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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mailvox: of free trade, Austrians, and authors

CA asks about protectionism in Alabama:
If I understand your position correctly, you say the free movement of labor is an inherent flaw in the free trade ideology. If this is true, the recently passed Alabama HB 56 would theoretically correct for the free movement of labor by forcing illegal immigrants out of the workforce. Apparently it did force them out of the workforce and now Alabama farmers cannot find enough labor to meet their needs because legal workers are unable or unwilling to perform the work that the illegal immigrants had been doing. The situation turns the "they took our jobs" argument on its head.

Would you chalk this up to the fact that Americans have become soft and lazy because illegal immigrants have been doing all the hard work for so long? Do you expect that, if the law is kept on the books, legal workers will eventually take the reigns when the situation becomes more dire? Am I entirely missing the point somewhere? Basically, how do you fit this empirical data into your anti-free trade theory?

I have been enjoying this discussion, btw, thanks for the intellectual stimulation.
First, I have to offer a mild correction to the statement that "Alabama farmers cannot find enough labor to meet their needs because legal workers are unable or unwilling to perform the work that the illegal immigrants had been doing". The fact is that Alabama farmers cannot find enough labor to meet their needs because legal workers are unable or unwilling to perform the work that the illegal immigrants had been doing at the same lower wages the immigrants had been receiving. Would they have any trouble finding sufficient labor if they paid $1 milllion per hour? Of course not. So, it's not a problem of a shortage of labor, but rather, insufficient wages.

How does this fit into my anti-free trade theory? Perfectly. In the free trade scenario, the low-wage laborers migrate legally to Alabama and stay there, increasing the farmers' profits at the expense of the Alabama workers and the local Alabama culture which is now permanently transformed into Mexico-Alabama. The Alabama workers must either reduce their standard of living by accepting Mexican wages or leave Alabama in search of a place where they can find higher wages. Even if overall wealth is increased temporarily, it comes at a high cost in societal destruction, as even if Alabama's population remains the same, its demographics do not.

And since immigrants are disproportionately young men, the qualitative change in the workforce likely means exchanging young, single Hispanic men for Alabama family men. This will tend to increase crime, lower property values, reduce social cohesion, and incur other costs that don't show up in the simple economic calculations.

AM, on the other hand, thinks that opposition to free trade is impossible for a libertarian:
According to the lead for your columns you are a "Christian libertarian." Perhaps you really are a Christian. Your column on free trade definitely scratches the libertarian part. You also seem to believe that NAFTA, etc. are free trade agreements. You also fail to explain any harm from real free trade or any benefits from using force and violence to interfere with individuals who want to trade. You are good at name calling of Ricardo and others who advance the principles of comparative advantage. Yet you have not one word about what is wrong with the principles. I eagerly await your analysis and criticism of the principles of comparative advantage. I suspect I will be waiting a long time. Government borrowing is a problem. That it borrows from those the people of the US trade with, rather than from people of the US doesn't make the borrowing any more destructive.
I can see how some libertarians can reasonably argue that I am No True Libertarian, but their thinking is simplistic and relies upon the fallacious concept that maximizing human liberty requires maximizing the legal range of human behavior. I will eventually be presenting a positive case for opposing free trade in some circumstances as part of my argument for National Libertarianism. In the meatime, as we can see from the example of this email, many free trade advocates are blatantly dishonest. Let's list just a few of the obvious falsehoods some of them keep repeating:

1. Free trade does not mean free trade in services.
2. Free trade does not involve the free movement of labor.
3. Free trade does not involve free trade agreements.
4. Free trade is binary.

AM also throws in numerous other falsehoods as well, but I expect most of you can see how absurd they are since, just to give one example, I have obviously supplied considerably more than one word about what is wrong with the principles of comparative advantage. But let's focus on the idea that NAFTA, GATT and other free trade agreements are not free trade agreements.

Now, I don't deny that these various agreements do not constitute perfectly free trade. After all, we still have immigration laws, work visas, and numerous other means of preventing the free movement of labor and various tariffs are still on the books. But there is no denying that these free trade agreements have led to a greater volume of trade as well as a reduction in tariff rates and the number of tariffs. Consider the facts:

NAFTA provides for the elimination of Mexican tariffs on 5,900 categories of imports from the United States and Canada (mostly machinery and intermediate goods), representing more than 40 percent of Mexico's overall trade. Other products are reclassified in a simplified tariff list having four rate bands--5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent, and 20 percent. The United States eliminated tariffs on 3,100 additional categories of Mexican goods, bringing to 80 percent the portion of all Mexican exports to the United States that will be free from tariffs. Some 4,200 categories already had been included in the General System of Preferences (GSP) and were thus already exempt from tariffs. The treaty eliminates some tariffs immediately and phases out the rest over five, ten, or fifteen years, with vulnerable industries in the United States and Mexico receiving the longest protection.

Mexico's deadlines for lowering trade barriers are generally longer than those for Canada and the United States. The latter countries are required to lift immediately their tariffs on some 80 percent of Mexico's nonoil exports, while Mexico must grant immediate free entry to 42 percent of United States and Canadian exports. Special rules apply for trade in textiles, vehicles and auto parts, and agricultural products. The treaty also governs trade in services, including overland transport, telecommunications, and financial services, and it includes provisions for the liberalization of government procurement.

NAFTA requires Mexico to abolish protectionist limitations on foreign investment (except in the energy sector), allow free profit repatriation by United States and Canadian firms, and guarantee investors against property seizure without full compensation. The treaty allows foreign banks to take up to 25 percent of Mexico's banking market and allows foreign brokerages to take 30 percent of the securities business by 2004, after which all restrictions are to be eliminated.


The dishonesty of the "free trade agreements are not free trade" argument is readily apparent in the way in which the free trade arguments oppose adding new tariffs, raising tariff rates, or reducing immigration on the basis of their free trade doctrine while simultaneously attempting to claim that no amount of eliminated tariffs, reduced tariff rates, or increased immigration can be considered free trade. They're claiming that the protectionist pros and cons can be judged on a graduated basis, but the pros and cons of free trade cannot be. This is not only dishonest, but is obviously absurd, since the benefits of free trade cannot magically arrive all at once with the Traders' Paradise if the costs of protectionism appear piecemeal.

NAFTA is not an entirely free trade agreement, but it is an agreement to engage in freer trade, it has in fact led to freer trade, and as such, it serves perfectly well as an example of the failure of free trade doctrine. I note that in all the denials of connection between NAFTA, GATT, and other free trade agreements and genuine free trade, very few free trade advocates have come out and called for the cancellation of those agreements. This is not to say that no free traders ever opposed NAFTA; it should come as no surprise that Murray Rothbard did.

