbiage and quotations to support his thesis – and con the gullible.

    Only in this case the gullible are the political leaders.

    To cite another ancient adage, it’s the Emperor’s New Clothes all over again, you see only the ‘clever’ are able to see the non existent cloth.

    • Replies: @El Dato
    , @res
  60. Sailer wrote:

    Thus, Americans with strong verbalist skills have been penning touching paeans to how the wretched refuse are Who We Are, while Americans with weak verbalist skills, those semi-literate losers, have been complaining that immigrants are taking their jerbs.

    AKA the “parasitic verbalist overclass.”

    People who cannot produce anything of value themselves — whether high-rise construction or an integrated circuit or a new transmission for your car — but who are very, very skilled at using words to control, exploit, and manipulate their fellow human beings.

    Either we eliminate that class of parasites or we accept the euthanasia of our country and of Western civilization.

  61. TyRade says:

    My first exposure to attempts to rewrite the laws of (labour) supply and demand was as a practicising economist in HM Treasury around 1980. The question then was ‘how could a minimum wage, set above what the market would set, not reduce employment?’ Of course it couldn’t. And hear we are, still trying to ignore Econ 101, indeed getting Nobels for it. In principle (the ‘natural experiments’ are really noise wilfully grabbed to obscure the underlying reality) the only way an outward shift of the (upward sloping, against wages) labour supply curve, eg with immigration, could not depress wages is if the demand curve for labour were flat. Ie that at the prevailing market wage employers demanded all the workers who showed up. Ie not the real world. Of course, if the demand curve also shifts out (as Steve notes, because of a drugs boom) then the immigration effect on wages can be obscured. There’s still an effect. What have these guys been snorting?

  62. @Mike Tre

    He now wants to be addressed as Superpersons (they, them).

  63. I’m waiting for the gloating article in the Guardian – “we told you immigration was good!“.

    When it eventually arrives (surely inevitable, Guardianistas love love love credentials, and the Reichsbanks Prize is a biggie), it’ll be interesting to see if they are aware of Steve’s critique.

    If comments are open, it’ll mean they are true believers who have never stopped to wonder if there was anything unique about early-80s Miami. If no comments, either they are aware (or possibly have been burned before on immigration threads).

    • Replies: @El Dato
  64. Rob McX says:

    Imagine if these economists started looking at things at the micro level.

    Drug dealers: “Dropping out of school at 14 positively correlates to driving a high end BMW and needing trash bags to store earnings by age 20”.

    Or, “Getting arrested for passing counterfeit money significantly enhances the economic status of the arrestee’s family in the coming months”.

  65. Pericles says:
    @Mike Tre

    Has he come out with having two jewish fathers yet?

  66. @Sick 'n Tired

    Correction, the book title is “American Desperado” about John Roberts and his drug smuggling days. It’s an interesting read.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
  67. @Stan Adams

    “My research indicates that retail construction, driven by wealthy Latin American tourists who regarded Miami as the shopping mall of the Americas, peaked in the late ‘70s but continued at a torrid pace for over a decade. These are only a few of the major projects in Dade County: the Omni in 1977; Kendale Lakes and Cutler Ridge in ‘78; Mayfair in ‘79; The Falls in ‘80; Miami International in ‘82; Aventura in ‘83; Town and Country in ‘85; the Bakery Centre (now Sunset Place) in ‘86; Bayside in ‘87.”

    Ok, where exactly would you place Bal Harbour shopping center? It was built somewhat earlier, in 1965, and is north of Miami metro. What is the demographics that drove it to be built, and, was it during the early ’80’s a thriving center of retail consumption? Where does Bal Harbour fit in this equation?

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  68. El Dato says:

    The *only* thing that matters in the whole pseudo science of ‘economics’ is the law of supply and demand. Basically everything else is extraneous bullshit.

    Here are a few more.

