Immigration

What Is the Way a Market-Based Capitalist Economy Works Best?

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In the debate over the immigration bill, left-liberal Democrats are emerging as champions of the free market. The bill assigns points to would-be immigrants based on, among other things, their education levels and professional backgrounds. In an example cited by The New York Times, a Bulgarian who wants to join his wife (a legal resident) in the U.S. would "get 20 points because he has a specialty occupation, an additional 8 points because he is an engineer, 28 points because he has a master's degree in engineering, 3 points because he is in the preferred age group and 15 points because he is fluent in English." Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on immigration, objects to the fact that the bill would lock in a congressional judgment about which skills are most needed in the U.S. for 14 years:

The point system is like the Soviet Union. The government is saying, in effect, "We have a five-year plan for the economy, and we will decide with this point system what mix of skills is needed." That is not the way a market-based capitalist economy works best.

Lofgren is right, but I'm not sure she's willing to follow this reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is not somewhat more flexible central planning but a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed. If only we had a catchy name for that.

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  1. We could call it “Lofgrenomics.”

    Just rolls off the tongure, it does.

  2. I was disappointed because from the title of the post I thought it would be making fun of the Republican candidates who professed last night that the “free market” is what we need to use to solve environmental issues by making it more profitable to have environmentally friendly practices… Was it Tom Tancredo who said that?

  3. AMEN Excellent quote and post.

    The stupidity of this plan is underscored by:
    28 points because he has a master’s degree in engineering
    Uh Huh, and do we care what kind of engineering? Botanical as welcome as Aerospace? And are those points pro-rated for Bulgaria? I’ve worked with a few Russians who claim to have PHDs, but I’d say their formal education went about as far as three years of American engineering curriculum.

  4. “its logical conclusion, which is not somewhat more flexible central planning but a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed.”

    …and, therefore, who is allowed to come into the country?

    Wow, devolving the power to decide who gets to live here from government bureacrats figuring out what the economy needs, all the way down to employers who tell the bureaucrats what they need.

    What if “employers and consumers” (ok, really just employers, I’ve never seen a consumer’s group decide what a company’s hiring practices should be) don’t think Pedro is going to contribute to the economy enough? What if his brother simply wants to let him move into his house so the family can be together, whether he ever gets a job or not?

    Maybe the logical conclusion to the observation that government can’t plan the economy well isn’t to replace their directives with those of businessowners.

  5. Maybe the logical conclusion to the observation that government can’t plan the economy well isn’t to replace their directives with those of businessowners.

    Joe, that whistling sound you hear is Jacob’s suggestion that we let employers decide who they want to hire by actually hiring them going over your head.

  6. Under this plan, how many points do you need to become 3/5 of a person?

  7. Where was it again that Sullum said he thinks employers should decide who gets to live here? I could have sworn all he said is that employers can decide better what skills they need to hire than government bureaucrats.

  8. I don’t think the Soviet immigration system used a point system..if they even put that much thought into the issue at all, to handle the trickle of people who wanted to migrate to the USSR.

    We do have some real world countries that use point systems: Canada, Australia and New Zealand. How about criticizing their systems, instead of yanking out a Soviet straw man? All three of those countries are run in a fashion that members of the US Democratic party would probably like.

    The more I think about the immigration issue, the more I’ve come to agree with the critics of unrestricted immigration, especially since, outside of libertarian circles, almost all the arguments by the pro-open borders crowd seem to devolve to argumentum ad hominimem attacks, bandwagoning, question begging and empty sloganeering. And even some libertarians go for that, as in the recent post on one blog, discussing George Borjas’ stance against open borders, which was entitled Borjas: What’s his problem?.

  9. There is a similar scheme in place in the UK. A medical doctor is pretty much guaranteed entry. It also takes into account a person’s income in the country of origin. I was gratified to see that a PhD doesn’t grant as many points as a master’s.

    Of course, in the UK the scheme only applies to non-commonwealth countries that are also not former territories.

  10. The Soviet immigration system was “We invaded your country, welcome to the Soviet Union. Now stop complaining or we ship you to a gulag.” The Czechs and Poles still seem a bit unhappy about it.

    As for capitalism: isn’t it obvious the U.S. has a huge need for unskilled labor? Would millions of unskilled laborers come here if there wasn’t? They can cross a magic line and suddenly their labor is not only in demand, but worth 10 times more.

