Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Open borders and free markets

On Colbert tonight is Jason L. Riley, member of the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board and a conservative, who has written a book (Let Them In - The Case for Open Borders) on a topic Michael and I have explored. Riley's book argues for opening the borders to immigrants so that the labor market operates more freely. If the Republican Party were really a party that champions free markets, wouldn't their immigration policy be in line with Riley's open-border philosophy? If not, why not?

1 comment:

love johnson said...

IMHO, there isn't anything more boring or a total beating than trying to read a book about economics. They are always too complicated and while the theories always sound great, the practical applications never seem to work out.

That being said, please explain how opening the borders would make the labor market operate more "freely"? My understanding is that illegal immigrants drive down wages, so wouldn't MORE cheap labor, whether legal or illegal, drive wages down more? One always hears the arguement that these workers are doing jobs that we Americans won't. I've never agreed with that - it's that Americans won't do them because the pay is too low to sustain an average standard of living that we are accustomed to, not the specific job itself.

What I do find interesting about your question about Republican philosophy and free markets is how fluid their philosophy seems to be. Killing prisoners is fine, abortions are not. Let the free market / capitalism dictate what happens, but if cerain business's or industries fail, then it's OK to bale them out. They hate "judicial activism", but only when the case goes against their beliefs (recall the Schiavo case). They claim they want to keep the government out of our lives ("small government"), but want the government to intrude into the sex lives of Americans, to increase the profile of religion (but only Christianity)in public schools and public buildings.

I realise that I'm WAY in over my head with any economic discusion. That's why I'd rather let someone else read the book and explain it to me! :)