    1. Production precedes consumption
    2. Consumption is the final goal of production
    3. Production has costs
    4. Value is subjective (law of diminishing marginal utility)
    5. Productivity determines the wage rate
    6. Expenditure is income and costs
    7. Money is not wealth
    8. Labor does not create value
    9. Profit is the entrepreneurial bonus
    10. All genuine laws of economics are logical laws (not really, they are behavioural laws; there is no formal logic to derive those laws even if Mises wrote a book about doing so)

    The above would have been enough to explain in that high-school year where we had an “hour of economics”. It consisted in a drone drone-reading from a utterly confusing textbook cobbled together by state-appointed Keynesians. The only think I remember is that it was hard to stay awake.

    One could add:

    macroeconomic activity tends toward stability (Say’s Law)


    In any system with finite signal propogation (e.g. the economy), people will try to cheat locally (e.g. by printing money) and dump costs on faraway agents with no remorse, then collect prizes saying how smart they are. Anything becomes possible and you will see efforts to short-circuit the battery to have more power or explosively decompress the airlock to get more air.

    Meanwhile in Europe, GDP increasing:

    Europe is awash with cocaine and faces a surge of abuse as Colombia produces record amounts with increasing purity. Experts say importers are stockpiling huge quantities, alarmed by threats to supply lines due to Covid lockdowns. Supply is up, but so is demand, leaving prices stable.

    Europe is a far more attractive prospect than the US. Prices are significantly higher, and the risks are much lower. A kilo of cocaine in the US is worth up to \$28k wholesale. That same kilo is worth around \$40k and might be as much as nearly \$80k in different parts of Europe.

    Lots of Nigerians flooding the distribution chain, too. How weird.

  69. Clyde says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Amusing how your Getty archive photo is from 1972. A gay marriage back then. It had zero legal standing, but the two long haired dudes, long sideburns too! Exchanged rings anyways. What a touching photo. (lulzz)

  70. El Dato says:
    @Obstinate Cymric

    Currently we just have

    One of the panel responsible for making the award, Eva Mörk of Uppsala University, said: “Many important questions are about cause and effect. Will people become healthier if their income increases [huh?]; do lockdowns reduce the spread of infections? [well, I would hope so?] This year’s laureates have shown that it is still [eh?] possible to answer these broad questions about cause and effects and the way to do that is to use natural experiments. [wuh?]”

    Experiments have been traditionally used to resolve question of causality in the small, but observational studies have been traditionally used to make arguments for one or the other causal model in the large and we now have books like these on how to do causal modeling and number fitting:

    Also from the Graun:

    Far-right Covid conspiracy theories fuelling antisemitism, warn UK experts

    The Wiener Holocaust Library in London is staging the exhibition – focusing on the motivations and propaganda of British fascists and their European peers in the 1920s and 30s – out of concern about the recent growth of far-right ideas and populism in the UK and abroad.

    Rare photographs including one of a woman on the streets of London wielding a union flag with a swastika at its heart are featured in the exhibition.

    The photo of the girl being stronk for the BUF in London is rather appealing, although the BUF had the lightning bolt, not the swastika as symbol (german-loving was not big in London, was it?), so it’s a bit strange.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  71. Rob McX says:
    @El Dato

    The Wiener Holocaust Library in London is staging the exhibition – focusing on the motivations and propaganda of British fascists and their European peers in the 1920s and 30s – out of concern about the recent growth of far-right ideas and populism in the UK and abroad.

    In all the years I’ve spent reading newspapers, I can’t remember a time when the “far right” wasn’t “on the rise”. If its growth were as phenomenal as we’re told, Europe and the US would be dotted with concentration camps by now, and you wouldn’t be able to walk down the street without having to make way for a Nuremberg-style rally.

    • Agree: Polistra
    • Replies: @El Dato
  72. MEH 0910 says:


  73. Blaming verbalist skills is cope.

    The strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.

    Join, or die.

  74. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    The Miami News (1965-01-05):

    Eventually, the 15 1/3-acre tract will have 350,000 square feet of some of the finest quality shops in America, in addition to a 13-story professional building.