    The only way to solve the Mexican immigration problem is to fix Mexico. That’s going to take a while, at best.

  11. No whisling sound, Stuartl. Just a silence, because that point was never made. Should it have been made? Probably, because his commentary can be read to support a crony-capitalist plan just as much as a free-market plan. This little habit of assuming that “letting employers decide” can only mean a laissez faire government really should have been broken by the last six years of Republican rule, but it clearly hasn’t been.

    Maybe that has something to do with all the libertarians who were suprised by Bush’s economic policies. Hey, the man talked about how much better “private enterprise” was than “the government” all the time during the election.

  12. Mike Laursen,

    Here’s the relevant quote: “a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed.” You find me the part where the concept of “…by hiring them” is used, and “…by setting immigration policy” is eschewed.

    What’s that? It’s “assumed?” Oh, ok. Good thing nobody ever falls for a crony capitalist because of his assumption that criticisms of government planning can only be used in support of laissez-faire.

  13. “…a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed…”

    Like the system of allowing empoloyers decide whether to sign off on a would-be immigrant’s application for a guest-worker visa, and making that visa remain active only as long as the worker is employed by that employer?

    I’ve got news for you fellas – “putting employers/business owners/captial in charge” can mean more than one thing.

  14. I’d like to see how long a country whose population is nothing but engineers and PhDs lasts.

  15. joe,

    You might want a different handle. We already have a ‘joe’ on this blog, and he’s been here long enough to know that this…

    Lofgren is right, but I’m not sure she’s willing to following this reasoning to its logical conclusion, which is not somewhat more flexible central planning but a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed. If only we had a catchy name for that.

    …is referring to the concept of the free market. You, on the other hand, are clearly new here. Don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll catch on soon.

  16. Well, if it makes you feel better this libertarian never though Bush wasa champion of free markets, nor do I miss the distinction between crony capitalism and laissez-faire capitalism. Isn’t it nice that we agree?

  17. An auction would work best at providing immigrants who experience a maximal improvement in welfare (and thus maximum improvement from moving into a more economically free economy, and maximum improvement in global economy).

    Those who expect have a higher increase in wages in moving to the U.S. would be willing to seek a higher price to enter.

  18. Apparently it went so far over joe’s head he couldn’t hear the whistling. I thought the point was pretty clearly implied myself.

    Anyways, I give 10:1 odds Rep. Zoloftgrin is on board for national health care. Probably has a fact-finding mission to Cuba scheduled.

  19. Is it employers AND consumers, or either individually or both?

    Also, of course, one can’t help but bring up the fact that immigrants often create markets for services upon arriving that no one had thought of before.

    As an example, I imagine the people and employers of Peoria don’t know a thing about Ethiopian food, but if they ever tried it, some of them would like it. If immigration for Ethiopians were to hinge on an invitation to come over and open a restaurant, that would never happen.
    Ok, maybe that isn’t all that great of an example. Maybe I’m just hungry for some Tibs.

  20. Jake Boone,

    I know that Jacob intended that statement to refer to the concept of the free market. I’m pointing out that it didn’t, at least not exclusively.

    You ever read a Christian righty write something like, “the federal government should stop persecuting religious believers in their rules about censorship?” Maybe he’s talking about government neutrality towards programming, but then again, maybe he’s referring to the government being less indulgent about “indecent” programming.

    “I thought the point was pretty clearly implied myself.” Yes, I’m sure you did. That’s the problem, TallDave.

  21. Confusing “the free market” with “employers” is a common pitfall for conservatives.

    Even after seven years of Bush, some of them still don’t realize this.

  22. Econo,

    It does seem like we ought to be able to profit somehow on what amounts to an arbitrage situation. On the other hand, it amounts to a new tax, so I’m a bit conflicted.

    LOL Joe, the deeper you dig that hole the farther over your head everything gets.

  23. “I’ve never seen a consumer’s group decide what a company’s hiring practices should be”

    Apparently you missed all those consumer boycotts led by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

  24. Under my plan, an immigrant would have to negotiate with several distinct entities. He would have to negotiate with an employer to enter that employer’s business. He would have to negotiate with either an apartment manager or home owner to rent or buy a place to live. In order to obtain electricity and water, the immigrant would have to negotiate with the appropriate utilities. In order to obtain food and clothing, the immigrant would have to negotiate with various stores. And in order to ease all of these transactions, the immigrant would have to open a bank account in accordance with the policies of the bank.