And on a mildly amusing tangential note, I'm not the only one who has noted Gary North's inability to distinguish between related, but distinct concepts.
According to Gary: “[Mises’s] disciple Murray Rothbard promoted 100% reserve banking. But, because he [Rothbard] opposed the existence of the state, his call for 100% reserves was not a call for legislation requiring 100% reserves.”

Murray Rothbard of course opposed the state. But, according to Gary, Murray would therefore have to oppose all legislation or laws. Yet, clearly, Murray (as a libertarian, not an Austrian), favored laws against murder, rape, etc. In his view, they would be implemented not by the government, but by private defense agencies. It is a misconstrual of free market anarchism to say that advocates of this philosophy oppose all laws. Au contraire: We are supporters of proper law, i.e., laws upholding individual rights and private property. Indeed, our criticism of the government is that it violates such proper law.
And finally, a member of the Dread Ilk has published a book on Round One. No doubt Nate will want to check it out.

Labels:

74 Comments:

Anonymous Jegolan June 28, 2012 6:26 AM  

A hypothetical: If in the Alabama example above, instead of workers being from Mexico, they were from, say, Ireland (in an alternate universe), with all other aspects of the example the same (Irish work longer hours for less pay), would this alter your anti-free trade argument any? This would increase farmers' profits and *may* -- possibly will if there is enough competition -- lower prices for produce, which is good for consumers. I ask because I note that your critique has a strong 'cultural protectionism' component.

Anonymous Anonymous June 28, 2012 7:01 AM  

"incur other costs that don't show up in the simple economic calculations."

This should be the first sentence printed in every economic text book used in higher education.

Anonymous Mr Green Man June 28, 2012 7:06 AM  

@Jergolan

It's the same cultural shift and change in composition, unless you manage to find some members of the original stock in that alternate universe of yours. That original stock is -- government-despising, freedom-loving, 17th century English, Huguenot, Dutch protestant, or certain lesser German states. Since your argument is going to wind up being functionally equivalent to skin color -- since the Irish speak Gaelic, so it still has the language difference angle -- know that Vox has spent a long time explaining that Scandinavian immigrants, with their blond hair and blue eyes, were bad for America because they imported that tribalist view that comes with Sweden or Norway being one giant tribe of cousins before WWII.

Anonymous artie June 28, 2012 7:08 AM  

The farmer's example is wonderful in that it illustrates the invention spiral of government and the fact that it's hard to get back once something is an established fact.

It's just astonishing that very few people see it that way.

Anonymous scoobius dubious June 28, 2012 7:17 AM  

"A hypothetical: If in the Alabama example above, instead of workers being from Mexico, they were from, say, Ireland"

Why make it a hypothetical? We have the historical record. The Irish did in fact show up in the USA as cheap immigrant labor, and we saw the result, which is easily recited: early on they worked for cheap and caused a lot of labor strife on account of that; and they also, early on, caused a lot of crime and social squalor. But they also served with distinction in our military, and their labor resulted in the creation of important canals and bridges and roads and skyscrapers, viz. they actually helped build the country when it needed building, they didn't just wash dishes or clean and rebuild a country that was already built.

They didn't go on welfare, either, because it didn't exist. Despite being a despised community, they rapidly set about building elaborate systems of schools, churches, hospitals, colleges, and poor-relief. Some of their independently-built colleges and universities are among the best in the country, and plenty of others, while not literally the best, provide the intellectual equivalent of a stout reliable yeomanry. Their religious orders helped improve and maintain moral discipline in the greater society. In the space of a generation or three, they went from being a major criminal class to the utterly cliche byword of law enforcement. True, their conception of urban ward politics was viciously corrupt, and that's a black mark. But on the whole, they were net contributors to American society in a remarkable way. And moreover, being of white English-speaking Christian European stock, their manifold ethnic intermarriages did not dilute the blood heritage of the American people. Oh, and plus they invented a lot of cool things, like Bessemer steel and the skyscraper. Their writers and poets have become a crucial part of our American language.

Now, on to the Mexicans. As Steve Sailer notes, they aren't new in America, they've been in the Southwest for numerous generations. What do we have to show for it?

Mostly, more Mexicans.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 7:32 AM  

The Irish did in fact show up in the USA as cheap immigrant labor, and we saw the result, which is easily recited: early on they worked for cheap and caused a lot of labor strife on account of that; and they also, early on, caused a lot of crime and social squalor. But they also served with distinction in our military, and their labor resulted in the creation of important canals and bridges and roads and skyscrapers, viz. they actually helped build the country when it needed building, they didn't just wash dishes or clean and rebuild a country that was already built.

You're omitting two important problems with the Irish in America. They moved the country to the left, as evidenced by their historical association with the Democratic Party and the Irish-settled Northeast remaining a Democratic bastion for more than a century. And worse, their standard bearers, the Kennedy family, were integral to using their own immigrant experience as justification for the 1965 immigration reform act that led to the third great wave of predominantly third world immigration.

This is why immigrants are usually disastrous for a nation and why we see it followed by forced deportations again and again throughout history. Even the good immigrants who contribute positively to a nation almost always view their own success and acceptance by the host nation as justifying further immigration. It's no different than desegregating neighborhoods. It's never the first black family on the block that causes any trouble, but they often serve as a reliable harbinger of declining property values and crime to come.

Anonymous Anonymous June 28, 2012 7:59 AM  

Vox: "And since immigrants are disproportionately young men, the qualitative change in the workforce likely means exchanging young, single Hispanic men for Alabama family men. This will tend to increase crime, lower property values, reduce social cohesion, and incur other costs that don't show up in the simple economic calculations."

This is a political/social argument. Not economic.

Anonymous paradox June 28, 2012 8:03 AM  

This same crap was said by Hendersonville, NC apple farmers. They were claiming that their apple harvest was going to ruin because the illegals were being run out WNC. A local political radio station reported on it and their phones were ringing nonstop with people wanting a job.

Anonymous pdimov June 28, 2012 8:19 AM  

In the meatime, as we can see from the example of this email, many free trade advocates are blatantly dishonest. Let's list just a few of the obvious falsehoods some of them keep repeating:

*rolls eyes*

But let's focus on the idea that NAFTA, GATT and other free trade agreements are not free trade agreements.

Free trade agreements shuffle lack of freedom around. They basically say: we've instituted regulations that raise our production costs by 20%; we won't have a 20% tariff if you institute the same regulations to level the playing field.