    Unlike the ordinary center, it will have nary a supermarket or hardware store. Instead, it will boast of such elegant retail outlets as:

    F.A.O. Schwarz, New York and America’s most famous quality toy store; Maus & Hoffman, leading Fort Lauderdale men’s fashion store; Martha, one of New York’s best-known women’s apparel stores; Dein-Bacher of the Waldorf, tops in furs; Florsheim Shoes, and Russell Stover candy shop.

    In the initial stage, there will be 39 shops and parking on a double level to cut in half the walking distance for customers.

    In a lavish brochure announcing the center, Bal Harbour Shops listed as its immediate market 12 miles of luxury homes and apartments fringing the ocean from 41st Street to Hollywood Beach, the fashionable residential islands in Biscayne Bay and such mainland points as Bay Point, Miami Shores and Keystone Point….

    [Developer Stanley F. Whitman] also noted the center should be an instant success not only because it is flanked by 2,500 hotel rooms and expensive homes and apartments in Bal Harbour but booming Surfside as well.

    And he pointed out it will be located within a few short minutes of the Sunny Isles motel row and the Interama site to the northwest.

    Interama was a much-ballyhooed “permanent world’s fair of the Americas” that never got off the ground.

    The Miami Herald (1980-01-13):

    When Vogue’s January issue hit newsstands and mailboxes recently, it contained seven full pages of advertising plus several smaller ads from Bal Harbour Shops, a travel story about the area and 10 pages of resort clothing photographed at Bal Harbour.

    One of the small ads says simply, “Bal Harbour Shops. Expansion in progress.” It means that the understated and elegant shopping center is preparing to open its second level.

    Some South Florida stores may be worried about an economic slowdown and sluggish sales, but not the businesses that feature \$200 silk blouses.

    “I don’t know of any area of the country except New York and Los Angeles which have the number of [high fashion, expensive] specialty shops that Miami does,” said L’Officiel’s Katz.

    Two South Florida businessmen – Mitchell Rubenson of Cache and Randy Whitman of Bal Harbour Shops – use almost the same phrases to make a similar comparison: “Miami is probably the No. 3 market [for very expensive fashion] in the country. It’s New York, Los Angeles – or Beverly Hills, more specifically – and Miami,” Whitman put it. His father, Stanley, developed Bal Harbour Shops, and he is its leasing agent….

    In 1970, four years after Bal Harbour Shops opened, 60 per cent of its sales were in the five months between December and April. Now, because of the influx of Latin American customers during the summer season, those five months account for 50 per cent of the sales. “The Latin trade is so strong in the summer, that the year is flattening out [rather than peaking during the winter season],” Whitman said.

    The resident customer should not be counted out, Whitman said. “It’s the ethnic mix that makes us strong – the Latins and the Jews. Beverly Hills is Jewish; New York is Jewish. And Chicago – which is a very slow [fashion] market – is very waspish. They’re not interested in clothing – they buy real estate, automobiles and yachts, anything with a resale value,” he said.

    The Miami News (1982-03-29):

    At Bal Harbour Shops, long considered an emporium for the elegant, sales are up 11 to 12 per cent over a year ago, general manager Steve Bobby says. And it’s not as if shoppers there are showing the signs of economic recovery – 1981 sales at the center set records and were 14 per cent higher than 1980 sales.

    “We’ve been fortunate,” said Bobby. “We don’t see a recession.”

    The volume of shoppers is down from the past, Bobby said. He speculated that that’s happening because tourist volume is down sharply. But the people who are there are doing more than window shopping, he said. Purchases tend to be larger than in the past.

    • Replies: @Stan d Mute
  75. Mr. Anon says:
    @Sick 'n Tired

    Correction, the book title is “American Desperado” about John Roberts and his drug smuggling days. It’s an interesting read.

    So that’s what he did before he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

    Well, that explains his decisions.

  76. @Recently Based

    The counterfactual question goes to the heart of what’s wrong with economics…

    Keynes critique of econometrics(the specification problem) holds true in 2021…

    The biggest problem of all with econometrics is that it is an economic argument for race replacing the Native White Working Class across America…street by street…town by town…state by state…..state-federal parks included(I was at the October Fest in Lake George yesterday…renditions of Edelweiss in the air…)

    There is no econometric argument for race-replacing the Native White Working Class with Pakistani Muslims and Bosnian Muslims across America….

