Branko Milanovic advocates reinventing apartheid

by Chris Bertram on April 21, 2016

In an op-ed in the Financial Times, the economist Branko Milanovic advocates that in order to fight global poverty, we should introduce explicit systems of differentiated citizenship in wealthy countries under which immigrants (and their children? and their children’s children?) would be entitled only to a reduced package of rights. He argues that we should

redefine citizenship in such a way that migrants are not allowed to lay claim to the entire premium falling to citizens straight away, if at all. Restricting the citizenship rights of migrants in this way would assuage the concerns of the native population, while still ensuring the migrants are better off than they would be had they stayed in their own countries. As happens currently in the Gulf states, migrants could be allowed to work for a limited number of years, or to work only for a given employer, or else be obliged to return to their country of origin every four or five years. They could also be made to pay higher taxes since they are the largest net beneficiaries of migration. Despite such discriminatory treatment, the welfare of migrants and their families would increase, while native populations would not be made to share their entire premium with incomers.

Gastarbeiter with second- or third-class status, perhaps forever. Now, I’ll say one thing for this proposal, which is that it would formalize something that currently exists, since in all wealthy countries there exists a layer of poor people (including many migrants) who enjoy only semi-citizen status (as Elizabeth Cohen has documented ). And this layer, though many individuals pass through it and come out the other side, looks like a permanent feature of our societies. Up to now, however, few people have thought of this, and the consequent denial of rights to individuals and their vulnerability to domination and exploitation, as a good thing. Milanovic wants us explicitly to abandon the liberal and democratic principles of legitimacy that those who are subject to the laws of a society should (in time in the case of migrants) get to have the right to make those laws. In doing so, he goes far beyond similar proposals (for example from Martin Ruhs that have been explicitly temporary in nature and have largely focused on labour-market rights. Milanovic’s lack of commitment to the norms of liberal democracy also comes across in the fact that he holds up illegitimate and tyrannical states, such as the Gulf kleptocracies, as models for his proposed policy. Part of what’s going on here is the economist’s perspective on policy, which just focuses on net improvements in well-being or utility, with income serving as a proxy, and which doesn’t, therefore, see human beings as possessed of basic rights which it is impermissible to violate. Rather, all and any rights can be sacrificed on the altar of income improvement, just in case someone is poor and desperate enough to make a deal (who are we, paternalistically, to stop them?). The road to hell is paved with Pareto improvements.

{ 387 comments }

1

david 04.21.16 at 7:55 am

if they remain in their dysfunctional hellholes, they’re still global citizens with second- or third-class status forever, do they not?

but more to the point, the key argument of the article

In effect, there is a trade-off between such a view of citizenship and the flow of migration. The more we insist on full rights for all residents, the less longstanding residents will be willing to accept more migrants.

is primarily a claim about politics, not Pareto calculation.

2

reason 04.21.16 at 7:59 am

Chris – where do you want to go with this. If we remove all border controls then I thought it is well established that you come in conflict with both democracy and the welfare state (at least as long as we have sovereign states and no real world government). It seems to me there is plenty of room between you and him. Maybe you should allow that citizenship should bring with it some privileges (and some responsibilities as well).

And no, it is not the same as apartheid, so long as there citizenship by birth-right. People aren’t forced to migrate (well maybe refugees are, but perhaps that is another issue).

In my personal case, I’m a ex-patriot and while the country that I live in does not allow dual citizenship, although I own a house, pay taxes and have raised a family in the country I live in, I have no vote, and while voting in the country of my citizenship depends on residence I don’t vote there. That annoys me, as I’m a political animal. I think there should be a path to dual citizenship for migrants. I’m a supporter of UBI (or something similar) but believe it cannot be made to work without a qualifying period for migrants.

Now I happen to agree with you that having Pareto optimality as a strong criteria is a bad idea, both because it is not sufficient and because as you hint it is based on poor proxies of total human welfare.

3

reason 04.21.16 at 8:01 am

P.S. I don’t want to renounce by native citizenship because that would negatively affect my children.

4

Carl 04.21.16 at 8:13 am

This is complicated. Sweden has accepted a large number of Syrian immigrants in relation to the population of the country. Since the immigrants quickly get access to the welfare system, the economic burden is huge. By delaying the full access until they have learned the language and/or got a job, this economic burden could be reduced, which would possibly allow for accepting a lrger number of future refugees. But there have never been any discussions on having a limited status for a lifetime, not to mention generations, only delaying welfare access upt til 5 or 10 years.

5

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 8:20 am

And no, it is not the same as apartheid, so long as there citizenship by birth-right.

In many countries there is no principle of ius soli in place (don’t think of the US as normal). A highly relevant experience here is the German one, from the 1950s, where something like what Milanovic advocates was in place. You ended up with large numbers of third generation people with a Turkish background who were denied full citizenship rights. Eventually, the Germans had to change their citizenship law because of the flagrant injustice to individuals. I’d welcome a clarification from Milanovic on this point. But even without out it, it is a monstrous injustice to individuals if they are very long term residents of a country (and de facto members of it) but are denied full legal rights of membership and are exposed to (for example) threats of deportation.

I’d notice, by the way that many “liberal societies”, by introducing categories of citizen who are now exposed to citizenship deprivation, are effectively doing the “differentiating” that Milanovic argues for. I tend to think of this undermining of equal status as a bad and unjust thing.

6

bjk 04.21.16 at 8:24 am

Lant Pritchet has been making this argument for a long time. They should call it “apartheid in one country.”

https://reason.com/archives/2008/01/24/ending-global-apartheid/1

7

bjk 04.21.16 at 8:26 am

8

Paul Chandler 04.21.16 at 8:27 am

I am hazy about the new concession that David Cameron achieved whereby the ‘emergency brake’ can be put on benefits paid to new immigrants. Aren’t we all? But isn’t this the foot in the door for a policy just like the one enunciated in Chris’s article.

The ideas that benefits have to be ‘earned’ has resonance and is popular with many voters.

9

Phil 04.21.16 at 8:29 am

And no, it is not the same as apartheid, so long as there citizenship by birth-right.

But it’s interesting to note that the ultimate goal of South African apartheid was a system in which the Black population of SA was redefined as migrant labour, with citizenship rights in the bantustans and none in SA itself.

Another thing: Milanovic’s system might be an improvement for all concerned over a hypothetical no-immigration alternative (although even then only in narrowly economistic terms – is “moderately wealthy non-citizen of country B” an unqualified improvement over “impoverished citizen of country A”?). But it’s plainly a trade-off as compared to the status quo: the gainers are UK employers and the state, the losers are the immigrants themselves and their home countries (assuming that immigrants tend to send some money ‘home’, and that Milanovic’s system would make them poorer). Milanovic tries to make out that British citizens would be among the gainers (“made to share their entire premium with incomers”), but I’m not buying that; immigrants are net contributors. There’s also, arguably, a gain for those British citizens who hate and fear immigrants, and who would have the satisfaction of knowing immigrants were being treated badly, but I don’t think that should be taken into account; in any case, that’s the kind of appetite that grows with feeding. So at the end of the day it’s a plan for enriching British employers at the expense of poorer countries.

10

novakant 04.21.16 at 8:34 am

Milanovic’s lack of commitment to the norms of liberal democracy also comes across in the fact that he holds up illegitimate and tyrannical states, such as the Gulf kleptocracies, as models for his proposed policy.

Indeed, that’s just weird (or maybe not for a certain type economist) – it is universally agreed that this system is inherently unjust:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafala_system

11

Paul 04.21.16 at 8:55 am

I don’t agree with Milanovic here, but I find Chris’ concept of “basic rights” of human beings troublesome. Any “right” is a right to expect certain behaviour from others; it’s hard to argue that this inheres in the individual and not the collective. And short of invoking God, it’s very hard to escape from utilitarianism, majoritarianism or similar as the principle underlying collective rules. Better surely to argue for a global utilitarianism than to fall back on dubious concepts of natural law.

12

José 04.21.16 at 9:08 am

If current trends continue this will be seen as one of the milder alternatives. Some years from now we may be looking at a complete breakdown of social solidarity and of the democratic contract with armed groups trying to reverse by force the demographic changes. Think what an army of Breiviks could do.

13

Hopkin 04.21.16 at 9:08 am

This second class status is already present everywhere. I have American colleagues here in the UK who have to pay thousands of pounds and face endless paperwork and queues to have the right to work here, pay loads of tax, yet have reduced rights to social services and benefits. You can be a legal resident of the UK, pay all the taxes everyone else pays, yet have no right to child benefit, for example. At the other end of the scale, most migrants are doing jobs natives do not want or have to do, yet Branko seems to imply we should penalize them for doing this? The whole argument makes little normative sense, and is politically extraordinarily naive: there is no reason to believe that second class status would assuage native hostility to immigration. If anything it legitimizes and encourages it.

14

Gathercole 04.21.16 at 9:18 am

The sponsorship systems used in Gulf countries have lots of variation, you can’t just lump them all together as “Kafala”.

Employers holding the passport, and No Objection Letters, among other things, are illegal in the United Arab Emirates and are being watered down in other Gulf countries.

Speaking as a resident of one these countries, sponsorship systems can be fair and just if their rules are enforced and there is no requirement for an employer exit permit to leave the country (which I do think is unjust and which some countries like Qatar still require).

There is no injustice as long as expat workers know and recognize that the arrangement is temporary. Some of my coworkers have lived in the Gulf for 30 years, have raised their children here, yet they and their children know that they can never be citizens or even permanent residents, and when they retire they will have to leave. They don’t think there’s anything unfair about this; they knew the rules when they came here, and agreed to follow them in order to have better opportunities or make more money than they would back home.

15

novakant 04.21.16 at 9:31 am

#11

wow, some 2000 years of philosophy dismissed in one paragraph, well done

16

Jestyn 04.21.16 at 9:31 am

Switzerland is an interesting case. Very long leadtime to citizenship (10 years residence) and expensive and sligthly weird process. Result is 20+% of the population are non-voting non-citizens, including many second generation…

17

Peter T 04.21.16 at 9:38 am

The article is paywalled, and I am disinclined to give money to the FT. But I’d read Milanovic with a charitable eye – his work on global inequalities shows a breadth of sensitivity.

Second class status is, as observed above, alive and well across much of the world. Here in Australia, migrants from NZ are permitted free entry but denied benefits (despite paying taxes).

18

reason 04.21.16 at 9:49 am

Chris Bertram
In Germany, the children of migrants have the right to choose German citizenship. They do not the right to dual citizenship unless their parents of different nationalities.

19

reason 04.21.16 at 10:02 am

I get the feeling that Chris must at least admit (based on the discussion so far) that you can’t have it both ways, i.e. generous universal rights for all residents and free migration. One or the other will come under stress at some stage. If we had a world, without significant economic differences, this might work, but that is not the world that we have. And I tend to agree with Paul @11 that rights are demands placed on others, and their willingness and ability to accommodate must have limits.

20

Luis Enrique 04.21.16 at 10:06 am

have you seen this paper?
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2509305

Because most inequality is across rather than within states, migration has greater potential to reduce global inequality than within-state tax-and-transfer programs. Although at present migration only reduces global inequality by roughly one fifth as much as tax-and-transfer programs within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), migration to some countries has a far greater impact per person. These countries, primarily in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) monarchies, accept massive numbers of migrants, and if the OECD countries imitated them, the result would reduce global inequality far more than even full equality within OECD countries. Yet the GCC countries are stunningly unequal internally and massive abusers of human rights. Such examples suggest a philosophically disturbing trade-off between openness to global inequality-reducing migration and internal equality. For example, social prejudices based on national origin or authoritarian regimes that support a caste system could be Pareto-improving. More practically, regularizing past illegal migrants in exchange for sealing the border could be harmful.

21

Luis Enrique 04.21.16 at 10:13 am

“Rather, all and any rights can be sacrificed on the altar of income improvement, just in case someone is poor and desperate enough to make a deal (who are we, paternalistically, to stop them?)”

this is a harder question to answer than you seem to imply, imo. If the people concerned do consider themselves to be better off, in what sense is your concern with their basic rights in their interest? personally I wouldn’t go as far as “all and any rights can be sacrificed on the altar of income improvement” but I wouldn’t be too quick to suggest overruling the choices of the people concerned either, even if the best thing to do would be to improve the choices in front of them rather than be content with choice amongst bad alternatives.

22

Rich Puchalsky 04.21.16 at 10:15 am

It’s always bad when people suggest that the way to confront long-term and structural hypocrisy is to replace it with open acknowledgement and codification of bad practices. The last go-around of this sort in the U.S. said “Why not make torture legal? We’re doing it anyways, and that will make it better controlled.” Better to be hypocrites.

23

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 10:46 am

Some brief and partial replies and clarifications:

1. I don’t much like rules that confer reduced labour market rights and welfare rights on temporary migrants, but I can see some case for them. In particular, I don’t think contributory schemes are unjust and that necessarily implies the exclusion of temporary migrants from those benefits for a while. Reduced labour market protections also have the problematic feature (by tying individuals to particular employers) that they expose very vulnerable people to abuse and exploitation (as many a housemaid in Singapore could testify). However Milanovic’s proposal’s go way beyond these “normal” features of migration and labour market status, as he wants to invent permanently inferior *citizenship statuses* for migrants (and their children?) and to deny long term residents on a territory access to political rights to which they have a moral claim as social members. And the grounds for doing so explicitly include placating nativist anxieties about language and culture.

2. The moral rationale for the proposal is that more permissive immigration would reduce global inequality. Milanovic is a rightly acknowledged expert on global income inequality and I am not, so I should tread carefully. Nevertheless, it is worth observing that the people who migrate from poor countries to wealthy ones are not, on the whole, the poorest and most vulnerable, but comparatively well-off members of those poor societies. Moreover the income inequality figures (and projected change associated with migration) may not capture some very significant real effects in well-being. Two, come to mind. First, a migrant to a wealthy country who earns a higher income but is at the bottom of the pile may be worse off in terms of real well-being (capability for example) than in their country of origin where they are more in the middle surrounded by friends, family and familiar culture. Second, the income distribution figures will often fail to capture the problems faced by e.g. women in poor rural areas who need caesareans, and who find that all the obstetricians have moved to Canada (see previous brain drain post). So the “moral” case put by Milanovic may glitter more than it is gold.

3. As regular readers of CT know, I am generally opposed to restrictions on human freedom of movement.

24

kidneystones 04.21.16 at 10:56 am

The distinction between immigrants (those who plan to settle permanently) and migrants (those who enter a country on a temporary basis) seems necessary and meaningful.

25

Lee A. Arnold 04.21.16 at 11:10 am

Milanovic-Trumpism.

26

Frank Shannon 04.21.16 at 11:20 am

“The road to hell is paved with Pareto improvements.” Is really pretty great.

27

TM 04.21.16 at 11:26 am

In all countries that I am aware of, recent immigrants have fewer rights than citizens. Nowhere is it the case that migrants are allowed “to lay claim to the entire premium falling to citizens straight away”. So what is the point of Milanovic proposing what is already reality? Is he ignorant, does he wish to create the impression that immigrants have it too good, or is his aim to lay the propagandistic groundwork for even more exclusionary policies?

28

Faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 11:30 am

Two incredible comments here already…

Reason at 2: “people aren’t forced to migrate (well, maybe refugees are” [my emphasis]

Paul at 11: “I find the concept of basic human rights troublesome”

Quite breathtaking really.

29

engels 04.21.16 at 11:35 am

Is he ignorant, does he wish to create the impression that immigrants have it too good, or is his aim to lay the propagandistic groundwork for even more exclusionary policies?

That escalated quickly!

(Two cents: I can’t get into the FT from here but have a very high opinion of Milanovic based on other things he’s written – the fire and brimstone that are being lobbed at him here seem a bit misplaced. )

30

Phil 04.21.16 at 11:39 am

I get the feeling that Chris must at least admit (based on the discussion so far) that you can’t have it both ways, i.e. generous universal rights for all residents and free migration.

Every year in the UK, the workforce is swollen by 800,000 new entrants, many of whom have never paid any UK taxes in their own right. And yet no discriminatory measures are applied against those people when it comes to pay levels, rights at work, unemployment benefits, healthcare or any other form of public welfare. For as long as they live here, they’ll pay taxes, and for as long as they live here, they’ll be entitled to the benefits of those taxes.

I’m referring to the number of 17-year-olds in the UK who turn 18 in any given year. But I honestly can’t see why migrants should be treated any different. States that pay a bounty to (some) residents that isn’t based on taxation – e.g. the Gulf states and Alaska – might be able to make a case for restricting immigration and/or citizenship. But where public spending is paid for out of general taxation I don’t see any contradiction between universal rights and free migration: all you need is to ensure that everyone who works (and spends money) pays taxes.

Immigrants aren’t freeloaders, although they may be the (fairly poor and desperate) employees of freeloaders. Immigrants may compete for places, but if places are scarce, who doesn’t? The answers to those fabled Genuine Concerns of the White Working Class are (a) stronger unions, (b) better employment regulation and (c) more and better targeted public spending, to respond adequately to demographic shifts however they’re caused. How odd that a government which purports to care deeply about people’s fears about immigration is so hostile to all three of these things.

31

reason 04.21.16 at 12:11 pm

Louis Enrique @21
“Because most inequality is across rather than within states, migration has greater potential to reduce global inequality than within-state tax-and-transfer programs.”

Doesn’t necessarily follow because of subsequent dynamic effects. Ceteris Paribus arguments only ever work if ceteris really are paribus. Turning say Germany into Brazil doesn’t necessarily result in long term benefits.

32

reason 04.21.16 at 12:15 pm

Phil @33
“Every year in the UK, the workforce is swollen by 800,000 new entrants” this is a bit of an exaggeration because there is an almost equal number of retirees. If the number of new entrants suddenly became 3 times the number of retirees and the majority of them couldn’t speak the language and had dependents seeking housing and education the story is slightly different. The trouble is making an in principle argument about something that is basically about volumes or potential volumes.

33

Pav 04.21.16 at 12:34 pm

Harvard economist Lant Pritchett promotes the same thing- because he’s a humanitarian.
Pritchett, and his colleague, George Borjas, both agree that helping foreign poor through our immigration system hurts most Americans. But Pritchett is OK with that. Pritchett says using our immigration system as a tool to reduce global poverty is more effective than foreign aid. Pritchett wants to bring in waves of Bangladeshis who would be allowed to work a few years and then deported so other Bangladeshis could benefit. (I assume no one would ever get pregnant, get anyone else pregnant or just take hide when their time is up)

When an advocate for ex-felons brought up that we already have desperate people who have a hard time finding work, Pritchett admitted he didn’t care because the Bangladeshis that would be coming were worse off than our own poor (who would be even worse off if a policy like this were put in place). Pritchett said to the audience, “You don’t want to cut your own grass do you?” Pritchett is a humanitarian ,who doesn’t cut his own grass.

34

Val 04.21.16 at 12:49 pm

@35
Like most of the wealthy nations, the U.K. fertility rate is below replacement rate and has been for about 40 years. The only reason there hasn’t been a declining workforce in such countries is because of immigration. In other words, rich countries need immigration to maintain their workforce – which really makes you question why immigrants should be penalised, doesn’t it?

35

Anon. 04.21.16 at 12:54 pm

Would you rather give up your citizenship rights or the right to live in the West? Everyone knows the answer to this.

36

Frank Wilhoit 04.21.16 at 1:03 pm

There is an argument that civic disability would be better practiced explicitly than tacitly. The difficulty is that once a legal construct of civic disability exists, it can be used against any target.

37

steven johnson 04.21.16 at 1:08 pm

The whole discussion seems to me to assume that a job isn’t a right and a duty in the current system. But in discussing benefits from a state and a society, if you don’t make this odd assumption, much of the supposed conflict between immigration and social welfare becomes much less pressing. Except of course in the current system, unemployment is a necessary feature, and benefits are a grudging accommodation meant to manage political/social consequences. It’s the old problem where reforms can’t make a fundamentally messed up system work.

38

Robespierre 04.21.16 at 1:10 pm

Surely immigrants could quickly become productive citizens in a short while – after some time, and provided their number is reasonable. The amount of immigration that would exist with open borders would absolutely dwarf current levels, and would be impossible to accomodate.

Tax paying jobs in a modern economy don’t exist by divine grace, they exist in the context of a functioning state. Dumping a ton of foreigners who don’t speak the language (and would therefore mostly concentrate where fellow countrymen live) is a particularly poor way of keeping the state machine functioning, especially if welfare benefits for jobless immigrants are still far better than paid employment in their home country.

In theory, creating demand to boost employment should not be a problem. In practice, as we are currently seeing all over Europe, it is. Unlimited immigration in year X would lead to fascist governments in year X+1.

39

Phil 04.21.16 at 1:13 pm

@35 – the point of the argument is that none of those people have made any ‘contribution’; all they’ve done is be lucky enough to be born and brought up here. As it happens, age-related UK job market entrances and exits don’t necessarily balance out – among women especially; having been 65 for men and 60 for women, the retirement age is in the process of being equalised at 66 (by 2020), before being pushed back to 67 and probably 68. (By the same government that’s sympathetic to ordinary people’s fears about immigration, ordinary people’s worries about benefit scroungers, etc.) Besides which, it’s very far from being the case that the majority of immigrants bring dependents (most are able-bodied young men), or that the majority of immigrants can’t get by in English (it’s a global language, let’s face it).

If there’s a citizen/freeloader problem, as Milanovic suggests, then it’s very localised. If you’re working cash-in-hand, living on truck and sending everything you save back home, then no, you’re not paying any taxes. But if you are working cash-in-hand, living on truck and being paid so little that (once you’ve sent a bit back home) you’ve got nothing to spend on yourself, you’re not the problem – the problem is your employer.

40

Matt 04.21.16 at 1:15 pm

A few quick comments: 1) I’m glad to see Elizabeth Cohen’s good book get some mention. My impression is that it hasn’t received as much attention as it deserves, at least among philosophers.

2) It’s odd that the various labor market disabilities would be included in such a proposal, even leaving aside the real problems with the civil and political disabilities. There are good reasons to think these restrictions are welfare-reducing (they are, after all, restraints on trade), and tend to make these programs better for employers but worse for the rest of the population.

3) I have tried to work through these issues, particularly the limits places on such programs from considerations of justice and political morality more generally, at somewhat tedious length, in this paper , for anyone who is interested. I think that my conclusions are at least very roughly in line with Chris’s, though there are bound to be some differences.

41

SamChevre 04.21.16 at 1:19 pm

Phil @ 9

The key thing you are missing is that it’s arguably better than the status quo IF it means that there are many more immigrants; it’s a trade-off between non-citizens, with people-who-would-immigrate-in-either-case worse off, but could-only-immigrate-if-benefits-were-lower better off.

42

John Garrett 04.21.16 at 1:28 pm

Here in the US and Canada, despite all the (US) depressing political news, we are immigrant nations, and have over and over again accommodated large waves successfully. After Vietnam, the only thing we did right there was to bring in large numbers of our allies who have thrived as communities, often without much integration into the mainstream — which is fine with everyone. The key is families: the worst thing you can do is separate them in immigration, which seems like what is going on now in Europe. That unmoored single men can be disruptive shouldn’t surprise anyone.

JG

43

J-D 04.21.16 at 1:29 pm

Phil @9
‘There’s also, arguably, a gain for those British citizens who hate and fear immigrants, and who would have the satisfaction of knowing immigrants were being treated badly, but I don’t think that should be taken into account; in any case, that’s the kind of appetite that grows with feeding.’
Hopkin @13
‘The whole argument makes little normative sense, and is politically extraordinarily naive: there is no reason to believe that second class status would assuage native hostility to immigration. If anything it legitimizes and encourages it.’

Hear, hear.

44

Yakimi 04.21.16 at 1:36 pm

Reinventing? Y’all need to read more Moldbug.

For example, dear progressive, why is racism wrong? Racism is wrong because all humans are born simply as humans, having done nothing right or wrong, and it is incompatible with our deeply-held ethical principles to mark these newborn babies with indelible labels which assign them either privileges or penalties which they have not earned. Such as the privilege of being able to drink at sparkling-clean water fountains marked “Whites Only,” or the penalty of having to go out back to the horse trough.

We hit that one out of the park, didn’t we? Okay. So why is it ethical to label newborn babies as “American” or “Mexican,” due to nothing but the descent and geographical position at birth of their parents, and give the former a cornucopia of benefits from which the latter is barred – such as the right to live, work, and drink from drinking fountains in the continental United States? What makes Washington think it is somehow ethical to establish two classes of human, “Americans” and “Mexicans,” based only on coincidences of birth that are just as arbitrary as “black” versus “white,” and treat the two completely differently? How does this differ from racism, Southern style?

You think this is ugly? Oh, we can get worse. Let’s suppose the US, in its eagerness to treat these second-class humans, if not quite as well as possible, at least better than we treat them now, establishes a new guest-worker program which is open only to Nigerians. Any number of Nigerians may come to the US and work.

There are certain restrictions, however. They have to live in special guest-worker housing. They have to go to their workplace in the morning, and return before the sun sets. They may not wander around the streets at night. They must carry special guest-worker passes. Obviously, they can’t vote. And they are strictly prohibited from using all public amenities, including, of course, drinking fountains.

