Alabama Has Jobs, Lacks Americans Willing to Gut Catfish or Pick Fruit

Americans still don't want to pick fruit. Or gut catfish. BusinessWeek reports on "Why Americans Won't Do Dirty Jobs":

Skinning, gutting, and cutting up catfish is not easy or pleasant work. No one knows this better than Randy Rhodes, president of Harvest Select, which has a processing plant in impoverished Uniontown, Ala. For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

Most of his employees are Guatemalan. Or they were, until Alabama enacted an immigration law in September that requires police to question people they suspect might be in the U.S. illegally and punish businesses that hire them. The law, known as HB56, is intended to scare off undocumented workers, and in that regard it’s been a success. It’s also driven away legal immigrants who feared being harassed.

Rhodes has struggled to find workers since the law went into effect, but not for a lack of out-of-work Alabamians:

There’s no shortage of people he could give those jobs to. In Alabama, some 211,000 people are out of work. In rural Perry County, where Harvest Select is located, the unemployment rate is 18.2 percent, twice the national average. One of the big selling points of the immigration law was that it would free up jobs that Republican Governor Robert Bentley said immigrants had stolen from recession-battered Americans. Yet native Alabamians have not come running to fill these newly liberated positions. Many employers think the law is ludicrous and fought to stop it. Immigrants aren’t stealing anything from anyone, they say. Businesses turned to foreign labor only because they couldn’t find enough Americans to take the work they were offering.

The entire piece is worth a read, especially the closing paragraph:

While the politicians and business owners argue, others see opportunity. Michael Maldonado, 19, wakes up at 4:30 each morning in a trailer in Tuscaloosa, about an hour from Harvest Select, where he works as a fish processor. Maldonado, who grew up in an earthen-floor shack in Guatemala, says he likes working at the plant. “One hundred dollars here is 700 quetzals,” he says. “The managers say I am a good worker.” After three years, though, the long hours and scant pay are starting to wear on him. With the business in desperate need of every available hand, it’s not a bad time to test just how much the bosses value his labor. Next week he plans to ask his supervisor for a raise. “I will say to them, ‘If you pay me a little more—just a little more—I will stay working here,’ ” he says. “Otherwise, I will leave. I will go to work in another state.”

Read related Reason coverage here

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  • DJF||

    Obviously they need to follow the law of supply and demand and raise wages until they get someone to do the job.

  • GILMORE||

    raise wages until they get someone to do the job.

    /Derp/

    Im sure the law of supply and demand will have no impact on how much catfish they can sell at new, all-American-Laborer prices.

  • robc||

    In some senses, DJF is right, but a free market ALSO requires free movement of labor.

    So, the immigration laws are mucking with supply and demand.

  • DJF||

    But if the labor comes here legally they become Americans and then they won't do the job for the low wages being offered. The only way you get them for the low wages offered is for them to be illegal and they can't demand higher wages. So without the immigration laws you can't have illegals and you can't have low the illegals low wage demands.

  • robc||

    But if the labor comes here legally they become Americans

    Bullshit. Majority of foreign laborers never become citizens (primarily becuase citizenship is so fucking hard, but still).

  • DJF||

    They get all the rights of American’s except the right to vote so they will demand American wages and working conditions. So wages will have to go up.

    Also contrary to your statement, a million foreigners a year become citizens. Its true that illegal’s don’t but you free movement of labor will make them all legal and therefore eligible for citizenship

  • robc||

    you free movement of labor will make them all legal and therefore eligible for citizenship

    And that is a problem, why?

  • DJF||

    From your point of view its bad because they will demand higher wages.

    From American point of view, maybe they don’t want them joining their union and so just like a corporation might decide to limit the issuing of new stock, the Americans might want to limit the number of new citizens. It is their union and so they get to decide who joins.

  • robc||

    From your point of view its bad because they will demand higher wages.

    ???

    I dont give a fuck what they demand.

  • Arcaster||

    they will demand American wages and working conditions.

    Or they'll be happy to have the job they have and not want to risk losing it buy demanding "American" wages.