    Econometrics is to shit… shit is to Econometrics….

  77. @MEH 0910

    I’m sure “mass immigration doesn’t affect wages” is the lie a lot of people have been waiting for.

    Also in the Guardian:

    “Surging costs, supply issues, labour shortages and rising wages prompt investors to wipe billions off value of e-commerce darlings”

    It’s true that for 15 years, which is probably the limit of most Guardian readers experiences (anything earlier they remember through retconned BBC “reimaginings”), the idea of raising wages to attract new staff was unheard of. You just put an ad in Polish media or lobbied Barbara Roche to do what she wanted to do anyway.

    Which is how 10,000 Gambians ended up in Birmingham. Had five of them not been killed in an industrial accident who would ever have known?

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  78. dearieme says:

    I think someone – maybe Ron Unz – should institute a Sailer Prize for Not Noticing. Every year Mr iSteve would offer two candidates and Mr Unz would choose one. Then the chosen winner would have howls of laughter directed at him from the internet. His children would go crying home from school. His wife would divorce him in hopes of taking every penny he’s got.

    It would constitute a useful discipline for social science researchers.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  79. El Dato says:
    @MEH 0910

    This celebratory tweeting which additionally convinces me that no-one of the interventionists knows what he’s doing leads to:

    A Nobel Prize for the Credibility Revolution

    Which is pretty good, and from there on to:

    Machine Learning Methods Economists Should Know About

    … yes, but beware the double-sided swords!

    Moreover, noahpinion says:

    This picture has a perfectly normal downward-sloping labor demand curve (the blue line), but because a dominant company’s market power distorts the labor supply curve, minimum wage actually raises employment up to a point.

    That’s one of the dismal “textbook curves” in which you can always arrange the curves exactly so that you find your conclusion, especially if you don’t bother about non-linearity. But why are the dimensions of “wages” and “minimum wage level” commingled? That’s just wrong. Needs 3 dimensions.

    Anyway, a lot to read.

    • Replies: @Pericles
  80. El Dato says:
    @Rob McX

    I know, right?

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  81. res says:

    Only in this case the gullible are the political leaders.

    No. The gullible are the people whom the political leaders are convincing with this research. Plus SOME of the political leaders.

  82. Isn’t it also the case that by the early eighties, the general U.S. economy had shaken off the 1970s malaise – such that people were apt to invest/spend/consume?

    Miami was a mosquito-bitten backwater not genuinely habitable year round by most people until the emergence of air conditioning, which wasn’t really a standard, widely available consumer product until the late 1960s (see Perlstein’s Nixonland for a political theory about the effects of air conditioning on internal migration patterns).

    So the early 1980s represents a confluence of an improved economy paired with the availability of standardized air conditioning making the palm-tree lined, white sand beached, gin-clear Caribbean shores town in Florida a desirable place to live for twelve months as opposed to a nice warm place to visit for four in the Winter. What were the four control “comparison cities” and did they have similar natural attractants which were previously dormant? I skimmed the linked article and couldn’t find them but one supposes that they may have been rust belt type cities which experienced independent de-industrialization prior to and over the period in question and consequent localized economic depression like Buffalo or Cleveland. One can imagine what large scale low skilled immigration into Buffalo or Cleveland when the factories had been shuttered would have yielded in terms of wages.

    Billy Corben’s two part 30 for 30 titled “The U” (which is a sort of companion to his Cocaine Cowboys) makes Steve’s point through the eyes of a witness – nearly overnight stores hawking luxury products and exotic automobiles and boats popped up in Miami, followed by financial institutions, and an oceanfront high rise condominium building boom. The dealers interviewed in Cocaine Cowboys make it explicit that a lot of the luxury goods and real estate were vehicles to launder profits of the drug trade into legitimate assets. These business concerns feeding off of the proceeds of illegal narcotrafficking naturally required labor.