Since lack of such domestic regulations doesn't fall into your (otherwise quite expansive) definition of free trade, you see an increase in free trade. But there's no net increase in freedom.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 8:26 AM  

This is a political/social argument. Not economic.

Obviously, just as the "guns and badges" argument is a moral one. That's why I pointed out that they don't show up in the simple economic calculations. However, the actual dollar costs incurred do need to be factored into the economic equation. If a community needs to hire two new police officers and expand the county jail due to the criminal behavior of the migrants, that is an economic cost as well as a social one.

This same crap was said by Hendersonville, NC apple farmers.

Steve Sailer has pointed out that it has been an annual story in California for decades.

Anonymous scoobius dubious June 28, 2012 8:26 AM  

VD: You're wandering off the reservation, and inventing an argument that is beside the point. The hypothetical was: what if Irish instead of Mexicans? I answered it because the case already exists -- with the Irish you get Fordham University, Georgetown University, Notre Dame, Holy Cross, countless Marymounts and Loyolas and Saint Etceteras; you get Eugene O'Neill, father of modern American drama, and Paul Morphy, father of modern chess, and Louis Sullivan and Scott Fitzgerald and Frank O'Hara and Marianne Moore and Mister Dooley and Jackson Pollock (real name: Paul McCoy) and the dear knows who else; you get the Fighting Sixty-Ninth and the police and fire departments of most major Northern American cities, and the builders of countless bridges and canals and railway systems. You get a zillion jillion hospitals and grade schools and charity projects. You get a lot of bullshit too, but put it in perspective. Face it: the 1965 Hart-Celler Act was the work of the jews, doing what they do best, busy-beaverishly undermining and destroying Christendom. Ted Kennedy was their dupe.

If you want to look at Irish leftism you must look at it in context. This is a complex proposition so I will pass over it for the moment.

Meantime let's look at those mestizos. What did we get for our generosity: Univision and Telemundo and a lot of spanish-language newspapers whose every feckin headline has to do with "inmigracion"? (yes, I check.) With the exception of Los Bros Hernandez, whose work ("Love and Rockets") I adore, one could pretty much wipe one's ass with the cultural contribution of Latinos to genuine American society, and not even notice. It is, like the Muslims, a hermit-crab culture, disgracefully skulking into any forms or structures that have been abandoned by the whites who built them. Plus, their (if and when) intermarriage rates de facto dilute the blood heritage of white America, the actual real historical Americans, and this cannot be ignored.

If we must have immigration (and it's clear that we mustn't), far better the Irish than these fifth-column creatures.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 8:29 AM  

Free trade agreements shuffle lack of freedom around. They basically say: we've instituted regulations that raise our production costs by 20%; we won't have a 20% tariff if you institute the same regulations to level the playing field. Since lack of such domestic regulations doesn't fall into your (otherwise quite expansive) definition of free trade, you see an increase in free trade. But there's no net increase in freedom.

That's simply false. NAFTA resulted in 80 percent of all Mexican exports to the United States being free from tariffs... and it's not as if the USA had fewer or less onerous production regulations than Mexico.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 8:34 AM  

If we must have immigration (and it's clear that we mustn't), far better the Irish than these fifth-column creatures.

True, and better Mexicans than jihadist Muslims. But that doesn't mean that the Irish, the Germans, or the Scandinavians have not been a net negative in terms of American liberty. Scandinavians are aesthetically appealing, but they're short-sighted socialists who don't understand Anglo-Saxon freedom wherever they go, while Germans tend to be industrious statists whether one finds them in Germany or Minnesota.

Anonymous FUBAR Nation (Ben) June 28, 2012 8:57 AM  

Anglo Saxons aren't socialists? Have you taken a look at Britain recently? If we let in more British immigrants, I bet you they would advocate for socialism and the nationalization of the health care industry.

Anonymous pdimov June 28, 2012 9:00 AM  

That's simply false.

Could be. I'm not in the mood now to read the actual agreement. Here's Rothbard from your link above, though:

And just as Brussels has forced low-tax European countries to raise their taxes to the Euro-average or to expand their welfare state in the name of "fairness," a "level playing field," and "upward harmonization," so too Nafta Commissions are to be empowered to "upwardly harmonize," to ride roughshod over labor and other laws of American state governments.

President Clinton's trade representative Mickey Kantor has crowed that, under Nafta, "no country in the agreement can lower its environmental standards ever." Under Nafta, we will not be able to roll back or repeal the environmental and labor provisions of the welfare state because the treaty will have locked us in--forever.

Blogger El Borak June 28, 2012 9:04 AM  

Thanks for the plug, Vox. I appreciate that very much. Good Hater was #49 in Civil War last night, but I doubt it will catch Bill O'Reilly any time soon.

Anonymous Comment_Whatever June 28, 2012 9:06 AM  

Ah, how stupid the modern American is.

Did the rich man whine that "he can't find anyone to pick his crops"?

Did his paid whores whine that "he can't find anyone to pick his crops"?

I propose a theory. They are lying.

But why would they lie?

Because it benefits them to?

Anonymous Jegolan June 28, 2012 9:12 AM  

Elinor Ostrom, if I remember correctly, won her Nobel because of her research on management of the commons. She says those successful communities with non-state management schemes had what she called 'the right to exclude'. So I suppose Vox's free trade critique just expands on this on a national level. But Im sure Vox isnt arguing that had white America and their former African slaves prevent immigration, crime would not be the problem it is now. Crime is a result of a lot of things such as greeed, envy, a perverted sense of social justice and entitlement... which would still be present in the isolated American nation. They are, after all, humans. Crime goes with the territory.

Anonymous Ceinwyn June 28, 2012 9:20 AM  

As a resident of an agricultural area overrun by legal and illegal Mexicans, I would not let my son work in that industry with a bunch of criminals. If the people working the packing sheds and fields were not a bunch of desperados then perhaps ordinary Americans would take the jobs. Same goes for the fast food industry around here. With the unknown element of the coworkers it is not a job for our teens

Anonymous TheExpat June 28, 2012 9:26 AM  

This is a political/social argument. Not economic.

Economics is a social science ("Queen of the Social Sciences"), and the social effects of economic forces themselves have economic effects.

Arguing in a vacuum is fine, but expect that your theories and conclusions will bear little relation to what actually goes on in the real world. Likewise, ceteris paribus may be an important theoretical tool, but it will only get you so far.

Anonymous Daniel June 28, 2012 9:30 AM  

Scandinavians are aesthetically appealing, but they're short-sighted socialists who don't understand Anglo-Saxon freedom wherever they go, while Germans tend to be industrious statists whether one finds them in Germany or Minnesota.