  • Arcaster||

    *by

  • DJF||

    This hasn’t been the case of millions of others who when they got citizenship they demanded higher wages and left the low pay and long hours of the jobs discussed above. If this was not true then there would be no claims of worker shortage today since the US has made a million foreigner a year citizens so there should be plenty of workers but obviously not for the wages being offered here. That does not count the millions of foreigners who are legally allowed to work in the US already.

  • jtuf||

    DJF,

    The USA only hands out half a million immigration visas per year. We should raise that number to 1.5 million. However, I see no problem with business owners raising salaries to get the workers they need.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Except that the post itself is explicitly based, in part, on a guy who is a legal immigrant who plans to demand a raise.

    RTFA!

  • Slap the Enlightened! ||

    a free market ALSO requires free movement of labor.

    Bullshit. A free market is merely a market where prices are allowed to fluctuate in response to supply and demand. It is not a guarantee that because a commodity exists somewhere in the world it will be made available to you.

  • kbolino||

    Elastic != Free

    More potently, a free market requires equality of opportunity. If even a single person is barred from entry into the market--as producer or consumer--then it is not free, regardless of how well the prices are allowed to fluctuate.

  • Chatroom Crank||

    Until you know how much labor costs are as a percentage of total cost you won't know. If the labor costs for processing catfish are the same as for other ag products, then the labor cost is about 10% of the end price. So you could double it and not add much to the customer's price.

  • Apatheist||

    Sound like a pretty significant increase to me.

  • Raston Bot||

    Where do you see that 10% figure?

    I've seen stats that say veggies and fruit labor is 40% of farm cost which is 20% of retail food cost... which means labor is 2/5ths of 20% which is... 8% of retail food cost.

    So add another $8 to your $100 grocery bill, I guess.

  • ||

    I call bullshit.

    Apples cost what, $3 a pound? So by your calculation it takes $1.20 of labor to pick a pound of apples.

    At minimum wage that's what, 5 or 6 pounds an hour picked by an apple picker? I don't believe that.

  • ||

    Retail, wholesale.... There's a difference there.

  • ||

    Indeed!

    So add another $8 to your $100 grocery bill, I guess

    refers to retail.

  • o3||

    one farmer tried $15/hr...the anglos still quit by noon. plus this effects construction, hotels/motels, and restaurants. many will go outta business.

  • Slap the Enlightened! ||

  • o3||

    dude - do u seriously equate evertt WA weather w bama scorchers? by noon, its near 100 in blazing sun.

  • Female-bodied Individual||

    Yes, that is the market process adaptation for suppliers to this government manipulation. That said, consumers of catfish have alternatives, thus aren't compelled to cover the increase in marginal cost, so the firms may just go out of business

  • Almanian||

    that should command a premium

    Funny how much smarter you are than the market

  • ||

    The labor market, especially at the bottom end, is distorted by unemployment benefits and other forms of welfare.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Yea,

    We should get rid of Unemployment benefits and all sorts of welfare. That along with the elimination of minimum wage will definitely get whitie and his negro friends to process catfish.

  • whitey's negro friends||

    We ain't gonna DO that kind of shit work no mo', honky.

  • There is no "we"||

    Distorted in a good way. I am labor, not capital, and I welcome an upward "distortion" of the wage scale.

  • Tacos mmm...||

    And it's accompanying upward distortion in the cost of things produced by labor? Or do you only work, and not actually spend the money you make?

  • ||

    Don't tell that to our resident safety-net supporters Welch and Gillespie.

  • RoboCain||

    Exactly. It's not that citizens won't do those jobs, they just won't do them for slave wages.

  • ||

    Slaves earn wages?

  • Almanian||

    that should command a premium

    Funny how much smarter you are than the market

  • Brandon||

    Who said that? Who are you replying to, and why twice?

  • Forgettable Paul||

    There’s no shortage of people he could give those jobs to. In Alabama, some 211,000 people are out of work.

    Sorry, but if I've got two masters degrees from an elite university and $100,000 in student loan debt, I'm not working at your crappy fish factory. I'm too important.

