March 6, 2019

ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE IS NO CASE AGAINST IT OTHER THAN RACIAL HYGIENE:

The Case for More Immigration (David R. Henderson, March 6, 2019, Defining Ideas)
 
Economists are almost unanimous in their view that when barriers to trade fall, the vast majority of residents of the country whose government reduces those barriers gains. They gain as consumers from the increased availability and variety of goods they can buy and from lower prices of imports, and their gains usually exceed by a big margin the losses to domestic producers who face new competition. That's the main reason that the vast majority of economists favor free trade.

Does this reasoning carry over to movement of people rather than just movement of goods? Yes. In the remainder of this article I explain why that's so, and discuss possible objections to immigration, whether those objections hold water, and ways of handling those objections. I'll give the bottom line here: Virtually every objection to immigration to the United States has been exaggerated. For every objection, there are persuasive, evidence-based defenses.  

Consider first why immigration is good for immigrants and good for the existing American residents. The reason is one of the simplest and yet most powerful ideas in economics: both sides gain from trade.  If they didn't gain, they wouldn't do it. The vast majority of the adults who come here do so to work. So they produce something valuable here that is sold to someone here. Both the buyer and the seller gain.

These gains are huge. The reason is that people who come here from poor countries are automatically two to eight times as productive as they were in the country they left. Think about the person who leaves Haiti to come to the United States. Even if, as is likely, he has few job skills, those skills will give him an income in the United States that is a large multiple of what he could earn in Haiti. The majority of the gain goes to the immigrant. But we who are already here gain too. We gain from lower prices and more variety in the goods and services that immigrants produce. The American mother, for example, who wants to work outside the home, can more easily find someone to take care of her child. The person like me who loves nice lawns but hates mowing them can more easily find someone to do so.

Michael A. Clemens, an economist at the Center for Global Development, estimates that allowing a lot more people from low-productivity poor countries into high-productivity rich countries would increase world GDP by trillions of dollars. That's not a typo. 



Posted by at March 6, 2019 7:49 PM

  

« TRUMPBOTS UNITE: | Main | LOYALTY IS A ONE WAY STREET, AMIGO: »