This is an oft-cited truth that seems to be consistently overlooked or disregarded by your opponents. My pure Norwegian father is a model, if soft-spoken, socialist farmer. His father was named directly after Eugene Debs. The Prussians now in the family are dedicated statists to a man. To them, Liberty was the guy shot to death by Jimmy Stewart, despite what might be suggested by that awful John Wayne movie.

And no - the Anglo-Saxon blend of Germans who abandoned their land entirely to found England, low country migrants and adventuring second-son (i.e. Scandanavians whom proto-socialism pretty much screwed over) Jutes does have a higher resistance to socialism and a defined legacy of liberty from the very beginning. That doesn't mean Anglo-Saxons can't learn socialism, but it is a second language for most of them, not a first.

Anonymous Stilicho June 28, 2012 9:34 AM  

Anglo Saxons aren't socialists? Have you taken a look at Britain recently?

I blame the Normans. Those Frenchified Scandinavians started destroying the foundations of liberty the moment Harold's housecarls retreated from Hastings with his body. The Saxon thanes did manage to get a bit of their own back at Runnymeade, but the gains were not permanent.

The loss of the best of a generation in WWI, followed shortly by WWII and the decline of empire left a political void that the socialists were happy to fill. Faced with growing evidence that their policies are abject failures, the socialists have been busy importing a new, more subservient people to breed out and replace the Anglo-Saxon stock.

In Kipling's view:

"My son," said the Norman Baron, "I am dying, and you will be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for share
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

"The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
When he stands like an ox in the furrow – with his sullen set eyes on your own,
And grumbles, 'This isn't fair dealing,' my son, leave the Saxon alone.

"You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
But don't try that game on the Saxon; you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained serf in the field,
They'll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

Anonymous No_Limit_Bubba™ June 28, 2012 9:42 AM  

@ Scoobius Doobius

As I was reading your list of positive Irish contributions to the good ole USofA, I kept thinking, "Don't the Kennedy's ( at best) cancel all of this stuff out?"

Then you went and blamed the Kennedys on the Joos.

[Herr Goebbles begs Satan for a 5 minute break from endless World Cup coverage. He then accesses Vox Populi (after 10 disconnects on his dial up modem) . He watches the page load one line at a time. Just as Ernst Rohm arrives to drag him back to the game, a fleeting smile crosses his face. " Well done, sir" he mouths inaudibly.]

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 28, 2012 9:45 AM  

I'm probably the only ilk to have been a farm laborer. I was actually an illegal farm worker while I was in Europe; making hay by hand in the Swiss Alps, picking oranges on the island of Crete and milking cows and mucking out the barn in the Netherlands. All of this under the table at below market prices. And I was still a farm laborer in America in Kentucky keeping a horse barn, and working on my uncle's Christmas tree farm. I also grew up in Salinas, California, the lettuce capital of the world. Lettuce fields were everywhere, all the way up to the city lines. I rode my bicycle home from highschool past miles of lettuce fields. Our city was central for migrant labor. Thousands of Mexicans.

Salinas, California used to be a city of Oakies--people who escaped the horrors of the Dust Bowl and made their living by picking fruit and vegetables.

Salinias now? It is the one of the murder capitals of California with a huge Mexican population that has dragged it down. Victor David Hanson writes of how the San Joaquin Valley has changed under Mexican demographics. He is one of the last White Farmers of the San Joaquin. It is also dangerous to drive.

Some labor is not worth the normal price. Farm work, pulling weeds, hoeing, clearing trees from the fence line, mucking out the barns, digging potatoes is not cost effective. A lot of farm labor can not be paid "by the hour". It is too prohibitive.

Second, what drives most farmers to accept illegal farm work, is that in New York city the Banking elite want inflation. Inflation kills the farmer. Inflation kills farming. When in the 30s, 40% of the American population was on farms, less than 2% are today! That has transformed American culture. And that is planned that way. In one year, something like 300,000 farmers left their trade. I believe due to inflation. Inflation was created and used to drive globalization and free trade. No farmer can compete with inflation. Inflation is good for the businessman and globalist--but not for the farmer.

And back to lettuce. Picking lettuce is a demanding, dirty work. It is very back-breaking. It is much suited for Mayans and Aztecs who are a very short statured people. Tall Europeans are unsuited for Lettuce picking.

But the bottom line is that Inflation is a tool to create the necessity for Free Trade and the pull for immigration and illegals. Underlying all is Inflation, purposely driven by the socialist unions, and the Marxist banking elite.

Anonymous Knarf June 28, 2012 9:50 AM  

In a welfare-police state such as the U.S. now has you do not have free movement of labor, because the government already employs the lowest part of the indigenous labor pool. They are put on the dole and then put to work manufacturing the crime required to justify the police state, the poverty needed to justify the welfare state, and the future generations of ignorant idiots needed to vote to keep the welfare-police state in power.

Now that the illegal immigrants are gone, Alabama farmers cannot find enough legal workers to meet their needs because they are competing with the welfare-police state for farm hands.

Anonymous JartStar June 28, 2012 9:52 AM  

True, and better Mexicans than jihadist Muslims. But that doesn't mean that the Irish, the Germans, or the Scandinavians have not been a net negative in terms of American liberty. Scandinavians are aesthetically appealing, but they're short-sighted socialists who don't understand Anglo-Saxon freedom wherever they go, while Germans tend to be industrious statists whether one finds them in Germany or Minnesota.

So basically there is (was?) one small group of liberty loving people in the world who are outnumbered by everyone else who instead loves the state in its various forms.

Liberty, it was good to know you.

Anonymous JartStar June 28, 2012 9:53 AM  

No wonder libertarians/small government types tend to be pessimists.

Anonymous Stilicho June 28, 2012 9:58 AM  

No wonder libertarians/small government types tend to be pessimists.

Via zerohedge, Cliff Asness' rendition of the leftists' definition of libertarian:

Libertarian

Definition: A philosophy held by annoying bastards who happen to be right about nearly everything. Fortunately, due to the frustration that comes with being right about nearly everything, in a world wrong about those same things, there are only 19 of them, and we’re going to find the bastards soon.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 10:09 AM  

So basically there is (was?) one small group of liberty loving people in the world who are outnumbered by everyone else who instead loves the state in its various forms.

Precisely. There was a reason that America's founding fathers wrote about "the rights of Englishmen", then extrapolated from those to "the rights of Man". But they were wrong to do so. Man, by and large, has no interest in the imaginary rights endowed by a Creator in whom he doesn't believe and a god he doesn't worship. Consider how it took all of 23 years for those English rights to be perverted and transformed into its murderous revolutionary form by the French.