  • .||

    I'm too important.

    To whom?

  • Almanian||

    that should command a premium

    Funny how much smarter you are than the market

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    For years, Rhodes has had trouble finding Americans willing to grab a knife and stand 10 or more hours a day in a cold, wet room for minimum wage and skimpy benefits.

    I'm pro-foreign-worker, but I have to reiterate what DJF is saying.

    You could always hire people to work part-time (5 hours a day instead of 10) and pay them $9.00 an hour instead of $8.00.

    Create an 8 to 3 shift and hire single moms.

    There seems to be an expectation here that this is by definition 10 hour a day minimum wage work, and that may not be true.

    Giving blowjobs is unskilled work, too, but I wouldn't do it for minimum wage. If the work is unpleasant that should command a premium.

  • robc||

    There seems to be an expectation here that this is by definition 10 hour a day minimum wage work, and that may not be true.

    Apparently it is true with free movement of labor.

  • ||

    illegal immigration is not free movement of labor. The status of 'illegal' means you don't have access to the rights of a citizen.

    That secondary status means that illegal workers will do things that legal workers don't have to put up with.

    For free movement of labor, all workers must have the same status.

  • Brett L||

    Eh. If we're not going to discuss the distortion caused by 99 week unemployment benefits and welfare - which immigrants have more trouble getting - we're kind of talking around the elephant in the room.

  • ||

    Let's not talk about the real problem - just cry about the poor Mexicans.

  • GrammarianAnarchist||

    Giving BJs is unskilled work? Should I feel sorry for you or your significant other?

  • Forgettable Paul||

    Giving blowjobs is unskilled work, too, but I wouldn't do it for minimum wage. If the work is unpleasant that should command a premium.

    I have a bone to pick with this. First of all, it's skilled work. Second, if not minimum wage, what's it gonna take, Fluffy?

  • Alice Bowie||

    I agree. You don't want the blow-ee to use their teeth.

  • Jerry Sandusky||

    Or the blow-er.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Giving blowjobs is unskilled work . . .

    You need a new girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/significant other if you think that a BJ is unskilled labor.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Hey ... we have Olympic CURLING...why not Olympic Dick Sucking?

  • ||

    I'll be the judge of that!

  • RoboCain||

    So how much do you want for a blowjob?

  • Digg Whoo Henn||

    FTFA: Why should farmers and plant owners expect people to take a back-breaking seasonal job with low pay and no benefits just because they happen to be offering it? If no one wants an available job—especially in extreme times—maybe the fault doesn’t rest entirely with the people turning it down. Maybe the market is inefficient.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who understands that if you can't find anyone to legally pick your lettuce then you shouldn't plant lettuce. Lettuce is a bad crop (for you), and the market is efficient.

  • robc||

    Free movement of labor.

    Im going to keep repeating it until you fuckers understand it.

    A free market includes free movement of labor.

  • ||

    Don't bother, rob. It's not about the market, or free movement of labor. It's that they're dirty foreigners and they'll vote socialist and they park on the lawn and a million other retarded excuses for xenophobia.

  • robc||

    I know, I just want to make it very, very clear to random lurkers what we are dealing with.

  • Hank||

    rob, finish spelling it out for me as a noob, if you would? You're saying Rhodes has a legitimate gripe because the anti-immigrant law artificially restricted free movement of labor?

    I'll admit most of the more complex issues don't come to me instinctively...

  • Hank||

    Nevermind. You are (continually) addressing this upthread. Thanks!

  • DJF||

    No, its about those dirty Whites, Blacks, Asians, and many Hispanics, even most illegals won't work for such low pay and the obvious solution of raising pay is rejected by the so-called free marketers who seem to think that only answer to any economic problem is to find someone somewhere desperate enough to work for lower wages then they guy who has the job now.

    That is why the so-called free marketers so love places like China, a dictatorship who will happily send in the riot police if your workers get uppity and which has so little of a free market that all land is owned by the government.

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Well, they're right that in a true free market there would be free movement of labor.

    Eventually that free labor would be soaked up, though, or wages would average out across the system for the same work, and then they'd have to raise wages if they still couldn't find any workers.