Is it a more ethical policy to have this program, or not to have it? If you think no Nigerians could be found to take advantage of it, you’re quite wrong. If you have the program, should you cancel it, and send the Nigerians home, to a life of continued poverty back in Nigeria? How is this helping them? On the other hand, our program has all the major features of apartheid. And surely no-apartheid is better than apartheid.

There is a very easy resolution to this problem: adopt the principle that no person is illegal. This rule is perfectly consistent with “applied Christianity.” It is taught at all our great universities. It is implied every time a journalist deploys the euphemism “undocumented.” And I’m sure there are dozens of ways in which it could be incorporated into our great Living Constitution. There is only one problem: the people are not quite ready for it.

But perhaps in thirty years they will be. Perhaps? I would bet money on it. And I would also bet that, by the time this principle is established, denying it will be the equivalent of racism. Us old fogeys who were born in the 1970s will be convulsed with guilt and shame at the thought that the US actually considered it ethically acceptable to turn away, deport, and otherwise penalize our fellow human beings, on the ridiculous and irrelevant grounds that they were born somewhere else.

45

Ronan(rf) 04.21.16 at 1:41 pm

“Indeed, that’s just weird (or maybe not for a certain type economist) – it is universally agreed that this system is inherently unjust”

I haven’t read the article but have read the relevant chapter in his new book. He does acknowledge that it’s unjust , but also says that it’s preferable (both as an improvement on where they’re coming from and measured in the effect it has on incomes) to not allowing them migrate. So he argues, Iirc , that if it’s between the kafala system and greater restrictions from entry to western countries, the kafala system leads to better outcomes

46

reason 04.21.16 at 1:42 pm

Val @37
“Like most of the wealthy nations, the U.K. fertility rate is below replacement rate and has been for about 40 years. The only reason there hasn’t been a declining workforce in such countries is because of immigration. In other words, rich countries need immigration to maintain their workforce – which really makes you question why immigrants should be penalised, doesn’t it?”
Why is a declining workforce such a problem? Is productivity falling?

47

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 1:45 pm

It’s not, Reason, but the kind of people who say it is are also the kind of people who hate migrants (see e.g. Brett Bellmore). You can join the dots.

48

Paul 04.21.16 at 1:54 pm

Faustnotes @ 31: I do find the concept of human rights troublesome in theory (if less so in practice). I don’t assertions that certain rights inhere in us as a logical consequence of our being to be convincing, and if “these rights” are self-evident, why are we wasting our time declaiming them? Better to argue in terms of the general good, reduction in misery, etc.

49

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 1:56 pm

I have certain rights by virtue of my existing, Paul. Anyone who wants to take them away can fuck off.

It’s really not hard to understand, and it’s not troublesome at all.

50

Layman 04.21.16 at 1:59 pm

Isn’t the impulse against immigration, at its core, basically the same impulse that leads to gated communities and discriminatory housing practices? “It’s nice here, so let’s keep the bad people out.” All the rest is just rationalization of that impulse.

51

reason 04.21.16 at 2:00 pm

Phil @42
“But if you are working cash-in-hand, living on truck and being paid so little that (once you’ve sent a bit back home) you’ve got nothing to spend on yourself, you’re not the problem – the problem is your employer.”

These people don’t go the toilet? They don’t get sick?

Trying to pretend that externalities don’t exist is something that (G)libertarians need for the arguments to work, but I thought we here were more sophisticated than that.

52

Jeff Johnson 04.21.16 at 2:01 pm

Staking out the moral high ground is rather easy in this case, elevating one’s self to such altitudes of rectitude that no speck of dirt could possibly soil or taint one’s immaculate liberalism. But then again from such ethereal distances, I see no way you could actually lend a helping hand to real people in need, given the real constraints faced back here on earth. You could only ineffectually rail at the immorality of conservative nativist fears until you become blue in the face.

What Milanovic proposes has already been an important element of immigration reform discussions in the US. It’s known as the path to citizenship for people who entered the country illegally, and is part of a compromise involving requirements, hurdles, and limitations that currently undocumented people present in the US would have to clear in order to obtain full legal status.

It seems a practical idea provided it is not overly punitive and reasonably structured so that it really benefits people and yet still placates the smaller minded folks worried about zero-sum competition with immigrants or footing the bill for freeloaders. If it succeeds in helping people while lowering what have appeared to be nearly insurmountable political barriers, it can’t be so bad. The key would be in constructing it so that such probationary citizens still have enough rights to defend themselves legally from unscrupulous exploitative business owners.

53

reason 04.21.16 at 2:02 pm

faustusnotes @51
Now go to Raqqa and say that.

54

reason 04.21.16 at 2:03 pm

faustusnotes @51
P.S. We had this argument before, and I’m pretty sure the natural rights argument doesn’t make sense. Rights (at least practical rights) are granted.

55

reason 04.21.16 at 2:08 pm

Jeff Johnson,
yes.

56

Layman 04.21.16 at 2:14 pm

“These people don’t go the toilet? They don’t get sick?”

So do newly-emerged adults, the children of current citizens who have come of age. These people arrive as adults into a system maintained by taxes they have never paid. You can say their parents paid taxes, and this is so, but taxes are not based on the number of one’s children, where people who have more pay higher taxes than those who have fewer (rather the opposite, I’m afraid). How is an adult immigrant thereby more a burden on the system than a young adult citizen?

57

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 2:18 pm

@Jeff Johnson Milanovic is not proposing a pathway to “full legal status”, he’s proposing that some people be permanently denied “full legal status”, if by that you mean full citizenship. As for “elevating one’s self to such altitudes of rectitude that no speck of dirt … etc etc. ” Well, nice bit of strawmanning that.

58

reason 04.21.16 at 2:30 pm

Layman
An adult immigrant is responsible for its own welfare, children are not. Are you proposing that migrants not be allowed to bring children with them, then? It may be that most new immigrants are young males, but families often follow (at least in the West that is the case). Do you propose that middle eastern norms should be what we aim for? I’m just saying that to think that all social and environment standards could be maintained with free import of quasi indentured slaves is problematic at the very least.

59

reason 04.21.16 at 2:31 pm

In another way, I think my problem is with the methodological individualism of the approach being used here. There is too such a thing as society that cannot just be captured by considering each individual separately.

60

RNB 04.21.16 at 2:42 pm

Yet actual apartheid created a wage premium for those classified as a white; Milanovic’s proposal is meant to reduce the wage premium enjoyed by those lucky enough to be born with citizenship in a wealthy country given that the best way to do this is by increasing migration and his proposal is meant to weaken the political resistance to this. In fact he sees no other way of weakening that political resistance which he does not underestimate.

Insisting that movement be allowed only on the condition of full citizenship in fact means that the principal mechanism for the reducing the the unjustifiable source of inequality in life chances–the national space in which one lives one life–cannot be used given political realities. That is how I read Milanovic’s argument.

Wish I could follow this discussion today, but won’t be able to. Darn.

61

RNB 04.21.16 at 2:44 pm

omitted words
Insisting that movement be allowed only on the condition of full citizenship in fact means that the principal mechanism for the reducing the the MOST IMPORTANT unjustifiable source of inequality in life chances–the national space in which one lives one life–cannot be used given political realities. That is how I read Milanovic’s argument.

…darn out the door. Would have loved to follow this discussion.

62

TM 04.21.16 at 2:47 pm

reason 64, then how about considering the effects of instituting an apartheid system on society? I’m sure they are not positive.

63

TM 04.21.16 at 2:48 pm

“Insisting that movement be allowed only on the condition of full citizenship”

What is the point of this strawmannery? No country in the world immediately grants citizenship to new immigrants. You know that, don’t you? Milanovic knows it for sure. So wtf?

64

bianca steele 04.21.16 at 2:50 pm

Chris @ 61 “he’s proposing that some people be permanently denied “full legal status”,”

That isn’t obvious from the bit you quoted, which uses the words “straight away,” making it difficult to know what the issue is. I assume everyone realizes that being allowed to reside in a state or to work there isn’t the same as citizenship, and moreover it seems a bit extreme to equate that with “apartheid.”

65

Layman 04.21.16 at 2:50 pm

“An adult immigrant is responsible for its own welfare, children are not. Are you proposing that migrants not be allowed to bring children with them, then?”

I think you’ll find that many newly-adult citizens also have children. If they don’t have children when they become adults, children usually follow thereafter.

“Do you propose that middle eastern norms should be what we aim for?”

I don’t even know what that question means. My point is, if you’re going to argue that a newly-arrived young adult immigrant is an unfunded burden on the state, you need to explain why that isn’t true of a newly-matured young adult citizen.

“I’m just saying that to think that all social and environment standards could be maintained with free import of quasi indentured slaves is problematic at the very least.”

We’re in agreement, and I’m skeptical of any scheme involving guest worker programs or two-tiered citizenship models for precisely that reason. On the other hand, the indentured servants are here, now, working, and being kept in bondage because they’re illegally here and can’t apply to to the law to escape their bonds. Now what?

66

RNB 04.21.16 at 2:56 pm

Just skimmed this piece by Milanovic so can’t confirm whether he cited this piece in this FT piece. But he did enjoy poking at smug Western sensibilities about their moral humanitarian superiority vis a vis Gulf Arabs. Earlier Milanovic has cited this piece
https://newrepublic.com/article/120179/how-reduce-global-income-inequality-open-immigration-policies
Wish I could say more but I though referring to this would help get the discussion turbo-charged. Hope everyone is ok when I check later tonight.

67

Layman 04.21.16 at 3:02 pm

RNB @ 65: “Yet actual apartheid created a wage premium for those classified as a white…”

Can this be right? I don’t know, but it seems counterintuitive. A white carpenter would have been competing with a few other white carpenters and with a very large number of black carpenters. Apartheid-era whites were quite happy to employ black carpenters; the low-cost labor was one of the points to the whole system. How does that create a wage premium for the white carpenter? With what wage are you comparing that of the white carpenter to determine it is a premium?

68

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:05 pm

Reason, re: go to Raqqa and say that.

On another thread recently your libertarian colleague Brett Bellmore (oh look I cited him here too) has been making the point that all those Syrian refugees in Europe will undermine European culture (where women are “declining to have children”, the sluts) because they are opposed to “liberal democracy” (about which, obviously, you libertards care nothing, but I digress).

Both of you are pulling the same rhetorical shtick: go tell it to the Raqqans, they aren’t listening to your liberal concerns.

Except, all those people fleeing Raqqa are fleeing because a tyrant tried to kill them for demanding liberal democracy. They are literally soldiers of democracy. But you racist libertarians don’t want to let them in, or want to force them to take the worst possible punishment for fleeing from a war to save their country’s democracy.

I note you don’t even believe they’re refugees (I noted it; you ignored me noting it).

I bet you have never risked your life for democracy. But you are holding up people who did risk their lives for democracy as examples of anti-democratic demons.

I think that makes you a bad person. What do you think?

69

reason 04.21.16 at 3:10 pm

faustusnotes
1. I am definitely not a Libertarian – in fact it is Libertarians who are pushing natural law.
2. You didn’t understand the point. The point is that believing you have a “right” is in fact not the same thing as de facto having a right.

70

faustusnotes 04.21.16 at 3:13 pm

Then reason what is with the bullshit of tell it to the raqqans?

Also, I defacto have a right. As a result of this, I know I have a right. As a result of that, right wing idiots conceive that I believe I have a right. But the right is inalienable and real, and they are wrong. So, therefore, are you.

71

reason 04.21.16 at 3:39 pm

faustusnotes @75
I didn’t say tell it to the Raqqans, I said “say that in Raqqa” – see how much good it does you. You see you have a right, because your society has granted you a right and enforces it. That right is not inherent in you, any more than the same right is inherent in a rabbit confronted by a wolf.

72

Layman 04.21.16 at 3:43 pm

“You see you have a right, because your society has granted you a right and enforces it. “

This is more or less the same thing as saying that no one has rights; that there are no rights. There’s something wrong with a formulation which says you have the right to something only up until the moment that right is violated, at which point you don’t have that right.

73

reason 04.21.16 at 3:53 pm

Layman,
what EXACTLY do you mean by a “right” here? Do you mean something that you can reasonably expect other people to respect (because of custom or legal enforcement) or do you mean something that you arrogate to yourself because you believe you don’t have to follow the rules of the universe (which are that the strongest wins).

74

reason 04.21.16 at 3:55 pm

P.S. I am definitely not saying people don’t have rights, only that they only have those rights that their society grants to them and enforces.

75

L2P 04.21.16 at 3:56 pm

“So why is it ethical to label newborn babies as “American” or “Mexican,” due to nothing but the descent and geographical position at birth of their parents…”

Why is it ethical to deny those living in a defined geographical area the ability to form some sort of collective group with a defined membership including everybody living in that area and rules that will establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity?

76

Omega Centauri 04.21.16 at 3:59 pm

I can (just) imagine a system where this 2nd(3rd?) class status sunsets after a discreet length of time, say 7years. That way we aren’t creating a permanent underclass. From the nativist standpoint, this might srve the percieved function of reducing incentives for migrants, and perhaps reducing the force of freeloader arguments.. From a practical standpoint coupled with efforts to stamp out the unofficial 2ndclass stutus of the many who have been here long enough to have been seen as paying ones due. We already have something similar for legal immigrants waiting for the green card.

77

reason 04.21.16 at 4:01 pm

layman @70
“I don’t even know what that question means. My point is, if you’re going to argue that a newly-arrived young adult immigrant is an unfunded burden on the state, you need to explain why that isn’t true of a newly-matured young adult citizen.”

No I don’t. The children are already part of the society, they are a product of the society (you might even say that they are the reason for the society to exist). People wishing to join that society are not, and the society reasonably has a right to consider on what conditions they should be allowed to join. You aren’t just granting immigrants new rights, you are diminishing the rights of existing citizens (because the country belongs to the citizens). It is like saying an issue of new shares doesn’t impact existing share holders.

78

reason 04.21.16 at 4:03 pm

layman @70
put it this way, the society has known about native new adults since they were born, has invested in them and (if it is smart) planned for them. This is not true of every potential new immigrant.

79

L2P 04.21.16 at 4:03 pm

“But even without out it, it is a monstrous injustice to individuals if they are very long term residents of a country (and de facto members of it) but are denied full legal rights of membership and are exposed to (for example) threats of deportation.”

Or just a choice. I know plenty of people who are perfectly happy living, sans citizenship, in Singapore, Japan, and similar places. There’s nothing a priori monstrous about denying citizenship to migrants. The wrong comes when we deny citizenship to people that have no reasonable alternative to staying in the host country.

And that’s the big issue, isn’t it? Why don’t some migrants have reasonable alternatives? There’s certainly a practical argument that, if we allow open migration, there’s isn’t an ethical reason for oppressive governments to ever change. That oppressive government can simply say, “Well, if they want things like free speech and the right to vote, they should just go to Britain.” And why would that even be wrong? Living in Syria is now a choice; if you don’t like our torture and child killing, go to Germany.

80

Layman 04.21.16 at 4:15 pm

“The children are already part of the society, they are a product of the society (you might even say that they are the reason for the society to exist).”

I’m not sure I see why that makes a difference. On the one hand, you have a healthy, capable young adult; while on the other, you have a healthy, capable young adult. Why is the one a burden in ways the other is not? Can’t both struggle to find work? Can’t both fall ill without the means to pay for their medical treatment? Can’t both produce a child or children at the expense of the state? Won’t both consume society resources that neither has ever contributed to?

Why does society accept the one but reject the other? Does it have anything at all to do with the actual burden they represent, or is there some other reason?

81

Layman 04.21.16 at 4:18 pm

“I am definitely not saying people don’t have rights, only that they only have those rights that their society grants to them and enforces.”

Yes, I get that’s what you’re saying. Thus there are no regimes which violate their citizens’ rights, because those citizens only enjoy the rights not violated by the regime. Can that be right?

82

Lupita 04.21.16 at 4:24 pm

What’s the problem with living and working in Mexico?

Indeed. GDP (PPP) per capita in Mexico is more or less what is was in Europe in the 70s. Of course, it’s a corrupt, narco state, but we have one of the greatest cuisines in the world, people actually know how to dance, and we do not exclude the dead from society just because they’re dead. Plus water fountains.

It’s a bit embarrassing how first worlders view mass emigration as a favor to the third world and as an expression of non-racist, individualist freedom just because they happen to have a labor shortage and are afraid to tweak their system to one that does not require permanent growth because of fears on an implosion.

Even more embarrassing is how Mexican elites regard whole swaths of Mexicans as superfluous and to see them shriek in horror when Americans consider closing their convenient social escape valve a bit.

The whole global neoliberal system is geared to seeking justifications and exploiting the symptoms of mass migrations due to war and poverty to benefit the elites of both poor and rich nations.

83

TM 04.21.16 at 4:41 pm

reason, care to answer my question?

84

Layman 04.21.16 at 4:58 pm

“If a state officially declares something to be the ‘right’, at the same time acting contrary to this declaration, then, I suppose, we could say that the regime violates the ‘right’”

Not given reason’s formulation:

“I am definitely not saying people don’t have rights, only that they only have those rights that their society grants to them and enforces.”

You only have a right (in reason’s philosophy) if the state both says you have that right, AND enforces that right.

85

Yankee 04.21.16 at 4:58 pm

An Eastern Oregon informant opposes $15 on the grounds that high labor costs will cause McDonalds to automate (they are reported as experimenting), thereby denying his kids the opportunity to get a “starter” job. That he visualizes the generational career path as via McDonalds boggles me pretty much, but he insists. “Wake up, sheeple!”, as he would say.

86

Asteele 04.21.16 at 5:01 pm

It doesn’t surprise me that people will go to any lengths to find ways for employers to suppress wages, I just wish they weren’t so desperately spinning bad faith arguments about how it’s the right thing to do.

87

Ike 04.21.16 at 5:30 pm

#86: “On the one hand, you have a healthy, capable young adult; while on the other, you have a healthy, capable young adult. Why is the one a burden in ways the other is not? Can’t both struggle to find work?” Let me sketch one possible answer to this that I’ve heard in my universal-benefits welfare state during the recent wave of refugees and migrants that swept over Europe. One of these young adults in the example is likely born in this country, speaks the local language (which, note, is NOT English in most of Europe), has family, friends, and other social networks right here, and is usually educated pretty much like the average citizen of his or her local-born cohort is. The other young adult doesn’t speak the local language (or even English), has no social networks in place here, and has usually less education than the local young adults have. Add to that the fact that the newly-arrived immigrant has arrived in the middle of a long economic downturn, where simply being young and able-bodied doesn’t give you any kind of advantage at all against all the others who are looking for a job – especially when those others can speak the language, are better educated than you, and can ask their family or friends for recommendations if needed.

Although both have been net burdens up to this point, I’d say the probability of the person in the first group getting employed and thus becoming a net contributor in the long run is much, much higher than that for a person in the last group, and past statistics would seem to confirm this. This is of course probabilities we’re talking about, and of course a lot of people in the first group end up really badly, and some in the second group end up really well. A lot of this is also dependent on the state of the economy, and also on the country of origin of the migrants; unsurprisingly migrants from neighboring countries tend to have far better job-market prospects than the current wave of migrants from the Middle East.

88

RNB 04.21.16 at 5:44 pm

OP says this: “Milanovic wants us explicitly to abandon the liberal and democratic principles of legitimacy that those who are subject to the laws of a society should (in time in the case of migrants) get to have the right to make those laws.”
My reading is that Milanovic would have himself not preferred this; he is saying that more migrants will not in fact be accepted if they are allowed to the enjoy panoply of rights that CB thinks they must have. That is, simply, an empirical claim about the strength of nativist sentiment, not a normative claim or even a preference ordering. Then Milanovic argues in favor of greater migration despite the restriction on rights which is the political price that citizens of the wealthy countries would impose. He would certainly hope to reduce that price.
I think CB has misread Branko Milanovic and portrayed him quite unfairly. Luis Enriques has understood the issue very well indeed–did anybody respond to him?

89

Jeff Johson 04.21.16 at 5:45 pm

@Chris, #61
Maybe I overdid the sarcasm about ideological purity. Sorry about that. In this election season it seems to be an issue on the Democratic side that is touching people’s passions: idealism vs. pragmatism.

I could just simplify and say I believe the in finding policies that benefit people we should not allow the perfect or the best become the enemy of the good.

Here is a quote from Milanovic:

so long as we redefine citizenship in such a way that migrants are not allowed to lay claim to the entire premium falling to citizens straight away, if at all.

I think the words “straight away” suggest that he’s not necessarily envisioning such limits to be permanent, though with “if at all” he leaves that door open.

If we are talking about permanent limits, I’m more sympathetic to your case, but otherwise it felt to me you were overreacting based on an important abstract principle that we must defend, but should not regard as holy. A temporary compromise may be a very good idea. Even perhaps for the lifetime of newcomers but definitely not extending to their offspring, who should be full citizens.

90

RNB 04.21.16 at 5:48 pm

OP ends with statement that road to hell paved with Pareto improvements.
I repost this

RNB 04.11.16 at 4:58 am
Long ago @93. Love heapocracy. Just to go off-topic with the grains of sand.

Consider this from Kaushik Basu (very truncated from his Beyond the Invisible Hand). Say there is a yellow-dog contract. Each person who signs it makes himself and the counter-party better off without making anyone worse off. But give all individuals an integer and have all odd people sign the contract. No[w] due to externalities every even numbered person could be worse off in a society in which an infinite number of people are willing to sign yellow dog contracts. So it could be that while each of a class of actions could be justified, the whole class of actions is not justified. Grains of sand (each of which is a Pareto improvement) would have become a heap (a Pareto inferior outcome). The moral status of each act is different from the moral status of the whole class of such acts.

But perhaps the more relevant example he gives is based on indifference relations being only quasi-transitive. We may prefer A to B and B to C and thus A to C per the transitive property. But while we may be indifferent between A and B as well as between B and C, it could be that we are not indifferent between A and C. So after we pile up enough enough indifference relations (grains of sand) we may find that we are no longer indifferent (heap).

91

RNB 04.21.16 at 6:07 pm

Yes, follow the link Luis Enrique provided. He’s the one Chris Bertram should be debating here. I hope that this debate does happen.

92

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 6:20 pm

Yes @RNB, I’m aware of Weyl’s work as linked to by Luis Enrique and I’ll be discussing it (among other things) on a panel at the Society for Applied Philosophy conference in Belfast in July as it happens (though I don’t have a draft yet). My comment at #26 above was partly prompted by L.E. (especially point 2).

93

RNB 04.21.16 at 6:31 pm

@26 points 2 and 3 seem in contradiction to me (if brain drain creates problems, then why are you for open borders), and 2 includes an argument (brain drain) not against immigration with restricted rights but against immigration as such. So it seems that you are switching the topic.

Moreover, if you are for open borders and the only politically available alternative is migration with restrictions, then we need some argument as to why something that gets us closer to a universal right to movement is worse than a state farther away from it. No doubt such an argument could be made; perhaps we deal with the economist’s concept of how second best policies can be Pareto inferior to the status quo ante.

Plus, I don’t see why the emigration of someone who is not at the bottom of a poor society could not end up reducing the differences in the mean international inequality while opening up opportunity in that poor country. I grant that I am writing in a very distracted state.

I did not find the arguments persuasive in 23 but perhaps when I think about them more I’ll understand the force of them.

94

RNB 04.21.16 at 6:40 pm

I also don’t get your argument that someone other than the migrant would know that she or he had suffered an overall loss of welfare by losing more in the way of capability than gaining in terms of income. What kind of impairment of rationality would make the migrant blind to that; and if true, why would she or he not return. Again not finding 23 persuasive.

95

The Temporary Name 04.21.16 at 6:53 pm

(if brain drain creates problems, then why are you for open borders)

There might be more than one reason for supporting or opposing something, and fairly dealing with the downside of policies you favour is not contradictory.

96

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 7:00 pm

@RNB not at all, since it is possible to favour a right to free movement on non-consequentialist grounds and it is possible to acknowledge that some drain brain might be bad without thinking that states have the right to use coercive means to prevent it. As for the point about a migration project bringing less of a welfare improvement than the migrant expected (or ever an negative one) this is (a) not uncommon for many projects human beings undertake generally and (b) it may not be as easily reversible as you think, especially if relatives have clubbed together to make the initial move financially possible, and are now dependent on your remittances, and you would lose face going back.

97

Lupita 04.21.16 at 7:04 pm

What would happen if the West did not have immigration? What if, like is currently happening in the US, patterns start reversing and the immigrant population starts dwindling? How does this affect population growth, labor market growth, GDP growth, pensions, national ratings, bond rates, and the integrity of the global financial system? Why is the IMF warning about GDP growth all the time? Why do politicians campaign on making growth happen?

I think the reason Westeners are so keen on discussing immigration from the individual freedom, non-racist, helping the poor of the world, and human rights points of view, is that they are still not politically prepared to accept that the West depends on immigration to sustain the rate of growth required to not crash its system and to continue paying its debt without incurring on third world levels of austerity.

98

RNB 04.21.16 at 7:28 pm

still don’t get, given what you are saying, why you are not for larger quotas that would put severe limits on doctors or the very wealthy out of international solidarity rather than no borders? What is your argument for open borders then given the seemingly great loss in welfare you think brain (and perhaps one could add wealth) drain creates?

your b seems to admit that there would be a great increase in welfare due to remittances that the migrant would be willing to sacrifice personally for it, so I don’t see how you have created much skepticism about the welfare benefits from greater migration. Plus, in Milanovic’s terms that greater migration would in fact lead to a reduction in inequality (if not an increase in welfare), are you willing to concede this? Are you saying that greater migration may reduce inequality but not improve general welfare or that greater migration would not even reduce inequality or that it would not reduce inequality or improve human welfare. And are you making this claim about greater migration in general or migration with restrictions on rights?
Off to class.