  83. @Steve Sailer

    Yes, but what city was the cocaine import and distribution hub for the US in 1990? And in 2000? Do we know the answers to these questions?

  84. @res

    No. The gullible are the people whom the political leaders are convincing with this research. Plus SOME of the political leaders.

    I don’t think they need to be convinced, because they have ulterior motives (wage depression, electing a new people). It’s just that it’s really unpopular to run on an explicit platform of “we pay you clods too much, and we want to replace you with more pliant sources of labor who will work at cut rates while you hopefully expire early.” (recall that Kristol – perhaps not famously enough – said this part out loud) So they run on the platform of “who we are, nation of immigrants, jobs Americans won’t do, street tacos, and immigration makes everyone prosperous!” These studies are the fig leaf they need to make the latter politically plausible at least until it is too late for anything to be done about it.

  85. I think it was Tyler Cowen, 20 years ago, in the Los Angeles Times, who wrote an op-ed arguing how great low-skilled immigration (legal or not) is for the economy, since there are complementarities between low-skill and high-skill workers (e.g., a Silicon Valley coder can work twice as much if he has household servants).

    I was tempted to respond with the counter-argument that if that were the case it would be even more beneficial to limit the skills and education of an appropriate portion of the native population, since the same complementarities would result but the costs of cultural adjustment would be lower.

    A reactionary (not me) might propose abolition of female education.

  86. @Stan Adams

    The Metrorail, which began operations in ‘84, got its seed money in ‘72. The project received a huge boost from the Carter administration’s support of mass transit during the oil crisis. Federal funding was justified by ridiculously-optimistic ridership projections based on dubious assumptions (\$3-a-gallon gasoline by 1985).

    That gas price assumption wasn’t so dubious if we’d reelected Jimmy Carter or otherwise continued to the oil policies he inherited and made worse. For that matter, what are you going to do when the rationed gas in your car tank runs out except for what’s needed to get to the gas station the next time your license plate number allows you to buy some?

  87. Brutusale says:
    @Mike Tre

    So a threesome with Lois and Jimmy?

  88. @YetAnotherAnon

    I forgot this

    Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has hit out at employers seeking to keep wages down through the use of cheap immigrant labour…

    His warning came as the meat industry became the latest sector to press for a relaxation of the immigration rules to address a shortfall of 10,000 trained butchers.

    Asked in an interview with the ConservativeHome website whether he thought businesses such as hauliers, fruit farmers and meat processors, which have complained of labour shortages, were trying to go back to the “old ways”, Mr Kwarteng replied: “That’s absolutely right.”

    He said: “Having rejected the low-wage, high-immigration model, we were always going to try to transition to something else.

    “What we’re seeing now is part of that transition. You’re quite right to say people are resisting that, particularly employers that were benefiting from an influx of labour that could keep wages low.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  89. @Technite78

    Not responsive to obwandiyag’s argument.

    His argument is that the yardstick being used for measuring the causal impacts being asserted is fundamentally flawed and therefore untrustworthy.

    The fancy-pants way of restating the argument is that omitted variables are rampant in such studies and that without randomization into treated vs. untreated groups the measurement is typically unreliable because the adjustments for selection bias are inadequate since there is neither (i) a comprehensive list of populated potential confounding variables, nor (ii) a valid instrumental variable to allow for a Heckman-style correction.

  90. Anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Strangely enough, in the UK it was the *Labour* Party – a political party, if you can believe it or not, explicitly formed about the year 1900 to defend the interests of labor – which was wholly responsible for flooding the UK with unlimited imported cheap labor in order to serve the interests of capitalist bosses seeking to grind down wages and conditions to the barest minimum !!!!!.

    Also extraordinary is that the pro business pro capitalist Conservative Party is generally sceptical of cheap labor migration.

    Like a horse fit only for the knacker’s yard, the Labour Party needs to be taken out and shot dead.