    But some of the folks here have the somewhat backwards-ass idea that just because it's ditch-digger work, it should be low-paying. Or alternatively that employers have some kind of right to find labor that allows them to price their goods competitively. Neither of those are true.

    If labor is scarce and you can't find workers, fuck you raise wages or you lose. And if raising wages means you're no longer profitable, fuck you go out of business. When you leave the market, the remaining firms will be able to raise prices and offer market-clearing wages. And no whining. There is no whining in catfish gutting.

  • robc||

    No one here thinks anything like what you are saying in your 3rd paragraph.

  • Alice Bowie||

    They should...that is the reality.

  • Digg Whoo Henn||

    If labor is scarce and you can't find workers, fuck you raise wages or you lose. And if raising wages means you're no longer profitable, fuck you go out of business.

    This is what I am saying.

    And "free movement of labor" has to be contextual. Should I expect inmates in the county jail to be allowed to "freely move" to pick my lettuce?

  • robc||

    Its not that contextual. Inmates no, minors no, everyone else in the ENTIRE FUCKING UNIVERSE (I support all kinds of alien workers), yes.

  • Digg Whoo Henn||

    Inmates no, minors no

    So, it is contextual.

    Next you'll be saying I can't use mentally challenged people or trained animals to pick my lettuce.

  • ||

    But illegals ARE inmates, in a sense. They don't have the same rights as legals and can be easily gotten rid of--no firing protocols to follow here. And if the worker doesn't like it, a threat with ICE will shut him up.

    Unless the workers, legal and illegal, all have the same status, it's not really free movement of labor.

  • ||

    Okay, I'll bite. Say you raise pay. How are you going to make money then? Because Tom Thumb isn't going to buy your more expensive tomatoes from Alabama when they can get them from other states at a cheaper price. How do you propose to deal with that?

  • GW||

    Free movement of labor + welfare state = disaster

  • Guy in the back of the room||

    Any citation as to whether illegal immigrants use more resources than the economic benefits they produce?

  • GW||

    There are plenty of studies, and the answers are all over the map. Some say the net benefit is positive, others negative, and a couple even say it's a wash. Living in an area with a reasonable percentage of illegals, I'm inclined to believe the negative.

  • ||

    I live in a town that's 75% hispanic, certainly many of them are here illegally. I don't see the problem.

  • ||

    That's Ron Paul's position too, but I'm not persuaded. Immigrants shouldn't be punished just because our politicians are idiots. If immigration bankrupts the welfare system, it's time to question the welfare system, not freedom of movement.

  • GW||

    Immigrants aren't being punished, taxpayers are. And you're right, it's the welfare system that's to blame.

    But eliminate ALL of the things illegals can get here, and you take away a lot of the reason for coming to the USA.

  • Slap the Enlightened! ||

    A free market includes free movement of labor.

    And I'll reiterate - a free market is a market where prices are allowed to fluctuate in response to supply and demand. It has nothing to do with the "free movement of labor" or the free movement of anything else. A free market does not guarantee that because a supply of a commodity exists that it will necessarily be available to you.

  • ||

    A free market includes free movement of labor.

    How do you move labor? It's not a tangible object.

  • ||

    We all know you're not this obtuse. Why the act?

  • MJGreen||

    As robc keeps pointing out, the market is "efficient" in that there are people willing to work a back-breaking job for low pay and no benefits. These people are just being legally prohibited from doing so.

    Presumably we all want more lettuce at a less cost. If lettuce is a "bad crop" for this farmer, the supply of lettuce will drop and the price will likely rise. Meanwhile a bunch of innocent people from other countries are denied a job. No one wins from this arrangement. So why take the arbitrary immigration law as given and excoriate the farmer for not going along with it?

  • PETE||

    Not. A raise! Oh, THE HORROR!

    Seriously though, this guy has been working a minimum wage job for three years without a raise, and he's been praised by his bosses as a good worker? So not only is this job hard labor, long hours, and shit pay, but being a model employee will get you a hearty hand-clasp.