99

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 7:44 pm

@RNB

1. Because the degree of coercion on individuals is impermissible and because there are permissible ways of addressing the issue.
2. I did not assert this was so, but if it is sometimes so, it doesn’t follow that all methods are permissible to stop it.
3. Only if you think revealed preferences are a good guide to welfare gains and losses in real-world situations.
4. Milanovic is an acknowledged expert on the measurement of global income inequality, so I take his word for it.
5. Yes, I’m sceptical that reducing income inequality in some of the many possible spaces we could measure it in will bring corresponding increases in real well-being. But I could be wrong.
6. Some of the consequentialist arguments for open borders seem overstated to me, but fundamentally here I’m opposed to having people living very long term in a society and being subject to its laws but being deprived of political rights. And I’m opposed to political proposals that offer this kind of subordination as a sop to nativist bigots on the vague promise of massive beneficial consequences.

100

Phil 04.21.16 at 7:55 pm

Reason @55 – you’re restating a point that I assumed. If you’re genuinely paying no tax at all – which can only be because you’re being paid cash-in-hand and only spending at the company store – then every time you use public services of any kind you are a net drain on the state. But anyone in that situation is only in that situation because of an abusive employer, who shouldn’t be allowed to operate those terms of employment. You’re not the problem, your employer is the problem.

101

Phil 04.21.16 at 8:06 pm

I don’t see – perhaps it’s elsewhere in the paywalled article – what the mechanism is that goes from “new immigrants are second-class citizens, at least for the time being*” to “more immigrants are accepted”. If it goes via the ‘native’ population being satisfied that those people aren’t getting the free ride that the press has been telling them they get, colour me sceptical in the extreme.

*Note that the permanence or otherwise of this status would be a political question – and if we’re assuming an anti-migrant constituency, I wouldn’t like to trust in the good will and clearsightedness of any government in setting an appropriate period of second-class citizenship.

102

Layman 04.21.16 at 8:08 pm

Ike @ 94, you make some good points, but it amounts to nibbling around the edges. There will be some young adult immigrants who are a burden, but there will be some newly-matured young adult citizens who are a burden, too. Given the vagaries of the employment landscape, I’m not sure you can even make a strong argument that the latter is more employable than the former; it really depends on what sort of work is on offer.

So the argument that immigrants are undesirable because they’ll be a burden doesn’t seem particularly strong. It’s hard to believe people arrive at an anti-immigrant position via that argument in good faith.

103

Dipper 04.21.16 at 9:22 pm

@104 Lupita. so you are saying the West is basically a pyramid scheme. We need to keep adding more people into the scheme to keep it supported and if we stop then the whole scheme collapses? I think I may agree.

104

Matt 04.21.16 at 9:33 pm

Lupita at 104 asked,

What if, like is currently happening in the US, patterns start reversing and the immigrant population starts dwindling?

For what it’s worth, this is at least misleading as put. What has happened (largely intentionally) is that the unauthorized migrant population in the US had been (somewhat slowly) declining for several years (for a mix of reasons), and there has been modest to slight net negative flows from Mexico during this time (for similar reasons.) Over-all immigration to the US is still highly positive, and visa categories fill up early each year, to the disappointment of those who cannot get them. There is, of course, no population decline in the US. Whatever one thinks about migration, to the US or any country, it’s useful to not be too parochial in one’s viewpoint while thinking about it.

105

Lupita 04.21.16 at 10:19 pm

@Matt

OK, I’ll rephrase. How will the demographic transition, which is already underway, affect Western economies? Is not mass immigration a way to delay the impact of low/ zero/ negative population growth on GDP growth, debt, and pensions? And is not talking about how to make mass immigration to the West more palatable politically in the short term, a way of kicking the can down the road instead of confronting the inevitable which is, in my opinion, a non-growth, post-capitalist system that we have yet to imagine?

If the system has turned into a Ponzi scheme, as Dipper suggests, should it not be unwound before it collapses?

But my main gripe is the way third word workers are portrayed, as disposable beings or pawns to be moved around for the greater glory of GDP growth, without considering the impact on poor societies of having millions of children growing up without a father and communities being left without young men. In Mexico, at least, the impact has been devastating to poor, rural communities that have now been taken over by drug cartels.

The social impact of mass emigration cannot be measured in monetary terms. The social and cultural externalities on poor communities are not even being considered, as if their cultures and communities were no more than garbage.

106

The Temporary Name 04.21.16 at 10:23 pm

The west is certainly excellent at acquiring immigrants who have big bags full of money.

107

Chris Bertram 04.21.16 at 10:48 pm

I see various reponses now on twitter from Milanovic and supporters. These seem to boil down to two points.

1. You’re closing your eyes to a system of global apartheid. Reply: no I’m not. There is global inequality and some citizenships are worth more than others. That’s a problem and cf Shachar, Carens and others. But what was distinctively offensive about apartheid was that, for a single political authority and system of law, some people were subjected to authority and coercion but were denied political rights on a permanent basis. That appears to be what you’re advocating here. (I’d be very happy to for you to correct me and to say that immigrants and their children should have a path to full citizenship.)

2. The tradeoff. Here the claim is that there’s a tradeoff between weaker citizenship rights and more migration (and migration is an effective tool for reducing global inequality). Let’s grant the causal claim here. The problem is that the imposition of laws on people isn’t merely an impersonal causal process to which we must adapt ourselves, but a deliberate collective choice by a population and their political representatives. Milanovic’s attitude is that of the man who says “you need to eat, but I will only let you eat if you strip naked for me. Therefore, morality demands that I make you strip naked.” Well, no it doesn’t, it demands that the man feed the needy person without imposing such a condition. Shades of Cohen’s critique of Rawls on the difference principle here.

108

Val 04.21.16 at 11:06 pm

Reason @ 50
I think Lupita has already answered your question, but I’ll briefly reiterate. Please note that when describing the system in ‘western’ (rich capitalist) countries, I am not saying it’s right, just talking about the way it works at present. With declining fertility and increasing longevity, most rich countries need immigration to provide an adult workforce who will pay taxes to fund the pensions and services older people need, and also to physically provide those services. That’s without even getting into the issues of GDP growth which Lupita has already discussed.

Productivity doesn’t work in services like aged care and health quite the same way as it does in manufacturing. I’ve heard some talk about robots in aged care, but there are clearly limits to how far a humane society could go in that direction. In health (my sector) it’s a quite different game – improving technology tends to lead to greater demand for services (and people) as much as reduce it. We need to rethink the whole area of health, but that’s OT so I won’t jump on that particular band wagon.

Another way that rich countries are trying to cope with this is by getting more women into the paid workforce, however there are natural limits there (especially as it may lead to women having fewer children, so the fertility rate would continue to go down – I don’t actually have any evidence of this though so don’t know if it’s happening – it’s usually education that is seen to be correlated with declining birth rates rather than paid work per se I think).

109

Val 04.21.16 at 11:10 pm

Further to previous comment – Actually when I think about that last point, there’s possibly evidence to the contrary – Scandinavian countries that have good work and family conditions for women have both high paid workforce participation and fairly stable (not declining) birth rates I think (though still below replacement rate)

110

david 04.21.16 at 11:40 pm

Chris @ 26

Nevertheless, it is worth observing that the people who migrate from poor countries to wealthy ones are not, on the whole, the poorest and most vulnerable, but comparatively well-off members of those poor societies…

This seems apropos:

The correct answer is that a poor person (bottom decile) in a rich (top decile) country is three times better off than a rich person in a poor country… It is not even close.

With these magnitudes in mind, it is hard to argue that intracountry inequality trumps intercountry inequality

111

david 04.21.16 at 11:57 pm

I struggle to imagine a good quantitative index for it, but what do you think are the relative accessibilities of political/process rights for those on decile “most excluded” in top-decile-Democracy-Index country, versus the political/process rights for the decile “most connected” in the least free countries?

112

RNB 04.22.16 at 12:21 am

@114 Under apartheid, people did not have the political right to abolish the colour bars for skilled positions first in mining and then generally in the economy, and this freed whites from economic competition and allowed them to appropriate rents or enjoy wage premia. Milanovic is suggesting that the border serves the same purpose as the colour bars, allowing those lucky to be citizens of wealthy countries to enjoy rents or wage premia in a system of global apartheid. He is trying to make the colour bar/border more porous against sharp political hostility to migrants. This does leave the problem of political exclusion, but it seems to be something of a blow against global apartheid to the existence of which most citizens of wealthy countries are blind despite the enormous benefit they receive from it.

ps I agree with your point 5 @106!

113

ZM 04.22.16 at 12:37 am

“I’m pointing out that if you want the future to hold a “Germany”, the place needs to be populated by Germans. “

I can’t believe you wrote that Brett Bellmore. We have already seen what happens when people think for Germany to be “Germany” it “needs to be populated by Germans” and it ended very very badly.

You’re American, and America is predominantly an immigrant society. This sort of idea would mean most of everyone in America would have to leave the country for America to become America again full of indigenous Americans. I like reading books about past times when the cultures were more distinct, it is very interesting, but with technology there has been mass migration for centuries and its not going to go back to lots of distinct cultures like in the past.

About 20% of the German population has a different ethnic background than German, possibly more depending on how mixed ethnicity is counted.

I don’t think nationalism is a very good reason not to take migrants, especially when there is a refugee crisis. And really migration means all the countries have more connections like in traditional cultures where they arranged marriages so as to make sure that all the kingship groups were connected well. Your wife is a first generation immigrant so you should be able to talk about all the benefits of immigration for your family and community instead of saying Germany won’t be Germany if it isn’t full of Germans.

114

Cranky Observer 04.22.16 at 1:03 am

= = = I’m pointing out that if you want the future to hold a “Germany”, the place needs to be populated by Germans. If you replace a quarter of the population every generation with people from another country, and another society, the future does not include Germany. A society that does that sort of thing, voluntarily, is a society that’s committing suicide.= = =

With this paragraph I have to think that Mr. Bellmore has exceed his most bizarre hard right glibertarian fantasy over at the old Reality Based Community. Of course there was also his strident defense of “g” at various ‘net venues over the last 12 years (that I know of) so perhaps this one is not outside the Brett Curve.

It is not just that this argument is not even wrong, it is not even understandable. There’s some sort of fixed “German” culture that is unvarying as long as… some demographic parameters are maintained? When the various parts of Germany only became a single nation-state in 1871, the southerners speak a dialect that much of the rest of their countrymen don’t (or prefer not to) understand, and the rivalries between the former “Prussians” and the rest of country are as strong as those between New York City and the Deep South? So if x% of the population is “replaced” every generation (45 years?) (not how immigration occurs, but arguendo) this self-sustaining culture “disappears” (how?) and is replaced by… what? A different culture, probably a blend of the two? So what – even if it does happen that way.

In any case, if one’s political-economic region wants to retain a distinctive culture the way to do it is to _welcome_ immigrants. Invite them to your (cultural) holiday get-togethers, teach them your cultural totems (Go White Sox!) Exchange recipes for each other’s exotic foods. Introduce your respective 16 y.o.s to each other (that one never fails). **Provide a reasonable path to citizenship** – don’t freeze them out. And guess what? In 45 years you have a culture which is very similar to the old – but somewhat different, more interesting, and probably stronger.

115

MilitantlyAardvark 04.22.16 at 1:59 am

@Brett Bellmore

“I don’t hate the next door neighbor, but I don’t let him rummage around in my fridge. I don’t even give him my network password.”

You do however constantly advocate regarding him/her as somehow inferior/dangerous/deserving of discriminatory treatment based on insignificant genetic differences. You’ve done this consistently on a variety of blogs and been removed from a number of them as a result. The dots don’t really take too much joining in your case, Brett.

Returning to the main discussion, I do find it interesting that those who claim the enthusiasm of hypothetical Nigerians/Syrians etc etc for second-class status tend not to be Nigerian/Syrian etc etc – much less willing to consider whether they might “deserve/welcome” a reduction in status themselves in a future which is clearly going to be a great deal less Western, white and male in terms of economic dominance.

116

faustusnotes 04.22.16 at 2:07 am

I think Brett’s right that if you were to replace a quarter of your population with foreigners in one generation your culture would change. But Brett’s original point was that Germany is making up its birth rate through importing foreigners. Germany’s total fertility rate (TFR) is currently 1.4, so to make up to replacement it needs to increase its TFR by about 50%, which it can do by importing foreigners every year equal to 50% of its births. Germany had about 800,000 births last year, so it needs to import 400,000 migrants to make up for the TFR (slightly less actually because the following year these migrants might have children). Given this, over a 30 year period it will take in a maximum of 12 million people, or about an 8th of its population.

These figures are slightly exaggerated, replacement rate is actually more like 1.9 and so on, but the point is clearly that over 30 years Germany is not importing anything like a quarter of its population. (Also the population of a country “over a generation” is not the population at the start of that period, obviously!)

I guess that the “quarter of a population” figure Brett is pulling out of his arse is based on the unique importation of a million (?) refugees last year, assumed to be repeated for 30 years. This is obviously silly since a) Germany isn’t doing this to relieve “its” (good & white, one presumes) women of the burden of giving birth and b) this situation isn’t going to continue.

It’s just more examples of how Brett doesn’t understand demography, but is happy to use it to push his racialist theories and his natalist obssession with forcing women to have babies (which is a fundamental requirement of any natalist solution to the aging “problem”).

117

Collin Street 04.22.16 at 2:21 am

I think Brett’s right that if you were to replace a quarter of your population with foreigners in one generation your culture would change.

Nearly 30% of the australian population was born overseas. We’ve had sustained massive immigration — of the sort Bretty reckons is unsustainable — for literally generations now. We’re doing OK, cultural-continuity-wise.

Where are you from, by the way, Brett, if you don’t mind me asking? What’s your native culture, the one you’re defending?

118

faustusnotes 04.22.16 at 2:25 am

I didn’t say it would change for the worse, Collin …

119

Collin Street 04.22.16 at 2:28 am

> What makes you think I hate migrants?

Signs and markers that you probably don’t notice.

You have to understand, Brett: you can’t tell the difference between prejudice and reasonable conclusions from the inside. Noone thinks their decisions are prejudiced, because if they did they’d rethink them and reconsider: the only actual real-world irrational prejudice, then, is that which the enactor is unaware of.

You cannot self-assess your racism. Everything that seems to you reasonable will seem to you reasonable, obviously: you need someone else cross-checking your results. “I think that what I think is reasonable is reasonable” is a vacuous statement; “this man thinks that what I think is reasonable is reasonable” is something useful.

I tell you, Brett: you are pretty damn racist. You don’t have to trust me, but… I know nothing about you and care less. What sort of reason would I have for lying about my assessment of your racism?

And y’know what? As unreliable as my judgement is — and I’m not claiming to be perfect or even very good — if all you’ve got to compare it to is your [worthless; see above] self-assessment then my dodgy judgement is by far the best thing you’ve got. And a wide array of people of the sort you get here, all of whom — independently — think you’re pretty damn racist?

You’re pretty damn racist, Brett.

120

Dipper 04.22.16 at 6:53 am

Mass immigration, cultural clashes, and people being denied a hearing because they are “racist”. What could possibly go wrong?

This could.

http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham

121

reason 04.22.16 at 6:53 am

TM @67 @89
I’m not advocating an apartheid system. What makes you think that I am? This really is about me not liking CB tendency to push for a Natural Law view (which is to me as a social democrat anathema) and for fully open borders which I tend to regard as not compatible with social democracy in the world as it is (although it could be in another world that had developed more evenly). I think citizenship needs to mean something, we can’t just pretend we live with a world government.

122

reason 04.22.16 at 7:07 am

I’m sort of confused here that I am being attacked from the left (one person even thinking I’m a Libertarian). It is Libertarians who are always arguing for a rights state and open borders. Libertarianism is just the result of taking that thinking to its logical extreme and emphasizing above all others the property right. But this all falls out of a methodological individualism that basically excludes the rights of societies to decide their own rules (Libertarianism is a sort of theocracy – and in Libertarianism, societies can exist but they have no rights or interests only the individual matters). Now I understand that Libertarianism is a form of Liberalism, but doesn’t the left believe in collectivism?

123

reason 04.22.16 at 7:18 am

P.S. For people who haven’t followed the thread I made clear that
a. I am a migrant myself (from one rich country to another Australia to Germany in fact)
b. I think migrants should be integrated into the society in which they live.

124

reason 04.22.16 at 7:38 am

I’ve just thought of a way to make my beef here clear.

I’m a basic income guy. I think it has all sorts of benefits and solves all sorts of otherwise intractable problems. But if we treat the world as single unit and have a single basic income for the whole world – how big could it be? After all, we can argue, “I know you can’t live here on $100 a month, but there are open borders now, you can move somewhere where you can afford to live”. We can’t, in the current world, as a matter of pragmatism treat the world as a single unit without undercutting the ability of national governments to seek national solutions.

It seems much more reasonable to me to do it the way we have attempted to do already, gradually extend the zones of free movement to compatible economies and cultures and try to do what we can to foster development in those parts of the world that are too poor to be integrated into that system.

125

Collin Street 04.22.16 at 8:02 am

> forcing women to have babies

Oh, there’s a whole fucking genre of japanese media where the plot is exactly, “japanese government forces my self-insert charactermen and women to have sex and babies to Save The Yellow Race”.

126

kidneystones 04.22.16 at 8:05 am

@127 I have no idea if you are racist. What I can say is that if disagreeing with sacred truths you hold dear is the criteria for being racist, you don’t know what the term ‘racist’ means and don’t care to find out.

I’m curious, btw, how one can be ‘pretty darn racist.’ How does that work precisely? One holds generalized viewsabout groups of people based on the social construct of race, or one doesn’t. How do the gradations of generalization work exactly? Or are you with your usual enthusiasm for the imprecise conflating racism with cultural chauvinism and other tendencies you disapprove of but are too lazy or dense to flesh out?

127

Chris Bertram 04.22.16 at 8:09 am

Brett, Collin et al. Let’s end this particular sub-thread. Asking nicely for now.

128

kidneystones 04.22.16 at 8:19 am

@129 One more thing I learned at CT today. Reason favors apartheid. I’d never have guessed and frankly don’t believe it. Must be more belly-button lint evidence.

Meanwhile, I just listened to Laura Ingram interview Trump, who’s supposed to have pivoted. Wrong. The day after the reported pivot he spoke to a crowd in Maryland who repeatedly interrupted the Trumpster with full-throated chants of ‘build that wall’. He’s right back to his vulgarian billionaire liberal self railing about Lying Ted and bragging that 55,000 negative ads since he announced had the net effect of propelling him, a political novice, into first-place. How Great is That?

Sounds like Donald’s going to make HRC the enemy within, more concerned about protecting China’s slave labour markets than American jobs. Blamed Bill for NAFTA and got traction on that. The theme of the Ingram show was ‘reconciliation’ with the RNC. Ingram couldn’t wait to see Jeb etc. ‘come crawling back.’ She closed with the suggestion that if Trump wins he should line up all the RNC candidates he defeated and the pundits who said he’d make it this far and offer them each a place on Celebrity Apprentice, or Dancing with the Stars.

Twas pretty funny.

129

lurker 04.22.16 at 8:27 am

‘Nearly 30% of the australian population was born overseas. We’ve had sustained massive immigration — of the sort Bretty reckons is unsustainable — for literally generations now. We’re doing OK, cultural-continuity-wise.’ (Collin Street, 125)
That is a lot easier to do if you’re an Anglophone nation. Your language and culture are the dominant ones, globally. Why should anyone bother to learn the unimportant language and boring culture of a minor nation when they might not even stay here?

130

kidneystones 04.22.16 at 8:41 am

@138 This link from the ABS provides some usual data about immigration trends into Australia up to 2000. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/7d12b0f6763c78caca257061001cc588/964f93de8bb5c425ca2570ec000bf8f8!OpenDocument

80% of immigrants to Australia speak English well or very well. Roughly half hold an some form of overseas qualification and are under the age of 45.

I’ve been to Australia several times. Tis a great country, but runs a highly selective immigration policy and, like Canada, is about as far from ‘open-borders’ as any country other than Singapore, or Japan.

131

TM 04.22.16 at 8:42 am

reason 64, 77, 80, 83, 84.

My problem with you approach is that you act the hard-headed realist but in fact you are peddling a mystification. Society does exist, d’accord, but it’s not a monolithic entity that grants and denies rights, makes decisions, plans for the future, has agency. You say that people don’t have rights, only society does. There is no coherent way to attribute rights to a society. “Society reasonably has a right to consider” etc., that makes no sense.

I take it you live in Germany. Germany is governed by a constitution that declares human rights to be inviolable. That is as close as you get to an expression of the collective will of the German polity, so why not take that seriously.

I asked about the effects of apartheid on society not to impute a position to you but because it seems obvious to me that apartheid-like arrangements are wrong both because they violates individual rights and also because they are detrimental to the common good. Germany is a good example because exclusionary laws concerning the “Gastarbeiter” – laws of the sort that Milanovic seems to advocate, aimed at permanent exclusion of immigrant workers – have delayed and impeded the integration of a large immigrant community into German society. It’s a good example why these kinds of laws are a bad idea. And also why they don’t work in the long run in a liberal society – you can’t permanently deny rights to a class of people and still claim to care about equality and human rights.

132

reason 04.22.16 at 9:01 am

TM
1. Society does too make decisions via democratic processes. Such processes are imperfect, specifically as you point out because of the divisions within society, but they work better than any alternatives we actually have tried.
2. The declaration of human rights is an ENFORCED encoded set of rules – i.e. I can go to court and get infringements punished. That is the whole point. Outside of that jurisdiction I cannot assume that they have any validity. And those set of rules can be extended or restricted by agreement, they don’t exist independently of political decisions in any important sense.
3. I’m not trying to defend the interpretation made of Milanovic that is current under discussion (I haven’t read the original piece).

133

Robespierre 04.22.16 at 9:21 am

The assumption behind constitutional government is that human rights are more than a gentlemen’s agreement.

134

TM 04.22.16 at 9:30 am

For the record, the demographic scare stories peddled by various commenters here are myths. Low fertility doesn’t cause collapse and doom. Reason has it right, any workforce decline (which isn’t even yet happening in either Germany or Japan) is more than compensated by productivity gains. Workers are better off when the number of entrants into the labor market (and housing market) is low, reduced resource pressure is good for everybody, and the increasing number of retirees that need to be supported is compensated by the declining number of children (who are also costly in case anybody hasn’t noticed).

The neo-mercantilist argument for higher fertility is especially bizarre when you look at the empirical consequences of high fertility (just look at the fertility map). It is also a simple arithmetic fact that global population will never stabilize if every country aims at least at replacement fertility. And it is a simple physical fact that global population will sooner or later stabilize, whether the landing will be soft or hard.

Germany, so much talked about (mostly ignorantly) in recent threads, doesn’t have a policy of “importing” immigrants to make up for its own fertility shortfall. Germany has last year taken in more than a million refugees who were fleeing horrific civil wars, because for once, political leaders decided to take humanitarian obligations seriously. The refugee crisis has caused one of the biggest population movements in Western Europe in recent history although one should remember that some countries, like Lebanon, are sheltering much larger refugee populations relative to their population and economic resources.

Apart from that, Germany is part of a European Union that has declared free movement within member states, a bold experiment that so far has not caused the sky to fall despite a rather steep economic gradient between the poorer and richer members.

135

reason 04.22.16 at 9:32 am

Robespierre
Which human rights and which constitutional government are you talking about precisely and why does this have to be assumed when they have been encoded?

136

TM 04.22.16 at 9:34 am

141: “Society does too make decisions via democratic processes.” Let’s do away with these mystifications. Society doesn’t have agency, people and their institutions do.

137

reason 04.22.16 at 9:44 am

TM
OK, thanks for the pedantry. Yes people (plural I note) and society (the collective of people extended by their relations with one another) are subtly different and perhaps I was writing less carefully than I should have. But as people who live in one place for a while develop relations with one another, such carefully might be understandable, might it not?

138

reason 04.22.16 at 9:56 am

oops – … such CARELESSNESS might be …

139

Peter T 04.22.16 at 10:03 am

The tension (or confusion) between taking the individual as given (the economics approach) and the social is on full display here. Might I recommend John Ellis’ Language, Thought and Logic, or the line of thought summed up by the linguist M A K Halliday:

“society, language and mind are indissoluble: society creates
mind, mind creates society, and language stands as mediator and
metaphor for both these processes”

In the present context, we create rights. That makes them real. Then we act them out variously – institutionally through states, socially through peer pressure, protest, prophets, sources of emulation, shamans; emotionally through resentment and resistance, artistically through icons, stone tablets, temples, paintings, stories, graffiti… Why should we expect consonance?

