Control of immigration (was: Multiculturalism)

Paul Prescod paulp@ActiveState.com
Sun, 21 Oct 2001 14:05:16 -0700


Clay Shirky wrote:
> 
>...
> 
> When I am annointed Pope of World Trade, my first and only edict will
> be to say that every country can choose any speed, from screaming fast
> to crawlingly slow, for mobility of capital and workers, but that no
> country may have fast for money and slow for labor.

I am confident that most countries would choose slow for both and that
would hurt the poor even more than the current situation. I also want to
get to a world where people can live where they want to live. One way to
get there is to build up so much industry elsewhere that there is no
need to fear a great migration.

I don't even understand why you believe there is an important
relationship between capital and labour mobility:

> Nike can set up a plant in Vietnam, and sell the finished
> product in Europe and the US. The Vietnamese laborer
> cannot move to Europe or the US. So Nike gets to
> enjoy the low costs of an artificially constrained
> labor market.

There is a global labour market. That's the whole point of
globalization. The locality of the impoverished is not important to
Nike's bottom line.

We could allow a half billion Chinese into the West but then we'd have
to lower our minimum wage and safety laws to get them all into
meaningful employment. Nike will still get its sweatshop but it will be
closer to them and supply chain integration will be easier. Nike won't
have to worry about currency fluctuations or corrupt foreign
governments. Nike wins. The immigrant worker wins. The American worker
loses. The people who stayed back home in China lose because Nike's
money stays in the US.

If democracy fails (as Russell admits is possible) then the entire world
loses.

 Paul Prescod