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Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Galactic Immigration

Globally, the human flow from rural to urban areas, from developing to industrialized countries continues to surge, defying police barriers, jail and laws. Developing countries that goes hard on immigration – particularly those whose demographics is not favorable or countries chasing big dreams and huge growth, face a losing battle – this is like defying gravity – one can do that but at enormous cost and as a short term phenomenon.
Steven E. Landsburg writes that on balance immigrants don't harm Americans; virtually all economists agree that immigration makes us richer, not poorer. Every immigrant is a potential trading partner, a potential employee, and a potential customer. He bids down wages, but that's a two-edged sword: It's bad for his fellow workers, but it's good for employers and good for consumers.
In the very short run, most of the gains go to employers, and a substantial fraction of those gains probably go to people named Walton. In the somewhat longer run, all that excess profit gets competed away and shows up in the form of lower prices for consumer goods. At that point, even the workers who took pay cuts can come out ahead: If your wage falls by 10 percent while prices fall by 20 percent, you're a winner.

As I see it, the twentieth century has seen the worst of wars and the best of immigration - millions have migrated around the world in the last century - perhaps the highest ever in any century that mankind has seen. Mostly it has benefitted those who accomodated the migrants. With cultural adjustments, it is clear that like money, water and anything else that humankind uses, overtime the law of demand and supply and the nature of flow would determine the immigrant movement.

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