    I’m all about making them jump through hoops!

  25. Sigh. We can dance around the issue, but the only just solution is indentured servitude. It was good enough for Colonial America, and it’s good enough today.

    Save highnumber!

  26. joe,

    I know that Jacob intended that statement to refer to the concept of the free market. I’m pointing out that it didn’t, at least not exclusively.

    So you understood that Jacob Sullum was not suggesting that we turn over immigration decisions to corporations? What’s getting you all riled up, then?

    You ever read a Christian righty write something like, “the federal government should stop persecuting religious believers in their rules about censorship?” Maybe he’s talking about government neutrality towards programming, but then again, maybe he’s referring to the government being less indulgent about “indecent” programming.

    Are you serious? That would be an obvious misuse of the English language. Do you consider Jacob Sullum a right-wing evangelical? A neocon? If you understood what he was talking about, why all the howling?

    Sounds like you’re trying to distract everyone from what you did in that first post of yours (which you were, rightly, called on). Let me illustrate…

    joe snips a quote:

    “its logical conclusion, which is not somewhat more flexible central planning but a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed.”

    joe builds a strawman:

    …and, therefore, who is allowed to come into the country?

    joe attacks the strawman:

    Wow, devolving the power to decide who gets to live here from government bureacrats figuring out what the economy needs, all the way down to employers who tell the bureaucrats what they need.

    joe burns the strawman:

    Maybe the logical conclusion to the observation that government can’t plan the economy well isn’t to replace their directives with those of businessowners.

    In the words of Sean Connery, “I’m waiting to be impreshed!”

  27. It’s true – there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    You’re right, the only possible way to interpret a statement that employers should be in charge is as a laisses faire argument. There is no other political position that such a statement could possibly refer to, and no one advocating for crony capitalism has ever used anti-government, pro-employer rhetoric to support corporatism. Lord knows, Dick Cheney’s subisidy-laden energy policy was never sold as an effort to get the government off the backs of corporate America.

    That must explain why so many small-government conservatives voted for George Bush twice, and why he has done such a wonderful job satisfying them with his policies. No, TallDave and Jake, you aren’t dupes. At all. There is absolutely no point about pro-employer/corporate/business rhetoric being used to sell corporatist policies to free marketeers that you need to learn. None. Whatsoever.

  28. You’re right, the only possible way to interpret a statement that employers should be in charge is as a laisses faire argument.

    For the love of all that is holy, joe… If Jacob Sullum says it, then, Yes, that is the only possible way to interpret the statement.

    You know that. I know that. Everyone here knows that. Why do you insist on causing a ruckus?

    For a magazine called Reason…

  29. You’re right, the only possible way to interpret a statement that employers should be in charge is as a laisses faire argument.

    On Reason Hit & Run. By Jacob Sullum. Then yes, that’s pretty much the only way to interpret that statement (though the statement includes “and consumers”, which you’re conveniently forgetting to include there).

    All your pointing at Dubya is absolutely beside the point. If *he* were saying what Sullum said, yeah, I’d be right there with you, and skeptical as hell. But it’s not Bush saying it.

    For crying out loud, joe, did you get hit on the head this morning and forget pretty much everything that’s ever been written on H&R up until just now?

  30. Like when Hitler’s head of economic affairs decreed that employers, not unions or workers, should decide how businesses should be run: ‘Only the employer can decide. Many employers have for years had to call for the ‘master in the house.’ Now they are once again to be called the ‘master in the house.'” – Shirer, William, “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pp 282-283.

    See, he wanted employers to decide! Ergo, that was a pro-market, laissez faire argument he was making. Because, you see, there is no other possible ideology or policy that anyone could ever be advocating for when they argue for employers to be in control.

    And certainly, there is no need for people inclined to support laissez-faire policies to look any farther when someone is using pro-employer language.

    No, I am not calling Jacob Sullum a Nazi. I’m making some other point, one that has something to do with pro-employer language and its relationship to both free-market and corporatist political arguments.

    I’m sure if you put your mind to it, TallDave and Jake Booth, really give it some time to bounce around in your head, you can figure out what that point is.

