The United States Is Full, Chapter MCXVII

The war on cucumbers continues:  

Summer vegetables are ripening in fields across North Carolina, but farmers fear the bounty could go unharvested if a growing labor shortage continues.

The farms that supply Nash Produce were among many across the state that couldn't find enough workers last fall, and farmers say the problem could escalate this year. Enforcement raids have increased the cost to immigrants of sneaking over the border and discouraged many illegal immigrants from coming.

Some worry that North Carolina will end up like California, where portions of last fall's crops rotted in the fields and ripe fruit fell from the trees because workers didn't come to pick them.

This year, contractors are predicting that labor will be tight again, said Joyner, president of a cooperative of about a dozen growers, which includes Leggett. He said his farmers are so worried that they refused to plant all the cucumbers he could have sold this year.

"They asked me, `Well, if I plant them, can you promise me I'm going to get them picked?' " Joyner said. "And I can't." 

"Americans today don't want to sweat and get their hands dirty," said Doug Torn, who owns a wholesale nursery in Guilford County. "We have a choice. Do we want to import our food or do we want to import our labor?"

To recap: Government criminalizes mutually beneficial exchange through protectionist labor policies; innocent cucumbers rot. (Some will never even have the chance to be born.) Tobacco, sweet potatos, and Christmas trees are also in jeopardy.

Read reason on criminal Christmas trees here.

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  • ||

    This would probably be the wrong thread to type out a stirring Ron "Build the Wall" Paul endorsement, huh?

  • thoreau||

    I agree with MikeP.

  • ||

    There absolutely IS an hourly rate that would supply the demand for labor.

    Unless the Law of Supply and Demand has been repealed.

    PS. I'm willing to pay Twice as much for cucumbers (or actaully whatever it takes).

  • ||

    Maybe we can turn the tide by pointing out that the lack of Christmas Trees (or Christianized Pagan Trees, if you prefer) will harm the children.

    "Let these migrant workers in, for the children."

    It works for them, right?

  • ||

    There was a similar article last week in the Detroit Free Press--farmers here are about to plow their asparagus crops under, because there's nobody to harvest them. And I like asparagus!

  • ||

    "There absolutely IS an hourly rate that would supply the demand for labor."

    But there still may not be a point where the farmer can grow them and still make a profit. In that case, the rational thing to do is wait it out, or (if it's looking like a long-term trend) choose another line of business.

  • ||

    Now I am an open borders guy and all, but this story kind of bothers me.

    The farms that supply Nash Produce were among many across the state that couldn't find enough workers last fall, and farmers say the problem could escalate this year. Enforcement raids have increased the cost to immigrants of sneaking over the border and discouraged many illegal immigrants from coming.

    If your business model is dependent upon illegal immigrants that provide lower labor costs due to the fact that they are illegal and would probably decrease the market price, then maybe your business model is a bit screwy?

    it seems to me that the solution to a lack of labor due to the government enforcing the law would be to offer higher wages to get more people into the "diminishing" pool of labor? And then recover at least some of the costs by passing them on to to Nash produce who then can either take a smaller profit margin or try to pass the costs onto the consumer, no?

    "Americans today don't want to sweat and get their hands dirty," said Doug Torn,

    What he means is they don't want to sweat and get their hands dirty at the current cut-rate salary level, no?

  • ||

    Well, according to this Townhall.com article, the risks of imported food are too much to bear so we must grow and harvest our own.

    So clearly, food prices must increase if we are to a)restrict labor and b)restrict food imports. I guess the question is, how much are people willing to pay for domestically grown tomatoes, peaches, cucumbers and the like? How much would you accept to pick said fruits and veggies? $5/hr, $10, $20?

  • ||

    The best solution would be to end agriculture subsidies and agricultural tarrifs, so many of these crops could be grown in Latin America. That would also give people there jobs, slowing down the rate of immigration.

  • ||

    KenK is right.

    If the farmers can afford higher wages to pick the crops, no harm no foul. If they can't, we import the crops from Mexico. The Mexican farm workers still get paid, but their kids don't get $10,000 per year educations in U.S. public schools.

  • ||

    "...crops rotted in the fields and ripe fruit fell from the trees because workers didn't come to pick them..."

    Sounds like an opportunity to put convicts and welfare recipients to work.


    "He said his farmers are so worried that they refused to plant all the cucumbers he could have sold this year."

    Sell less at higher prices, then you can afford to hire legal labor.