140

Val 04.22.16 at 10:13 am

@139
Kidneystones, what made us (Australia) what we are when you visited – the Australia you liked – wasn’t anything to do with recent immigration policies. Our politicians got pretty scared in the Second World War, when we came rather close to being invaded, and decided that we needed more population. At first, it was just anyone who was white, and of and age to work and have children. English fluency was mainly a device to keep non-whites out. But eventually they decided to stop being so racist, and it became more about people who could work and have kids (whatever colour) plus family reunion, plus a reasonable (by some standards) number of refugees, particularly from Vietnam.

It’s that mix that made us – a mixture of good and bad motives, but until about the 1990s, accompanied by a bipartisan political response that immigrants should be made welcome. What has happened since the late 1980s – the politics of meanness – isn’t what made us. It’s sadly, what we’ve become.

I hope the pendulum will shift soon. There’s some signs it’s starting to.

141

engels 04.22.16 at 10:23 am

In the present context, we create rights. That makes them real. Then we act them out variously – institutionally through states, socially through peer pressure, protest, prophets, sources of emulation, shamans; emotionally through resentment and resistance, artistically through icons, stone tablets, temples, paintings, stories, graffiti… Why should we expect consonance?

Sounds a bit Hegelian to me. I think it’s noteworthy that some of these various ways tend to be a bit more effective than others. I can ‘act out’ my right to the neighbourhood I grew up in ‘artistically’ through my graffitti but when my landlord acts out her dissonant understanding through the court system and the bailiffs that’s probably going to seem a bit more real to all involved…

142

Peter T 04.22.16 at 10:54 am

engels

Yeah, the bailiff is more real in the short run. But I watched a hundred thousand (literally) people walk up to a line of soldiers and then stand there, silently daring them to shoot. They did shoot, once. Next day more came and stood there. Then the soldiers decided to patrol the next street over. My very meek landlord’s agent told his soldier son – you shoot, you have no family. A few months of this and the government fell. What did they see themselves doing? Asserting their rights. Of course, the social frameworks within which they conceived their rights were not homogeneous, so the next stage was an argument about how to enact which ones. Of such things is history made.

143

ccc 04.22.16 at 11:19 am

Chris Bertram #114: “The problem is that the imposition of laws on people isn’t merely an impersonal causal process to which we must adapt ourselves, but a deliberate collective choice by a population and their political representatives. Milanovic’s attitude is that of the man who says “you need to eat, but I will only let you eat if you strip naked for me. Therefore, morality demands that I make you strip naked.” Well, no it doesn’t, it demands that the man feed the needy person without imposing such a condition. Shades of Cohen’s critique of Rawls on the difference principle here.”

Very well put!

Milanovic particular suggestions are also underargued. From FT: “As happens currently in the Gulf states, migrants could be allowed to work for a limited number of years, or to work only for a given employer, or else be obliged to return to their country of origin every four or five years. They could also be made to pay higher taxes since they are the largest net beneficiaries of migration. “

Why does he stop there? His underlying view appears to have no principled grounds for that stop. E.g. how about weaker workplace hazard rules and food security standards for temporary migrants? Or mandatory participation in a kidney donation lottery? As long as both global rules and institutions (including processes that increase power and wealth for the 1%) and anti-migrant nationalist sentiments are taken as a given and unchangeable background some such proposals might also come out as net gains on his blinkered paretian view.

144

Igor Belanov 04.22.16 at 11:34 am

The whole problem with the argument made by Milanovic and reason in this thread is that it confuses state and society.

For one thing, it is highly debatable whether the state represents the expression of society’s wishes on any except the most tenuous and theoretical grounds. The current institutional means for achieving this are clearly inadequate, and surely only the naive would not acknowledge that the minority of the powerful and wealthy have a much greater influence over the state than ‘society’ as a whole. Many people scoff at the idea of scrapping borders and paint it as a utopia, but then if this is the case then the concept of ‘popular sovereignty’ has to also be regarded as an unattainable dream.

Secondly, ‘society’ has never been restricted to any particular polity, and especially not the nation-state. In this day and age it is proving impossible to restrict the movement of people when the movement of capital, goods, images and ideas is practically unlimited.

What these proposals represent is not ‘apartheid’ but a ridiculous sticking-plaster to try and protect the interests of the nation-state, a collection of entities that are increasingly struggling to assert control over their own populations, never mind those of the wider world.

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engels 04.22.16 at 11:36 am

Why does he stop there? His underlying view appears to have no principled grounds for that stop. E.g. how about weaker workplace hazard rules and food security standards for temporary migrants? Or mandatory participation in a kidney donation lottery?

I don’t know what he thinks but one view is that rights are to be balanced against consequences in an ethical calculus where rights-violations weigh significantly higher than other negative consequences without being absolutely forbidden. (Breaking a promise to my sister might be permissable to get my partner to the hospital but not watch a cricket match…) If you adopt this framework you might give some rights a higher weighting than others and you might see the right to pay the same rate of income tax as native residents as less basic as, say, the right to bodily integrity.

146

kidneystones 04.22.16 at 11:54 am

Hi Val, Thanks for your two cents. I couldn’t disagree more. I have many friends in Australia. I know plenty of academics and artists there and have done graduate work at two of Australia’s universities.

Australia, like most of the western world, is a far more tolerant and welcoming place than in the past. Unlike you, I do not see a preference for English in Australia as a manifestation of racism any more than I see a preference for French as a manifestation of chauvinism, or racism, in France. Nor do I see stringent immigration policies as anything other than a desire to attract and support people who want to assimilate and add to their own talents and skills to improve the general lot.

I’ve read many of your comments and exchanges with others here feel we have very little to say to one another. Hope the dissertation goes well!

147

kidneystones 04.22.16 at 12:30 pm

Let the grovelling begin!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3553432/David-Cameron-orders-advisers-reach-TRUMP-case-wins-White-House-despite-blasting-divisive-stupid-wrong.html

“David Cameron has ordered his diplomats in Washington to reach out to Donald Trump to repair relations in case the Republican front runner pulls off an improbable White House win. The Prime Minister slammed Mr Trump at ‘divisive, stupid and wrong’ last year in the wake of controversial remarks about stopping Muslims entering America. Responding to a petition calling for Mr Trump to be banned from visiting Britain, Mr Cameron said he opposed an outright ban but told MPs: ‘If he came to visit our country I think he would unite us all against him.’There are fears in Government the remarks could leave the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America on ice were Mr Trump to enter the White House in January.”

Now that Trump looks very much like securing the Republican nomination, and perhaps the WH, I sincerely hope that we can move past the Trump-Hitler hyperbole and start considering the very real problems a Trump presidency presents. Borders are, of course, very central to a Trump presidency. We saw last Labour’s determined efforts to depict any and all mention of borders as a manifestation of xenophobia and racism blow-up spectacularly in election defeat. I expect HRC to try to be both for building the wall and against it, (Labour 2015). The more troubling dimensions of a Trump presidency for me include Trump’s very real America First isolationism. I noted last fall that petitions to ban Trump from Britain were a most unwise move from a nation almost wholly reliant on the active support of the US, especially as the proven US default position in 1914 and 1939 was and is – Europe’s problems are not our problem. Perhaps more troubling is Trump’s expert salesmanship. If ever there was a fox, he’s it. And he looks well on the way to convincing a sizeable percentage of the chickens that he alone should be trusted to provide protection from the other foxes.

I’m in favor of bringing manufacturing jobs back to 1st world economies, but worry that Trump’s commitment to balancing the budget by demanding US allies spend more on defense is going to have some extremely serious ramifications in east Asia and other places. Trump’s already discussed the possibility of a nuclear Japan, which represents a dream come true for Japan’s nationalists and a nightmare for just about every sane person. There’s still an outside chance that Sanders can make some magic happen at the convention, but perhaps it’s time to think much more seriously about rallying around the Dem change agent, rather than learning to live (as Cameron is now realizing) with President Trump.

148

Peter T 04.22.16 at 12:37 pm

Ze K @157

Since the government in question was not elected, those rights were not in question. Even if the government were elected, we have, besides demonstrations, a variety of means of expressing popular opinions. People are quite creative in this regard. And many governments pay attention, churn out propaganda, sometimes even change policies. The essential point is that the understanding of rights extends well beyond whatever legal or institutional constructs currently enact them. They are a conversation, not a thing.

149

reason 04.22.16 at 12:40 pm

Peter T
I don’t quite get what you are getting at. I never said people could advocate to get new rights recognised. But if other people don’t respect them (whether through custom or law) they don’t mean a thing.

150

reason 04.22.16 at 12:43 pm

Igor Belatov
yeah you can see that I have only ever lived in democracies.

151

reason 04.22.16 at 12:43 pm

oops Belanov – sorry.

152

engels 04.22.16 at 12:44 pm

The essential point is that the understanding of rights extends well beyond whatever legal or institutional constructs currently enact them.

Agreed.

They are a conversation, not a thing.

A family conversation where one partner is holding a gun and has been known to get rather violent…

153

reason 04.22.16 at 12:45 pm

But only the other hand, I think you have it the wrong way around. The problem today seems to be no that nation states can’t control their populations, but that populations can’t control their nation states.

154

TM 04.22.16 at 1:01 pm

“They could also be made to pay higher taxes since they are the largest net beneficiaries of migration.”

Totally shameless. The real net beneficiary will be the employers who get a class of disenfranchised, dependant workers with no protection against workplace abuse (“to work only for a given employer” is also proposed, the consequences of this arrangement are well known). It is hard to believe that Milanovic doesn’t intend precisely that, that any of this is proposed in good faith. (Also 30 and 68).

155

UserGoogol 04.22.16 at 1:26 pm

reason @ 130: I don’t think individualism versus collectivism is a useful way to think about left versus right. The right is in its own way extremely collectivist, favoring a well-ordered hierarchical society over one centered around individual flourishing.

156

reason 04.22.16 at 1:26 pm

TM @167
” It is hard to believe that Milanovic doesn’t intend precisely that, that any of this is proposed in good faith. “

So what do you think his real agenda is?

157

reason 04.22.16 at 1:31 pm

UserGoogol @168
I wasn’t comparing the “left” to an amalgous “right” but to Libertarianism which is something very specific and not especially hierarchical, but tries to promote individual flourishing only if you have money.

158

TM 04.22.16 at 1:45 pm

169: Neoliberal propaganda? Portraying naked exploitation as a favor for which migrants should be grateful?

159

engels 04.22.16 at 1:52 pm

Neoliberal propaganda? Portraying naked exploitation as a favor for which migrants should be grateful?

Have you read anything else by Milanovic, TM? For that matter, have you even read his paywalled piece or just Chris’ attack on it?

160

ccc 04.22.16 at 1:54 pm

engels #155: Possible, sure. Those further rights distinctions then need to be defended. What is it about certain citizen rights that make them apartheid-able but not others? But I haven’t seen Milanovic even begin to do something like that. Looks to me as if he makes a blinkered paretian argument and leaves it at that. If he wants to go to his conclusion (but not to the kidney lottery) then he owes us a more fully developed argument. Now I have not read his new book, but some earlier stuff by him on normative issues was a very thin soup.

161

engels 04.22.16 at 2:04 pm

What is it about certain citizen rights that make them apartheid-able but not others?

That’s a rather unhelpful way of posing the question, I think, since most people agree that apartheid is morally repugnant. I agree your question (‘why draw the line here exactly?’) needs to answered, I just think there are answers available which aren’t unreasonable on the face of it.

162

engels 04.22.16 at 2:07 pm

PS. Just for the record, I think my instincts on this are close to Igor’s.

163

Peter T 04.22.16 at 2:21 pm

reason

I’m more or less agreeing with you. But “rights” (like “people”, “respect”) is a large and hence vague set of concepts. The leaders of the American colonial rebels formally enumerated a set of rights that they thought they already had in law or custom as a move in a contention with the British crown. As part of this move, they appealed to religious belief, belief in natural law, British and general western European custom and so on. They also asserted, although in veiled language, other “rights” – eg to hold slaves and take land from Amerindians. Their victory enabled the institutionalisation of some of these, which transferred the formal conversation to legislatures and courts of law. But the informal understandings continued to percolate and evolve. Human rights have been sacralised in the western secular tradition but, to my mind this is not because they are, in fact, sacred or immanent. It is because this is a very effective (and very ancient) social gambit, placing the issues beyond the immediate reach of many forms of power, by constituting right as power.

Anyway, really a side issue, so I’ll say no more.

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UserGoogol 04.22.16 at 2:37 pm

reason@170: Fair enough. One could make the argument that many libertarians favor a hierarchy of meritocracy, but I mean yeah, they’re not conventional reactionaries.

As someone who thinks of themself as a left-liberal, I tend to think of libertarians as a sort of perversion of a basically left-wing project. The logic of individual welfare can lead to radically left-wing implications, but they interpret individualism in the wrong way. Instead of focusing on collectively maximizing the welfare of individuals, they use individualism as an excuse to reject helping people in the first place.

165

TM 04.22.16 at 2:39 pm

engels 172, if you have reasons to disagree with me, why not state them.

166

engels 04.22.16 at 2:53 pm

You mean my reasons for disagreeing that BM is a shameless bad faith neoliberal propagandist with a sinister hidden agenda of well-we-all-know-what-we’re-taking-about-don’t-we?

167

RNB 04.22.16 at 3:29 pm

If one looks at the pass system rather than the color bar as I did @120, then Milanovic could be said to be arguing not against global apartheid but for a form of it. He is trying to rationalize the flow of labor from the so-called traditional sector or homelands [poor countries] to the modern sector of mining and advanced agriculture [wealthy country] where due to economic and political restrictions the migrants will have to endure “wages below their marginal productivity”.

However much this movement reduces inequality between the sectors, it may well also have the effect of extracting rents (or extra surplus value) from migrants in modern capitalist enterprises. Think of it this way.

If migrants are not given rights to bring their families with them, then the the migrant need not earn a wage that is necessary to cover the costs of a family in a wealthy country. Or if the state denies access to the schools and emergency medical services, the migrant may choose to leave the family behind, which again means the wage need not cover the full costs of a family in a wealthy country.

And of course the migrant is tied to an employer as a condition of her or him getting the visa–and the visa will only be granted if the migrant is restricted from competing with citizens just as the color bar protected whites–the migrant would also not have the right of exit to pressure the employer into a higher wage.

The wage then need be a fraction of what it would be for a worker with family in the US. What Milanovic is proposing would rationalize a system of exploitation through the regulation of movement.

168

Val 04.22.16 at 4:28 pm

@156
I’ve read many of your comments and exchanges with others here feel we have very little to say to one another. Hope the dissertation goes well!

I’m taking a hard line on this stuff. As far as I’m aware, CT bloggers are keen for women to be able to participate on this blog, and this kind of condescension is both rude and off putting. Your closing remarks were gratuitously offensive and I take it that they were meant to discourage me from participating in conversations here.

169

Lupita 04.22.16 at 5:10 pm

I’m getting a #solidarityisforwhitewomen vibe from the outrage expressed at the mere thought that one way of avoiding population decrease is for women to have more children. What about all the girls (and boys) who grow up without a father because he is off picking tomatoes in Imperial Valley? Where is the outrage at that? Why does a mere comment about something that cannot be enforced, elicit more censure than actual suffering that is actually happening in poor communities? Why must poor men see the advantage of emigrating and leaving behind their language, friends, family, and way of life, but Westeners cannot even conceive of confronting their great, big problem of lower GDP growth and how it will impact the repayment of their debt, their pensions, and the underpinnings of the whole global financial system, of empire. How better and more discrete ways of exploiting the poor is what is keeping the system from crashing?

Poor people, their families, their communities, are seen as disposable while Western women are special snowflakes that melt at the mere suggestion of having a baby. Accusations of racism and sexism seem the way to avoid talking about a global neoliberal system that is about to implode, yes, because it is increasingly difficult to keep GDP in the West growing at a steady clip, quarter after quarter, as the system requires, without immigration.

The West does not set its immigration policies based on not being racist and sexist. They are in place to postpone a crash and give the elites a bit more time to loot the system.

Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that the Women of the West have more babies, particularly if it means that poor women suddenly need to see the virtues of leaving their own children to become their nannies. They may, of course, do as they wish.

170

engels 04.22.16 at 5:41 pm

As someone who thinks of themself as a left-liberal, I tend to think of libertarians as a sort of perversion of a basically left-wing project

Sadly, no. Libertarianism is liberalism without all the epicycles.

171

RNB 04.22.16 at 5:59 pm

The OP does not acknowledge Milanovic’s basic empirical findings which show how much luck in what Shachar calls the birthright lottery–not merit or hardwork–determines life chances in the world today. Derbyshire deals with this in the FT, a piece Milanovic linked to on his twitter account. I am sure Milanovic would be happy were his findings to lead to a more honest acknowledgement of the role of luck in the lives of those born in wealthy countries (like myself as an anchor baby) and a greater tolerance for free movement over borders. He thinks migration is more effective than aid in equalizing opportunity. Interestingly he has not been pressed on this here, but I think there are clear counter-arguments. I still there is huge value in his empirical findings on the importance of luck in the birthright lottery, and I think the OP should have acknowledged that value, independent of his proposals to address the problem.

172

Layman 04.22.16 at 6:00 pm

@ Val: “Your closing remarks were gratuitously offensive and I take it that they were meant to discourage me from participating in conversations here.”

Kidneystones is cheerfully, rudely dismissive of everyone with whom he disagrees. I don’t think your gender is a factor.

173

Matt 04.22.16 at 6:28 pm

Sadly, no. Libertarianism is liberalism without all the epicycles.

No, it’s really not

174

UserGoogol 04.22.16 at 7:27 pm

Ze K: I would not consider that to be an inherently libertarian or conservative idea. What I’d consider fundamental about libertarianism is the non-aggression principle, (which to reformulate it slightly to suit this conversation) that it’s not okay to hurt some people a little to help other people more. If everything’s a consumption good but you allocate those goods so as to allow an egalitarian amount of consumption, then that’s pretty left-wing.

175

TM 04.22.16 at 8:58 pm

What is it about reproductive choice that makes CT commenters lose their mind, and why is the fact that our species’ abundance can not grow forever evoking irrational panic among otherwise reasonable people?

Lupita 183, what a load of reactionary BS. Do you have no shame?

176

TM 04.22.16 at 9:38 pm

Those touchy white chicks just need to get down to business and start making more babies. Wow, just wow.

177

Layman 04.22.16 at 9:40 pm

That, plus “if you’re complaining about X, that means you don’t care about Y, you monster!”

178

engels 04.22.16 at 9:46 pm

183 Just to be clear, I am not suggesting that the Women of the West have more babies, particularly if it means that poor women suddenly need to see the virtues of leaving their own children to become their nannies. They may, of course, do as they wish

192 Those touchy white chicks just need to get down to business and start making more babies. Wow, just wow.

Hmmm

179

engels 04.22.16 at 10:03 pm

Matt, thanks for the link. I’ve never read that Freeman piece so I shall give it a try. I’m doubtful it’ll change my mind I’m afriad…

(Fwiw I was being slightly glib, if I were to be less so I’d probably say that American liberalism is a refinement of classical liberalism in response to problems thrown up by the history of capitalism – working class organisation and socialism in particular – and libertarianism is a peculiarly synthetic C20th invention intended to make c.l. appealing to the masses… More than happy to revise that if others have better knowledge of intellectual history.)

180

Layman 04.22.16 at 10:05 pm

“Hmmm”

That passage translates roughly as “I’m just saying!”

181

Dub 04.22.16 at 10:08 pm

“I’m just saying!”

I was going to render that as “I’m not racist, but…”

182

engels 04.22.16 at 10:18 pm

If you want to interpet Lupita as saying the exact thing she just clearly said she was not saying then I guess you can…

183

F. Foundling 04.22.16 at 10:21 pm

Mass migration is clearly part of the neoliberal package, and I have always expected that Bertram-like positions would have inegalitarian, Milanovic-like results in one way or another. What a Left should be doing is fighting to make sure both Country A and Country B are decent and sustainable places to live in, rather than relying on the ‘invisible hand’ of global demographic development and the ‘free’ movement of people from Country A to Country B (‘free’ as in ‘free labour’ under capitalism). The living standards of poor countries must be raised in ways other than constantly moving people out of them, and the demography and economy of rich countries must be maintained in ways other than constantly moving people into them. As for the former, moving would not be something many people would want to do if their countries were even moderately decent places to live. As for the latter, having children would not be something people would have to be forced to do, and, even assuming for the sake of the argument that it was an obligation, it wouldn’t be a particularly insufferable one, if there was a decent welfare state sufficiently supporting said activity in terms of financing, care, health, education etc. Ignoring the above is a case of the typical liberal unwillingness/inability to look beyond formal expressions of will/choice/consent and into the conditions that determine them.

184

Val 04.22.16 at 10:22 pm

LM – where do you see people losing their minds? I think Lupita did confuse the issue with the precious snowflakes stuff, but I guess the underlying point remains – if rich countries need immigrants (by their own capitalist logic) then how come that’s not recognised in all the rhetoric about how rich countries are doing immigrants a favour?
(Answer: rich countries are rich because they are built on a logic of inequality and exploitation)

I’m in favour of world government, on a federated model, and in which women and people of colour have to be proportionately represented. States could retain their district cultures, except without the oppressive, exploitative bits.

Layman – I know Kidneystones can be rude to anyone, but it takes a special kind of patronage to tell someone that you know more about their country than they do because you’ve visited several times, and their ideas aren’t worth listening to anyway. As a woman (and a feminist) commenting on CT, I’m pretty sure that I’ve encountered that ‘special’ kind of put down more than my fair share of times.

185

kidneystones 04.22.16 at 10:28 pm

@182 Well, if we’re taking a hard line on ‘this stuff’. I respectfully request that provide something more than an entirely unsupported accusation of sexism before your unsubstantiated charge. To the best of my knowledge I have never produced a single criticism of you or your comments and nothing that can be remotely considered as sexist. This despite several onerous remarks from you. Finally, during our only and last exchange when I noted that I’d visited your blog and offered similar good wishes regarding your studies, you offered a pro forma thank you and duly informed me that all further communications with me would cease.* The striking distinction between us being I did not use your request to invent some imagined slight, and your inability to recall your own churlish behavior towards me.

I see no utility to expand further other than to insist once again that you immediately provide concrete textual evidence of my attempts to dissuade you from contributing to the discussion here and that these attempts are rooted my prejudice towards you based on gender. Absent both, I expect a full public apology and a retraction of your accusation.

* I can and will provide links to the comments in question. Given however that you are a historian by training and profession and, therefore, a stickler for accuracy, I’m certain you can lay your hands on your own surly and self-serving comments as easily as I.

186

UserGoogol 04.22.16 at 10:45 pm

Ze K: That seems like a rather peculiar way to define political categories. Politics is about outcomes. How the consumption patterns of society are structured is a really big deal, and lumping them together because they’re still accepting the ideological premise that consumption is a primary method by which humans relate to the world is kind of skewed, even if that ideology is something worth questioning as well.

And anyway, people do consume things. Consumption doesn’t have to mean consumerism, it just means… experiencing life. Having things happen to you. I’m certainly open to the idea that it’s problematic as a concept, but simply treating the idea as some vile token of libertarianism is odd.

187

Rich Puchalsky 04.22.16 at 11:41 pm

Lupita: “What about all the girls (and boys) who grow up without a father because he is off picking tomatoes in Imperial Valley? Where is the outrage at that?”

I’m generally in agreement with a lot of what Lupita writes, but I think that the migrant experience tends to get overgeneralized a bit. In particular, the Jewish migrant experience wasn’t (up until Israel, and I don’t want to get into that) one of leaving a place where one and one’s family belonged in order to labor in a foreign culture. It was one of leaving one hostile place for a different and hopefully less hostile place, neither of which is really one’s homeland. I think that there are still a very substantial number of migrations of this type going on (not among Jews, obviously).

For the larger point, that economic growth demands on migrants, it’s clearly true, and I can’t see any reason in justice or logic why migrants should be second class citizens. But again, as I wrote upthread, I prefer hypocrisy to formalized bad practices for as long as actual good practices aren’t available.

(Parenthetically, one family matriarch came to the U.S. with her passage paid because she was the bride in an arranged marriage. The guy was evidently older than advertised, and she rejected the marriage, found a job, and used her earnings to bring the rest of her family over.)

188

Collin Street 04.22.16 at 11:51 pm

> Sadly, no. Libertarianism is liberalism without all the epicycles.

The epicycles were what made the model produce useful results, you know.

189

Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 12:25 am

(fwiw, Ive only seen Rich’s comment now, which my comment on the other thread is on the same topic of. A Coincidence rather than passive aggressive rebuttal, ie I agree with “but I think that the migrant experience tends to get overgeneralized a bit. “)

190

RNB 04.23.16 at 12:59 am

If anyone is interested, the discussion of this is much more nuanced in Milanovic’s new book Global Inequality than it is in the FT editorial. He says 4 different principles at stake in the debate on migration.

He also makes some estimate of how big the gap is between potential and actual migration. He does consider whether we should not formalize the discriminatory treatment illegal migrants suffer due to the deleterious consequences of openly legitimating violations of the rule of law as an ideal but notes that a formalized system of gradations in legal belonging would probably serve to close greatly the gap between potential and actual migration while

1. expanding the human right to movement,
2. improving the economic situation of individuals without making any one worse off (as long as some of the gains were used to compensate losers both in the host and native country), and
3. contributing to the maximization of global income.