The concept of "a creedal nation" was always a nonsensical one. What does the German, the Arab, the Swede, or the African know, or care, about the tradition of the Magna Carta. Freedom-loving people have always been rare, isolated, and for the most part, despised. The rejects of England, the Basques, the Swiss, and the Sicilians.

Anonymous Roundtine June 28, 2012 10:24 AM  

Is it not still a creed? I can't imagine subverting rights to blood, wouldn't that make it like Judaism? The people of liberty? If you believe the creed, you are reborn an Anglo-Saxon?

Anonymous Stilicho June 28, 2012 10:30 AM  

The rejects of England, the Basques, the Swiss, and the Sicilians.

Montani semper liberi

Anonymous Jegolan June 28, 2012 10:32 AM  

"No wonder libertarians/small government types tend to be pessimists."

Only the Christian ones who truly understand Christian theology are. The others are utopians.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 10:41 AM  

Is it not still a creed?

Sure. But it is a creed that people from different cultures and traditions find difficult to truly comprehend and to which they find nearly impossible to adhere. Generally, they claim to agree with the creed, then create exceptions that depart from it until there is nothing left of it.

For an example of this, you might consider the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision today.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 28, 2012 10:43 AM  

I would like to congratulate Vox on subordinating Economics to Culture. I would think that you are the first economist to do so. Most people think, and most business people, think their subject, economics, in a vacuum. That it exists soley for itself and that the human race exists solely for economics--for profits. That is what drives Republicans.

What is the slogan of Mitt Romney? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. This man is absolutley clueless about Culture. When Romney is discussing illegal immigration and immigration, the man is so clueless. Culture never enters his vocabulary.

I listened to Rush the other day and some caller called him out on that Obama amnesty of younger Mexicans. Rush had NO comeback. He stumbled and mumbled and had no real answer on why we should NOT allow this amnesty of young Mexicans.

Culture was not in Rush's vocabulary either. But with Culture comes Race for Culture is the product of Race and Religion. Rush nor Romney nor any other Republican cares for Culture.

Economics can not trump Culture but that is exactly what is happening is that Economics, jobs trumps anything about Culture.

And I would like to point out the validity of Americans not taking jobs that foreigners take.

How many foreigners, illegals in our military? How many American WASP parents tell their young sons to go to college instead of serving? See, economics trumps Culture. It is more important to make 100k a year than wear a blasted uniform for $1000 a month! How many of our young WASP sons run off to college instead of the military? Would we have women in the military? Would we have illegals in our military?

American boys have been pandered and effeminized. American boys are too good to enter the military! That is why we have 75,000 foreigners in our military! This is precisely the excuse Obama made in his amnesty!

The Bible teaches, "Hate not thou laborious labor". Yet throughout America, we teach the opposite. Americans HATE laborious labor and run to college for the easy life! We are taught that by our parents. There is a reason for that.

"Hate not thou laborious labor".

Anonymous Ceinwyn June 28, 2012 11:06 AM  

Because honestly, who wants to serve in the military with a bunch of ...minorities?

Anonymous pdimov June 28, 2012 12:28 PM  

The most important law Western Civilization hadn't heard about.

Anonymous Anonymous June 28, 2012 12:31 PM  

I live in an area of Alabama known for it's peaches. And though I am not an insider with the farmers I have not seen or heard complaints or handwringing about a shortage of labor because of this law.

And FWIW in regards to the social aspect and wages don't forget some (many?) farmers and employers of low wage type jobs will provide transport (to and from work, to the market etc), will provide trailer housing, pay advance loans, etc. to lure the Mexican worker to work for the cheaper wages. While in landscaping I read one lanscape trade mag that highlighted a guy in Kansas who went to Texas to get new workers and it told of many bennies he offered to entice them. And I have never heard that such treatment offered to American young people and I would think this would make a difference in enticing Americans into these types of jobs. I myself have worked in farming and landscaping as a white American male - even after an earned college degree to boot and was glad to have work. And I worked with other Americans - it is a lie that no Americans will take these jobs. My question is: would the average American worker work for less IF housing and transport were provided as is done for the illegal? Could this not stimulate people to join these professions and instill a love for them wherein they could one day own a farm or business of their own. Pure fieldwork is important but that is not all there is to these industries and Americans should know this.

AlabamaRob

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews June 28, 2012 12:32 PM  

Are you sure that is the right book link? I got sent to one about an abolitionist. That doesn't seem related to economics.

Anonymous artie June 28, 2012 12:52 PM  

Wheeler, where in the Swiss Alps did you produce the hay?

Anonymous John June 28, 2012 1:56 PM  

@W.LindsayWheeler

"Inflation was created and used to drive globalization and free trade. No farmer can compete with inflation. Inflation is good for the businessman and globalist--but not for the farmer."

No argument here, but I find this statement ironic, given the misguided "Free Silver" movement of late 19th century agrarians.

Anonymous John June 28, 2012 2:12 PM  

@Vox

"Freedom-loving people have always been rare, isolated, and for the most part, despised. The rejects of England, the Basques, the Swiss, and the Sicilians."

Slightly OT, but would you then consider that "freedom-loving" element to be an aberration in humanity? Is it analagous to, or is it exactly, a genetic mutation in humans? Since the default mode for most people is structure and state control, are freedom-loving people like people with red hair - a genetic mutation that is quickly being bred out of the populace?

Blogger El Borak June 28, 2012 3:09 PM  

R. Bradley Andrews: Are you sure that is the right book link? I got sent to one about an abolitionist. That doesn't seem related to economics.

By "Round 1" Vox is referring to the American Civil War, so you have the right book. And no, it's not related to economics, though I suppose we could argue circles about the economics behind Secession. We always seem to when to the topic comes up.

Anonymous Josh June 28, 2012 3:16 PM  

No argument here, but I find this statement ironic, given the misguided "Free Silver" movement of late 19th century agrarians.

inflation is good for debtors, farmers generally carry a high debt burden

Anonymous Yorzhik June 28, 2012 4:03 PM  

Vox write:So, it's not a problem of a shortage of labor, but rather, insufficient wages.

No, it's a problem of insufficient labor at wages consistent with the work. The reason we know this is because there was a great labor force willing to work for the wages at the lower rate. Now Alabama simply is unable to compete against states that allow apple picking a market rates.

In the free trade scenario, the low-wage laborers migrate legally to Alabama and stay there, increasing the farmers' profits at the expense of the Alabama workers

No, at the expense of Mexico's labor assets. Alabama workers get lower food costs so they can either find work in the expanding food market, or they can live off less because their food costs less and survive on a lower paying job at least. But lower food costs mean the future will have a stronger economy and the depressed wages are temporary.

and the local Alabama culture which is now permanently transformed into Mexico-Alabama.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Actually, culture changes all the time anyway. Culture doesn't matter as much as civility, which can be imposed on any culture.