  • TEUTONIC DAN T.||

    This would be probably the wrong thread to write to the agitating Ron "building of the winding out "Paul Aufschrift, huh?

  • Carter||

    "Do we want to import our food or do we want to import our labor"

    Given the externalities of "cheap" illegal alien labor, the answer is to import the food. Let free markets work, these farmers whining about labor "shortages" are only in business because of direct and indirect subsidies.

  • ||

    : Government criminalizes mutually beneficial exchange through protectionist labor policies; innocent cucumbers rot.

    Like I said, Im for open borders, but I have a question to people who believe the above sentiment. If the borders did in fact open, and the labor market pool got a lot more legal/legitimate immigrants, do you believe that the labor rates will stay the same, go down or go up due to this change in labor pool?

    My instinct is that based on many of these laborers being legitimate and not illegal the rate for their labor would go up.

    Of course, on the other hand if the pool adds a shit load to the labor pool that could drive make wages even lower?

  • ||

    Border security and immigration policy are two different issues. As a matter of fact, a looser immigration policy would improve border security, by encouraging good-doers (you know, the opposite of evil-doers) to come in through the front door.

    Chicago Tom's comment raises an interesting question - what would the wage difference be between a seasonal migrant ag laborer with a work visa vs. one who snuck in?

  • ||

    Chicago Tom,

    Just a guess, but I'd say "increase slightly."

  • ||

    "I'm willing to pay Twice as much for cucumbers (or actaully whatever it takes)."
    "Sell less at higher prices, then you can afford to hire legal labor."

    Well, glad to know that you are willing to do "whatever it takes"! I suppose articles like this are just blowing smoke eh? So, even with the cheap labor food prices continue to rise, and you want to make sure they soar even higher. Whatever it takes to make you happy I guess.

  • ed||

    $3 gas I can handle. But if pickle prices start rising I'm gonna be royally pissed off.

  • ||

    Are you willing to pay twice as much for Food Stamps?

    We need to liberalize immigration policy, to avoid unsustainable growth in the welfare state.

  • ||

    Well, the one plus(??) of higher food prices is that the Federal "Poverty Level" will be more in line with what it was 60 years ago before the "green revolution" since it is based on food, rather than home, prices.

  • ||

    Kwix,

    I knew this was coming. Government-mandated, inefficient-ass Ethanol is beginning to threaten the food supply.

    Can we stop fucking around and build some Nuclear Plants, please?!?

  • ||

    Can we stop fucking around and build some Nuclear Plants, please?!?

    Sorry, this is one of the things that Big Oil, and Greenpeace, 100% agree on.

    NO FUCKING NUCLEAR PLANTS!!! NOT NOW! NOT EVER!!

  • fyodor||

    Chicago Tom,

    The problems with your analysis are that it's too narrowly focused and static. The increased efficiency that comes with freedom and free markets increases wealth across the board, which increases the workers' bargaining power. Don't forget, once they're legal, they might actually find other things they can do besides pick cucumbers!!

  • ||

    "To recap: Government criminalizes mutually beneficial exchange through protectionist labor policies; innocent cucumbers rot. (Some will never even have the chance to be born.) Tobacco, sweet potatos, and Christmas trees are also in jeopardy."

    And innocent people will not be killed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Maturino_Resendiz

  • ||

    Sorry, this is one of the things that Big Oil, and Greenpeace, 100% agree on.

    NO FUCKING NUCLEAR PLANTS!!! NOT NOW! NOT EVER!!


    All the more Reason to get to work on 'em.

  • ||

    @Ken So, if the government implements stricter immigration controls, "innocent people will not get killed?" Excellent, it's a deal. But we're holding you to that promise.

  • Duckman||

    I know this is going offtopic, but without nuclear, we're not going to make ANY dent in greenhouse gas emissions. There are no alternatives to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are not either too small to make an impact or require radical decreases in energy consumption that the average American will not accept.

  • ||

    Ken,

    Does that mean that if I can find a case of a xenophobe who killed somebody, we can get rid of them, too?

  • ||

    Ken,

    According to the FBI, approx 168,000 murders occur every year nationwide. So what are you saying, that since 15 of these were committed by this particular illegal immigrant, we should more strongly restrict immigration?

    Anecdotal evidence is not exactly a strong premise...

    PROOF

  • ||

    Duckman,

    40% of the energy consumed in the United States is lost in waste heat.

    With just slightly better technologies, we could cut everyone's energy consuption by a third and nobody would notice a difference.