  31. Nope, my point was not about Jacob Sullum’s political leanings being opaque.

    But keep trying!

  32. The book’s not in front of me, but I’m pretty sure Shirer says later on that the Nazis, not the owners, were calling all of the shots for the companies very soon thereafter.

    Because, of course, the Nazis were socialists 🙂 We haven’t had a Nazis were my sister/my daughter thread in quite some time.

  33. Uh, didn’t “libertarians” hear St. Paul last night say that IllegalImmigration was a massive subsidy? Put down your Digg puppets, and listen to your leader!

    The current de facto and the proposed ImmigrationSystems are not in any way a “free” market, considering all the subsidies involved (which Reason in effect supports) and all the giveaways to special interests, such as the proposal that would give LaRaza $10 million/year starting in 2009.

  34. a Bulgarian who wants to join his wife (a legal resident) in the U.S. would “get 20 points because he has a specialty occupation, an additional 8 points because he is an engineer, 28 points because he has a master’s degree in engineering, 3 points because he is in the preferred age group and 15 points because he is fluent in English.”

    I hadn’t noticed a shortage of homegrown candidates for engineering positions. Herewith my “let’s fill jobs we don’t want” proposal:
    Jose, from Mexico, would get 500 points for being anxious to do heavy landscaping for minimum wage plus $2.00, 500 points because he doesn’t want to immigrate just work here for the summer, 500 points because he isn’t joining anyone, 3 points because he is in the preferred age group, and 15 points because he is fluent in English.

  35. *imagines Chanukah at ProGLib’s house

  36. Pro Lib,

    “The book’s not in front of me, but I’m pretty sure Shirer says later on that the Nazis, not the owners, were calling all of the shots for the companies very soon thereafter.”

    Not really. The Nazis actually believed that employers were the rightful, natural fuhrers of their workplaces. The situation was comparable to the Gauleiters (regional governors), who were pretty much allowed to run their fiefdoms as they see fit, as long as their operations were in line with the party’s goals.

    The Nazis’ relationship to industrialists was like their relationship to the military – and you all remember what happened to Roehm and the brownshirts. Industry, and the military, were brought in line with the Nazi program, but they also played a major role in deciding how that program would be carried out, in a way that, say, labor or women were not.

  37. joe,

    I just mean that the owners were hardly free actors. The Nazis originally thought the Leadership principle could be distributed, but they changed their minds pretty quickly when they realized that multiple leaders meant decisions not in the interests of the Nazis could be made.

    The business folks screwed up in allying with the Nazis in the first place, but, once they did, there was no easy way out.

    VM,

    Eh?

  38. I smell Godwin in the air! Wow.

    See, he wanted employers to decide! Ergo, that was a pro-market, laissez faire argument he was making. Because, you see, there is no other possible ideology or policy that anyone could ever be advocating for when they argue for employers to be in control.

    Again, the article in question here is written by Jacob Sullum. Not Bush. Not Hitler. Not Hitler’s head of economic affairs.

    Of course, you’ve already stressed that this isn’t the point you’re trying to make, so I’m clearly misunderstanding your intentions. Why not come out with it? What is the point you’re trying to make, and how does that point involve attacking Sullum’s wording?

  39. Pro Lib,

    I’d say that the Leadership Principle alwasy included the idea that lesser fuhrers were subject to bigger fuhrers. The Nazis never, ever preached equality of all before the Reichfuhrer.

    They industrialists certainly were not “free actors,” I agree – they were expected to row the boat in the same direction as everyone else in society.

  40. So it is settled, dictators have many organizational models at their disposal. There is more then one way to suck. Variety is the spice of life…

    Could you guys start bagging on LoneWacko now?

  41. TLB-

    He also said stop making illegal immigrants a scapegoat for everything wrong in this country. I suggest you take his advice, and completely abandon your blog, or change its subject manner.

  42. “What is the point you’re trying to make, and how does that point involve attacking Sullum’s wording?”

    My point is that Sullum’s wording conflates a free market stance with a corporatist stance, albeit unintentionally, and that this reflects a common pitfall in the thinking and language of “capitalists.”

    Look at that word, “capitalist.” If I were to talk about “labor-ism,” you would immediately realize that I was taking about a political ideology designed to further the interests of labor. And yet, the word “capitalism” is used as a synonymn for laissez-faire or free markets, despite applying equally well to a political ideology designed to further the interests of those who provide capital.