191

Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 1:51 am

It’s a little more nuanced, though not substantially different. The critiques above still apply (and I like Milanovich)
Whatever the merits of his position, I would hope (and expect) any immigrant group to fight for both fair pay and whatever rights that were removed from them under this hypothetical scenario. A lot of people above seem to want to see them either accept their fate as second class citizens and an underpaid underclass in the receiving country, or accept their fate as second class citizens and an underpaid underclass in the global economy. Whatever happens, i hope they don’t listen to the conservatives.

192

MilitantlyAardvark 04.23.16 at 2:02 am

@Brett Bellmore

“Libertarians have a different version of that history, where modern ‘liberalism’ isn’t a descendant of classical liberalism at all. Rather, Fabian socialists responded to the fact that they (deservedly) had a much worse reputation than classical liberals, (Who were just called “liberals” at the time.) by starting to call themselves liberals. Eventually this ruined the reputation of liberalism, and the real, ‘classical’ liberals had to start calling themselves “libertarians” to distinguish themselves from the pretenders.”

I see that the Philosophical Filiation Fantasy League is now open for business. So many claims, so little evidence.

193

Val 04.23.16 at 2:02 am

@ 201 Kidneystones, if you can provide those links, please do so.

194

RNB 04.23.16 at 2:03 am

I would expect something else: citizens in wealthy countries coming to recognize how much good luck is responsible for their wildly better relative life chances and drawing the ethical implications from that. But we may just be different that way.

195

RNB 04.23.16 at 2:08 am

@203 RP writes: “I prefer hypocrisy to formalized bad practices for as long as actual good practices aren’t available.” But formalized bad practices would actually give those legally here some more protection of the law, which they don’t presently have. So on whose behalf do you prefer hypocrisy?

196

RNB 04.23.16 at 2:10 am

typo corrected: But formalized bad practices would actually give those ILlegally here some more protection of the law, which they don’t presently have. So on whose behalf do you prefer hypocrisy?

197

Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 2:12 am

Under Milanovich’s hypothetical, yes. In the real world, probably not.

198

Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 2:14 am

Do you not realise how stupid this is? If we officially treat them worse than we do now, people will allow more to come, and their position will improve.

199

Val 04.23.16 at 2:17 am

Just in case Kidneystones’ assertion that “Australia … is a far more tolerant and welcoming place than in the past” has confused the issue, I would like to clarify. It does of course depend what you mean by “the past”, but I was specifically talking about the post Second World War period, in which there was considerable improvement from the racist immigration policies of the pre-war period, unfortunately followed by a backlash, particularly against refugees, from the late 1980s-early 1990s (which was also the period when neoliberalism began to be a powerful influence in Australian politics).

If anyone is interested in this, there is article http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-11/obrien-the-founding-father-of-australias-indefinite-mandat/3658804 which I think is good. It’s an opinion piece but it provides a good political overview in an easy to read form. I wouldn’t recommend Wikipedia on this, the entry is confusing and leaves out important historical information.

200

Val 04.23.16 at 2:21 am

Sorry for multiple posts but I want to add something more for Kidneystones

@ 201 first, I think we should take the discussion off line and I’m happy for you to contact me at my Monash university email, which is on my blog – I am also happy to apologise here if you can convince me an apology is due, but I don’t think the whole discussion should go on here.

Secondly, I wasn’t expressing scepticism about the links in my comment above, in case it sounded like that – I would just appreciate if you would provide them.

201

Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 2:26 am

Val, Kidneystones is an obnoxious shithead. Amusing at times, though, seriously, I wouldnt worry about it.

202

kidneystones 04.23.16 at 2:27 am

210 All requests from you will be refused until you provide evidence to support your claims that I am trying to dissuade you of participating in discussions here and that my attempts to silence you are grounded in prejudice against your gender. That, or a complete apology and retraction.

Further, be advised that you can no longer rely on any generosity or good will from me.

You leveled groundless accusations against me without a shred of evidence.

First, apologize for both unsubstantiated charges. Then, review all of our exchanges and document how you may have ‘confused yourself’. Then, retract all unsupported accusations. Then and only then, will I consider assisting you.

Your repeated claims to authority based soley on your Australian citizenship are shabby and suspect. And your willingness to level charges of sexism free of any substance in place of argument deserves substantially more criticism that I am currently willing to make. But that could change.

Provide the evidence I requested, or apologize. Or, simply do as you like. I saw little reason to engage with you before this exchange and far less now.

203

Val 04.23.16 at 4:08 am

Yes, I basically agree Ronan. As a fair process I’m prepared to have a discussion with him off-line, because I accept that it’s serious to say someone is acting a way that’s effectively sexist or discriminatory (rather than just generally being an arse-hole). My beef is, I don’t like all the patronising put downs I get here, I find them really unpleasant and kind of personally hurtful. More broadly, I think that kind of thing discourages women in general from taking part in these discussions, which is a great loss, especially given there are some really smart and thoughtful women who comment at times on CT. So I’m prepared to call it when I see it, but I won’t have long debates online if I can avoid it, because it’s not fair to other people on the thread, who want to talk about the OP.

204

Peter T 04.23.16 at 4:16 am

Val

kidneystones subsists almost entirely on a diet of sour lemons. Let it go.

205

Val 04.23.16 at 5:56 am

@221
I’m happy to let this go now, but as a general principle I will still call it when I see commenters being particularly patronising or contemptuous to me or other women.

I’m not stupid and I can see the risk in what I’m doing – of creating an over-sensitised atmosphere in which people are scared to make robust comments to women for fear of being called sexist. But I think that risk is actually quite minor, and the potential benefit of creating a better atmosphere for women to take part in these discussions outweighs it.

206

J-D 04.23.16 at 8:27 am

Lupita, I’m grateful to you for providing a perspective I suspect I would be unlikely otherwise to be exposed to; I’m also curious to know whether you have any views about what sorts of migration policies or laws you’d like to see adopted by rich countries (or, for that matter, by poor countries), because I’m unable to discern them from the comments you’ve made so far.

207

J-D 04.23.16 at 8:35 am

Dipper @128

Both the statement that people are being denied a hearing because they are racist and the statement that people are being denied a hearing because they are ‘racist’ are false.

There are some people who are racist. There are also some instances of people who can’t fairly be characterised as racist nevertheless making racist statements. There are also some instances of people making statements which are inaccurately characterised by others as racist.

In such cases, other people sometimes respond (sometimes gently and sometimes harshly) that the statements in question are racist.

If somebody characterises a statement I make as racist, that person is not, by so doing, denying me a hearing. Being accused (fairly or unfairly) of making racist statements may be an unpleasant experience, but it is not a denial of a hearing. To respond to an unpleasant, inaccurate, or unfair accusation (or an accusation which you think is such) by complaining that the person who made the accusation is denying you a hearing is to utter a falsehood, one which obfuscates discussion of the substantive issues.

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engels 04.23.16 at 9:52 am

Kidneystones’ comment wasn’t in any way sexist and it wasn’t even especially rude. Just in the succeeding comments there have been several that were a lot ruder (KS himself getting called an ‘obnoxious shithead’ and the responses to Lupita leap out). People do have a right not to talk to other people if they find them annoying…

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engels 04.23.16 at 9:55 am

I’ve never read that Freeman piece so I shall give it a try.

…although I’ve just realised that like Milanovic’s piece on freedom of movement it’s pay-walled. Ain’t liberal capitalism wonderful?

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engels 04.23.16 at 10:14 am

like Milanovic’s piece

And in the unlikely event anyone’s interested in talking about that, here’s another response:
http://aidthoughts.org/?p=4277

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 11:11 am

My comment to ks was a bit much , so I apologise for it, although it’s not exactly rhetoric Engels or ks don’t use regularly . Anyway, mea culpa.
The problem with milanovichs idea, IMO, is there is absolutely no evidence, or even logical argument, for how this would work. How would making current discrimination official make western populations more amenable to immigration ? Why would there not still exist migrants outside a hypothetical western kafala system who still have even less rights than the new norm ? What would be the long term political and institutional consequences of such a plan? I’ve read the relevant chapter in his book (though not the whole thing so perhaps he expands on it somewhere else in it ) and he doesn’t deal with it’s practices implementation at all (iirc). It’s like an afterthought. Has anyone made this case above or linked to a detailed proposal ?

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Matt 04.23.16 at 11:15 am

…although I’ve just realised that like Milanovic’s piece on freedom of movement it’s pay-walled. Ain’t liberal capitalism wonderful?

If you google the title, I think you can get a free version of Freeman’s piece. (It wasn’t loading right for me the first time, which is why I linked to the P&PA version, but give this a try: https://sites.sas.upenn.edu/sfreeman/files/illiberal_libertarians_ppa_2001.pdf )

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 11:16 am

Or in other words, the burden of proif isn’t on those arguing against milanovich (as per Matt Colin)but on milanovich and those who agree with him

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Rich Puchalsky 04.23.16 at 11:18 am

RNB: “But formalized bad practices would actually give those illegally here some more protection of the law, which they don’t presently have. So on whose behalf do you prefer hypocrisy?”

“some more protection of the law” when the law is what makes them “illegally here” in the first place is a good trick. But let’s not consider epicycle theory at the moment. Formalized bad practices are bad for society and bad for the people affected directly by those bad practices.

Let’s consider the example of torture, which I already brought up. When the Bush administration started to openly torture people, people like Alan Dershowitz began to advocate for legalized torture for all of the same kinds of reasons. This helped to legitimize torture and there began to be “pro-torture” and “anti-torture” camps along tribal/political lines. Then Obama was elected and said that the U.S. does not torture.

Of course the U.S. still tortures. But consider what would have happened if Dershowitz had prevailed. We’d have official torturers, trained in the most modern forms of torture. It would be an indelible part of policy, and the question would be, not whether to torture, but how much torture? More, or less? Some people would always demand more, and sometimes they would win. Sometimes people who demand less would win, but now that it was officially part of society, they’d find it very difficult to eliminate as such. What about all those jobs in the Torturer’s Union?

Right now those “illegally here” do have substantial legal protections, and those who want to oppress them have to do so with a guilty conscience if they have such a thing and with one eye cast around for anyone who may see them going against our official ideals. And those ideals, while rarely followed, at least point the way towards actual good practices and form some barrier to a slide towards worse and worse treatment that might well happen if the only restraint on the public was their current feelings about immigration.

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kidneystones 04.23.16 at 11:24 am

@ 229 I have no objection to your obscenity. In fact, I’m pleased to see you publicly degrade yourself with the venality, the vulgarity and the dull invective. The icing on the turd sandwich you fashioned for yourself is your predictable decision to chime in on the side of groundless charges of sexism. No surprise there, either.

But please refrain from implying I’m ever as dull or crude. To the best of my recollection I’ve yet to call anyone here worse than an idiot. I regularly employ ‘hypocritical, unthinking, dull, witless, stupid, dishonest, and others.’

Feel free to select for yourself any you find that fit. Oh, btw. Apology accepted.

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 11:38 am

Well I did say you’re amusing, ks. Which you are,. Glad there are no hard feeling .

On milanovichs idea that we need to “reimagine”!migration, where a migrant is no longer expected to (for example ) go from Nigeria to America and become American. As a historical matter this isn’t (afaik ) particularly novel. People always moved between host and sending country and integration was never that huge a priority for some. It happens in developing countries now, it always happened in the British and Irish isles, afaik over sixty percent of Italians to the US prior to ww1 went as transient labourers and went home. It used to happen between Mexico and the US, North Africa and Southern Europe. It’s not a reinvention, some stayed and became local, others didn’t .

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engels 04.23.16 at 11:38 am

Matt – thanks!

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Dipper 04.23.16 at 11:54 am

@J-D 225

thanks for your comment and consideration of my point. My point was a wider one than CT, and in that wider context I disagree.

Everyone can speak, but not everyone is listened to. The link in my comment refers to the most egregious example I have come across, which, to summarise, is that over 1400 girls and young women were being systematically sexually exploited in a town in England. This happened in plain sight, but the authorities did not act partly because the perpetrators were all from the same non-white group and the authorities were highly sensitive to any perception that they might be racist.

In this case, and also with well publicised cases in the UK concerned with ballot-stuffing by a non-white community, people alleging wrong-doing were labelled racist, and hence their allegations were denied any currency. In these instances, the authorities used accusations of racism to effectively deny the complainants a proper hearing.

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kidneystones 04.23.16 at 12:02 pm

@226 Thanks very much (really) for affirming the obvious. I’ve no idea how lies, falsehoods, and smears foster healthy debate, but then I’m not Val, thank God. I very much fear I’ll end up enumerating several more of her more depressing flaws before she discovers the wit, or the grace, to apologize.

@234 I’m sincerely delighted to bring a smile when I can. In the reciprical spirit of good will permit me to state for the record that I usually find your comments well-grounded and insightful.

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 12:38 pm

“Poor people, their families, their communities, ..the West does not set its immigration policies based on not being racist and sexist. They are in place to postpone a crash and give the elites a bit more time to loot the system.”

I don’t know about Mexico, but in the cases I do know the community and family was always deeply complicit in the emigration. A lot of time the migrants choice was more or less made for them, often at birth, and was as much (more often imo) a social obligation as quest for a “better life.”
And it was often done explicitly to maintain a certain social structure at home, often a “traditional” one, where the non inheriting, the young, those outside local norms, the poor, were expected to go and not make demands on their community for their share of resources.
I’d add as well that (afaik) the vast majority of migration is in country, and between countries in the global south. The west is a small part of this. End migration to the west and you only make a dent in global migration patterns.

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Lee A. Arnold 04.23.16 at 1:05 pm

Economists have often said that domestic labor should be geographically mobile (and sectorially mobile), yet now they say that immigration may have to be rights-restricted. Both these positions in service of… What, exactly? Saving The System? I think this is just more “economism”, i.e. the re-engineering of life by economics. I think Milanovic is another intellectual victim of economism. It is social engineering, justified by an economic theory that is increasingly unrealistic.

My basic objection is to the standard economics idea that labor MUST be mobile to meet the needs of capitalism. Whether it’s domestic of international, I think that this is becoming useless and unjustifiable.

The idea is that if you can’t find a job, then it’s your own fault, and you should move to somewhere where there ARE jobs. “Voting with your feet,” in the execrable phrase of Ronald Reagan.

Labor mobility was “necessary” in early modern capitalism, when most output was of scarce physical objects, and the huge factories to produce them cheaply had to be situated somewhere, and so, the labor had to move to those areas. Along the way, neighborhoods were created and then destroyed, wildlife areas bulldozed, social capital obliterated, tax bases argued about, areas ghettoized.

And this logic was followed unquestioningly by people in the early factory system, after the millennia of moving to palmier places when your harvests went bad. Or else pillaging the neighbors.

Labor mobility was written into economic theory.

Now, immigration is a big problem — due to none other than economists’ same, standard prescription for conducting reality. Showing as little foresight as they showed before the financial crash.

Yet ALL of it is less and less necessary. We have moved into the age of the oversupply of everything that is necessary to life — goods, labor, capital. Shippable to wherever you live. And we are heading into the age where medical advances and artificial intelligence are going to create even MORE oversupply.

Yet economists refuse to notice — or else they hope that everything will go back to “normal” (whatever that is!) once the latest huge globalization-surge is assimilated into The System. Thus they keep dreaming of the eternal need for capitalism. Money is kept artificially scarce, to save the balance sheets of the biggest players and to keep the poor people toeing the line, in service to the diseased psychology of meritocracy that is also touted to be eternal.

We see that capitalism is becoming evermore guilty of “social engineering” — the same guilty charge that it used to level against communism.

Of course, economists themselves still hope to hop from place to place, in search of jobs, in search of tenure. Perhaps this causes them to think that labor mobility is a basic requirement for everybody else, to keep The System going?

Why don’t economists develop a holistic theory, instead of leading us down the primrose path into these monumental cock-ups?

Why should anybody be required to move, to have income to live? It’s illogical, it’s anti-ecological, it’s phony.

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Lee A. Arnold 04.23.16 at 1:08 pm

I meant to write, whether it’s domestic OR international, it is unjustified

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J-D 04.23.16 at 1:33 pm

Dipper @236

Failure of the authorities to act is not the same thing as denying people a hearing. I’ve had experience myself of complaining to authorities without succeeding in getting those authorities to do what I thought they should do; it would be inaccurate to say in those cases that the authorities in question failed to give me a hearing.

You also write ‘people alleging wrong-doing were labelled as racist, and hence their allegations were denied any currency’, as if describing people as racist is automatically equivalent to denying currency to their allegations, when plainly it isn’t. There are plenty of examples of people who have been described as racist and whose views nevertheless have wide currency. Since you describe the particular cases you’re referring to as ‘well publicised’, obviously the allegations in those cases have received wide currency.

I understand that people who are described as racist, or who have their statements described as racist, often find it unpleasant, and I understand that those descriptions are sometimes applied inaccurately and unfairly. The same thing is true of many other descriptions. For example, people who are described as liars, or who have their statements described as lies, often find it unpleasant, and sometimes those descriptions are inaccurate and unfair. The fact that negative descriptions are sometimes applied inaccurately and unfairly is insufficient justification for a general rejection of the use of negative descriptions.

I also understand that when negative descriptions are applied to people or to their statements, it may sometimes have the effect of reducing the extent to which some other people are willing to listen to them. If somebody whose opinions I trust tells me that so-and-so is not worth paying attention to (because they’re liars, or because they’re racists, or for any other reason), I may largely or wholly stop paying attention to so-and-so — although that doesn’t mean everybody will do the same thing, because not everybody trusts the opinions of the same people whose opinions I trust. Once again, that’s not sufficient justification for rejecting all use of negative descriptions.

If you tell me that it’s wrong, for specific reasons, to describe a particular person as racist, you may have a case. But if you tell me that describing people as racists is wrong in general, you have no case.

If it’s not your position that describing people as racists is wrong in general, how is your position different?

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Dipper 04.23.16 at 1:58 pm

JD – firstly it is well worth reading the report in the link. the publicity only happened after the report was produced.

The authorities in the UK use a number of devices to avoid responding to allegations. Apart from the “racism” argument, the other well-known ones are to describe someone as a “Walter Mitty character” (i.e. a fantasist), or question their mental health. Again, means of signalling that allegations do not need to be answered.

I think it is generally unhelpful to describe people as racist. Its a label that says someone is a non-person who has no rights in a debate, and in societies such as ours is used to deny them political rights. I think it is permissible to describe someone as having made a racist statement.

A current issue in the UK is the new leader of the National Union of Students (see ). She is of north african origin and has criticised a particular student Jewish Society because of its strong zionist stance. The Jewish society has said she is anti-semitic, and that zionism is an inherent part of judiasm etc etc. Again, the use of the term racist is an attempt to render someone as a non-person in a particular debate whose words can be ignored.

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Dipper 04.23.16 at 1:59 pm

oops. Still struggling with that href stuff.

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RNB 04.23.16 at 4:34 pm

@232 No, RP, while we should abolish torture whether it is practiced in the shadows or as a matter of policy, we should not abolish the presence of migrants in wealthy countries. If they are here illegally and have no recourse if suffering wage theft, sexual harassment or forced overtime, they would benefit from having legal status in this country. They cannot rely on the bad conscience of their exploiters, feeling guilty about having violated basic human decency or the principles embodied in the rule of law. You would have them rely on that. Milanovic would not. Good for Milanovic.

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RNB 04.23.16 at 4:39 pm

Engels, thanks for @228. I hope CB responds.

228

Lupita 04.23.16 at 5:03 pm

@ J-D

Thanks for your kind comments and I would also like to take advantage of this brief lull in the general animus, in which people are being so chill, forgiving, and apologetic, to express my gratitude to CT and its commentariat for your solidarity, patience with my sometimes incendiary rhetoric, misuse of prepositions, and for providing so many illuminating, funny (as in Geo), and cogent analyses from what is (for me) the mouth of the imperial wolf, that is, the Anglosphere. Thank you. I love you all, even when you seem drunk or high and are insulting, which can also be entertaining. I guess we all derive benefits and pleasure from this site, if not, we wouldn’t be here.

I’m also curious to know whether you have any views about what sorts of migration policies or laws you’d like to see adopted by rich countries (or, for that matter, by poor countries)

I would like to see rich countries adopt immigration policies that take into consideration externalities. Actually, one could define imperialism as the power to ignore externalities. Justifications such as poor masses “yearning to be free” and “the US has always been a country of immigrants; my grandparent were immigrants” add insult to injury. In general, if a country requires foreign labor for an economic sector to thrive (such as agriculture or IT currently, construction some years ago) or for the whole financial system to not collapse, then it is time to change the system instead of justifying immigration by viewing only the short-time benefits to individuals.

As for poor countries, there are policies in place that actively push whole classes of people towards emigration as a short term solution instead of addressing issues of poverty, inequality, and justice. Immigration/emigration is only an issue when it become massive, as it is now. Mass migrations are an indicator that something is wrong, not an expression of freedom and respect for human rights. Of course individuals should be able to move around, but that is not the issue.

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Lupita 04.23.16 at 5:04 pm

@Dipper

I agree with what you are saying. In the West, I’ve noticed that much of the debate on immigration has been silenced with accusations of racism to the point where pro-immigration is practically the equivalent of non-racism. I think there is a connection between shaming the opposition into silence and the sudden, angry, emergence of the Trump phenomenon.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.23.16 at 5:13 pm

RNB: “No, RP, while we should abolish torture whether it is practiced in the shadows or as a matter of policy, we should not abolish the presence of migrants in wealthy countries. “

Clearly I was analogizing torture to the oppression of migrants, not to the presence of migrants. But you’re shameless.

By the way, do “illegal” migrants really have no recourse if suffering any of those things? It depends on which country they are in, of course, but you’ll find that they generally do have legal recourse. Whether those laws are always followed is also something you could ask about Milanovic’s proposed laws.

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RNB 04.23.16 at 5:20 pm

Again RP I am happy to let your response stand. No response from me.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.23.16 at 5:30 pm

That’s good. I notice that you often do that when you’d have to make an admission that you’ve been advocating policies that would hurt people. In particular, the policies you’re supporting would make anchor babies like yourself (or so you refer to yourself upthread) officially second class citizens. Pulling up the ladder after you?

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Jordan 04.23.16 at 5:42 pm

@106.1: I trust you that your support for open borders is genuinely ethics-based. But how can one distinguish your arguments from the arguments a disingenuous lobbyist could use as window dressing to hide the real purpose — enriching the neoliberal elite?

From a first principles perspective, I agree with you. But from an evidence-based perspective, I have not seen data that indicate opening all borders would result in improved human welfare.

It’s possible that closed borders are unjust but are still the best available option. In-group/out-group distinctions present a divide and conquer opportunity for the 1%. Perhaps the human brain is so flawed that it makes poor whites in the US band together to attack Latino immigrants rather than uniting with them to fight the CEO who is the real problem. Open borders may decrease working-class solidarity, leading to inevitable economic exploitation of both immigrants and citizens by birth.

Additionally, open borders coupled with information asymmetry may transform a lower SES but otherwise not exploited Filipina woman into a lower SES and sexually exploited immigrant woman without the money to return home. Geographic dislocation may create a class of vulnerable people without traditional checks against exploitation.

@199: Good points.

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Lupita 04.23.16 at 5:50 pm

@Rich Puchalsky

I think your position regarding hypocrisy vs the law may describe the situation in the Maya region which is fragmented by several national borders. In practice, Guatemalan Mayans are permitted to reside in the Mexican Maya region even though, by law, they should be deported. In this case, I agree that hypocrisy is better than enforcing the law until the day comes when the social rights of Mayans to form an autonomous nation and control their territory is recognized.

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 6:20 pm

Rnb, can you (or have you above?) Lay out how this system would work in practice ? How it would counteract the problems of (1) lack of enthusiasm for immigration among western publics (2) the poor treatment of immigrants. How would making second class citizenship official either end the phenomenon of illegal immigration or improve the migrants position.

“Engels, thanks for @228. I hope CB responds”

There’s nothing to respond to. The link didn’t make any sort of case for anything. It was a bit of boilerplate and a link to lance pritchetts book. Which might have the answer admittedly,.

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RNB 04.23.16 at 6:27 pm

Never advocated taking jus soli away in the places that it applies; and neither has Milanovic. But there are places in which it does not already apply and to which the flow of migration could be greatly increased though with the formal recognition of a legal status below citizenship. There is a tradeoff here. On his twitter Milanovic even graphs it and ask us to choose a point with gradations of citizenship on the the vertical axis and the flow of migration on the horizontal axis. No doubt Milanovic would want the point to be as close to possible to full citizenship on the y axis and highest potential migration on the x axis.

But if you condition migration on full citizenship he is saying the flow of migration will be radically below what its potential would be. So that is the choice as he sees it, under political constraints.

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engels 04.23.16 at 6:31 pm

The link didn’t make any sort of case for anything. It was a bit of boilerplate and a link to lance pritchetts book.

The central point that (from point of view which encompasses inhabitants of extreme poverty and not just those who ‘escape’ it) we need a ‘road out of hell’ is true and fundamental imo.

Fwiw my substantive objection to the OP is #155. Milanovic would probably want to distinguish between basic rights (which can not be abrogated on consequentialist grounds) and other citizenship rights (which can).

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Rich Puchalsky 04.23.16 at 6:41 pm

RNB: “So that is the choice as he sees it, under political constraints.”