    Once upon a time, it was assumed that wealth and the acreage of land under tillage were eternally linked. Today, people make the same erroneous assumption about wealth and energy consumption.

  • ||

    Then again, neither is poor grammar...

    Preview! *smacks head with hammer*
    Preview! *smacks head with hammer*
    Preview! *smacks head with hammer*

  • ||

    joe,

    Not to say you're wrong, but where did that 40% stat come from?

  • ||

    Well, according to this Townhall.com article, the risks of imported food are too much to bear so we must grow and harvest our own.

    Maybe we can go back to eating grass. It would put the appendix to good use, with the side benefit of protecting the fuzzy puppies from the nefarious commies.

  • MattXIV||

    Chicago Tom's comment raises an interesting question - what would the wage difference be between a seasonal migrant ag laborer with a work visa vs. one who snuck in?



    I think it could be higher or lower depending on how the tradeoffs work, but probably higher.

    Upward pressures:

    -The farmer no longer has to worry about the immigrant being kicked out by the authorities while the job is half done.
    -Employers who didn't want to hire illegal immigrants (whether based on principled or practical reasons) will now be hiring from the same pool.
    -The immigrants have a stronger negotiating position because the employer can't treaten to make legal trouble for them based on immigration status.

    Downward pressures:

    -The immigrant is no longer going to be adding a risk premium based on potentially getting deported.
    -It's harder for employeers to screw legal immigrants out of money, so the risk premium from that will go away.
    -If larger number would take advantage of the visas than are currently entering illegaly, the labor market wouldn't be as tight.

  • ||

    I can't speak for cucumbers or asparagus, but some food is sold on an exchange such as the CBoT. Some farmers have nothing to do with the price they receive for their goods. For those, they can not charge more because their labor costs are greater. They have to eat the extra labor costs, no pun intended.

    If you feel your not paying enough for food, well you may get what you wish. Not enough pickers can lead to less food traded on the exchange, less supply, higher cost.

  • ||

    Taktix:

    I saw it on tee-vee. It must have been true, because it was accompanied by a shot of a power plant with a big steam plume coming out of it.

    Sorry, I don't recall exactly, but I remember it was a decently reliable source.

  • ||

    There absolutely IS an hourly rate that would supply the demand for labor.

    True enough.

    Unless the Law of Supply and Demand has been repealed.

    No it hasn't. But neither has the Theory of Comparative Advantage.

    By raising the wage to a level that gets a native to do the work, you are pulling that native away from some higher productivity work that he could be doing instead and missing out on the additional producer surplus.

    That is the principal advantage to the economy of low skilled immigrant labor.

    The key is not that immigrants do the jobs Americans won't do. It's that immigrants do the jobs that Americans shouldn't do because Americans can instead do a job with higher value to themselves and to society.

  • ||

    "So, if the government implements stricter immigration controls, "innocent people will not get killed?" "
    There will still be some, but less.
    Taktix
    "According to the FBI, approx 168,000 murders occur every year nationwide. So what are you saying, that since 15 of these were committed by this particular illegal immigrant, we should more strongly restrict immigration?
    Anecdotal evidence is not exactly a strong premise..."
    But this guy is not the ONLY illegal who had a propensity to murder someone (even if illegals had the exact or lower propensity SOME of them would have it, so MORE of them overall would mean MORE overall folks like that).
    And as to your anecdotal comment:
    According to the FBI, approx 168,000 murders occur every year nationwide. So what are you saying, that since 15 of these were committed by this particular illegal immigrant, we should more strongly restrict immigration?
    http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_1_the_illegal_alien.html

  • ||

    You mean the anti-immigration groups don't have long lists of Americans whose jobs were stolen by immigrants to give to the farmers?

    I wonder how many able, unemployed North Carolinians are sitting on their rear ends collecting checks from the taxpayers? State UC offices used to make you take any job you were qualified for or you would lose your unemployment check.

  • Fluffy||

    Mike -

    Yeah, we can't afford to pull any of our inner city high school dropouts off of their critical superconductor and NASA work in order to pick cucumbers. There's too much comparative advantage to lose.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    If those inner city high school dropouts aren't picking crops now, I don't know what you're going to do to get them to pick crops in the future.

  • ||

    I smell, like the migrant workers would say, Mierda De Toro.

    The very powerful farm lobby, which doesn't let us import sugar or peanuts, could have one of the congressmen it owns increase the number of visas for farm workers by the time I'm done typing this.

    But farmers don't want legal migrant workers.