    Especially in this debate, when there actually are proposals (ie, “Guest Worker Program”) that would merge the power of the state with the employment preferences of employers, it’s a good idea to use language that makes that distinction clear.

  43. Could you guys start bagging on LoneWacko now?

    Yes, you’re right. joe made an excellent point, which he has acknowledged wasn’t really in response to Sullum. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure nobody disagrees with joe’s point.

    LoneWhacko — You’ve been asked before, but I’ve never seen an answer: why do you write “ImmigrationSystems” rather than “immigration systems”?

  44. And my point is that there is no conflation, because everyone here understood what he meant.

    There. Now we can agree to disagree, and join forces to try and understand the WildlyIllogical TrainWreck that is the BizarreRanting of ImmigrantHating LoneWacko.

  45. Pretty much any term used in politics has acquired at least two commonly-used meanings. To make sense of what someone is saying, one usually has to have some idea of their political world view or, if possible, ask them for their definition of a word they are using.

  46. Jake Boone,

    “Everyone here” is a tiny fraction of the public.

  47. Well, “Capitalism” was coined by Marxists. Only later did it come to mean “Free market” rather than “advancing the interests of capital”.

  48. Points for a PhD? It took me three months to finally get hired on for a temporary position (but a good one, thank you). All the while – every store, construction site, restaurant I see has help wanted signs. Every time I hear the soft-head pols call for more scientists I’m gripped by the urge to beat them with my sliderule.

  49. Cesar,

    The thing is, it doesn’t mean “free market” RATHER THAN “advancing the interests of capital.” It means both. Or, to be more precise, people like, say, Ted Stevens use the term as if it means the former, while actually arguing in favor of the latter.

    And they get away with it too much, because that conflation exists within the public mind. How many lefties look at every argument for free markets as corporate apologism? How many corporate apologists use free market rhetoric to advance corporatism? Heck, look back at America in the late 1800s, and see how many proude “free marketeers” insisted that the government use its force to keep their workers from going out on strike.

  50. I agree people use the term “Capitalism” to advance what should be called corpratism.

    I use it for “Free markets” rather than as a synonym for “corpratism”, as I think most people on this blog would.

    Yes, a lot of Republicans (unwittingly) use it in the Marxist sense.

  51. “Everyone here” is a tiny fraction of the public.

    And said public flocks in droves to Hit & Run, just to read this particular blog post in isolation, while understanding nothing of the libertarian outlook, and thusly becoming confused and flocking to the banner of George W. Bush?

    Are you just messing with me, or what?

  52. Like when Hitler’s head of economic affairs decreed that employers, not unions or workers, should decide how businesses should be run:

    Aha! I knew it! Jacob Sullum is a NAZI!!

    Nice working cracking the code, joe. I hereby declare you an honorary Wind Talker.

  53. Jake Boone,

    I’m not messing with you. Libertarians actually get the chance to talk to the rest of the world. Occasionally, when the nurse gets distracted during Medicine Time. 😉

    Last night, Ron Paul did a great job framing the energy question in a free market manner that drew a sharp distinction with the corporatist policies of the Bush/Cheney administration. And distinctions there are.

    Thos distinctions are often blurred in the public mind, and writing about how employers should be in charge of immigration isn’t helpful. A corporatist supporter of the “guest worker program” can lay just as much of a claim to the phrase “a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed” as Jacob Sullum, and I think it would be a Very Good Thing if free market thinkers kept this conflation in mind when they made their points.

  54. Uh, ToolDave?

    “No, I am not calling Jacob Sullum a Nazi. I’m making some other point, one that has something to do with pro-employer language and its relationship to both free-market and corporatist political arguments.”

  55. joe,

    Don’t be so modest! All this time, a Nazi war sympathizer posing as a Reason writer, and you brought him down.

    Kudos to you, my friend. Surely no one else would have deduced his apparent endorsement of a free market economy was actually a secret nod to the policies of Adolph Hitler.

    Brilliant.

  56. A corporatist supporter of the “guest worker program” can lay just as much of a claim to the phrase “a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed” as Jacob Sullum, and I think it would be a Very Good Thing if free market thinkers kept this conflation in mind when they made their points.