“Political constraints” are not set in stone. They are strongly affected by ideals. In particular, jus soli is not likely to last in the U.S. if the rest of the world starts adopting official second class citizenship for migrants. Nor is it likely to be adopted anywhere else under those conditions. The ideology / rhetoric about the U.S. being a nation of immigrants and the even more basic (and hard-fought-for, both in the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement) ideology about there being only one class of citizenship is what allows jus soli to persist in the U.S.

And why should people want the highest potential migration if that migration is conditional on persisting second-class-citizenship? The proposal is exactly how I’ve described it: it takes bad practices and considers it a reform to make them legal and therefore regulated.

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 6:43 pm

“But if you condition migration on full citizenship he is saying the flow of migration will be radically below what its potential would be. “

But neither you or him have shown any evidence for this, afaict .

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 6:47 pm

“On his twitter Milanovic even graphs it and ask us to choose a point with gradations of citizenship on the the vertical axis and the flow of migration on the horizontal axis. “

I can’t find this on his Twitter, but it seems to either be cute or trivial. Or cutely trivial. What does graphing such a thing help unless it shows some actual, real world-trade off ?

241

RNB 04.23.16 at 6:49 pm

Jus soli already does not exist and has never existed in most of the world and here it still stands in the US, RP. You need to consult Milanovic’s data to get some idea of the leap in welfare that often comes from moving across a border to understand that many migrants would accept something less than full citizenship to enjoy it and that if more legal slots could be made available by formalizing legal standing below full citizenship (again this being the political price that citizens in the wealthy countries would impose, not what Milanovic thinks they have a moral right to impose), more migrants would likely come (perhaps to escape even more exploitative relations at home) and their welfare could increase dramatically. Ronan, just look at Milanovic’s data, and he is not promising that creating more legal slots below full citizenship would end illegal immigration.

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RNB 04.23.16 at 6:50 pm

@256 the calculation is in the book.

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 6:51 pm

I have the book and read the relevant chapter. I must have missed it. Can you give me a reference and I’ll look (please, no snark)

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RNB 04.23.16 at 6:52 pm

At any rate, I’m done for the day; perhaps engels or someone else will do the work of putting Milanovic’s positions fairly and finding the value of his empirical findings (independent of his proposals to deal with the problem) and actually reading more of his work than a short FT piece.

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RNB 04.23.16 at 6:52 pm

@260 Nope, I’m done for the day.

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engels 04.23.16 at 6:53 pm

The proposal is exactly how I’ve described it: it takes bad practices and considers it a reform to make them legal and therefore regulated.

Perhaps, but that isn’t necessarily an objection. It depends on the practices concerned, how bad they are and the consequences of regulation. What you are comparing to torture others might compare to sex work or lending money at a high rate of interest (say).

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engels 04.23.16 at 6:55 pm

perhaps engels or someone else will do the work of putting Milanovic’s positions fairly

I’m clocking off too but nice try!

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 6:56 pm

“(please, no snark)”

That was meant to read “please (I’m not being snarky). Rather than the alternative “please don’t snark”

262 , fine. I’ll try and find it

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 6:59 pm

“I’m done for the day; perhaps engels or someone else will do the work of putting Milanovic’s positions fairly and finding the value of his empirical findings (independent of his proposals to deal with the problem) and actually reading more of his work than a short FT piece.”

?? Who is doubting his empirical work on measuring global inequality? People are objecting to this argument not the man’s career.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.23.16 at 7:23 pm

RNB: “You need to consult Milanovic’s data to get some idea of the leap in welfare that often comes from moving across a border to understand that many migrants would accept something less than full citizenship to enjoy it “

This just comes back to the OP:
“Rather, all and any rights can be sacrificed on the altar of income improvement, just in case someone is poor and desperate enough to make a deal (who are we, paternalistically, to stop them?).”

People don’t need to consult an economist’s data to reject this deal, and it is not “unfair” to reject it out of hand.

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Ronan(rf) 04.23.16 at 7:29 pm

259 , I’m not sure what calculation youre talking about. I Assumed you meant he calculated potential inflows if you put restrictions x y and z in place. I have no idea how this could be done, but anyway it wasn’t. His argument for this position Is on the last 5 pages of chapter 3. I really can’t see any substantial difference to the FT article except it’s slightly longer. There is no “calculation “, data or model backing up his argument (afaict) . Much less a detailed proposal. His main reference (which is available online) is to a new republic article titled “A Radical Solution to Global Income Inequality: Make the U.S. More Like Qatar”. This is equally lacklustre. But, I’ll admit, I haven’t read a lot on this, so maybe this argument is known by experts , has been mapped out , modelled, estimated etc, and people’s reticence to say anything specific is because it’s taken as given the reader will know the research.
Again, no one is arguing against his “empirical work”, much less the economic gains to be achieved through greater immigration.
I’ll leave it there though, as I’m posting too much .

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engels 04.23.16 at 7:35 pm

Rather, all and any rights can be sacrificed on the altar of income improvement, just in case someone is poor and desperate enough to make a deal (who are we, paternalistically, to stop them?).

As I said, I’m done, but my last several comments stated why I think this is a mischaracterisation.

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Layman 04.23.16 at 8:20 pm

RNB: “But if you condition migration on full citizenship he is saying the flow of migration will be radically below what its potential would be.”

Yet no one conditions migration on full citizenship. Most states which accept immigrants present an escalating status beginning with some form of temporary and restricted residency, leading to some form of permanent and largely unconditional residency, leading eventually to the option of citizenship. It is the idea of some form of temporary and restricted residency in perpetuity which is objectionable.

254

Rich Puchalsky 04.23.16 at 8:26 pm

engels: “As I said, I’m done, but my last several comments stated why I think this is a mischaracterization.”

All right, since the last several comments weren’t an incredulous Onion link, I’ll respond. “What you are comparing to torture others might compare to sex work or lending money at a high rate of interest (say).” All right. But this is just saying that it depends on how you view things like sex work or lending money at high interest. If you view these as infringing basic rights (or something similar, for people who don’t like rights talk), then you won’t be willing to trade these away. You’ve probably made the decision of which rights / whatever you think are very important already, so you don’t really need to see economic data about it.

engels: “Milanovic would probably want to distinguish between basic rights (which can not be abrogated on consequentialist grounds) and other citizenship rights (which can).”

That is confused. Desperate people have already had whatever basic rights you’d like to decide are basic rights infringed. That is why they are desperate. Taking advantage of that desperation to lock them into semipermanent second-class citizenship can’t be classed as a situation in which basic rights are not being infringed. They have just been infringed earlier on in the chain.

255

Lupita 04.23.16 at 8:52 pm

About 25 years ago, the US granted amnesty and a path to citizenship to millions of undocumented, Mexican, agricultural workers under the argument that they were being exploited because they were undocumented and, once duly documented, their lot would improve. What happened was that, once documented, agricultural workers left en masse for L.A. and other urban areas and a new wave of undocumented Mexican campesinos took their place. Plus, there was a lot of corruption. Anybody could buy papers stating that they had worked in the fields. So the exploitative labor conditions in American agriculture and its dependence on semi-literate foreign peasants did not change at all.

So there is also the law of unintended consequences at work here in these bureaucratic schemes of how to regulate immigration.

256

J-D 04.24.16 at 1:38 am

Dipper @242

1. You write that the authorities in the UK have a number of devices to avoid responding to allegations. Perhaps I have misunderstood you, but the implication appears to be that it is wrong for the authorities to avoid responding to allegations, that the authorities should always respond to all allegations. That position is mistaken. It is not the case that all allegations should be responded to. Some allegations do no merit response. If you give specific reasons for thinking that the authorities have erred in some particular case by failing to respond to particular allegations, you may have a case; but if you assert as a general proposition that the authorities are always wrong when they fail to respond to an allegation, you have no case.

2. You have not justified your statement that it is generally unhelpful to describe people as racist. The statement is false. Suppose, just to take one example, I am writing a history of a political party and write that one of the reasons people were drawn to the party was because they were racist. Depending on which party we’re talking about, that may be false; but it also may be true, and if it’s true it’s helpful in understanding the party’s history. Again, taking another example, somebody might ask me ‘Why do so-and-so and such-and-such not like me?’ and I might answer ‘Because they’re racist’. That might be false, but it might be true, and if it’s true it’s a helpful piece of information. I agree that it’s sometimes unhelpful to describe people as racist (particularly when it’s not true), but you’re going well beyond that, without justification.

It is false to state that describing people as racist renders them non-persons, denies them their political rights, or results in their statements being ignored; you have given no examples of anybody to whom such things have happened. The example you have given actually shows the opposite, that you are incorrect. Malia Bouattia has been elected President of NUS; she has not been rendered a non-person or denied political rights and her statements have not been ignored.

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kidneystones 04.24.16 at 3:02 am

@275 Your blanket absolutes render your judgment on both statements false using your own questionable metrics.

The use of the term racist varies a great deal according to setting and audience. During the 19th century, particularly, the term race was employed broadly by a great many ‘academics’ and social scientists. The term ‘racist’ today carries a career-killing value that is radically different than its use during much of the 20th century in the west. To imply, otherwise, as you do, is anti-historical, clumsy, imprecise, and counterproductive. So, rather make your own case you end up making a very good argument against using the term racist.

The very real penalties society exacts against those in academia, business, the arts, and virtually all arenas in modern western society are so numerous, easy to identify and enumerate, and punitive as to shift the burden of proof very much onto those who choose to employ the term, especially against specific individuals in real-life terms. Consider your own place of employment. Can any career survive censure, or even complaints, over the use of racist language, or the charge that promotions, etc. are made on the basis of race? No. And this is particularly true in liberal settings where hyper-sensitivity on questions of race and gender are the norm.

You can do better.

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kidneystones 04.24.16 at 3:41 am

@ Just a quick follow-up, and sorry about the elisions and agreement errors in my last. (like I’m usually careful about this sort of thing). I read during my commute and came across what I think is a particularly useful passage discussing the east African slave trade in the introduction of Olivier Pétré-Grenouileau’s Nantes au temps de la traite des Noirs “…le commerce supplanta les raids militaires, des routes et des techniques spécialisées se mirent en place. Moyen efficace afin de justifier l’infériorité dans laquelle est tenu l’esclave, l’image du Noir commença également à se dégrader, alors qu’elle n’avait pas été particulièrement négative au cours de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine…”

This rings true to me. The construction of a lower class based on color, ethnicity, or culture follows economic exploitation and is used to justify continued exploitation. Africans previously recognized as different, but equal, became different and less than once an economic system of exploitation evolved. The construction of the Irish “race” by interlopers keen to steal land and labour would seem to bear this out. This is probably elementary to many here, but useful for me to keep in mind. Viewing the world through the prism of race (and gender) was/is, therefore, normal and natural in a system based on exploitation.

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J-D 04.24.16 at 4:10 am

Lupita @246

I am struggling to understand what you mean when you write ‘I would like to see rich countries adopt immigration policies that take into consideration externalities.’

If I have misunderstood I hope you will correct me, but I am guessing, on the basis of your earlier comments, that the kind of externalities you are talking about are the damage that can be done to communities when people leave them — the examples you gave earlier were specifically of damage done to communities in Mexico by the departure of migrants to the US.

If I’ve understood correctly that far, I’m not sure what policies in rich countries would take account of those externalities. I suppose if rich countries banned all immigration from poor countries it would prevent damage to communities in poor countries as a result of migration from poor countries to rich countries, but I don’t want to conclude that this is your proposal without something more explicit from you on the subject. I can’t think of a way that rich countries could practically operate a system where permission to immigrate is conditional on an assessment of damage to the source country resulting from the emigrant’s departure, and I can’t think what other kind of policy you might have in mind.

On the other end of the question, you write that in ‘poor countries, there are policies … that … push whole classes of people towards emigration as a short term solution instead of addressing issues of poverty, inequality, and justice’, and if this is so I can understand that you want those policies revoked, but I have no knowledge of the policies you’re referring to.

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J-D 04.24.16 at 4:54 am

Lupita @247

For as long as I can remember I have been seeing and hearing reports of people both in my own country and in other Western countries calling for more restrictive immigration policies, including some who called for there to be no immigration at all (or no net immigration). I can’t reconcile your statement that ‘much of the debate on immigration has been silenced’ with the facts of my own experience.

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J-D 04.24.16 at 5:38 am

kidneystones @276

I observed earlier that some people are racist. I am not sure whether you acknowledge this fact. There will obviously be a significant difference between the position of somebody who holds that all allegations that a person is racist must be false there are no people who are racist, and the position of somebody who holds that some people are racist and that therefore it is possible for some allegations that a person is racist to be true.

If it is accepted that it is possible for some allegations that a person is racist to be true, then it follows that there is a difference between the possibility of people losing their jobs as a result of false allegations of racism and the possibility of people losing their jobs as a result of true allegations of racism. There is a difference between saying that there are particular cases where people have unfairly lost their jobs because they were falsely accused of racism and saying that nobody should ever lose their job for racism. This is a particular example of the more general principle that there is a difference between saying that there are particular cases where people have unfairly lost their jobs because they were falsely accused of X and saying that nobody should ever lose their job for X.

If somebody is accused of X, and X is grounds for loss of employment, then the burden is on the accuser to prove the allegation before the accused is dismissed; but this is not the same as saying that nobody should ever accuse anybody of X, or that accusations of X should generally be regarded as wrong.

I am particularly struck by the confidence with which you assert what must (as you suppose) be true of my own place of employment when not only have I provided no information that would identify my place of employment, I have not even provided any information that would confirm that I am employed. I would like to think that you can do better.

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Val 04.24.16 at 5:58 am

@ 276
The very real penalties society exacts against those in academia, business, the arts, and virtually all arenas in modern western society are so numerous, easy to identify and enumerate, and punitive as to shift the burden of proof very much onto those who choose to employ the term, especially against specific individuals in real-life terms. Consider your own place of employment. Can any career survive censure, or even complaints, over the use of racist language, or the charge that promotions, etc. are made on the basis of race? No. And this is particularly true in liberal settings where hyper-sensitivity on questions of race and gender are the norm.

The charitable thought has occurred to me that you may be genuinely deluded about the nature of the society you live in. You may simply have never noticed that white men overwhelmingly hold power and wealth. Can I suggest, as I have before, that you take a look at the Forbes list of billionaires, and think about the fact that 62 people people (predominantly, though not exclusively, white men) hold half the world’s wealth?

And then perhaps consider whether the operation of both racism and sexism are a little more subtle, and pervasive, than you have thought?

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kidneystones 04.24.16 at 5:59 am

JD Thanks for this. You are quite correct. I’m asserting a norm and I am asserting that this this norm is so pervasive that it applies in your place of employment despite lacking the most basic information about your conditions of employment.

You will now either refuse to continue on this topic or confirm that being identified as “racist” in your daily work has no bearing on your career, or that the charge of racism carries the consequences I assert. Your place of employment may well allow/encourage racist behavior. In most western countries, however, racist behavior by employees exposes institutions to severe penalties both in real terms and in the marketplace. Or, are you living in a nation where charges of racism have no consequences?

Such places do exist I know.

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kidneystones 04.24.16 at 6:14 am

281 You can apologize for your groundless charges of sexism and for trying to dissuade you from participating in any discussion.

You can also apologize for attempting to engage me after I have specifically made it explicitly clear to everyone on this thread that I want nothing whatsoever to do with you in lieu of a full apology on both charges and a formal retraction of these accusations.

Given your unsupported and utterly unwarranted accusations against me, and my specific request not to engage me without evidence, or apology. any fair-minded reader can be forgiven for reading your comment to me now as an affront and a provocation that will only lead more drivel. I have nothing whatsoever to say to you ever on any topic no matter what. Please desist. This really is my last word to you.

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Val 04.24.16 at 6:24 am

This conversation made me think of this hilarious article by Sady Doyle, where she quotes the (research based) figure at which men think women make up half the crowd (17%) and the figure at which they’ve taken over (33%)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/16157/our_feminized_society

I wonder if similar perceptions apply to people of colour?

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Val 04.24.16 at 6:31 am

My offer of a serious off line discussion still stands.

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J-D 04.24.16 at 6:48 am

kidneystones @283

You write that ‘racist behavior by employees exposes institutions to severe penalties’.

Is it your position that racist behaviour should not expose people to penalties? if not, how is your position different from that?

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Collin Street 04.24.16 at 7:05 am

You can apologize for your groundless charges of sexism and for trying to dissuade you from participating in any discussion.

See, what you’re doing here is exactly and precisely trying to dissuade val from participating in any discussion. This is openly and precisely what you’re doing; you’re posting pretty aggressive… rants, is the only appropriate word, torrents of rants and you’re not going to stop, you’re not going to let her participate normally, until you get what you want.

So, yeah. You’re probably going to say something about “she started it” or say how it’s all because she accused you of being a sexist and disruptive on that account and that’s totally different from being accused of being a person who makes false accusations of sexism and requires totes different handling and responses — none of which I care about, and if you don’t understand why I don’t care I made a post earlier about introspection being useless for some things — but, right now, what you are doing is pretty much, and pretty undeniably pretty much, exactly what you’re demanding an apology for; you’re demonstrating the correctness of much of what Val said, by your demanding that what she said was false.

I mean… think this through. You want to see Val’s evidence that lead her to conclude that you’re a sexist and you want to examine that evidence and you want to assess that evidence and come to conclusions.

You’re allowed to come to your own conclusions. Which, so far, is fine. Fine-ish[1]. Well, not fine at all, but anyway. But then you want Val, and us, to use your conclusions rather than hers or our own. You want only your thoughts on the matter to be circulated; you think only your thoughts are reasonable. But, y’know? Val’s allowed to come to conclusions too! And so are we! And they may not agree with yours!!

Now that I’ve put it that way, do you think you can see why it’s a pretty unreasonable thing you’re asking for, that we have an obligation to agree with you on the topic of your sexism?

[1] Really, it’s actually pretty unreasonable because Val doesn’t have any secret evidence. You have all the evidence she has, because you wrote it all: what you want isn’t “show me the evidence”, you can already see the evidence, it’s right here. What you want is “show me what the evidence means, join the dots for me, show me how part A and delta over here fit together to lead to conclusion Gimel”. “do my thinking for me”. Doing that is a lot of work, and it’s not work you’re owed.

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Collin Street 04.24.16 at 7:09 am

Being accused of things that aren’t a part of your self-image is kind of distressing.

But noone’s self-image includes an awareness of their bigotries. That’s not how bigotries work.

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Chris Bertram 04.24.16 at 7:17 am

OK folks, the comments thread is supposed to be about the topic, and this has now become a massive derail. I think it is fair enough to call people out for bad behaviour, which is why I’ve let it go so far. But we’ve had an offer of offline discussion, everyone knows who thinks what by now, so time to stop, please.

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kidneystones 04.24.16 at 7:19 am

Hi JD, Thanks for this. I’d normally prefer you respond to my questions, rather than simply pose your own, but in this case the answer is fairly easy. People are free to hold any view they like.

Contracts of employment, however, have conditions. Violating a contract carries consequences. I worked alongside a ‘former’ member of the Nation of Islam who confessed to holding some extremely racist views in his youth. I see no reason why he should be punished for his private views, present or past. He brought a lot to the job even if he wasn’t universally liked. Religious prejudices/beliefs can also complicate relations.

I’m from Canada and we tend to have an extremely liberal view of free speech. I’m not personally interested in eradicating any set of beliefs other than fear and intolerance. These coupled with economic insecurity, real and imagined, allow frightened people to regard those outside their group as a threat. The notion of race or racialism was a respected part of social science throughout the 19th century as you likely know. Generalizing behaviors and abilities on the basis of melanin, gene groups, etc seems a most unsound practice. Punishable by law? No. Grounds for dismissal? Yes.

So, that puts me firmly on the side of churches do not sanction gay marriage, for example. Excluding people entering businesses and public places on the basis of color/gender etc. should be punishable by law. Private schools that segregate on the basis of gender, or religion are fine by me. Sorry for the longish reply.

Perhaps you’ll now reply.

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kidneystones 04.24.16 at 7:23 am

Hi Chris, Thanks for this. I hope that my current with JD isn’t too far off-topic. Either way, I enjoyed the original post and generally find your commitment to free movement of people admirable. I’ll close for now.

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J-D 04.24.16 at 7:31 am

kidneystones

I too am ready to drop the subject of our exchange if it’s clear that it’s too much of a derail, but in the meantime, since you’ve observed that I did not respond to a direct question posed you, I will now do that (and nothing else).

The question was whether I live in a nation where charges of racism have no consequences.

My response is that the validity (or otherwise) of the position I have taken is independent of which nation I personally happen to live in.

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J-D 04.24.16 at 7:40 am

Returning to something closer to the original topic, I endorse a point made by Rich Puchalsky @256; if the proposal under discussion is supposed to maximise what can be achieved within political constraints, it is important to consider how implementation of the proposal will itself affect those political constraints. Phil @9 and Hopkin @13 both made substantially the same point (endorsed by me @47) that implementation of a proposal which evidently panders to anti-immigrant feeling is liable to validate and therefore intensify anti-immigrant feeling. In other words, if you are thinking of implementing a proposal which is supposed to achieve as much as possible within existing political constraints, but one of the effects of that proposal is going to be making those constraints even more limiting, that is a strong reason to reconsider your proposal.

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Collin Street 04.24.16 at 9:57 am

> Private schools that segregate on the basis of gender, or religion are fine by me.

Sure, as long as they don’t use the state courts or police — no contract or trespass actions — to enforce that segregation.

Private property is an exercise of state power — it arises as a result of a state grant of an authority to exclude and is thus delegated state power — and so can’t exceed the limits placed on that polity’s government by that polity’s constitutional framework.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 11:02 am

J-D: “if the proposal under discussion is supposed to maximise what can be achieved within political constraints, it is important to consider how implementation of the proposal will itself affect those political constraints.”

Yea, but also: what is being maximized? Maximizing migration as a means of income transfer without accompanying citizenship seems to me to be purely neoliberal, in almost any sense of that term.

Let’s do a kind of primitive characterization of migrants into the desperate and non-desperate. (I prefer that to “refugees” and “economic migrants”). Desperate people are going to go wherever they can go no matter what. If a Milanovic style scheme is set up, they will illegally evade whatever restrictions are part of that scheme. So the society setting up a Milanovic scheme still has some illegal immigrants, and the desperate migrants who manage to arrive within the restrictions of the scheme are locked into second class citizenship because they have nowhere else to go.

The non-desperate migrants may be enticed into migration by the promise of higher income even though they end up as semipermanent second-class citizens. But should they be? Why should we maximize this kind of migration?

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engels 04.24.16 at 11:30 am

Why should we maximize this kind of migration?

Because it’s what people would themselves choose over the alternative of staying out, and because it would reduce the massive economic inequalities which result from where people are born, which are unjust

278

engels 04.24.16 at 11:50 am

(NB. I’m not sure if I endorse this, I just find the Kantian fundamentalism on display here odd)

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Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 12:12 pm

“I just find the Kantian fundamentalism on display here odd”

Good thing you don’t write abusively. Who cares whether you find it odd, or whether you think it’s Kantian fundamentalism? Is there an argument that you have that doesn’t come down to the same old “lots of people want higher income, and who are we to decline to let them agree to sign away their citizenship if they want that”? Is there an argument that you actually endorse, rather than restating bits of things that you don’t endorse but that you think for some strange reason we haven’t already considered even though they are said every time this comes up?

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engels 04.24.16 at 12:51 pm

Okay, I give up. Have fun guys!

281

RNB 04.24.16 at 4:06 pm

“Just by being born in the US rather than in Congo, a person would multiply her income by 93 times…The real hour wage gap between rich [NYC and London] and poor [Beijing, Lagos, Delhi] cities in 11 to 1 for the construction worker, 6 to 1 for the skilled worer, and 3 to 1 for the engineer”. (Milanovic in the third chapter of his new book)

With such income gaps–note CB does not mention Milanovic’s estimates of the citizenship premium– I find unpersuasive CB’s attempts to minimize the welfare improvements migrants would enjoy even were they to enjoy something less than full citizenship.

Second, greater migration even with the kinds of limited citizenship that wealthy citizens would impose as a price is likely not to be the source of extracting concessions such as forcible organ donation but to relieve people of the poverty that would lead them to deform themselves in this way (@299 gets it wrong) Moreover, Milanovic never recommends or even considers sacrifices from immigrants that would reduce their basic health and bodily integrity without which they could not carry out their life projects; rather he is looking for ways to strengthen these basic meta-capabilities.

Third, Milanovic can both oppose Qatar’s treatment of migrant labor as he does and still realize that in some ways such treatment to the extent that it overcomes unwillingness to tolerate migration may still do more to improve human welfare than does the indifference of many wealthy countries which have set themselves up as a Fortress. This is more about undermining a smug sense of Western humanitarian superiority than recommending slave-like conditions for migrants.

That is, those in wealthy countries (and there are many here) who say they sadly oppose greater migration due to a political inability to give migrants the same set of formal rights as citizens should understand the huge welfare losses they are imposing on the world’s poor.

This is why Bertram has to argue that migration under limited citizenship would not bring as great welfare benefits as Milanovic is saying that it would and many migrants believe it would.

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RNB 04.24.16 at 4:12 pm

@293 does not understand the argument. It’s pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment to say that greater migration cannot be allowed because it is politically impossible to give migrants the same rights as citizens already have. This results in shutting immigrants out. Milanovic is obviously trying to work around the present unwillingess to accept more migrants presently while also advocating for the least restriction on rights to increase the number of migrants allowed in wealthy countries due to the huge gains in welfare this would cause, CB’s skepticism notwithstanding.