And since immigrants are disproportionately young men, the qualitative change in the workforce likely means exchanging young, single Hispanic men for Alabama family men. This will tend to increase crime, lower property values, reduce social cohesion, and incur other costs that don't show up in the simple economic calculations.

Nope. As soon as they settle they have families. That's a good reason to have wide gates for immigration, because it's the single young men that will tend to take the risk of illegally entering a country.

1. Free trade does not mean free trade in services.

Unless we should restrict freedom to transact in services, this is a myth we agree on.

2. Free trade does not involve the free movement of labor.

Free trade wouldn't be much good without the labor required for a booming economy. So we also agree this is a myth.

3. Free trade does not involve free trade agreements.

This is a trick question (in a manner of speaking). The free trade agreements you are implying are those styled like NAFTA, which is a restriction on free trade. How big is that document? Free trade is a matter of removing existing restrictions, not creating new ones like NAFTA did in it's 3k+ pages. As an example, I have first hand experience with the regulations imposed on my business by NAFTA. It might be great for large companies, but for small businesses like mine it really reduced my freedom to transact with Canada and to a lesser extent, Mexico.

4. Free trade is binary.

Huh? A country has no control over its borders and tariffs? That is demonstrably wrong. Any country could widen its immigration gates and do away with tariffs if it wanted to. And no other country has any right to say differently.

But there is no denying that these free trade agreements have led to a greater volume of trade as well as a reduction in tariff rates and the number of tariffs.

This is true, but only because large companies are doing more trading. The smaller the company the larger the burden NAFTA and GATT placed on their ability to trade.

If NAFTA and GATT were free trade, then individuals would find it easier to trade after the agreement. But that's not what happened.

Blogger Vox June 28, 2012 4:51 PM  

The free trade agreements you are implying are those styled like NAFTA, which is a restriction on free trade.

It's one thing to be wrong, Yorzhik, which is the case with most of your other answer. But this is a straightforward lie. Tariffs on 9,000 categories of Mexican goods were eliminated. To describe the massive elimination of thousands of tariffs as "a restriction on free trade" is shamelessly dishonest.

But the fact that you think it's perfectly fine to transform Alabama into Mexico is all that's needed to dismiss your attempts at reason. It would be one thing if we didn't have copious experience of the result of mass Mexican immigration, but to claim it in the year 2012 is totally ridiculous.

Anonymous Yorzhik June 28, 2012 5:29 PM  

Vox writes: It's one thing to be wrong, Yorzhik, which is the case with most of your other answer. But this is a straightforward lie. Tariffs on 9,000 categories of Mexican goods were eliminated. To describe the massive elimination of thousands of tariffs as "a restriction on free trade" is shamelessly dishonest.

I was clear that restrictions were reduced for some and increased for others. Tariffs went down on a lot of products, and regulations went up.

But the fact that you think it's perfectly fine to transform Alabama into Mexico is all that's needed to dismiss your attempts at reason. It would be one thing if we didn't have copious experience of the result of mass Mexican immigration, but to claim it in the year 2012 is totally ridiculous.

You are misreading. Any changes in demographics will lead to a change in culture. It isn't a change in culture that is bad, but whether a place gets more or less civil after a change in demographics. And the policies of the justice system have a much greater impact on civility than the demographic make-up. Are you saying the US justice system is the same as Mexico's? If not, then you cannot turn Alabama into Mexico.

Anonymous Yorzhik June 28, 2012 5:35 PM  

I meant any changes that are large enough in demographics will lead to a change in culture. Small demographic changes are less likely to change the culture.

Eventually, the culture will change regardless of non-indigenous people immigrating into the area or not. So it can't be culture change that's the problem. A policy change... that can be a problem, especially if it's a change to reduce freedom.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews June 28, 2012 6:48 PM  

Thanks El Borak. I thought it meant round 1 of this discussion.

Blogger R. Bradley Andrews June 28, 2012 6:53 PM  

Purchased

Anonymous Formerly Anonymous June 28, 2012 7:25 PM  

Vox's whole stance is that we should trust the political and financial elites to manage the economy through tariffs. Its dumb.

The fact that your only response to how tariffs somehow makes America wealthier at the national level, but would make us poorer at the state and local level should tell anyone all there is to know. And claiming that economic principles suddenly change from the micro-level to the macro-level is completely retarded. Thats the kind of bullcrap Keynesians are always blabbering about. How can you still claim to be an Austrian? This is a fundamental principle of Austrian economics.

Anonymous James Dixon June 28, 2012 7:46 PM  

Well, posting from work isn't working. Let's see if I can post from home.

> I'm probably the only ilk to have been a farm laborer.

Not hardly. The fact that the family owns the small family farm doesn't make the kids any less farm laborers.

Blogger El Borak June 28, 2012 8:38 PM  

"Purchased"

Thank you, sir. If you feel inclined to do a review, I would very much appreciate that.

Anonymous jSinSaTx June 28, 2012 8:39 PM  

"Vox's whole stance is that we should trust the political and financial elites to manage the economy through tariffs. Its dumb.

The fact that your only response to how tariffs somehow makes America wealthier at the national level, but would make us poorer at the state and local level should tell anyone all there is to know. And claiming that economic principles suddenly change from the micro-level to the macro-level is completely retarded. Thats the kind of bullcrap Keynesians are always blabbering about. How can you still claim to be an Austrian? This is a fundamental principle of Austrian economics."

VD's case at this point is not descriptive in what tariff form would yield better results. It is pointing out that the Free Trade Agreements, which few of the free traders are calling on to be repealed or complained about when being instituted, yielded results more in line with the protectionist claims than the free traders. The free traders are sticking with the theory in spite of the evidence by claiming as the communists did about the USSR that these free trade agreements are not free trade enough to draw any conclusions. VD disputes that.

It is fairly easy to see how what is workable in the national borders does not apply to international relations. Most individuals in this nation consider themselves Americans as opposed to Virginians or Californians. So, when a job moves from the unionized north to the right to work south a worker can move with the job because of free labor movement within the nation. Therefore the nation keeps the capital and the job. If the sovereign states still maintained the affection of citizens without the overarching federal government then we would have the same issues we had in the 1860s. In the present system when the factory heads to China, the worker cannot follow. Other nations also do not tend to tolerate illegal immigrants like we do. Hence, it is obviously different once the invisible lines come into play because as VD points out we don't have free movement of labor.