    I’m not disagreeing with you here. In fact, I heartily agree with this. However, it seems we don’t agree on the likely audience of this particular instance of the phrase. I think it’s 99% people who already understand where Sullum is coming from, so the potential for misunderstanding would be very limited. You seem to think it’s the general public, where the potential for misunderstanding would be high.

  57. You know, the really funny thing is I was going to point out, as a joke, that the statement could even be read (by someone bing sufficiently ridiculous) as endorsing Hitler… but then I saw you had, even more hilariously, already done so! And you were serious!

    Truly genius. And I look forward to seeing Sullum tried at Nuremberg.

    Helluva nice hole you got there, though.

  58. Jake,

    I guess it’s just a pet peeve of mine.

    And look how long it took for people to understand that point, even right here on this blog.

    TallDave,

    Does your mother know you’re playing around on the computer instead of doing your book report?

  59. joe,

    And here I was going to be nice and loan you my backhoe so you could keep digging while I check Sullum’s place for lampshades made of human skin.

  60. And look how long it took for people to understand that point, even right here on this blog

    Or you could have just admitted your point made no sense and stopped making an ass of yourself. But that would have been so much less fun!

  61. And look how long it took for people to understand that point, even right here on this blog.

    Well, we were working from a handicap – we started with only your 12:45 post to go on, which didn’t actually address your point at all.

    If you’d posted your comments starting with the one in which you actually made your point (at 3:25), we’d probably have understood your meaning that much quicker.

  62. I agree with Jake. It would have been much funnier if you’d trotted out the Nazis in your first post.

    After all, you’ve clearly proven that without your wisdom we have absolutely no way of knowing whether Jacob Sullum is endorsing Nazism when he says “not somewhat more flexible central planning but a system in which employers and consumers decide which skills are needed.” There could be all kinds of swastikas and goosestepping hiding in there.

  63. I suggest a new game – whenever joe posts, we should use alternate meanings to any words he uses so as to interpret the post in a way that joe would never mean and would never be implied by the context.

  64. Oh, for the love of … joe, simply typing, “Oh, I misunderstood what Jacob Sullum meant. Oopsie! Never mind!” would have been a lot easier than all the Mongolian-circus-contortionist Nazi pretzel-twisting you underwent in an attempt to justify yourself.

    Aside: I find joe to be a generally reasonable counterpoint voice, but he does have these episodes … and ever since that time that he outed himself as a woman, I’ve been tempted to track those episodes to see whether they follow any kind of a, you know, regular cycle … might explain some things.

  65. Stevo,

    joe is Jennifer. Everyone knows that.

  66. I suggest a new game – whenever joe posts, we should use alternate meanings to any words he uses so as to interpret the post in a way that joe would never mean and would never be implied by the context.

    You mean like when joe says:

    TallDave,

    Does your mother know you’re playing around on the computer instead of doing your book report?

    joe is really saying:

    I zuggest you reconzider your recalcitrant attitude, mein tall friend! Ve know you have some family in Dusseldorf … your dear old Mutter if I am not miztaken, nein? I zink zat if she were to hear you vere zuzpected of partizipating in seditious activities, she might become diztressed … VERY diztressed. Perhaps I should zend a couple of ze Gestapo boys around to her house to look in on her, nein? Heinf, heinf, heinf, heinf!

    No? Zen you will become more cooperative and zign zis confession? Vell, I zuggest you spend the night giving it zome zerious conzideration, mein friend! Or it will be ze gas chambers for you! For ze whole LOT of you! Heinf, heinf, heinf, heinf!

    Take him avay!

  67. Stevo,

    I understood what Sullum meant just fine.

    I was making a point.

  68. The idea that preferring highly skilled/educated immigrants seems based on the notion that they will add to the economic base in greater proportion than unskilled immigrants. Presumably they’ll have significantly higher income, too.

    Wouldn’t this scenario only increase the demand for unskilled labor, as the highly skilled immigrants will create larger markets for the goods and services provided by their less educated counterparts?

  69. I understood what Sullum meant just fine.

    Thanks for clarifying joe!

  70. “Heck, look back at America in the late 1800s, and see how many proude “free marketeers” insisted that the government use its force to keep their workers from going out on strike.”

    How many instances did stirkers try to use force to keep replacement workers from taking their place?

    And I don’t remember what year it was but there was once instance at Carnagie’s steel plant where the workers didn’t just go out on strike – they took over the steel plant as if the property belonged to them.