    I weep for poor Randy Rhodes, and the extra $50 a week he might incur in labor costs.

  • Chatroom Crank||

    It would also appear that if Michael Maldonado has been working as a processor since he was 16, the company has been in violation of several of Alabama's child labor laws. I doubt he had a work permit, and under 18 yos are prohibited from doing actual processing work.
    How many others is the plant employing that are breaking the law?

  • Colin||

    No one knows this better than Randy Rhodes, president of Harvest Select

    So, that's where she went after Air America.

  • Richard Head||

    I was thinking the guitar god reincarnated.

  • mofo||

    I was going to say, like 30 comments and no one said anything about 'Randy Rhodes'?

  • ||

    And when the plant closes down and everyone is out of work, somehow it will all be the libertarian's fault.

  • ||

    Can't hire Mexicans -- they'll steal all the fish!

  • ¢||

    Tougher than you are. Dude.

    Of course, Tate.

    Between this and the fat-poor-people thread, I think ¢'s recommended libertarian-historical reading for today will be John Stuart Mill's "The Negro Question," available at your local internet. A relevant excerpt:

    That negroes should exist, and enjoy existence, on so little work, is a scandal, in his eyes, worse than their former slavery. It must be put a stop to at any price. He does not wish to see them slaves again "if it can be avoided";“ but "decidedly" they "will have to be servants," "servants to the whites," "compelled to labor," and "not to go idle another minute." "Black Quashee," "up to the ears in pumpkins," and "working about half an hour a day," is to him the abomination of abominations.

    Familiar?

    Though the object of "his" ire may have shifted, from "The Negro" to all the fat and lazy (by which he means "Negro," mostly) Americans who don't do his bidding at his price, or obey his sense-depriving Puritan beans-and-rice diet, but—Whitey don't change.

  • ¢||

    Subract one "but." ¢ is sleepy.

  • Forgettable Paul||

    Idle hands...

  • ||

    "Like Rhodes, many employers who lost workers followed federal requirements—some even used the E-Verify system—and only found out their workers were illegal when they disappeared."
    That's an awfully credulous reporter.

  • ||

    OT: http://www.gamespot.com/shows/.....ot;title;1

    It's a live marathon, if anybody's interested, and since I really don't care about spoilers, I'm watching for a while

  • Supreme Generalissimo Fluffy||

    Again, I am pro-foreign-worker, and would happily naturalize every illegal immigrant in the US -

    But that being said, "free movement of labor" is not the only necessary condition for a free market.

    Free market governance would have to be extended around the globe before free movement of labor would be such.

    If Mexico (or Venezuela) is a misgoverned shithole with poor market institutions, that will depress its economic performance and the wages of workers there.

    Mexico (or Venezuela) will then become an "underpaid worker" factory, continually churning out poor, oppressed slobs who will work for very low wages.

    Having that kind of semi-permanent "reserve army of poor, oppressed slobs" would depress the wages of workers in nations willing to accept migrant labor.

    And the wage decrease wouldn't be a "market" decrease, because the labor would be moving from a non-market area.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I like this.

    However, mexico is a free market which has low government intervention....That's what a country turns into.

    "Beware of what you wish for..."

  • GW||

    Mexico has one of the most corrupt governments on the planet. If the government intervention was low there, most of the population wouldn't be dirt poor.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I'm glad u acknowledge the need of 'rules of law'.

    However, I find that people defend laws they like and screen for LESS GOVERNMENT for laws they don't like.

    Take the following examples:

    A typical southerner would say "Kick out the Mexicans...they broke the law...the law of immigration...and we are a country of laws"

    The same southerner would say "We don't need the government telling us how we should and should not handle our nigger problem"

  • A Typical Southerner||

    Go fuck yourself, you stereotyping cunt.

  • ||

    Southerners don't much cotton to no women either.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Oh yea? You're telling me that the above quotes are merely anecdotal? Hate 2 break the new 2 u. Many Many Many americans...not just southerners...feel that way.

  • Guy in the back of the room||

    Racism dies along with Jim Crow doncha know. You see? Culture can be changed with the mere movement of the legislative pen.