While the Austrians may not subscribe to macro and micro economics, perhaps they do exist in our present system. A family does not have the same tools as the government, whether those tools are valid or not. A family cannot choose to inflate. A family cannot impose or reduce tariffs. A family does not decide tax policy or the legal environment.

I am ultimately waiting for VD to tie in his position to whatever elements of the Austrian philosophy he believes pertains. Going the evidence route seems more in line with Buchanan who is not an Austrian.

Anonymous jSinSaTx June 28, 2012 8:42 PM  

I would be personally interested how many people who pleasure themselves to Mises and the rest of the Austrians and have pushed their utterings to holy writ have actually read much of any of these guys works, particularly in comparison to VD who is disputing it. No doubt some have, but few individuals are terribly well read and there is always an element of 'my team, my heroes' to any movement ie Ron Paul is an 'Austrian'; I like RP and Lewrockwell.com; I'm an Austrian too.

Anonymous malcom reynolds June 28, 2012 9:54 PM  

Off Topic, but I just came across the post-crash theme song. It's called "Gettin' Down on the Mountain" by Corb Lund:

http://youtu.be/5uASQgLwaIs

Blogger JACIII June 28, 2012 11:59 PM  

jSinSaTx - "I would be personally interested how many people who pleasure themselves to Mises and the rest of the Austrians and have pushed their utterings to holy writ have actually read much of any of these guys works, particularly in comparison to VD who is disputing it. No doubt some have, but few individuals are terribly well read and there is always an element of 'my team, my heroes' to any movement ie Ron Paul is an 'Austrian'; I like RP and Lewrockwell.com; I'm an Austrian too."

For damned sure they are the whiniest bitches to come along since the feminists.

Anonymous unger June 29, 2012 1:15 AM  

jsin: I certainly don't take Mises as holy writ. Mises was bad on ethics in general, especially bad on usury, and as prone as Vox is to cheering on slavery in the name of preserving a 'national interest'. (Maybe moreso. The 4th edition of 'Human Action' has him advocating military conscription; I'm not sure Vox goes that far.) His theory of monopoly was incoherent. But for the most part, the guy got the economics right, and he especially got the epistemology of economics right.

re the free-trade agreements, commies, Soviets, and data: The analogy doesn't hold, and the reason is that free-traders - the real ones, that is - can point to a truth which is obvious to anyone paying attention: the agreements were made by elites, they vastly increased regulation even as they decreased taxes, and they were made in the context of other elite programs, like (but by no means limited to) Bretton Woods and the dollar-exchange standard that followed it, that, like the free-trade agreements and like all other elite-sponsored action, were designed and implemented with the aim of increasing supranational elite power at the expense of most ordinary Americans. We therefore should not be surprised to find that the protectionists are right about some things. But that can hardly speak to the question of genuine free trade, which simply has no mechanism to favor elites. It legislates nothing. It imposes no regulatory costs. It subsidizes nothing. It places barriers to nothing, yet it also removes no natural barriers. It makes nothing artificially high-priced or low-priced. In other words, it serves no special interests.

re the example of business moving from the north to the south: Sure, 'the nation' retains the job and the capital. But exactly how does that help the guy who lost his job? 'The nation' doesn't magically pay him off, does it? Barring welfare, he still must find something else to do, and whether he can maintain his old standard of living depends wholly on whether he can do anything that consumers consider as valuable as they once considered his old work, no? Well, then, so far as economics is concerned - economics, that is, not Western Civilization, Christendom, or what have you - how is the abstraction 'the nation' justified in any non-arbitrary sense? What relevance has it?

Anonymous jSinSaTx June 29, 2012 1:34 AM  

"Western Civilization, Christendom, or what have you - how is the abstraction 'the nation' justified in any non-arbitrary sense? What relevance has it?"

It has relevance in an argument about whether trade benefits a nation and whether a a nation should makes rules governing it. VD comments are based on the existence of nation. Many free trader arguments revolve around it being beneficial for a nation. Talk about a nation unilaterally dropping tariffs presupposes the nation being relevant. The discussion at hand is not on whether a nation is justified. It is on free trade policy. At least that is my understanding of VDs threads.

The difference within the nation as I stated above is less with a social safety net and more with free movement. Under free trade principles, and why the US free trade zone is different, the freedom of movement is possible. California no longer tries to keep the okies out... Of course they don't try to keep out anyone it seems.

Anonymous jSinSaTx June 29, 2012 1:39 AM  

Here is my question... If these free trade agreements are bad... And the income tax is evil... Why not push for tariffs and the elimination of those agreements in order to increase liberty for the avg American? If we can concede that the country was better off under protectionism than faux free trade then what is the loss? Tactics anyone? Advance real liberty rather than hoping for something this nation has never had ie perfect free trade. We have had a time before the income tax. The population could be sold on tariffs. Unlikely? Sure. But less unlikely than perfect free trade being adopted.

Anonymous jSinSaTx June 29, 2012 1:42 AM  

I would probably expund more if not writing on a tablet... Virtual keyboards blow...

Blogger coainley June 29, 2012 3:19 AM  

VD, thanks for posting my email...

It occurred to me that the history of American agriculture has depended on cheap labor to get the job done. Now, illegal immigrants are the cheapest labor available ever since slavery was abolished. In the event that the illegal immigrants are deported (or worse), prices will have to go up because legal workers cost more to employ even at minimum wage.

What's more likely to be removed first: illegal immigrants or minimum wage and unions? I could see how the latter would follow the former.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler June 29, 2012 11:18 AM  

@ artie.

I cut hay in the Canton of Ticino, in the Valle Onsernone, in the village of Loco. I lived in the abandoned village of Niva which is below Loco. There is Niva and then Niva dentra. In the early 20th century, 30 children went to school from Niva to Loco. Now, there is nobody in Niva, all emigrated to the US.

Valle Onsernone was known as Starvation Valley. I cut hay for four months there for the farmer that lived across from Loco.

Anonymous HW June 29, 2012 2:39 PM  

Vox,

As someone who lives in Alabama, I can tell you the notion that agriculture in Alabama is collapsing because of HB 56 is a media generated lie. It is absurd.

(1) First, tomato acreage and production in Alabama in 2012 (i.e., the specter of "crops withering on the vine") is nowhere near the level it was in 1970 before there was a substantial illegal alien population in this state.

(2) Second, tomato farmers in Alabama account for a miniscule fraction of Alabama agriculture. Are peanuts, cotton, and soybeans withering on the vine? Has the poultry industry collapsed? Has cattle ranching or catfish farming collapsed without the presence of illegal aliens?