    They want workers they can rip off and not pay and who won't turn them in to the state or federal department of labor.

  • ||

    40% of the energy consumed in the United States is lost in waste heat.

    With just slightly better technologies, we could cut everyone's energy consuption by a third and nobody would notice a difference.


    Yeah, that "waste heat" is also known as entrophy, and I highly doubt you are going to be able to cut it by a third. No system is ever going to be 100% efficient.

    You aren't mistaking "waste heat", and thinking that all we need to do is install better insulation to keep "heat from escaping" do you? That is not what they mean by "waste heat".

    However, by simply adopting a French style nuclear program, the U.S. could eliminate 30% (at least) of its CO2 emmissions, AND save money in the process.

    If you can't accept a large-scale nuclear program (such as they have in France) as a nessicary part of CO2 reduction, then anything else you have planned is a non-starter. If the greenies can't compromise on nuclear power to reduce CO2 emmissions, then don't expect me to compromise anything to reduce CO2 emmissions.

  • ||

    Once I invent the automatic, solar-powered, cucumber picking machine I'll solve everyone's problem. Maybe I'll go buy a house in Baja with my millions... What's that? I can't buy property in Mexico?! Bummer, forget it then.

  • Mike Laursen||

    If your business model is dependent upon illegal immigrants that provide lower labor costs due to the fact that they are illegal and would probably decrease the market price, then maybe your business model is a bit screwy?

    I'm an open borders type guy, too, and I agree.

  • ||

    Yeah, we can't afford to pull any of our inner city high school dropouts off of their critical superconductor and NASA work in order to pick cucumbers. There's too much comparative advantage to lose.

    How many cucumber farms are located in the inner city again?

  • ||

    The very powerful farm lobby, which doesn't let us import sugar or peanuts,...

    The kind of farmers who grow cucumbers and other table crops do not have a particularly powerful lobby. They also don't get much in the way of subsidies.

  • ||

    oh, Isaac, say it ain't so! I don't want to live in a world where there isn't a powerful industry group known colloquially as "Big Cucumber."

  • ||

    They don't grow crops in the inner city.

    Rex, I know what waste heat is. Your turn: do you know what cogeneration is? And how it might possibly be relevent to this discussion?

    And while I think it's worth looking into nuclear power - especially now that pebble-bed technology had made it so much safer - no one who has actually looked at the issue, and doesn't have an ideological ax to grind againt environmentalists - takes your absolutist position that it, and only it, is the solution to global warming.

  • ||

    There were an estimated 15,517 murders in 2000,...

    I think whoever said "168,000 murders occur every year nationwide..." is off by a little bit.

    You know, just saying.

  • ||

    Of course they didn't actually say which nation, so maybe they're right.

  • Scooby||

    "And innocent people will not be killed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Maturino_Resendiz"

    Those fuckin' mexicans- stealing all the good serial killer jobs from their rightful white owners.

  • ||

    Ken -
    But this guy is not the ONLY illegal who had a propensity to murder someone (even if illegals had the exact or lower propensity SOME of them would have it, so MORE of them overall would mean MORE overall folks like that).

    The same thing can be said for all people, so you're arguing against . . . the existence of people? Because some of them will have the propensity to murder?

    Is it just reproduction that should be illegal, or should we be more proactive by getting rid of the already born?

  • ||

    dey tuk ma jerb!!

  • ||

    Mierda De Toro

    Just to pick nits .. wouldn't it be Mierda Del Toro ??

    What's that? I can't buy property in Mexico?! Bummer, forget it then.

    I don't believe that's true either. Last I looked into it the laws had been changed so that foreigners could in fact own land/homes in Mexico. I was told that that Oprah owned a large estate near the resort I was staying in during my last vacation to Mexico

    Yeah, we can't afford to pull any of our inner city high school dropouts off of their critical superconductor and NASA work in order to pick cucumbers.

    They don't grow crops in the inner city.

    If memory serves me, the majority of welfare recipients are in depressed rural areas. I believe rural areas do in fact grow agricultural products, no?

  • ||

    Chicago Tom,

    I was responding to a particular point someone made about "inner city high school dropouts."

  • ||

    I was responding to a particular point someone made about "inner city high school dropouts."

    Joe,
    My statement wasn't directed at you/your comment. It was merely to provide context for my comment. Rex Rhino said the same thing you did as well.


    What I was getting at is that the a better response to MikeP's "Theory of Comparative Advantage" comment is that instead of using inner city HS dropouts as a rebuttal, a more apt counter-example would be the large population of rural welfare recipients.