  71. “The point system is like the Soviet Union. The government is saying, in effect, “We have a five-year plan for the economy, and we will decide with this point system what mix of skills is needed.” That is not the way a market-based capitalist economy works best.”

    Well since Zoe has suddenly become a fan of market-based capitalism, I expect that she will now support immediate elimination of farm price support and all agriculture subsidies of any type for farmers in California and all the other states. None of that is compatible with market based capitalism. And, of course, elimintation of social security, medicare, medicaid, welfare, food stamps, any and all free trade restrictions, etc, etc, etc since none of those things are compatible with market based capitalism either.

  72. Well since Zoe has suddenly become a fan of market-based capitalism

    Her home district, Silicon Valley more or less, is liberal, but also home to many of the most successful technology companies. Her political positions are not new and they are just what you would expect from someone representing her consituency: a mixture of liberalism, support for high-tech research projects, opposition to regulation (of high-tech business), generous allocations of H1B visas.

  73. Glibert Martin,

    Those things did happen, but the use of police and National Guard against strikers went well beyond evicting trespassers.

  74. “Well since Zoe has suddenly become a fan of market-based capitalism, I expect that she will now support immediate elimination of…”

    Drink?

  75. joe @ 1:19 from D-day:

    I agree with you, and I do have to disagree with Jake B, respectfully. I share your suspicions that free-market and crony capitalism do get confused in these very pages.

    There are semi regular posters who, in my opinion, will default to crony capitalism, in certain situations. Or espouse it outright (the “might makes right” crowd).

    We saw this in the minimum wage debate, the genesis of “DEMAND KURV”…

    While it’s clear that Jacob doesn’t mean that – that horse has been turned to foie gras long ago, and Stevo made me take a “bunk break” after hiz german (ooh ja! ja!), I do feel that he has a legit point.

    Consider: all the words and flames that happen during the “which sort of dictatorship is worse” arguments.

    cheers, all!

  76. Pro Libertate,

    Yes, the Nazi regime heavily regulated the German economy. They had quotas, etc. Not so strangely they didn’t put Germany onto a true wartime economy until late into the war (partly because of the revolt in 1918 caused in part by the privations of WWI).

  77. Stevo,

    I understood what Sullum meant just fine.

    I was making a point.

    Then I apologize, but somehow you completely lost me along the way, and a review of the thread still confuses me.

    Would you mind summarizing the point?

  78. This is deranged. For one thing, the provisions for a point system are opposed by liberal Democrats, who have made it clear that they intend to remove them before they ever become law. Since they would not take effect for another eight years, the Democrats may very well succeed in this.

    Secondly, the basic mindset here at Reason seems to be that the “free market” is best described as “what businessmen want”.

    Let me remind you all of what that noted statist Milton Friedman said;

    “The two chief enemies of the free society or free enterprise are
    intellectuals on the one hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite
    reasons. Every intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he’s
    opposed to freedom for others.?He thinks?there ought to be a central
    planning board that will establish social priorities.?The businessmen are
    just the opposite-every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody
    else, but when it comes to himself that’s a different question. He’s always
    the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a
    tariff, this, that, and the other thing?”

  79. TallDave

    “As for capitalism: isn’t it obvious the U.S. has a huge need for unskilled labor?”

    No, it is not. If skilled labor could come here and circumvent the law as easily as lower skilled labor, then I’m sure they owuld do it. Does that prove that there is a demand for skilled labor? On some level I’m sure you know this is not true.

    The current immigration situation is an example of selective enforcement of laws, not of the “free market” in action.

  80. There is some merit top the idea of a green card or temporary work permit auction. The simple fact is the US gets about 10 Million applications for immigration each year. One question is at what point would the revenue from such an auction get maximixed?

    I tend to think the revenues from such an auction could be quite high-say on the order of 150-250 Billion per year.

    The key here is understanding that citizenship has substantial economic value-and for most Americans is far greater than the value of their other forms of property. You need to maintain the value of citizenship as part of a sensible economic policy.

    I could imagine an immigration policy in which to immigrate, a prospective immigrant would need to buy the citizenship rights of an existing citizen-who would then have to leave the US and go someplace else. The US would loose its most alienated citizens-and get new ones highly motivated to come to the US.

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