Open Borders is Bad For Workers

Repost from the old site.
Commenter James Schipper of Canada points out what any economics student or especially Marxist ought to be able to figure out: that open borders is terrible for workers in high-wage countries. That the Left in high-wage countries supports such an obviously detrimental to workers agenda means that it completely misunderstands the economics of modern capitalism.
Nowadays, the Western Left can only be said to be worker-hostile towards native workers. They support immigrant workers, and it is a known fact that immigrant workers in many cases in the West have been shown to actually lower wages for native workers. The Left responds that this is a lie.
Even worse, the Left calls any Western Leftist who opposes certain modes of immigration racist. At best, this is a grotesque abuse of the term similar to the way many objectively reactionary groups are overusing this word these days. At worst, it is slander and name-calling.
The Left’s objective hostility to native workers in the West has resulted in historic losses in recent days in Belgium, Italy and the UK. It seems that only right-wing nativist parties are appealing to workers in these countries. Much of the vote for the rightwing is due to anger at uncontrolled immigration in these countries.
The extent to which these rightwing and often fascist or proto-fascist parties will actually work for the interests of workers is not known, but historically, they have not benefited workers much and have tended to side with capital over workers every time. As the Left grows more and more irrelevant, it continues piping away at the same old losing tune.
Things are much different here in the US, where both parties are 100% pro-mass immigration, and indeed both are apparently 100% pro-illegal immigration. In the US, there is no candidate for a voter wishing to express an anti-immigrant agenda. This is ominous in that it means that a demagogue of the Right could potentially win many votes on this issue alone.
The election of either Obama or McCain would probably result in a renewed attempt at mass amnesty for 12 million illegal aliens, with resulting chain migration of up to 30 million of their often-hazy and not too cool relatives over the next 20 years or so.
Such a monumental mass migration of poorly screened immigrants with a known tendency to form a vast underclass should at least be discussed by American voters. Instead, the entire elite supports this project as do all of their media. Most especially, 100% of the large business class and much of the small business class of the US support illegal immigration, fake guest H-1B workers, and mass legal immigration.
Studies show that up to 75-80% of the US public opposes broad aspects of this mass immigration project. It is ridiculous to characterize 75-80% of the US as “racist” for opposing this project and harkens to the abuse of this term by reactionaries above.
Anyway, take a look at James’ comments:

Let’s take two swimming pools, one with 6 feet of water and the other with 2 feet. If they are at the same level and connected with an underground pipe, what is going to happen? Obviously, water will flow from the first pool to the second, thereby lower the water level of the first and raising that of the second.Similarly, if there is complete freedom of movement of goods, labor and capital between a high-wage and low-wage country, the wage level in the rich country will fall and that of the poor country will rise. The magnitude of the change will depend on the relative size of the high-wage and low-wage country.
If there are completely open borders between India and Australia, then wages in Australia will fall a lot, but they will barely rise in India. Conversely, if there are no barriers to the flow of goods, labor and capital between the US and Nicaragua, wages in the US will hardly go down, but they will rise a lot in Nicaragua. Numbers always matter.
Another problem with free international migration is that it creates an open demographic system. Open systems have the advantage that they make the import of solutions possible but they also have the disadvantage that they allow problems to be exported.
Suppose that Ruritania stabilizes its population, but that Slobodia’s population keeps growing. If there are open borders between the two countries, Slobodia will export people to Ruritania and Ruritania’s population will grow despite its demographic stabilization.
Likewise, if Ruritania succeeds in raising the standard of living of its workers while Slobodia does not, then, if there are open borders, many Slobodians will emigrate to Ruritania, thereby lower the standard of living of Ruritanian workers.
What is true of demographic open borders is also true of commercial open borders. If there is completely free trade between Ruritania and Slobodia, then any efforts to conserve non-renewable resources by Ruritania may be nullified by Slobodia. Under free trade, a country whose population remains below its carrying capacity may still experience starvation because a lot of its food will be exported to countries with populations above their carrying capacity.
If there is complete freedom of movement of goods, labor and capital between countries, the fast breeders will export their problems to the slow breeders, the slow economic growers will export their problems to the fast growers and the depleters will export their problems to the conservers.
Finally, a quote by Wouter Bos, the leader of the Dutch Labor Party: “We have to choose between a generous welfare state and restrictive immigration on the one hand and a stingy welfare state and liberal immigration on the other hand.” Sensible words! if only more leftists saw things that clearly.

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