  • Ron Hardin||

    Cucumbers prefer not to be picked.

  • ||

    echo "If those inner city high school dropouts aren't picking crops now, I don't know what you're going to do to get them to pick crops in the future." | sed 's/inner city high school dropouts/rural welfare recipients/'

  • ||

    This story seemed rather funny to me and is all about immigration policy

    echo "If those inner city high school dropouts aren't picking crops now, I don't know what you're going to do to get them to pick crops in the future." | sed 's/inner city high school dropouts/rural welfare recipients/'

    Wow a Unix Joke...Fucking HIlarious. Better than slash-dot.

    One thing you can do with welfare recipients is withold payments if the refuse to do jobs that are available to them. Picking fruit is something just about anyone can do. Unless there is some kind of specialized skill-set involved.

  • ||

    One thing you can do with welfare recipients is withold payments if the refuse to do jobs that are available to them.

    Indeed. And you can do that whether or not you raise the wage.

    Somehow I doubt the marginal worker to show up at the farm as the wage rises will be the welfare recipient. More likely it will be someone from the local factory, taken away from a more valuable job by an artificially high wage.

  • ||

    So it's official: "Reason" no longer believes in supply and demand, economics, and all that kind of stuff.

    Or rather, Reason is perfectly willing to embrace fallacious arguments when they like the conclusions.

  • ||

    I do not speak for Reason, but if I may interject...

    No one has denied believing in supply and demand. Instead what they have noted is that artificially restricting the labor pool, and then saying it's all okay because supply and demand will induce a higher wage, is simply bad policy.

    If the work can be done for a lower wage, and if someone can be found to willingly do it for a lower wage, then it should be done for the lower wage. And if someone with lower valued skills can be found to do the work, freeing the person with the higher valued skills to do higher valued work, then the lower skilled worker should be doing the work.

    Thinking that "supply and demand" is an argument against immigration because wages will rise until workers are found is much like thinking that "gravity" is an argument against immigration because the apples will fall out of the tree eventually anyway. Yes, it's true. But it completely misses the point of the benefit of immigrant labor.

  • TLB||

    I confess to not reading the preceding 62 comments; I'm sure in that number someone has pointed out that Reason is - yet again - supporting MassiveSubsidies to CorruptGrowers.

    As for the linked article, it's BS for the reasons described here:

    http://www.vdare.com/sailer/061008_pearanoia.htm

  • ||

    "What I was getting at is that the a better response to MikeP's "Theory of Comparative Advantage" comment is that instead of using inner city HS dropouts as a rebuttal, a more apt counter-example would be the large population of rural welfare recipients."

    The Theory of Comparative Advantage gets some funny results when government intervention kicks in -- if the thing a citizen is best at is sucking at the teat of welfare programs, then that is the "job" they'll gravitate to, leaving immigrants who are not so proficient at sponging off the rest of us to pick the crops.

    Get rid of all the welfare state B.S., so people who don't work actually go hungry, and those native-born kids will put their substandard public school education to work and do whatever jobs for which they have a comparative advantage.

  • Fluffy||

    Our inner cities are closer to the fields then Mexico and Guatemala are. How do the illegal immigrants get to where the crops are? Is there some kind of "bus ban" in the inner cities I haven't heard about?

    If the farmers really, really, really can't find any labor, pay $12 an hour and provide free bus transportation. Voila - labor force.

  • ||

    The MassiveSubsidy to CorruptGrowers, wacko, is the presence of vulnerable, illegal workers.

    Reason doesn't want there to be vulnerable, illegal workers. So no, they are not supporting MassiveSubsidies to CorruptGrowers. You are, by hawking your certain-to-fail prohibitionism.

  • ||

    If the work can be done for a lower wage, and if someone can be found to willingly do it for a lower wage, then it should be done for the lower wage.



    That's an argument in theory that ignores the reality of immigration, labor, and the very fact that we live in a nation with a central government. Instead of advocating that the US drop any and all restrictions on immigration (and perhaps work place safety and child labor laws too) as you argue, we should make everyone play by the rules as they currently exist and then work to change them.

    There are countless ways that our (any) government distorts the theoretically perfect market economy we all want. But as long as countries and nations exists you have to work within that framework, which will always including giving the government the power to control its borders.

  • Fluffy||

    "If the work can be done for a lower wage, and if someone can be found to willingly do it for a lower wage, then it should be done for the lower wage."

