Marketplace Actually Supports a Market

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On Marketplace this morning, commentator Will Wilkinson calls for a common North American labor market:

Mexico's GDP per capita is about what Poland's was in 2004. That was the year Poland became a part of the E.U., and started sending a large flow of newly-legal migrant workers to a much wealthier Britain. This neither increased British unemployment, nor overtaxed social services.

It's been a boon to both the British and the Polish economies, and a higher percentage of Polish workers now circulate back home. Romania and Bulgaria are even poorer than Mexico, but they are now set to integrate their labor markets with the rest of the E.U. in seven years.

Read or listen here.

The much-missed Tim Cavanaugh demanded visaless borders back in 2006.

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  1. Hit & Run without Cavanaugh is like “Cabaret” without Liza Minnelli.

    …I understand he’s been reduced to riding mass transit.

  2. Marketplace Actually Supports a Market

    I have a strong (and maybe irrational) dislike for Scott Jagow. He makes markets sound like some phantom hoobily joobily (kinda like Mitt Romney does). He always asks his guests the STUPIDEST questions, but he seems to think they sound insightful. What makes me madder is that the average listener might just think they are.

  3. But I am pretty sure that Poland was forced as a condition of entry to the EU to crack down on corruption, install property rights and rule of law?

    Once those are in place, fewer people will want to leave Poland.

    Open borders with Mexico and their current system of institutionalized corruption which drives away business will mean that the only people left in Mexico would be 5 illegal alien Gringo or European scuba instructors in Cancun.

  4. Oh great, another topic to separate the paleo’s from the cosmo’s. Anyways, as somebody who lives in the Old World, I can say that I have nothing but respect for the Poles. They are family oriented, Catholic and hard working. Social democrats don’t like them. And they are fun to have a beer with. The only thing I might add, is that is not necessarily better for them to have a legal status. Now they have to pay into all kind of expensive social security measures, which they are likely never to make use of.

  5. I agree with MikeP.

  6. Three things about Polish migration into the UK…

    – Other EU countries (bar Ireland) held off from letting Poles (and other workers from the newly admitted countries) in – so a disproportionate number came to the UK.

    – The influx was, I think, very close to the maximum rate that the existing population were prepared to put up with. There were howls of outrage, but they never quite reached critical mass.

    – The EU has been surprisingly good at enabling this kind of mobility.

  7. I suspect that the open borders with Eastern Europe are tolerated in the West largely because of the smokin’ hotness of Eastern European women.

  8. IF were are going to have free trade with our next door neighbors, then the commodity known as labor has to be included. Without that, genuine free trade is a myth.

    Since I don’t support open borders with Mexico at this time, it logically follows that I don’t support free trade with Mexico at this time.

    That sticks in my craw a bit, but the truth must be faced. Especially about oneself.

  9. Kerry-

    Excellent headline. Thank you.

  10. You may be right, RC Dean.

    But do you remember that comic book that the Mexican goverment distributed showing how to sneak into the US?

    Based on that, illegal aliens looked like supermodels, strippers or Chippendales Dancers.

    How come we don’t have more illegal aliens in this country that look like Salma Hayek?

  11. See I told you I was Right about how NAFTA would lead to the NorthAmericanUnion and the MexicanInvasion! Is the NAFTASuperHighway far behind or is it a StalkingHorse?

  12. It’s OK, Will will impregnate Kerry soon and then she’ll stop being a libertarian.

  13. It’s still a mystery why anyone thinks freer markets must be approached bilaterally or not at all.

  14. The only thing that I will guarantee you about this is that if it happens it will occur without any democratic input from the American people. This is how ‘free-trade’ agreements are passed, little or no press coverage and a quick vote with no input from the public.

  15. I suspect that the open borders with Eastern Europe are tolerated in the West largely because of the smokin’ hotness of Eastern European women.

    You’d think the same would apply here considering the abundance of smokin’ hot latinas.

  16. This is how ‘free-trade’ agreements are passed, little or no press coverage and a quick vote with no input from the public.

    Isn’t that how everything is passed these days?

  17. Marketplace Actually Supports a Market

    I have a strong (and maybe irrational) dislike for Scott Jagow. He makes markets sound like some phantom hoobily joobily (kinda like Mitt Romney does). He always asks his guests the STUPIDEST questions, but he seems to think they sound insightful. What makes me madder is that the average listener might just think they are.

    YES YES YES!!!

    Awesome headline, too!

  18. I’m sorry but the statement

    “This neither increased British unemployment, nor overtaxed social services”

    is wildly over-optimistic and could only come from a commentator who has either never visited the UK or who has but only read The Guardian whilst here.

    Social services in towns along the M4 motorway corridor in the South-East of England are creaking badly largely as a result of the (estimated) 700,000 Poles now in the country. Most of these new workers have no intention of staying long-term in the UK, they are here to build a savings pot before returning home (who can blame them?).

    They are therefore willing to put up with living conditions (and hence wages) that severely under-cut long-term residents. This is welcomed both by the organisations who employ them and the government, neither of whom now have to pay to correct the severe skills shortages amongst the UK workforce.

    The reason unemployment figures haven’t risen is that it is so easy in the UK to become economically inactive. There are some towns in South Wales and Northern England where up to 25% of the working age population is on disability benefit. This benefit is extraordinarily easy to get, with payments higher than those recieved if on unemployment benefit and excludes the recipient from being included in the headline unemployment figures.