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 4:19 pm

“This is why Bertram has to argue that migration under limited citizenship would not bring as great welfare benefits as Milanovic is saying that it would and many migrants believe it would.”

No, again you’re ignoring the fact that milanovich (and you) have to make this argument.
CB also knows

“With such income gaps–note CB does not mention Milanovic’s estimates of the citizenship premium”

And has written about it in the past (and supports, afaik, open borders because of this.)

You continually refuse to make an argument about how milanovichs proposal would actually work. Your argument is entirely a declaration to (milanovichs) authority.

And Everyone here knows who milanovich is and his work on global inequality. This is irrelevant to this proposal he’s putting forward

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 4:27 pm

(1) the political. The gulf states are authoritarian and oil rich. Their immigration policies represent this. How can democratic societies maintain a similar system? Why would it make western populations more supportive of more immigration?
(2) what would be the consequences to western institutions , norms and politics of reimagining citizenship like this? What even is it we’re talking about? No one (afaict) has laid out any specific proposal beyond vague generalisation.
(3)how would this function at a practical level. How would the system be designed? How would you fill Labour shortages ? Are there paths to full citizenship ? How does it resolve all the other problems (which M is also trying to resolve) of people living outside of societal norms and institutions? You would still gave illegals, those working outside the system, vast amounts of non natives living in the country. How is any of this solved by this ?

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RNB 04.24.16 at 4:29 pm

Again Ronan I have clarified what I wanted to say. You have made objections (why would welfare improve with greater migration even with limited citizenship? what is Milanovic actually proposing? why not have open borders instead?) that I think are clearly answered in the chapter that you have read. So I’ll leave it at that.

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 4:35 pm

They aren’t answered in the book. And the fact that you haven’t (afaict, though perhaps I’m wrong and you can point me towards a comment where you’ve made the case) actually made the case yourself, even a regurgitation of M ‘s supposed program , would imply that it hasn’t been thought through.
And again, the justifications you are giving above (the citizenship premium, the economic benefit to the migrant etc) for the policy are largely irrelevant to the question of whether (1) the policy is implementable and (2) whether it would work

(Also, I don’t support open borders).

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RNB 04.24.16 at 4:38 pm

p. 152

288

Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 4:39 pm

Yes, the last 5 pages of chapter 3. It assumes it would work, it doesn’t explain why or how .

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 4:44 pm

Here’s the main point from page 151 going on to 152

“By extension, less harsh and yet still discriminatory treatment of migrants in the rich countries could have even more beneficial global effects. But to take that step, one would have to accept what seems like a huge shift in policy: discriminatory treatment of migrants in the recipient countries, and de jure introduction of two or three levels of “citizenship” rights, at least for a while. Currently, citizenship is in theory often viewed as a binary variable: one is either in or out. If one is “in,” all rights (and duties) follow. But this is already not exactly true; there are gray areas. In the United States and a number of EU countries, legal residents cannot vote, but they pay taxes. The balance between rights and duties is less favorable for them than for citizens. Still, many of them do not object, and they stay in their new countries even though they remain noncitizens. One could go further and create new types of residents for whom the balance of rights and duties would be even less favorable—if doing so were the price one needed to pay for increased migration. There are many schemes whereby this could be done.
Since migrants are, almost by definition, the greatest beneficiaries of migration, and it is conceivable and even probable that because of migration the incomes of some classes of individuals might go down in both the sending and the recipient countries, migrants might be required to pay higher taxes (Freeman 2006). Proceeds could be used to help those who have lost out from migration. Migrants might be assessed taxes to recoup the cost of their education incurred by the sending countries (with taxes remitted to the sending countries). Or they might be required to spend, at regular intervals and until a certain age, a given number of years working in their countries of origin (Milanovic 2005). Another alternative might be to allow many more temporary workers, a practice followed by Switzerland (Pritchett 2006). The most radical view is advocated by Posner and Weyl (2014), who argue that allowing in migrants who then face discrimination, both at the workplace and in terms of civic rights, as in Qatar, does more to benefit the poor people in the world than do the exclusionary policies of rich countries, which are justified by the countries’ inability to give the same set of formal rights to all would-be migrants. There is a sharp trade-off, in Posner and Weyl’s view, between openness and civic rights: a more open migration policy requires withholding some civic rights. We can debate the sharpness of the trade-off, but we cannot deny its existence”

The posner article is available online and mentioned above. It also provides no evidence for its claim.

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 4:45 pm

Fwiw I’ve a comment in moderation that quotes the relevant section of the book

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Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 4:48 pm

engels: “Okay, I give up. Have fun guys!”

You should recognize that when people out of the blue talk about how annoyingly you write, this is why. You haven’t actually argued at all. You’ve brought up possible arguments that you don’t endorse — as long as those arguments fit within two sentences — and whenever people do write what they think, you’re all “OK I’m bailing.” But that hasn’t stopped you from characterizing other people’s arguments in all sorts of insulting ways, which I guess that we are supposed to recognize as inherently true because they are true in your mind. Do you really think that anyone here thinks of their argument as “Kantian fundamentalism”, or that you’re really representing that argument non-sarcastically?

Are you ever going to defend what you actually think rather than incredulously bail?

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 5:28 pm

Sure, but what does rotation mean here? I guess as a simplistic example you could, say, have a London world cup where you need labourers to help build stadiums. You bring them in from Bangladesh, for example,( fully protected by UK Labour laws?) then send them home after. How this counters native workers resentment I’m not sure.
Then the major building contractors need more cheap Labour, so you bring in another crew who now have to learn all the local norms that the last ones did. Again, they’re there for x years and then home. To the public this is Still cheap Labour taking local jobs, even if they’re only there on contract.
I guess there are other ideas as well. Who knows.

293

Lupita 04.24.16 at 5:29 pm

@J-D

Back to immigration policies in rich countries and externalities. As you know, during the colonial era, imperial powers enacted policies that were detrimental to the colonies yet benefited the power, that is, colonial powers did not take into consideration negative externalities and greatly exaggerated positive ones such as bringing civilization, institutions, Christianity, etc. That same predatory system exists today, it is called neoliberalism, and one of its imaginary positive externalities is solving world poverty and inequality by hiring foreign maids and taking away their passports.

Specifically, in the 70s, US banks found themselves with a glut of petrodollars and, with no regard to externalities, started lending massive amounts at very low interest rates to poor countries with corrupt right-wing, governments, otherwise known as allies. Of course, the result was that interest rates suddenly were raised, leaving poor countries with massive debts and nothing to show for the initial loans except some useless, pharaohnic monuments, less social spending, and a wave of emigration.

Then came the free trade agreements. In Mexico, NAFTA coupled with agricultural subsidies in the US and no regard for externalities, created another wave of emigration which fit quite nicely into an exploitative agro-industrial model.

I can’t think of a way that rich countries could practically operate a system where permission to immigrate is conditional on an assessment of damage to the source country resulting from the emigrant’s departure

Simply stop supporting corrupt, foreign elites with usurious loans and free trade agreements that weaken labor and social rights and that cause poverty and mass emigration in the first place. Stop the arms deals, money laundering, military invasions and bombings. Let Pax Americana die. The non-West will do the rest. Just don’t get in the way.

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 5:30 pm

Milanovich uses as an example the Swiss guest worker program. I don’t know the specifics on it, but it doesn’t seem to have led to less hostility from the locals

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Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 5:46 pm

So after a quick glances the Swiss guest worker system (1) it seems to have always been contested, immigrant groups and their governments lobbied the Swiss for expansions (family reunification etc) (2) the top 6 largest migrant groups are still European. Could it be maintained if they were, instead, not? In fact , going by this, It seems as European migration became easier in the 99/00s, non European immigration became more restricted.

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engels 04.24.16 at 6:49 pm

Rich, please go out and get drunk. Go for a bike ride. Or a holiday. Do something fun. If you really still need an online punchbag, you are going to have to find someone else. Bye now.

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engels 04.24.16 at 7:01 pm

Since I’m here:

By the same logic one may want to maximize commercial organ trafficking.

Yes, that’s correct. The point I’m making is that there is a Paretian logic which points towards legislation and deontological logic which points towards proscription. Balancing them in each case is the tricky part (I imagine you’d get a different answer depending on whether you were discussing organ markets, sex work, pay-day loans, gastarbeiten, etc) Pretending there isn’t a dilemma is what I consider ‘fundamentalist’.

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Sandwichman 04.24.16 at 7:20 pm

“The road to hell is paved with Pareto improvements.”

Late to this but it is indeed a wonderful phrase. It makes me think of one of those big asphalt recycling machines chewing up the dusty old pavement at one end and extruding the hot, sticky new surface at the other.

In which case the phrase might be “the road to hell is repaved with Pareto improvements.”

299

Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 8:41 pm

engels: “Rich, please go out and get drunk.”

So you’re patronizing too. Let’s leave that aside and see what you actually say about this — there’s a “Paretian logic which points towards legislation and deontological logic which points towards proscription. Balancing them in each case is the tricky part […] Pretending there isn’t a dilemma is what I consider ‘fundamentalist’.”

No one said that there isn’t a dilemma in some cases. I wrote otherwise upthread, but then wrote that it depended on the case. In the case of torture, no amount of economic benefits would convince me that it was a good idea. This isn’t called being a “fundamentalist” about torture unless you’re engels. Similarly, in the U.S. within living memory we just emerged from a de facto and de jure system of official second-class citizenship. No amount of sketchily imagined economic benefits is going to convince me that it’s a good idea to reinstate one, so why should I pretend to consult the economic charts?

So you’ve insisted that in some nebulous sense this wasn’t about what the OP said that it was — the sacrifice of rights on the altar of income improvement. But when it comes down to what you actually mean, you write that unless people are willing to consider sacrificing rights on the altar of income improvement, they’re fundamentalists. They have to at least consider the economic case or they’re … what? Just wrong? Unthinking? It comes down to what your arguments always come down to: you simply think that you’re right to such a highly internalized degree that you can’t even argue in favor of it, and you think that merely stating it is enough.

That is why your comments manage to be both uninteresting and insulting at the same time, and also I suppose why you can never understand why they are.

300

Lupita 04.24.16 at 8:55 pm

According to Milanovic “even a small increase in migration would be far more beneficial to the world’s poor than any other policy.” Period. No other policy is better for the poor than migrating to the West. Nothing. Not even sustainable development. There is no alternative. Let’s all pretend that what the Zapatistas want are visas to get to the West in time for the harvest.

Just off the top of my head, I will list some policies that would benefit the poor, their communities, and the third world more than what an ex-World Banker proposes.

1. View poor people, not as a problem, but as capable of generating development and wealth.
2. Support and prioritize small, sustainable, collaborative, local production.
3. Support local consumption and government.
4. Development projects based on local conditions.
5. Ditch the concept of development as material accumulation.
6. Politicize of the global system.

But more than what Milanovic says, it is what he doesn’t mention:

1. Emigration negatively impacts local development and therefore reinforces the current global hierarchy.
2. It negatively impacts local family and community structures and therefore accelerates current migration patterns.
3. It weakens socioeconomic structures, local identity, and communities’ power to solve problems and control their own future.
4. It opens spaces to organized crime.
5. It weakens solidarity and community and exacerbates the cult of personal success.
6. It makes communities dependent on external forces. It reinforces dependency.
7. It reinforces the concentration of wealth in rich countries.
8. It does not generate sustainable development.

301

RNB 04.24.16 at 9:33 pm

@322 Milanovic estimates that abt 15% of the population wants to migrate but only 3% does. Say then 12% of the pop moves from a poor country to a wealthy one and the income of migrants rises say 10x. Match that with any other development program.

RP writes: “Similarly, in the U.S. within living memory we just emerged from a de facto and de jure system of official second-class citizenship. No amount of sketchily imagined economic benefits is going to convince me that it’s a good idea to reinstate one, so why should I pretend to consult the economic charts?”
The benefits are not sketchy or sketchily imagined–painstaking economic work has gone into estimating them; and we already have millions of migrants here legally without full citizenship–so are are you proposing to expel them to make sure no one here does not have full citizenship?

302

Sandwichman 04.24.16 at 9:34 pm

“In a large multiplayer prisoner’s dilemma, any change in any one individual’s strategy doesn’t affect anyone else, so a player can know that defection will be a Pareto improvement. We might say that the problem of social evil is that the road to hell is paved with Pareto improvements.”

Ted Poston, “Social Evil,” Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, vol 5.

303

RNB 04.24.16 at 9:37 pm

@324 As noted above I think the best treatment of how Pareto improvements can lead to a Pareto inferior outcome is in Kaushik Basu’s Beyond the Invisible Hand. I briefly noted the argument here two weeks ago and again on this thread.

304

Ronan(rf) 04.24.16 at 9:41 pm

The economic benefits of increased immigration are not sketchy . The economic benefits of this policy certainly are. I am surprised you can’t differentiate between these two facts.

305

Sandwichman 04.24.16 at 9:51 pm

Thanks, RNB. I am working on prisoner’s dilemma games — particularly within a collective bargaining context — so that citation is very helpful. The Poston discussion is nice, too. There is a pdf copy available online:

https://www.southalabama.edu/philosophy/poston/Documents/Socialevil.pdf

306

Lupita 04.24.16 at 9:58 pm

@RNB

Match that with any other development program.

In China, the poverty rate decreased from 85% in 1981 to 13.1% in 2008. During the same period, per capita income (PPP) increased from $353 to $7,573.

307

RNB 04.24.16 at 10:05 pm

In his last book Milanovic gives data that China’s average income rose to around $9000 PPP from say $2000PPP; China alone grew at this rate. The rest of world did not, and more than this kind of jump in income would result without 25 years of intervening growth from migration.

308

Layman 04.24.16 at 10:18 pm

“and we already have millions of migrants here legally without full citizenship–so are are you proposing to expel them to make sure no one here does not have full citizenship?”

The numbers suggest that for most, this is a temporary condition – applications for naturalization have exceeded or kept pace with new green card holders since the mid-90s. So, people become permanent residents, and then become naturalized citizens. Permanent residents may not vote in national elections, but they don’t otherwise suffer from a deprivation of rights compared to citizens. This is hardly analogous to the proposal to which the OP refers. And no one has suggest that lawful permanent residents should be ejected.

309

RNB 04.24.16 at 10:30 pm

Don’t vote in national elections–we fought for close to two centuries to win this right for every American. RP would have to expel those permanent residents, given that he has said full citizenship or bust. By the way, slavery is not analogous to extra taxes on migrants to compensate for losses in the native and host country or a visa for a set number of years or a requirement that they also work in their home country for some many years. But say that workers in a guest worker program are virtually enslaved. The solution would not be to ban worker guest programs if this is the only way to increase immigration, given political constraints. The solution would be to use the relevant government agencies to make sure workers are not subjected to wage theft, forced overtime and sexual harassment.

310

Rich Puchalsky 04.24.16 at 10:38 pm

RNB: “RP would have to expel those permanent residents, given that he has said full citizenship or bust. “

I guess that if you’re a shameless misreader, you could claim that I wrote that. I wonder what I actually did write? Could it be written in the thread above?

And, of course, choosing not to vote is a use of one’s right to vote. It’s not at all the same as being unable to vote.

311

RNB 04.24.16 at 10:41 pm

I have a lot of people to respond to here without help, RP. You will excuse me if I do not think I have to respond to your arguments to advance mine.

312

J-D 04.24.16 at 11:08 pm

RNB @303

‘It’s pandering to anti-immigrant sentiment to say that greater migration cannot be allowed because it is politically impossible to give migrants the same rights as citizens already have. This results in shutting immigrants out.’

Any policy whatever short of completely open borders results in shutting some immigrants out. If the policy advocated by Milanovic is not one of completely open borders, then it results in shutting some immigrants out.

The numerical limits that are set on immigration may be motivated partly by a desire to accommodate anti-immigrant sentiment, but it is not clear that they are motivated solely by that desire, and they are not generally perceived as an accommodation by those who are hostile to immigration, who don’t feel that those numerical limits validate their bigotry. By contrast, a proposal to create a permanent classification for migrants with rights inferior to those of born citizens has no evident motive except to accommodate anti-immigrant feeling and are extremely likely to be perceived by bigots as official validation of their bigotry.

Validating bigotry produces a loss of welfare for everybody; nobody benefits from bigotry, not even bigots.

313

J-D 04.24.16 at 11:26 pm

Lupita @315

‘Simply stop supporting corrupt, foreign elites with usurious loans and free trade agreements that weaken labor and social rights and that cause poverty and mass emigration in the first place. Stop the arms deals, money laundering, military invasions and bombings.’

In general, those are proposals that I endorse. But they aren’t proposals for immigration policy, and I don’t understand how they’re relevant to a discussion of immigration policy.

314

J-D 04.24.16 at 11:37 pm

Lupita @322

Having now read this comment, I think I’m probably prepared to retract my previous response, if I’m now correct in thinking that your position can be fairly summarised as something approximating the following:

‘If you’re really concerned about the welfare of the world’s poor, focussing your attention on fiddling around with the immigration policies of rich countries is a mistake, because rich countries’ immigration policies are never going to be a significant contributor to improving the welfare of the world’s poor; there are far more important things you should be focussing on.’

Is that a correct interpretation of your position, or at least roughly correct? because if that’s what you mean, I think I’m inclined to agree.

315

RNB 04.24.16 at 11:40 pm

J-D,

You’re saying that severe restrictions on immigration do not invalidate anti-immigrant sentiment (??seriously??) and that letting people in who would otherwise would be barred would actually strengthen anti-immigrant sentiment if these migrants were not accepted as full or near full citizens and that this strengthening of anti-immigrant sentiment by letting in more immigrants (!!!) is so terrible that it’s not worth the 10x increase in income that migrants may enjoy.
Well I am glad that you’re so down for the fight against anti-immigrant sentiment!

316

RNB 04.24.16 at 11:46 pm

Look I think from the OP on the various arguments against Milanovic here are pretty poor. I may be alone here in thinking this. I would say that I am tired of being outnumbered here, but the truth is that I find it boring to address arguments that I find so poor. So I’ll opt out and let people here continue to take shots at Milanovic whom I don’t know.

317

Lupita 04.24.16 at 11:58 pm

@J-D

In general, those are proposals that I endorse. But they aren’t proposals for immigration policy, and I don’t understand how they’re relevant to a discussion of immigration policy.

If you endorse my proposals, then you are endorsing the end of the current global neoliberal system, with its mass migrations and concentration of wealth. Focus on the system and there will be no mass migration to devise immigration policies for.

318

Lupita 04.25.16 at 12:00 am

@J-D

‘If you’re really concerned about the welfare of the world’s poor, focussing your attention on fiddling around with the immigration policies of rich countries is a mistake, because rich countries’ immigration policies are never going to be a significant contributor to improving the welfare of the world’s poor; there are far more important things you should be focussing on.’

Yes. That is it.

319

Ronan(rf) 04.25.16 at 12:01 am

“the truth is that I find it boring to address arguments that I find so poor.”

Oh good Lord

320

Ecrasez l'Infame 04.25.16 at 12:20 am

@322 Milanovic estimates that about 15% of the population wants to migrate but only 3% does. Say then 12% of the pop moves from a poor country to a wealthy one and the income of migrants rises say 10x. Match that with any other development program.

RBN @ 323. So is he basically proposing that about 6bn x 12% = 720m people from less developed nations move to the 1bn population more developed nations? For instance, that the US goes from about 320m to 550m population and the UK 65m to 112m, and from about 10% to 50% foreign born? Is that more or less correct, or am I misinterpreting something?

321

RNB 04.25.16 at 2:23 am

No US already at close to 15% of population foreign born, I think he is saying. Not checking now. The movement would probably be more to other wealthy countries. Obviously he does not think we would any time soon get to 15% of global population migrating from poor to wealthy countries; that number indicates % that would want to move perhaps from a poor country to a wealthy one or how much pent up demand there is for migration.

322

RNB 04.25.16 at 2:25 am

But seriously don’t ask me any questions. If you want to know what Milanovic thinks or how he would respond to being called an architect of apartheid, read his books. I am not assuming sole responsibility of defending his views here against cheap shots.

323

RNB 04.25.16 at 2:44 am

Not to add anything new but to correct my own typo or a spellcheck mistake…@337 was supposed to read.
J-D,

You’re saying that severe restrictions on immigration do not INDICATE anti-immigrant sentiment (??seriously??) and that letting people in who would otherwise… be barred would actually strengthen anti-immigrant sentiment if these migrants were not accepted as full or near full citizens and that this strengthening of anti-immigrant sentiment by letting in more immigrants (!!!) is so terrible that it’s not worth the 10x increase in income that migrants may enjoy.
Well I am glad that you’re so down for the fight against anti-immigrant sentiment!

324

Lupita 04.25.16 at 2:46 am

If it were true that immigrants would be earning ten times what they can earn in their countries (say, ten times their minimum wage), immigrants from Ecuador and Paraguay would have to earn $90,000; from Thailand and Guatemala, $70,000; from Pakistan, Panama, and Peru, between $50,000 and $60,000; and from Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Afghanistan, $30,000, which is twice the minimum wage in the US. Actually, there are only a handful of countries that could expel people to earn ten times their minimum wage in the US: Bangladesh, Tanzania, Liberia, Botswana, and a few others.

325

Rich Puchalsky 04.25.16 at 2:56 am

Lupita: “If it were true that immigrants would be earning ten times what they can earn in their countries […]”

I was wondering when someone was going to comment on the 12% x10 income thing. I didn’t want to because I figured that it was RNB’s mistake, not Milanovic’s. But let’s not have anyone suggest that we’re being asked to create a whole new legal category of second-class citizens because of sketchy economic estimates. Maybe 12% of the people from less developed nations will all get jobs as computer programmers or something.

Congrats to Lupita for actually looking up the minimum wages, though.

326

Val 04.25.16 at 4:00 am

I haven’t read the Milanovic article because it’s pay-walled (at least here/now). My original comment in this thread was simply to correct some misleading assertions about Australian immigration policy. Having followed the thread a bit though, I would really like to commend what Lupita said @ 322. That seems to me a really good program.

327

Miles Teg 04.25.16 at 6:27 am

As long as the rich countries promote free trade, instead of distributing productive capacity (Mercantalism – so that each can look after then own), aside from promoting unnecessary and brutal wars, there will be a flow of migrants beyond what is “normal” for whose with wanderlust.
Free trade seemed like a good idea, until the third world caught up in technological capability, and liberalisation allowed corporations to dislocate production, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
The 1% are fine, and all is as it should be.
Time to take stock and stop this silliness because there are international obligations regarding refugees and asylum seekers!
A good rule of thumb is don’t allow America to crap on your doorstep. From Kitschko to Asad, Europe shows itself to be a colony!

328

J-D 04.25.16 at 7:58 am

RNB @337/345

Typically, anti-immigration bigots don’t know the numerical levels at which immigration quotas are set. Typically, their resentful feeling that immigration is too high is largely independent of those figures. No matter where the level is set, they typically don’t experience that as a validation of their prejudices. Numerical restrictions may partly be a consequence of bigoted sentiment, but that’s not synonymous with saying that they validate it, in the way that creating a permanent classification of people with markedly restricted rights is likely to do.

I carefully did not make a categorical assertion that the effect of rights-restricting policy in validating bigoted sentiment must outweigh any benefits that may result from a proposal like Milanovich’s. I wrote that if you want to evaluate such a proposal, that effect is one of the things you need to take into account. I’m not asserting that it automatically determines the merits of the proposal, I’m asserting that it makes the proposal a dubious one, warranting more careful scrutiny.

Having considered the matter further, I go further and agree with Lupita that if you’re looking for ways to benefit poor people, immigration policy is the wrong area in which to focus your attention.

329

engels 04.25.16 at 8:19 am

I go further and agree with Lupita that if you’re looking for ways to benefit poor people, immigration policy is the wrong area in which to focus your attention

Sorry, but this is fucking nuts

330

J-D 04.25.16 at 9:26 am

engels @350

Why do you write ‘Sorry’ when you’re obviously not sorry?

331

engels 04.25.16 at 9:49 am

Why do ask me questions if you obviously think I’m a liar?

I am sorry for being rude but I can’t think of another way of honestly expressing my reaction to someone who thinks ‘if you’re looking for ways to benefit poor people, immigration policy is the wrong area in which to focus your attention’ (and who I assume has been at least occasionally watching the news coming out of Europe).

332

Chris Bertram 04.25.16 at 10:12 am

I haven’t got time to respond properly to all the points made in this thread (and I confess that one thing that puts me off writing more at CT is these lengthy comments thread) but I do want to say something about the charge of “Kantian fundamentalism”, which I think is seriously inaccurate and overstated.

States and their peoples have a responsibility for what happens on their territory. What is being contemplated by BM is that we decide to treat some people on our territory unjustly (denying them rights to which they are morally entitled) and also forseeably expose them to all kinds of domination and injustice at the hands of others (mainly employers) for the sake of an aggregate global welfare gain. Even allowing that the claims about the aggregate welfare gain are true, it isn’t “Kantian fundamentalism” to think that it is impermissible deliberately to engage in such rights violations in order to promote aggregate welfare. (And this, a fortiori when the reason invoked for why we ought to contemplate doing this is our own unjust attitudes to such immigrants, misleadingly represented as an impersonal fact about the way the world is.)