    The reason a free market benefits even the least well off is because as the amount of wealth in the system grows, and as more and more workers move into high skill positions, the wages of the least skilled rise. This is the best defense the free market has against those who would claim that it doesn't benefit everyone - the fact that over time, it does.

    But that model just doesn't work if every time it looks like the wages of the least skilled will rise, we import labor from outside the system to bring those wages down again.

    Only a closed system allows everyone to benefit.

    You might counter that the "true" market for labor is the entire world, but I don't think that's the case. Mismanagement of Third World nations [and I count Mexico as part of the Third World] has warped the market for labor by producing a huge pool of impoverished workers. We're asking a handful of quasi-free markets to carry the burden for a world's worth of unfree ones, and they just doesn't work.

  • ||

    But that model just doesn't work if every time it looks like the wages of the least skilled will rise, we import labor from outside the system to bring those wages down again.

    Please explain Connecticut, which has twice the standard of living of Mississippi, and Mississippi, which has twice the standard of living of Puerto Rico.

  • z||

    Raise the wage to $100/hr and I'll go down and pick some cucumbers.

  • ||

    No one has denied believing in supply and demand. Instead what they have noted is that artificially restricting the labor pool, and then saying it's all okay because supply and demand will induce a higher wage, is simply bad policy.

    No, that is not the argument. The argument is that there is a labor "shortage" and that "Americans today don't want to sweat and get their hands dirty". That's the same economic fallacy promoted by the Bush administration. They specifically avoid talking about rising wages, since most people would consider that a good thing.

    There is a potential problem of labor *surplus* induced by the minimum wage. But since there isn't any maximum wage, there can't be a labor shortage - period.

    And the remark about Americans not wanting to work is just plain stupid. You don't have to have an economics degree to understand that everyone takes the best job they can get. Mexicans aren't masochists who seek out bad jobs.

  • TLB||

    joe opines: Reason doesn't want there to be vulnerable, illegal workers. So no, they are not supporting MassiveSubsidies to CorruptGrowers. You are, by hawking your certain-to-fail prohibitionism.

    They might want some things, or they might not want some things. All I knows is I can look at the bottom line: ReasonMagazine is supporting MassiveSubsidies to CorruptGrowers*.

    * In the universe that the rest of us inhabit that is.

  • ||

    "your certain-to-fail prohibitionism."
    The idea that you can't ever really eliminate x so we might as well stop trying has probably been used against some iniatives that I imagine you support (like Matthew 26:11).

  • ||

    Lonwacko,

    That wasn't even a rebuttal. That was just "nuh-uh."

  • highnumber||

    Matthew 26:11 "For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always."

    WTF?

  • Gahan||

    "But this guy is not the ONLY illegal who had a propensity to murder someone (even if illegals had the exact or lower propensity SOME of them would have it, so MORE of them overall would mean MORE overall folks like that)."

    It would also mean a larger pool of potential murder victims, making you or me no more likely statistically to be murdered.

  • Mike Laursen||

    TLB, again, can you please explain why you CapitalizeWords in a FunnyWay?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Fluffy, your logic may be brilliant but there's something I'm not following:

    You talk about laborers either being in or out of the system. But you started out talking about the system in general (not just the labor aspect) and how everyone benefits as the amount of wealth grows.

    Does this system in general that you started out talking about have the same boundaries as the first world where labor is relatively free? Or is the system in general the entire world's economy?

    Seems to me only the latter corresponds to how the modern economy works. It just is global, no two ways about it. So, does it have any meaning to talk about importing laborers into it?

    To artificially draw a border around the labor market to protect the laborers within, one would have to also draw a border around the entire economy they are part of: no immigrant labor, no outsourcing, no importing or exporting.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Given the externalities of "cheap" illegal alien labor, the answer is to import the food. Let free markets work, these farmers whining about labor "shortages" are only in business because of direct and indirect subsidies."

    I agree with this.

    Imported food doesn't show up at the emergency room wanting medical treatment it can't pay for or demand that we provide bilingual education for it's kids, etc.

    Furthermore as I recall Thomas Sowell writing in one of his columns a while back, global free trade in products is a fundamentally different thing than free trade in people.

    There is still such a thing as national sovereignty and foreign nationals do not have any sort of fundamental "right" to be here if the legal citizens of the country do not want them to be enact immigration laws to restrict the flow of them.

