Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Immigrants Part 1

Illegal immigration is an issue that the church doesn’t handle very well.

Almost all Americans have ancestry that includes immigrants. Why do we want to close our borders now?

Interesting note I picked up from a friend recently, but it’s in the Declaration of Independence: One of the complaints against King George was that he wouldn’t allow emigration from England to America.

I would challenge anyone to prove to me that open immigration in principle is a bad idea. Every argument I have ever heard against such a policy is based on myth, prejudice, or assumption that the current set of laws surrounding the issue are good laws.

First, the myths.

The most prevailing myth that I have experienced is the concept that Americans will lose jobs if we allow more immigration.

This myth contains what Thomas Sowell calls “zero-sum” thought. It operates out of a belief that there is a limited amount of wealth in the economy, and that more people sharing that wealth takes away from each individual’s share. Wrong. Such a view is STATIC, it assumes that the current state of affairs is the way things will be tomorrow. (The root word for static by the way is the same root as for statist, or trust in the state, government) All wealth is created. TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Even if I move into a house with an apple tree in the backyard, I have to go get the apple if I want to eat it.

Why did farmers in centuries past have so many children? Besides the lack of birth control, they WANTED more children. More children meant more help producing crops. Even young children were expected to pull their weight around the farm. (Now young children carry their weight on their middles and we wonder why.) The more people we have the more wealth we can create. Every great empire wanted more people not less. Emperors love babies; perhaps that is where the tradition of politicians “kissing babies” stems from. It is part of the human mandate “to be fruitful and multiply.” Certainly not something we should become legalistic about, but true.

It is interesting to me that the same people who believe this myth also want to protect American jobs by preventing industries from moving overseas. This concept is equally false. All consumers are hurt when government enacts protectionist policies. If it takes me 2 hours to grow an apple, but a Canadian can produce one in 1 hour, I will trade him one of my hours for the apple and still have an hour surplus to myself.

The economics of these two concepts are rather simple, only compounded by myths and fallacies. I will talk more about them in future posts.

1 comment:

JBG said...

you might enjoy some posts on this topic at www.the-science-of-choice.blogspot.com