    If you added ‘official unemployed’ and ‘economically inactive working age’ together and compared those figures to most other western economies, then you’ll get a much better picture of our supposedly healthy economy.

  19. It’s pretty funny how Reason has gone from the hackery of denying the NorthAmericanUnion to now promoting a NorthAmericanUnion. I guess some word came down from somewhere or something.

    Here’s a funny story about Will Wilkinson:

    A few years ago I wrote a satire about “guest” programs and posted it to a blogspot blog (jfsac.blogspot.com) then sent the link to Reason magazine. The all-in-one version of that is here (thanks, Arianna!).

    What do you know, a couple weeks later a similar proposal found its way into Reason magazine’s pages, written by Will Wilkinson (reason.com/news/show/32871.html).

    I don’t whether my satire inspired a real proposal from Will Wilkinson or not, but it certainly is quite a coinkydink.

  20. Marketplace Actually Supports a Market

    This show really is a price of shit.

  21. The only thing that I will guarantee you about this is that if it happens it will occur without any democratic input from the American people. This is how ‘free-trade’ agreements are passed, little or no press coverage and a quick vote with no input from the public.

    Americans will vote against free trade. But Americans will also vote against any leader who fucks up the economy.

    The trouble is, being against free trade fucks up the economy. So American politicians have to decide if they would rather alienate voters by voting for free trade, or if they would rather alienate voters by destroying the economy.

    Since they know that everyone hates free trade, but they know everyone will hate them even more if they vote against free trade, they try to pass free-trade agreements with as little fanfare as possible.

  22. Oh great, another topic to separate the paleo’s from the cosmo’s.

    That’s easy:

    Paleo == government intervention into the lives of the citizenry should be restricted to preventing force and fraud.

    Cosmo == Socialist Ends by Free Market Means.

  23. Glad and amused to hear the news. So the EU is inspiring Americans to open their markets. I guess what goes arround comes arround.

  24. That was the year Poland became a part of the E.U., and started sending a large flow of newly-legal migrant workers to a much wealthier Britain….It’s been a boon to both the British and the Polish economies

    Wow, it’s the exact same version of this old Polish joke:

    “Did you hear about the Polack who moved to Britain?” He raised the IQ of both countries.”

  25. It’s pretty funny how Reason has gone from…

    I don’t think Reason’s ever claimed to speak with one voice.

    …Oh, and it’s a lot harder when you have more than one issue.

  26. OT: Kerry – excellent interview of Lant Pritchett in the last issue of the magazine. There have been so many good articles and interviews in the magazine in the last 4-6 months, Reason has actually become a great magazine for topics, not just from a libertarian perspective!

  27. Here’s a fun quiz:

    How do we define people like Will Wilkinson?

    1. He’s a patriotic American.
    2. He’s a “different kind of patriotic American”, in the same way that the Rosenbergs were.
    3. He’s not really an American at all.

  28. This neither increased British unemployment, nor overtaxed social services.

    Even if they did, would anyone really notice?

  29. 4. He is an American who questions the value of patriotism!

    Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve read Vonnegut. A country is “just a piece of real estate”.

    Of course, an alternate construction might be a country is a “community writ large”. I think I prefer the later – I’m not much interested in being a member of a group prepared to sell me down the river for the next better offer.

    If I had neighbors like you, I’d be digging a moat behind my rose-bushes, and filling it with alligators…..

  30. While I am a supporter of open borders, I think the Poland = Mexico math is nonsense. Both country’s per capita GDP may well be similar, but the distributions are completely different. Mexico is host of largish number of multi-billionaires (including the world’s 3dr or 4th richest individual) a sizeable upper class and a HUGE impoverished underclass. Poland’s wealth distribution is much much flatter and abject poverty is, and has for decades has been, low.

    Want actually comparable numbers, try the GINI (distribution of incomes, lower is flatter):

    Mexico GINI: 46
    United States GINI: 41
    Poland: 34

    Some 40% of Mexicans live below the poverty line while only 17% of Poles do (UK is also 17% and the US is 12%)

    Having spent time in both Mexico and Poland I can vouch that Poland is much closer to the European economic norms than Mexico is to the United States’.

  31. Americans will vote against free trade. But Americans will also vote against any leader who fucks up the economy.

    The trouble is, being against free trade fucks up the economy. So American politicians have to decide if they would rather alienate voters by voting for free trade, or if they would rather alienate voters by destroying the economy.

    Since they know that everyone hates free trade, but they know everyone will hate them even more if they vote against free trade, they try to pass free-trade agreements with as little fanfare as possible.

    I was thinking the same thing.

  32. A question for those who think it is obvious that a common North American labor market is a bad idea… Where would you place labor migration restrictions within the United States and what would those restrictions be?

    After all, given that such severe restrictions are unquestionably appropriate between Mexico and the US, it is extraordinarily unlikely that there is not some restriction that could be applied within the US that would optimize whatever it is that the restriction on Mexico is optimizing.

    Whatever it is that makes impeding people’s freedom to migrate, reside, contract, and labor worthwhile in cases of international migration surely applies somewhere within the US. There are, after all, 2450 different state-to-state migration examples. Will none of them be improved by applying the treatment Mexico-to-US migration gets?

  33. MikeP, we need to keep those damn Delaware people in that state. Just sayin’.

  34. Of course, an alternate construction might be a country is a “community writ large”.

    Wait, wait – and you were just accusing cosmopolitans of being socialists?

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