    Mexico is essentially exporting the effect of it's own corrupt and incompetent government to the United States. By allowing this to continue, we are enabling that corrupt government to continue in power indefinetly and continue exportng it's problems to us indefinitly. I don't see how letting Mexico continue playing us for a chump is a viable policy.

  • Mike Laursen||

    By allowing this to continue, we are enabling that corrupt government to continue in power indefinetly and continue exportng it's problems to us indefinitly.

    OK, let's say Mexico were to become part of the United States, adopting our government as its government. Would you have a problem with Mexican workers then?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I'd have a problem with Mexico becomming a part of the United States to begin with.

    Why should we let them do it just because they wanted to?

    If all Mexico become a new series of states within the United States then "according to our laws" those much poorer states would then start getting all sorts of federal government money for education subsidies, upgrading the roads and infrastucture, etc. etc. - on and on.

    It would be another enormous transfer of wealth from those in the existing states to the new Mexican states.

    Doesn't sound good to me.

  • ||

    OK, let's say Mexico were to become part of the United States, adopting our government as its government.

    Do we just get Mexico, or do we have to keep the Mexicans too?

    If we enslaved the Mexicans and made them build their own damned roads and schools, maybe that would solve Gilbert's concern (which I concur with btw, it's one of my big reasons for not sending a horde down there to take over right this very minute).

  • ||

    Duckman,

    ...There are no alternatives to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are not either too small to make an impact or require radical decreases in energy consumption that the average American will not accept.

    You are right. But Al Gore can make them accept the cuts. joe, OTOH,

    40% of the energy consumed in the United States is lost in waste heat.

    knows nothing about the second law of thermodynamics. But then, lack of knowledge hasn't seemed to slow Gore down much.


    So why don't we solve the whole problem with illegal immigrants? Screw this "build a fence" stuff. Let them sneak in, round their asses up, and turn them into slaves. If nothing else we can force them to walk on electricity generating tread mills until they drop.

    When word gets out that this is the kind of work you'll get for sneaking into the US, maybe it won't seem like such a good idea anymore.

    And maybe then Al Gore will stop bleating, because our electricity will be generated by "natural" and "renewable" resources.

  • ||

    do you know what cogeneration is? And how it might possibly be relevent to this discussion?

    Ohhh!!! I do, I do!

    But first you have to define "waste heat". Then you have a lot of work to do, showing that 40% of the "waste heat" in this country is high enough quality to run a cogen cycle on.

    US industry is not stupid. If the economics were there (i.e. if the quality of the heat was there), the cogen plants would be there too.

    Those illegal immigrants, OTOH, don't yet have a clue about the trap we're going to be setting for them. Here, little immigrants! Right this way, I've got a nice treadmill waiting for you.

  • ||

    Warning: make sure your sarcasm meter is in calibration before reading my previous posts.

  • Mike Laursen||

    It would be another enormous transfer of wealth from those in the existing states to the new Mexican states.

    Would the problem be that the Mexican states would be new to the United States form of government? Would they come up to speed after a while?

    Or is there something else wrong with Mexico besides the corrupt and incompetent government?

  • ||

    Or is there something else wrong with Mexico besides the corrupt and incompetent government?

    They aren't used to obeying a competent government.

    Don't underestimate the power of long established habits. They'd have to get knocked around a bit before they got used to a sudden change like that.

    Yet another reason I haven't sent a horde down there to just take over. The cost-benefit analysis just doesn't recommend it.

  • ||

    So why don't we solve the whole problem with illegal immigrants? Screw this "build a fence" stuff. Let them sneak in, round their asses up, and turn them into slaves. If nothing else we can force them to walk on electricity generating tread mills until they drop.

    Hey, we also could eat them! I've heard that they taste just like chicken. That would give new meaning to the concept of "importing our food".

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Would the problem be that the Mexican states would be new to the United States form of government? Would they come up to speed after a while?"

    Who cares whether they "come up to speed after a while" or not?

    Why should existing United States citizens pay huge amounts of money to get them up to speed?

    That is just another form of bailing Mexico out from the results of their own government's incompetence and corruption.

    I read recently that there is some billionaire down there who recently passed Warren Buffet as the second richest man in the world. He didn't get that was because he's smarter than Buffet.

    Let the Mexicans pay for their own reformation.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I meant to say he didn't get that way because he's smarter than Buffet.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Of course this hypothetical is far fetched to begin with.

    The Mexicans don't want to become part of the United States.

    They want the United States to become part of Mexico.

  • ||

    "I meant to say he didn't get that way because he's smarter than Buffet."