  91. SF says:

    Steve, I see you are still banned from Zuckerberg’s empire. My wife was interested in this subject and I tried to send her the link to this column by Messenger. Got a pop-up saying this material could not be sent because it is abusive or otherwise inappropriate. Could that have anything to do with the Nobel committee not reading your essays?

  92. Rob McX says:
    @El Dato

    Thanks, now I know the meaning of “gradually and then suddenly”.

  93. AMW says:

    Steve, I’ve seen you make this argument before, but I’ve never seen you put numbers to it. Total labor supply in the Miami area increased by ~7% due to the boatlift. Most of these folks couldn’t walk right into a white-collar career in the States, so the unskilled labor supply increased by some multiple of that.

    How much cocaine money changed hands in Miami at the same time? What percent of that got spent on local goods and services? What percent of that spending would go into hiring new workers vs. fattening profits? And how big is that as a percentage of the area’s annual per-capita wages?

    I don’t deny that an influx of cash would stimulate the job market. I just don’t see any effort to show that said stimulus would be enough to exactly offset the supply shock of the Mariel boatlift.

  94. @Sam Malone

    Yes, but what city was the cocaine import and distribution hub for the US in 1990? And in 2000? Do we know the answers to these questions?

    It likely remained Miami throughout the decline of Cocaine as the premiere street drug in the U.S. (both high end uncut Cocaine and Crack). Columbia is a short prop plane flight to/from South Florida, and South Florida has always been a smuggler’s haven due to its geography (long coastline, barrier islands/permeable/navigable mangrove forests, dense jungle, short runs to lawless/corrupt Bahamas/Caribbean ports, etc.). Miami is also on Interstate 95/US1, which is the main East Coast thoroughfare running through DC, Baltimore, North Jersey, NYC, and Boston.

    South Florida was similarly a smuggler’s haven during prohibition (fictionalized in Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not) and was a natural distribution hub for Caribbean Rum and various European spirits imported into Caribbean colonies and then into the U.S. during that time.

  95. @Steve Sailer

    It’s hard to explain how smuggling friendly South Florida is to people who haven’t been there.

    • Agree: Polistra
  96. @Stan Adams

    Stan, you know what Bal Harbour is. You never lived as close as I did, but you know.

    You know the population in Surfside even if you can’t walk there with your dogs like I did for years.

    I am reminded of Elmore Leonard (perhaps the greatest Detrioter). He wrote about the Bal Harbor crowd in detail.

    None of this shit is new. I’m getting bored.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  97. Pericles says:

    Good idea. Would it be for not noticing in regard to specific discoveries or for a career of not noticing? Either way, it does seem there would normally be more than two viable candidates.

  98. Pericles says:
    @El Dato

    As far as I can recall, that noahpinion guy has never been someone worth reading.

    Needs 3 dimensions.

    True. Or, equivalently, why is the minimum wage level fixed?

  99. @AMW

    How much cocaine money changed hands in Miami at the same time? What percent of that got spent on local goods and services? What percent of that spending would go into hiring new workers vs. fattening profits? And how big is that as a percentage of the area’s annual per-capita wages?

    As Steve stated elsewhere, the narcotics profits were not just from distribution within Miami for local consumption but also for distribution from Miami throughout the United States.

    Profits from illegal narcotics trafficking need to be successfully laundered. So the profits were driven into legitimate enterprises like building oceanfront high rise condominiums and hotels, which could be sold out for “clean” money. Construction is a major employer or low skilled male laborers. Hotels and amenity-rich high rise condominiums are a major employer of low skilled female laborers. It’s not a matter of hiring “new workers” in the Cocaine distribution enterprise, nor in the existing corner store – rather it’s a matter of the cash needing to be funneled through new legitimate enterprises for its own sake. The glut of low skilled labor was a happy accident that coincided with the Cocaine boom, but did not cause the economic health of Miami throughout this period.

  100. @Stan d Mute

    None of this shit is new. I’m getting bored.

    Yeah, I hear you. I’m suffering from a bout of existential boredom myself.

  101. MEH 0910 says:
    @MEH 0910

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