  • Sucky Boss||

    lol.

    You must admit though, it did bring some civility to the subject. In stead of saying "I'm not hiring that n---", they say "I'm sorry but we have no openings right now...but thanks for applying"

  • ||

    Finally Fluffy has realized that libertarianism ends at the border.

    Welcome to the side of the LOL angels.

  • robc||

    But that being said, "free movement of labor" is not the only necessary condition for a free market.

    True, but its a start.

    Im not in favor of sending in troops to make Mexico a free market paradise (I would send them to DC first, for one thing), but that doesnt exclude us from doing the right thing.

    Free trade benefits us even if the other side isnt doing it. Same applies for free trade in labor.

  • Slap the Enlightened! ||

    Er, if the other side isn't doing it, how does it qualify as "free trade"?

  • ||

    Same applies for free trade in labor.

    People aren't labor.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Hate to break it to you conservative people but deporting the wetbacks and eliminating welfare will not get the negros to start picking tomatoes. They will SPIT on your tomato before picking it at the negro-wages u people support.

  • Brett L||

    Okay, now I know you're a puppet.

  • Alice Bowie||

    It's not easy being green

  • adam||

    Fine with me. That's their choice and they can live with the consequences...no money.

  • Alice Bowie||

    What these Guatamala people should do is go back to Mexico, raise catfish, process it, and import it into america and cut Randy Rhodes out of the picture.

  • Jeffrey||

    Or they could go back to guatamala?

    Stupid Cunt.

  • Alice Bowie||

    No...Guatamala is not a member of NAFTA. Much easier to import from Mexico.

    So who is the STUPID CUNT NOW ?

  • Guy in the back of the room||

    Jeffrey. That's who.

  • ||

    Mexico doesn't allow immigration from Guatemala or Belize. I don't know if they're building a fence yet.

  • Sucky Boss||

    It's much easier to be an illegal alien from Guatamala in Mexico than it is to be illegal in US. One can merely bribe their way once their catfish industry takes off.

  • Raston Bot||

    Can we all at least agree that Alabama's agricultural sector is knocking on death's door?

  • Alice Bowie||

    I'll agree with you. And, if these states keep running out the Guats...agricultural products can be added to the list of products no longer produced by the USA and imported.

  • GW||

    This "free movement of labor" is like "free trade".

    We can reduce all barriers to trade all we want. If other nations aren't doing the same, then the trade isn't free.

    And given that we don't have control over other nations, I'm not convinced that trade needs to be totally free. NAFTA has sent tens of thousands of American jobs to Mexico (for obvious reasons), and has also put many Mexican farmers out of business (who can't compete with our taxpayer subsidized agri goods).

    So who is the winner here?

  • ||

    So who is the winner here?

    I'm guessing the consumers who get to buy lower-priced goods as trade barriers are reduced.

  • GW||

    But that's the point I'm trying to make...if we reduce trade barriers, and our trading partners don't, then barriers haven't been eliminated, thus no free trade.

    If mexico had a tariff on imported wheat from the USA that was eliminated by NAFTA, and then their consumers started buying our cheaper what, then consumers there (minus the jobless farmers) are winning.

    Of course, it's not really free trade, since our taxpayer subsidy alters the market price of the wheat.

    See, it's not all black and white.

  • GW||

    LMAO. Cheaper what? Cheaper wheat, that's what.

  • ||

    The point is, we're better off than we would be with universal protectionism. Not as well off as we would be with universal free trade, but that's not on the menu (though lowering our barriers is the surest way to encourage others to do the same).

  • GW||

    But why does it have to be one way or another? It's not as if our ONLY options are free trade and universal protectionism.

    I'm guessing that some amount of common sense protectionism might actually yield the highest benefit.

    Kinda like some amount of common sense government would yield the highest benefit.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Look Mr Dean, just because there happens to be a winner doesn't make it right.

    During Jim Crow, Whites were winners and blacks were losers in the water fountain thing. After Jim Crow, Whites were losers and blacks were winners.