    Uh-huh. No way some dumb fucking spic is going to make money honestly.

  • ||

    At least in this immigration thread the antis are having no problem admiting they are just plain bigots.

  • ||

    I live in NC.
    In 1990 I never saw a Mexican in day to day life.
    Today, immigrants are 5% of the people here,
    they say, but what I see is much greater.
    Nash and Wayne counties, where the pickles are,
    have 5% or less unemployment rates.
    Pickers might make a $1000 a week,
    but then they must move on.
    Picking isn't a regular job.
    Pickers can't buy a house and stay put.
    The hand work field jobs are seasonal.
    (see Minute Maid's history trying to change)
    To have a work force that is willing to move,
    move constantly from county to county,
    state to state, following ripening crops,
    is not an easy force to fill locally.
    Paying more isn't a sure solution in our culture.
    Is the US willing to bring in people every year,
    year after year, more & more people to pick our crops?
    I guess we could go back to renting out prisoners.

  • Scooby||

    Now we have French immigrants coming here and stealing our NBA Championship MVP jobs- everyone knows those are reserved for inner-city blacks.

    When will the madness end?

  • Mike Laursen||

    Let the Mexicans pay for their own reformation.

    Your opinion is, though, that if the Mexican people reformed their government, they would be prosperous. Is that correct?

    What do the Mexicans need to do to reform their government?

    What's holding them back from making those reforms?

  • libertreee||

    http://www.mises.org/story/2463

    This link has an article that touches on many points raised in this thread.

    One thing that may not have been brought up in the original cucumber farm article is the chilling effect the potential fines for illegal workers may have on the farm industry. The farmers may be reluctant to hire legal as well as illegal workers, and the workers, legal or illegal, may not want to work due to fear of being raided. Even if your are legal, who wants to be raided?

    The VDARE Libertarians and populist Buchanonite paleoconservatives and the comments on this thread that talk about immigration subsidizing the corrupt Mexican government might want to talk about how their policies are subsidizing the corrupt American police state.
    The Constitution says nothing about the feds being authorized to control immigration with quotas or anything else. The only authorization is for the feds to come up with a uniform system of naturalization. The Early Republic was a Maritime Republic, that teemed with temporary workers speaking many different languages. No laws came from the feds establishing quotas until the Chinese exclusion act of the 1880's. These quotas have arguably done a lot more harm than good. The quotas on Jewish immigration, such as the 1924 Immigration Act, may have given us the state of Israel and the whole mess that it entails. In the 1920's and 30's more Jews would have come here than to Palestine. There might never have been enough to create Israel with.

    Freedom works. The problems that come with freedom are solvable with freedom. Restrictions on freedom wind up biting you in the ass, and the means to solve their problems are often politically mandated away.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Uh-huh. No way some dumb fucking spic is going to make money honestly."

    Some undoubtedly can but the one who is richer than Buffet got that way through crony connections in the Mexican govt that keep other businesses from competing with the businesses he owns - like the Mexican phone company.

  • Scooby||

    "The quotas on Jewish immigration, such as the 1924 Immigration Act, may have given us the state of Israel and the whole mess that it entails. In the 1920's and 30's more Jews would have come here than to Palestine. There might never have been enough to create Israel with."

    I'm not sure that would be a selling point for the more rabid nativists- especially the second-to-last sentence.

  • ||

    Check out this article on a Japanese solution to a labor shortage. With mechanization, the labor shortage/ labor competition angle is outdated. Practical considerations aside, there's still a strong moral argument for legalizing immigration.

    http://infotech.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2125692.cms

  • ||

    "VDARE Libertarians "

    WTF? Contradictions abound!!!

    By definition no one at VDARE is remotely Libertarian.

  • ||

    "Some undoubtedly can but the one who is richer than Buffet got that way through crony connections in the Mexican govt that keep other businesses from competing with the businesses he owns - like the Mexican phone company."

    of coarse, no gringo ever got rich using his crony connections. Just the fucking dirty greasers.

  • ||

    "The quotas on Jewish immigration, such as the 1924 Immigration Act, may have given us the state of Israel and the whole mess that it entails. In the 1920's and 30's more Jews would have come here than to Palestine. There might never have been enough to create Israel with."

    I'm not sure that would be a selling point for the more rabid nativists- especially the second-to-last sentence.


    Damn straight. I support Israel because I don't want any more Hebes living here.

    Need some way to keep the dirty greaser spics in Mexico too.

    And Gilbert Martin agrees with me because he's a bigot just like me.

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