333

Peter T 04.25.16 at 10:34 am

“If I’m continually encountering people in public trying to speak Spanish to store clerks, and keep getting “Press 1 for English” on the phone, in an English speaking country, hundreds of miles from the border..”

My god. The US allows foreigners in??? Brett, how’s your French? Because Paris is going to be a real struggle if the French take your line.

334

Rich Puchalsky 04.25.16 at 10:34 am

engels: “Sorry, but this is fucking nuts”

It’s a very good thing that engels doesn’t write abusively, and that his comments aren’t expressions of personal incredulity rather than arguments as such.

If you’ve been watching the news coming out of Europe, you’ve been seeing a lot of desperate migrants — exactly the people who would be locked into semipermanent second-class status by this kind of proposal, because they are desperate and second-class status is better than being in a war zone. When I wrote about this upthread, no one really argued that this wasn’t the case: instead they said that migration of non-desperate migrants should be maximized for economic reasons. When J-D responds to that by agreeing with Lupita that this is a poor economic program, being incredulous about him not considering desperate migrants is, well, kind of predictable.

335

engels 04.25.16 at 10:40 am

Chris, I agree ‘Kantian fundamentalism’ is an over-statement. It was polemical shorthand in the service I had already made somewhat more carefully above and which I felt had been ignored. At least in my case I experience these issues as a conflict between Kantian-type intutions about acceptable treatment of others, which pull in one direction, and economistic-type intuitions about consensual bargains which benefit aggregate welfare, which pull in another. It wasn’t intended to prejudge who is right but state my feeling that you and others weren’t giving the economistic side its due weight.

I agree it’s impermissible to violate fundamental rights for consequentialist reasons but (since I’m not a ‘fundamentalist’) I think there are weaker rights which it can be permissible to violate. I’d assumed BM would claim the rights he was allowing to be traded away were in the latter category so, pace your characterisation, he would not see himself as ‘ treat[ing] some people on our territory unjustly’. But I could well be wrong as I only read this in the paper FT which I can’t access now.

336

engels 04.25.16 at 10:41 am

‘in the service of a point I had already made…’

337

engels 04.25.16 at 10:42 am

Rich, seriously, take a long walk off a short pier…

338

novakant 04.25.16 at 10:53 am

it isn’t “Kantian fundamentalism” to think that it is impermissible deliberately to engage in such rights violations in order to promote aggregate welfare.

Indeed.

And I find it very strange that this even has to be pointed out – to me it is self-evident. But it seems that utilitarianism has been so successful (at least in the English speaking world) that the concept of inalienable rights has little value anymore – scary …

339

engels 04.25.16 at 11:29 am

I find it very strange that this even has to be pointed out – to me it is self-evident.

That might be because it is indeed self-evident and therefore doesn’t need pointing out (ie. almost everyone agrees with you that there are some inalienable rights but they may disagree about precisely which rights those are)

340

engels 04.25.16 at 11:46 am

PS. I think there may be a good argument against BM’s position beginning from the thought that placing some residents in a permanently inferior legal category of persons is itself a fundamental violation. So while being required to pay higher taxes or claim fewer benefits than natives (say) may not be an injustice, the categorically unequal treatment which justifies it is. This is surely the objection to apartheid but I don’t think it is really developed clearly in the post (perhaps that’s unfair)

341

J-D 04.25.16 at 11:52 am

engels @353

I don’t think that you’re a liar and I didn’t write that you’re a liar.

I frequently encounter people saying or writing ‘Sorry’ when they’re obviously not sorry. It’s obviously a common practice. I don’t think all the people who engage it in are liars. If If I watch a period drama on stage or screen and a servant at the door gives callers the ritual response that the master and mistress are ‘not at home’ when I know they are, I don’t conclude that the servant is a liar or even that the master and mistress are liars. But to me it’s a legitimate question to ask why the servant says that the master and mistress are not at home when they are — although I no longer have to ask this question because I’m now familiar with the answer.

I’m not thoroughly familiar with why people say ‘Sorry’ when they aren’t, and that’s why I ask the question.

If you feel that writing ‘this is fucking nuts’ is ruder than you want to be, you might find it less discourteous to write something like ‘this is ridiculous/ludicrous/risible’, although you might find it even less discourteous to give some explanation of why you think so.

342

engels 04.25.16 at 11:55 am

If you feel that writing ‘this is fucking nuts’ is ruder than you want to be, you might find it less discourteous to write something like ‘this is ridiculous/ludicrous/risible’,

Thanks, I never fucking thought of that

343

J-D 04.25.16 at 12:01 pm

Brett Bellmore @354

I did not use the word ‘bigot’ as a reflex; I used it after consideration as the word most likely to convey my intended meaning.

If you regularly observe, in an English-speaking country, people trying to speak Spanish with shop assistants, it’s an indicator of the presence of a substantial number of people with limited English (or possibly none). But ‘a substantial number’ is not synonymous with ‘too many’. The presence of people trying to communicate with shop assistants in Spanish neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg.

Also, if they are in the country illegally, their presence conveys no information about the appropriateness of the quotas set for legal immigration (the issue I was discussing in the comment you were responding to) since, by definition, they are in the country despite those quotas, not because of them.

344

engels 04.25.16 at 12:05 pm

J-D, I accept your argument that I confused the issue by prefacing my reply to with ‘sorry’ – please consider my apology withdrawn.

‘Fucking nuts’ is at the charitable end of descriptions I would apply the proposal in 2016 that ‘if you’re looking for ways to benefit poor people, immigration policy is the wrong area in which to focus your attention’.

345

J-D 04.25.16 at 12:09 pm

engels @366

When people are unaware of the availability of an alternative form of expression which is less discourteous, and then are made aware of it, they may genuinely be sorry for previous unintended rudeness (and grateful for being enlightened): ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was considered rude to use the word “Scotch” to refer to people, I’ll be sure to use “Scottish” or “Scots” from now on, thank you for telling me about this’.

But when people aware of the availability of a less discourteous form of expression intentionally make the choice to use a more discourteous form of expression, they’re obviously not sorry for the rudeness. Yet they sometimes still say that they are. This phenomenon interests me.

346

J-D 04.25.16 at 12:11 pm

engels @368

I see our comments have ‘crossed’.

I note that you’ve withdrawn your apology, but I’m still curious about why you made it in the first place.

347

engels 04.25.16 at 12:12 pm

Me neither.

348

engels 04.25.16 at 12:17 pm

That pressing question was answered in 353

349

J-D 04.25.16 at 12:18 pm

engels @353 and Rich Puchalsky @357

‘What should rich countries do to help poor people?’ and ‘How should European countries deal with the large numbers of people currently trying to enter?’ are two different questions — obviously the second is more specific than the first. People who are trying to answer the second question obviously have to think about immigration policy, but that doesn’t mean that people who are trying to answer the first question are well advised to think about immigration policy.

350

Rich Puchalsky 04.25.16 at 12:21 pm

J-D: “I’m still curious about why you made it in the first place.”

He made it because he likes to play the victim when it suits him, pretending that he is being “abused” by people who are as rude as he is. The “Sorry” is supposed to be a signal that he normally isn’t like that, but that he’s just being carried away by the sheer nuts-ness of your statement. In other words, it’s a rhetorical ploy.

engels: “placing some residents in a permanently inferior legal category of persons is itself a fundamental violation.”

Gosh. Really? I don’t think that anyone here even thought of that. Here I was talking about thee ideology of having a single class of citizenship and oh well I guess that your comprehension is up to its usual level.

351

novakant 04.25.16 at 12:28 pm

That might be because it is indeed self-evident and therefore doesn’t need pointing out

Well let me quote CB:

What is being contemplated by BM is that we decide to treat some people on our territory unjustly (denying them rights to which they are morally entitled) and also forseeably expose them to all kinds of domination and injustice at the hands of others (mainly employers) for the sake of an aggregate global welfare gain.

CB clearly and rightly felt the need to point this out and I was astonished he had to.

If you think treating people unjustly is OK please feel free to elaborate, meanwhile I’ll just hold on to my naive Kantian Fundamentalist position that it is wrong to do so.

352

engels 04.25.16 at 12:41 pm

I think it’s probably best if we agree to disagree – thanks for the conversation

353

kidneystones 04.25.16 at 12:47 pm

“Sorry, but this is fucking nuts” is short for “I’m sorry. But I find this line of reasoning [fucking] incomprehensible/ [nuts].

Much of this discussion has been illuminating and worthwhile, but not this part.

354

engels 04.25.16 at 12:57 pm

One can regret the consequences of an utterance (possible offence caused) without regretting the utterance (it was something that needed saying)….

355

engels 04.25.16 at 1:08 pm

What about just plain merkan H-1B?

Good question

356

anon 04.25.16 at 1:59 pm

“novakant 04.25.16 at 10:53 am

“‘it isn’t “Kantian fundamentalism” to think that it is impermissible deliberately to engage in such rights violations in order to promote aggregate welfare.’ Indeed. And I find it very strange that this even has to be pointed out – to me it is self-evident. But it seems that utilitarianism has been so successful (at least in the English speaking world) that the concept of inalienable rights has little value anymore – scary…”

I don’t see how one can separate “inalienable rights” from *categorical duties* and thus from “Kantian fundamentalism.” If there are rights that shouldn’t be violated even to promote general welfare, then there must be categorical ethical duties of some kind. How is that not “fundamentally” Kant’s view?

I also find it funny people take such offense to the charge. Fine, nobody likes Kant and nobody wants to believe their views are similar to his. But on some point or another, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, *everyone’s* views turn out to be similar to Kant’s. Because Kant’s ethics is not primarily a theory about the content of ethics, but the concept of ethics–of what we must believe to meaningfully speak about “obligation” at all, the conditions for the possibility of *any* moral claims, not just Kantian ones.

What is “promote the general welfare” but a categorical duty? What is utilitarianism but an acceptance of Kantian fundamentalism, while restricting it to that single duty alone?

Incidentally, I agree that the declining value of human rights is scary, and I do endorse the concept of inalienable rights: they absolutely don’t exist, but we should pretend they do for absolutely anti-Kantian reasons–namely, because it’s absolutely desirable that they did. Utilitarians just need to have the courage to admit that morality is entirely a fiction, and that there’s no getting around that without returning to Kant.

357

Collin Street 04.25.16 at 2:13 pm

> I think it’s probably best if we agree to disagree

What’s “best” is if you stopped being an arsehole, or failing that just shut the fuck up a bit more often. “Agree to disagree” is pretty far down on the optimality list, unless your sole metric is “doesn’t challenge engel’s ego” or something.

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novakant 04.25.16 at 2:15 pm

unsurprisingly, I like Kant, so that was not the cause of me taking offense

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anon 04.25.16 at 2:20 pm

To clarify: I like him too, but have the impression most don’t, so I’m not so surprised people use him as a pejorative or respond to his name like an expletive.

I took your comment to imply you agreed that insisting on inviolable rights isn’t tantamount to Kantianism. Is that not so? (I suppose the disagreement could be about the about “fundamentalist” modifier–but I don’t see how Kant’s view about categorical duties admits of degrees, so it seems an empty qualifier.)

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Rich Puchalsky 04.25.16 at 2:26 pm

anon: “If there are rights that shouldn’t be violated even to promote general welfare, then there must be categorical ethical duties of some kind. How is that not “fundamentally” Kant’s view?”

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I primarily cited historical / political reasons why this proposal was a bad idea, as in, looking at what has happened in the past. I don’t see what that has to do with Kant or with categorical ethical duties. What I object to about “Kantian fundamentalism” is the clear implication that unless you think like an economist does, you aren’t thinking.

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Layman 04.25.16 at 3:45 pm

“What about just plain merkan H-1B? Very common. Non-immigrant visa, allowing to work for a limited number of years, and only for a given employer.”

No, not really. Another employer can hire the H-1B holder by agreeing to similarly sponsor the visa. H-1B holders also routinely become green card holders (permanent residents), who then routinely become naturalized citizens. It is not a perpetual state of second class citizenship, wherein one’s rights are substantially infringed forever, or up to some determined point at which one is ejected from the host country.

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RNB 04.25.16 at 4:41 pm

Milanovic shows that even Qatar’s system which denies grievance procedures to migrant labor and requires employer approval to exit the country is not clearly more morally objectionable than exclusion acts if those Qatari-like policies enable many more to migrate to take jobs that will pay several times what they had at home and that they will consider an improvement over their present situation.

Does this mean Milanovic ia advocating the Qatari policy package for migrants? No it does not; does it mean that he is trying to get Westerners to feel uncomfortable with their smug sense of moral superiority? Yes. Is the point to get people to feel morally inferior to those for whom they have contempt that they would offer something more welcoming and dignified than the hated “other” does? That’s how I read it.

He does say that in order to overcome populist opposition to migration one tragically may have to concede to the visas being temporary or the visas stipulating alternating bouts between home and host country until a certain age (retirement presumably being in the home country) or discriminatory taxation.

Milanovic is not saying that there would be no loss of rights here, on the contrary. He realizes that these are very painful tradeoffs, and they result from the political price Westerners in denial about the role of luck in their relative global wealthy plays would blithely impose, but he is saying that if those were the conditions to accept many new migrants, there is in fact a debate to be had and a tradeoff to consider seriously.

Which has not been done here at all.

Moreover, readers here have a choice–accept Lupita’s and RP’s estimates of the income gains migrant countries would enjoy or Milanovic’s.

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anon 04.25.16 at 4:41 pm

Rich @385: “What I object to about ‘Kantian fundamentalism’ is the clear implication that unless you think like an economist does, you aren’t thinking.”

Okay, I think I get it. You took “fundamentalist” as a description of one’s (lack of) reasons for being a Kantian, rather than as a description of the content qua Kantian. I see why that would be objectionable, and I suppose that is how many use that word.

But I do wonder why that narrow usage must be the norm. There’s a perfectly descriptive–and I think rather admirable–sense in which a fundamentalist is simply someone who holds some fundamental ethical beliefs and commitments strictly even when they counter other reasonable interests. More simply: someone who is morally consistent.

“Bad” fundamentalists aren’t bad because they’re fundamentalists, but because they hold bad ethical beliefs consistently. Just as utilitarians are just Kantian deontologists with an absolutely narrow set of categorical duties, “anti-fundamentalists” are just fundamentalists about a different narrow set of fundamental values, usually value pluralism or rights.

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engels 04.25.16 at 4:44 pm

It is not a perpetual state of second class citizenship

Milanovic proposed to

redefine citizenship in such a way that migrants are not allowed to lay claim to the entire premium falling to citizens straight away, if at all

so it’s not clear he intended to rule out paths to naturalistion. So do you think that’s the key moral difference: if there’s no path to naturalisation it’s apartheid, which violates fundamental rights, as long as there is it is morally permissable?

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engels 04.25.16 at 4:54 pm

Doubtless impossible to stop the spiral of misunderstandings, but I explained what I meant I meant by ‘Kantian fundamentalism’ twice above.

Ime most people hold a moral theory which allows room for consequentialist and deontological reasons, each of which kind may over-ride the other given sufficient weight (see Nagel ‘War and Massacre’ for some elaboration). ‘Kantian fundamentalist’ was intended as a mildy pejorative term for the view that (an expansive set of) deontological reasons have absolute priority. And I didn’t intend to dismiss it – I think it has many formidable defenders – but in my experience it is not commonly accepted.

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engels 04.25.16 at 5:02 pm

Does this mean Milanovic ia advocating the Qatari policy package for migrants? No it does not; does it mean that he is trying to get Westerners to feel uncomfortable with their smug sense of moral superiority? Yes.

That’s also how I’ve interpreted him.

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Asteele 04.25.16 at 5:03 pm

Transferring labor income from labor to the rich, in rich countries, might not be as globally welfare enhancing as people think.

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Asteele 04.25.16 at 5:09 pm

I find it mind melting that at least wrt the United States we take a anti- immigration sentiment to be controlling, if those folks had any real power 5% of our population wouldn’t be undocumented immigrants. The reason these idiot programs might get passed is not because racists will accede to them, but because the rich want to suppress wages.

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Ronan(rf) 04.25.16 at 5:13 pm

389, good. Now you’re using words like “could” and “may” and “if”, and acknowledging it’s a content free hypothetical. This is at least a step up from claiming there exists a specific policy proposal and evaluation, and it is an empirically supported trade off.
Now all you and BM have to do is make an argument with content, specific ideas, realistic evaluations etc. Show how this thought experiment has any real world validity.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.25.16 at 9:23 pm

Ronan(rf): “This is at least a step up from claiming there exists a specific policy proposal and evaluation, and it is an empirically supported trade off.”

Well, no. He adds: “Moreover, readers here have a choice–accept Lupita’s and RP’s estimates of the income gains migrant countries would enjoy or Milanovic’s.” This states that Milanovic has estimated the income gains, presumably with content, realistic evaluations etc. etc. You’ve read the source and seen that he hasn’t? I’m shocked.

I should point out that there’s a falsehood in RNB’s quote above (a known one, that is): neither Lupita nor I estimated the income gains that anyone would enjoy. Lupita merely pointed out that the x10 income gain that RNB claimed sounded extremely questionable, and I agreed. There’s a big difference between saying that something is sketchy and saying that you have an estimate of your own. The second isn’t really required in order to do the first.

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Rich Puchalsky 04.25.16 at 9:30 pm

engels: “‘Kantian fundamentalist’ was intended as a mildy pejorative term for the view that (an expansive set of) deontological reasons have absolute priority.”

Everyone understood that it was pejorative (except possibly for anon, who apparently thinks that holding unwavering attachment to certain beliefs doesn’t have the connotations of unthinkingness that everyone else associates with it). But the problem wasn’t only that it was an obvious slam, the problem was also that you got it wrong. As I wrote the first time, there’s nothing necessarily deontological about it. One may have simply decided for pragmatic reasons that something is a generally bad idea and that it’s not worth your time to keep reevaluating it whenever someone claims it’s a good idea. Torture and official second-class citizenship are two examples of ideas that people for some reason keep trying to get others to reevaluate as good, and life’s too short to painstakingly follow whatever twisted reasoning they have this time.

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engels 04.25.16 at 9:50 pm

Rich, I’ve got no interest in arguing with you as I’ve said about half dozen times now.

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engels 04.25.16 at 10:01 pm

Why don’t you go off and write some more poetry?

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novakant 04.25.16 at 10:02 pm

there is in fact a debate to be had and a tradeoff to consider seriously.

Yeah, let’s all sit back in our armchairs, light a cigar and debate \whether it would benefit the brown people if we – very reluctantly, as it is of course tragic, but self-righteousness would be an even greater sin – brought back indentured servitude …

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Collin Street 04.25.16 at 10:05 pm

> Rich, I’ve got no interest in arguing with you as I’ve said about half dozen times now.

Rich isn’t actually asking you any questions, you know.

Check. Read carefully. He’s making statements in response you’ve made, but he’s not, even implicitly, asking questions or making statements that particularly invite answers.

He’s not arguing with you. He’s disagreeing and expressing his disagreement — something that I’d hope we’d both agree is something he’s allowed to do — but he’s not arguing with you.

[unless it’s your opinion that your expressed position that Rich not argue with you thereby makes it wrong for Rich to say anything except that which you agree with in substance and implication. But noone would think that, right?]

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engels 04.25.16 at 10:38 pm

I wouldn’t describe it as disagreement, I would describe as kind of non-consensual, drawn-out, largely nonsensical, low-level verbal abuse.

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Collin Street 04.25.16 at 11:11 pm

But you see all disagreement that way, engels.

Here, a quick test: write a sentence a person could write that expresses their disagreement with you in a way you feel comfortable with, that you don’t perceive as abusive. Take Rich’s as a starting point, or start from scratch, and write what you think people should write when they disagree with you. Just a couple of sentences should do it.

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J-D 04.26.16 at 12:37 am

engels @378

If you thought that you were giving offence and that it was regrettable that you were doing so, but you also thought that there was some benefit from making your comment that outweighed that consideration, I’m curious to know what you supposed that benefit was. I perceive none.

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J-D 04.26.16 at 12:41 am

Ze K @386

It may be the case that ‘”Human rights” is a joke that the most bloodthirsty and repressive societies in the world repeat loudly and endlessly, in a hope to drown out the screams of their victims…’, but even if that happens to be true it does not follow that human rights are a joke that the most bloodthirsty and repressive societies in the world repeat loudly and endlessly, in a hope to drown out the screams of their victims.

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J-D 04.26.16 at 12:57 am

RNB @389

‘Does this mean Milanovic ia advocating the Qatari policy package for migrants? No it does not; does it mean that he is trying to get Westerners to feel uncomfortable with their smug sense of moral superiority?’

It appears to me that Lupita agrees with the goal of trying to get Westerners to feel uncomfortable with their smug sense of moral superiority; yet Lupita evidently responds to Milanovic’s proposal not as an attack on Westerners’ smug sense of moral superiority but rather as a manifestation of it.

Perhaps you do not find that conclusive, but does it not at least give you pause?

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ZM 04.26.16 at 12:59 am

Brett Bellmore,

“Both Sanders and Trump are signs that the explosion isn’t far off. And the US isn’t alone in this. I don’t expect the explosion to be pretty.”

I think governments around the world are struggling with a lot of similar policy issues at the moment. The neoliberal consensus from the 80s to the 2000s isn’t really working to address environmental issues, the environmental issues are tied in with economic issues, and many economies haven’t recovered from the GFC. I think migration is probably another connected issue, since having so much immigration really shows that there are fundamental economic problems causing high levels of migration. And as well as general migration there is a refugee crisis. All these issues need the development of new policy, and they are global issues so countries are going to have to work on policy together diplomatically to achieve good outcomes.

We had a migration debate here in Australia in the Liberal Howard Government era, this got pretty ugly and I think it would have been very hard for migrants. The main politician was Paline Hanson who is maybe a bit like Donald Trump except not rich or on a reality tv show, but she’s outside of the political establishment similarly. It really was very ugly for a while. One of her speech writers lived in one of the small towns around here, even though he wrote her speeches he was pleasant and generous in person, I never heard him make racist speeches in person the times I encountered him, and his wife was from Asia (Paline Hanson said things like she was worried about Australia being swamped by Asians) but maybe he married her later on after working for Pauline Hanson. Now Australian fear of migration is mostly concentrated on refugees, who the policies treat very badly, we have worse refugee policy than America I think since the refugees are detained off shore in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, the government makes the Navy turn refugee boats back to Indonesia, and the government excised the entire Australian mainland from our migration zone somehow so I don’t know how people migrate when we have no migration zone, maybe they left in specifically the migration department in Canberra or something as the migration zone.

I think Donald Trump is worse than Pauline Hanson since although he is a political outsider as well, he is very rich and was a reality show star so he has a lot more power than Pauline Hanson who the mainstream political parties sort of tried to contain or appropriate when it suited them. But the migration debate did get very ugly, and there are still upsurges here and there like about the development of Mosques.

I think it would be difficult to be a migrant during these debates, as you would start feeling like you were unwelcome even if you were a legal migrant.

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ZM 04.26.16 at 1:08 am

Although if you have an unequal world I don’t know that migration is a bad way of dealing with it, since then you have more people from different national backgrounds and ethnicities living together so it should decrease racism and the bad side of nationalism which is part of why there is such global inequality. I suppose it might be a bit different in countries not like Australia where we are an immigrant country, but maybe there are lessons for non immigrant countries to learn from immigrant countries, since there is forecast to be around 200-250 million refugees by 2050 because of climate change, so non immigrant countries are going to need to start taking more refugees. I wish China took migrants since they have lots of extra housing they built where refugees could live, but they would need to work on developing pro-immigration policies since they don’t take a lot of migration generally.

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J-D 04.26.16 at 2:04 am

Brett Bellmore @405

When persistent majority preferences are not reflected in government policy, I don’t think of that as an example of a democratic system not working, I think of that as an example of a system being imperfectly democratic (or, in some cases, obviously, just not a democracy). Every system I have ever heard of has been at best imperfectly democratic, although obviously some fall further short of democracy than others. As a democrat, I consider the general remedy for the failings of democracy to be more democracy.

I am not persuaded by your prediction of a coming explosion. Nothing lasts forever: no democratic system, and also no undemocratic system. However, I don’t observe in history that when a system fails to be democratic, or when government policies fail to reflect persistent majority preferences, it’s an indicator that an explosion is coming.

Also, when people make predictions in metaphorical terms which they can’t translate into more literal terms, I have found it a good rule to discount them.

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RNB 04.26.16 at 2:56 am

@408. No.

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Anon 04.26.16 at 3:17 am

@411

Imperfectly is putting it rather mildly:
https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

“We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.”

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engels 04.27.16 at 9:25 am

if you’re looking for ways to benefit poor people, immigration policy is the wrong area in which to focus your attention

RT: History will judge UK on failure to accept 3,000 refugee children stranded in Europe – Labour MP

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J-D 04.27.16 at 2:32 pm

engels @414

‘What should rich countries do to help poor people?’ and ‘How should European countries deal with the large numbers of people currently trying to enter?’ are two different questions — obviously the second is more specific than the first. People who are trying to answer the second question obviously have to think about immigration policy, but that doesn’t mean that people who are trying to answer the first question are well advised to think about immigration policy.

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