My 2,200 word response to Roger Lowenstein's 8,000 word article "The Immigration Equation," about the battle between economists George Borjas and David Card, in the upcoming July 9th New York Times should be up on VDARE late Friday night, before it appears on the NYT's public website or in print.
Lowenstein is enormously impressed by Card's first immigration study, which showed that wages in Miami did not fall after the Mariel boatlift of Cubans of April 1980, which increased the Miami labor supply by seven percent:
"Card's Mariel study hit the cloistered world of labor economists like a thunderbolt. All of 13 pages, it was an aesthetic as well as an academic masterpiece…"
But, of course, the Law of Supply and Demand applies ceteris paribus (all else being equal). Was everything else equal between Miami in the early 1980s and the four control cities that Card used for comparison? Could there possibly have been anything else going on in Miami a quarter of a century ago that was driving up wages by injecting uncounted billions into the local economy.
There's a famous book about economists by Robert Heilbroner called The Worldly Philosophers, but I've noticed that economists are strikingly oblivious to the obvious in the world around them. For example, Steven D. Levitt of Freakonomics fame made himself into a superstar among his fellow economists by arguing that legalizing abortion in the early 1970s cut the crime rate sharply in the mid-1990s. I pointed out to him in Slate.com in 1999 that he had simply failed to notice that, in direct contradiction of his theory, violent crime among teens born right after legalization had soared during 1987-1994. Apparently, none of the prominent economists to whom he presented his theory before its public unveiling had recalled the crack wars, either.
Now, I'm not the world's worldliest man, but I did spend a week in South Florida during that summer of 1980. And even I noticed that in every bar I visited, the locals greeted rapturously a certain annoying Eric Clapton recording, which gave a clue as to why the local economy was booming ...
Can you recall what product was injecting vastly more into the Miami economy in the early 1980d than into other cities' economies? Economists don't seem to be able to...
Check in with VDARE.com Friday night or Saturday morning.