(3) Jobs Alabamians won't do? Alabamians grew more tomatoes before illegal aliens started coming here. If illegal aliens are "doing the jobs that Alabamians won't do," why has tomato acreage declined?

OTOH, there are tailwinds to free trade: Hyundai is the biggest employer in Montgomery, Kia has a new plant in West Point (GA), Mercedes has a plant in Tuscaloosa, and Toyota has plants in Alabama.

There is more manufacturing in Alabama in 2012 than there was in 1912. Yet this has to be weighed against the collapse of the steel industry in Birmingham and the closure of textile plants.

Keep up the good work,

HW

Anonymous HW June 29, 2012 2:52 PM  

When farmers complain about "jobs Alabamians won't do," they are really complaining about is "jobs blacks won't do anymore" because of the welfare state.

If the government is going to pay for your Section 8 apartment, your WIC, your TANF welfare check, free lunches and public school for your kids, your cell phone, your healthcare, and your unemployment benefits, what incentive do you have to pick tomatoes in the blistering sun?

None whatsoever. There is no job in Alabama agriculture that is done by illegal aliens in 2012 that wasn't done by the black and white population in 1912.

Anonymous HW June 29, 2012 3:02 PM  

Re: Yorzhik

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1210

In 1970, 8,000 acres of tomatoes were planted in Alabama and 7,800 acres were harvested.

In 2009, 1,400 acres of tomatoes were planted in Alabama and 1,300 acres were harvested.

Hmm.

I guess this is why we need illegal aliens to pick tomatoes, right? Funny, in spite of all the media hype of about "crops withering on the vine" because of HB 56, we don't grow nearly as many tomatoes as we did 40 years ago, and no mainstream journalist ever bothered to read up on Alabama economic history.

Anonymous HW June 29, 2012 3:18 PM  

Yorzhik,

http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do?documentID=1825

That's interesting: in 2004, I notice that Arizona was #23 in apple production in the United States, whereas Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida were not in the Top 31 states. Since when has Alabama ever been a leading apple producer?

In California, apple production declined from 510 million pounds to 280 million pounds from 2000 to 2010 - a decline in production of 230 million pounds.

Seeing as how California was a leading destination for illegal aliens, would it be logical to assume that illegal immigration caused the decline in apple production in California?

Did the crops "wither on the vine" in California amid a surfeit of illegal aliens? Shouldn't California's apple production have exploded in that period?

Anonymous Yorzhik June 29, 2012 5:54 PM  

HW: did the farmers change in response to the shortage of Mexican workers? Then they are changing from what they thought would maximize their investment to the next best choice. If Alabamins would do the same work, they wouldn't change.

Farming works on slim margins. It really hurts when your inputs go up.

Blogger rcocean June 29, 2012 6:52 PM  

Vox's whole stance is that we should trust the political and financial elites to manage the economy through tariffs. Its dumb.

The political elites favor "Free trade" which you also support - and which Vox DOESN"T.

Talk about Dumb.

Anonymous Yorzhik June 29, 2012 8:27 PM  

rcocean writes:The political elites favor "Free trade" which you also support - and which Vox DOESN"T.


The political elites are the ones controlling the country, and we don't have free trade.

Anonymous Jake June 29, 2012 10:00 PM  

"it is a lie that no Americans will take these jobs. My question is: would the average American worker work for less IF housing and transport were provided as is done for the illegal? Could this not stimulate people to join these professions and instill a love for them wherein they could one day own a farm or business of their own. Pure fieldwork is important but that is not all there is to these industries and Americans should know this.

AlabamaRob"


I think the obvious answer is that the minimum wage makes such arrangements impossible. An illegal worker isn't going to raise a fuss about getting paid below min wage, both because he has nowhere to take is complaint except the authorities who might deport him and because he's probably quite happy to get the pay he does receive (in addition to the benefits you mention).

Your typical native candidate for a farm job will have to be paid $7+ an hour. Even if he'd be better off getting $4 an hour plus provision of housing and transportation, even if he WANTED to take such an offer, the minimum wage makes it impossible.

I think the general sentiment here is accurate that to the extent that there may be jobs "American's are unwilling to do" it's because the government subsidizes poverty so much that poor people are (not surprisingly) happy to sit at home, work as little as possible, and live largely off the welfare state rather than working 10-12 hours a day in some hot, nasty, bug-infested tomato field.

A fine example of Mises' key point on interventionism. Everything the gov. does creates problems, which result in calls by the naive and the manipulative for the government to intervene further to solve the problems it first created. Rather than simply suggesting that the government solve the problems that may or may not stem from our present international commercial relations, it might be beneficial to consider how many ways these problems have their roots not in free exchange but in prior government interventions.

Anonymous Tabasco da fool (sorry Vox an zen0) June 29, 2012 10:38 PM  

I joined the Libertarian Party in c. 1998.Then I started reading 'Leberty Mag' I thought,"Hell,in a new America the borders will be opened to gazillions of foreighiers". But guess what we natives would do with our Second Amentment Rights? Overthrow those same bastarts who opened da borders!

Blogger rcocean June 29, 2012 11:11 PM  

The political elites are the ones controlling the country, and we don't have free trade.

In the real world we have what everyone calls "Free Trade". No doubt in your libertarian rhetorical fantasy world "Free Trade" means something else. And I don't care about fantasy.

Anonymous Yorzhik June 30, 2012 10:47 AM  

rcocean writes: In the real world we have what everyone calls "Free Trade". No doubt in your libertarian rhetorical fantasy world "Free Trade" means something else. And I don't care about fantasy.

Yeah. And everyone calls our justice system "the best in the world." In my world (I'm not a libertarian) The freedom to transact means individuals can buy from anyone in the world without taxes or regulations on the purchase. If you think that's what we have in the US, you don't do a great deal of importing.

Anonymous HW June 30, 2012 12:41 PM  

Re: Yorzhik

I'm sure you read all kinds of sob stories in the media about how agriculture was collapsing in Alabama. People who live in Alabama are laughing at the threat that the MSM says immigration laws pose to our gigantic tomato industry.

There are a whopping 1,400 acres of tomatoes planted in this whole state. An extremely modest working class landowner in Alabama owns about 500 acres. My family alone owns more acres in hunting land than the entire Alabama tomato industry.

After decades of free trade and illegal immigration, we don't grow nearly as many tomatoes as we did in the 1970s. The same is undoubtedly true for any number of food crops that we used to grow here before the supermarket.

No one built a house in Alabama before illegal aliens? No one grew tomatoes? Unemployment is down in Alabama. The economy is better than it was before HB 56.

The sky hasn't fallen either.

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