    You can't just look at a situation and just because someone is capable of buying cheap goods at the expense of many peoples jobs and keep calling it good.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I see your point.

    Given that what you say is true (and I agree with you), isn't this justification to completely CLOSE our borders so that we don't have to deal with third/fourth world labor entering into america and destroying wages to the point that the industry has to move off-shore?

  • GW||

    I don't think so. I would say any absolute approach is almost NEVER the right answer. And that applies to just about any problem you're trying to solve, not just this one.

    Immigration should be allowed for the groups and at whichever rate is best for OUR economy. To hell with what people in other countries want.

    That said, legally allowing labor into the USA removes all of the benefits of the current illegals that are coming here. Once they're legal, they now have guaranteed wages and benefits.

    Lots of moving parts here to consider.

  • Alice Bowie||

    That is a good, level headed response.

  • Sucky Boss||

    It's funny but all this talk about labor mobility has me thinking.

    I'm an IT Manager at a pretty sucky place. We employ mostly H-1-B Indians and a few Americans. The only people that stick around are those who are politically connected, suck at their jobs, or are slaves to the H-1-B thing.

  • GW||

    I have a friend that works for a place that employs quite a few peeps on H1B visas. Those people get treated like shit, and they TAKE it. Because they know if they lose their jobs, they're on a plane home.

  • ||

    This is really not a good argument for open borders.

    Firstly, is it really a good thing to see people exploited like this?

    Secondly, sure, Americans might not spend 10 hours a day gutting fish for minimum wage, but they probably would operate a fish gutting machine for 8 hours a day if they get $15 an hour for it

    We don't live in the stone age. We don't need menial tasks to be done by manual labor. But in cases like this, because illegal workers will work for pennies, there is no demand for machines to be made and designed to do stuff like this. And so they don't exist. But they would, once the demand exists.

  • Guy in the back of the room||

    "We don't live in the stone age. We don't need menial tasks to be done by manual labor. But in cases like this, because illegal workers will work for pennies, there is no demand for machines to be made and designed to do stuff like this. And so they don't exist. But they would, once the demand exists."

    Keynes would be proud.

  • ||

    The problem is that Catfish is not generally seen as a high quality fish, which places an upper limit on what you can charge for it. This limit then places an upper limit on what you can spend to process the fish.

    So you could argue the catfish farming industry either does things the way it does it, or it goes out of business. Now that's fine, maybe the catfish farming industry needs to go out of business, but that's certainly what would be on the table.

    But I find the discussion of what would happen in a theoretically totally "free" world market to be uninteresting. Not going to happen regardless. But there are real world concepts like "more free" and less free," and the "more free" we make the labor situation, the closer we'd be to finding just what the "true market" for catfish farming would bear. Maybe with "freer" labor laws in the US, immigrants would look at catfish farming with the same dis-interest as others and catfish farming would go away (I don't think there's a future of $16.99 a pound catfish). Or maybe not, who knows.

    But, for libertarians anyway, making that labor marker "more free" should be the goal regardless.

  • ||

    Red herring (no pun intended). Paying a decent wage won't quintuple the price of catfish.

  • ||

    This.

    And it also puzzles me that libertarians think the law of supply and demand suddenly gets suspended when dealing with immigration-sensitive jobs.

    What does a buyer do when no one will sell him something (in this case, labor) for the amount he's paid in the past?

    It's a real conundrum.

  • jtuf||

    + 1 to JeremyR

  • ||

    It’s also driven away legal immigrants who feared being harassed.

    Sure it has.

    Were these legal immigrants here on the H1B catfish visas?

  • ||

    Anyone know how to make a catfish gutting machine?

  • Marc Jacobs||

    Speaking of the U.S. fashion industry, a handful of the few big-name designers. However, you must not forget Marc Jacobs. His designs are generally free, but the product is designed themselves. For example: Marc Jacobs Handbag, Marc by Marc Jacobs Handbag. In fact, his decks Marc by Marc Jacobs also stand out in the fashion industry. Marc by Marc Jacobs Bags as many types of styles, has also been sought after by many big Hollywood stars.

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