October 14, 2007

Let's Play: "Spot the Fallacy"

From the Washington Post:

When Immigration Goes Up, Prices Go Down

So, that's why it's so cheap to live in California!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

26 comments:

tommy said...

Vedantam has a dimissive attitude toward externalities and long-term costs: "Poor and recent immigrants are said to crowd schools and stretch public services." No, poor and recent immigrants do crowd schools and stretch public services. More importantly, It sounds like Vedantam and those he cites are challenging the law of supply and demand: under the new fuzzy economics of immigration, when supply is low and/or demand is high then prices are low too! It's a new world using new math and it's also a huge economic mystery then why China's oil needs seem to be correlated with increased oil prices in the United States and elsewhere. Shouldn't the large increase in oil-hungry Chinese folks be driving down the global price of oil under this brave new economics?

Lauri Olavi said...

When immigration goes up, the nation goes down.

Anonymous said...

Am I only one who's grown more than a little bit tired of reporters with foreign sounding names haranguing Americans about how mass immigration that is demographically destroying their country is really a good thing? As if all we care about is the economy and how much things cost?

eh

Anonymous said...

eh -- No, you're not alone in growing tired of hearing from outsiders about how wonderful mass immigration is and what awful bigots and xenophobes we Americans are who oppose it. Secession is sounding better and better.

Anonymous said...

EH, you can count some of the foreigners (ahem) in your group of people pissed off by these insufferably arrogant pro-massive immigrationists.

Also, there's more than one fallacy here:

- How is it that economic agents are supposed to be eager to do things cheaper, other things being constant? Isn't it the other way round, that we all would like to make more money rather than less? Doesn't doing something for cheaper, other things being constant, mean less income? Isn't it more humane to keep wages fixed and look for getting more bang for the buck so that our purchasing power increases?

- If foreigners are able to provide things for cheaper, as the West is more expensive to live in, why don't they stay home and provide whatever they provide to the world cheaper from their home base -- gaining more than their local wages and yet living with local expenses?

- If a constant stream of foreigners that'll undercut the local wages is supposed to be the permanent norm in the West, then why the hell would one immigrate to the West? Why bother when you know you'll end up in the dustbin of native labor sooner or later?

Unless, that is, you really have no intentions of becoming part of the target country's nation (and are therefore a "colonizer" and not an immigrant), and only want to use the place and its facilites as a base to enrich your clan back at home?

- Why are we supposed to celebrate foreigners doing jobs Americans won't do? What's good for the goose should be good for the gander? If an American doesn't think it is human to pick pears manually, isn't it inhuman to think a foreigner "deserves" to do it? Aren't we all equal, after all, in dignity? Isn't it more humane to find ways of eliminating all need for labor from such soul-draining jobs so that we can all do live more dignified lives?

- How is it that the status of being an immigrant contains such inexplicable impact for prosperity? Should we all, then, become immigrants? Should 20 million Americans immigrate to India, for instance, and work for even cheaper wages just to be more efficient and productive?

There's one more fallacy -- this one suffered by a tribe that has made a historical career out of being permanent immigrants: Do Jews -- who own these papers (like WSJ) and use foreigners as window dressing and mouthpieces for their permanent vendetta agains the natives of their countries of residence that have been so generous to them -- really think that when they refer to their tribesmen (like the hyper-ethnocentric tribe that they are) as "immigrants," nobody understands what's going on? That nobody notices their overzealousness to permanently change the demographics of their host nations -- even, blindly, to their own detriment? Can they be really that naive, or is it the arrogance that comes with excessive amounts of power and influence?

(If you think I'm babbling some "old chestnuts" here, check out this exchange between John Derbyshire and Gideon Aronoff, an "immigrant" of Dravidic roots, as you can readily see, making life in America cheaper and cheaper -- so cheap that there's even a citizenship "lottery" now.)


JD

guest007 said...

An explanation that may fit DC. Since DC and the surrounding counties have very few blue collar whites, immigrants provide a low cost supply to unskilled and limited skilled labor. If businesses were forced to pay enough to get the children and spouses of the white (and Asian-American) DC upper middle class families to work in retail, food, and the trades, prices would definitely be higher.

However, one of the reasons that DC has so few whites is that any neighbhorhood were they can afford to live is dominated by blacks or Hispanic immigrants and thus very unsafe and very unwelcoming to blue collar whites.

A good example would be TC Williams high school were the none AP tracked classes have virtually no whites. Blue collar whites do not have the income and knowledge to be able to avoid the bad side of living among large numbers of immigrants.

L said...

I can give one reason why gas is cheaper in Wheaton than in Bethesda: much of Wheaton has largely become a ghetto full of illegals and therefore the rent the gas station pays there is undoubtedly lower. Bethesda is one of the richest suburbs of DC (and I'm sure he went to the toniest part of Bethesda). I too can replicate that anywhere...

This theory even notes that inflation is held down in part because wages are held down. Great.

Anonymous said...

This is a joke. He's talking about insignificant noise on the huges costs to our environment, crime, schools, hospitals and social welfare from birth, single moms, "disabled" workers and the elderly.

In addition, he's only looking at one side of flexible demand pricing. Poor illegals are also likely to drive up prices on things like NYC corner stores because they lack cars and other instruments of leverage.

He may be right in the fact that el cheapo products and services will be in greater demand. Poor immigrants care less about lead toys than cheap ones and will probably increase discount dollar store options at the expense of traditional middle class stores.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see the once noble science of Economics, as originally defined by 18th century French theorists and the great Adam Smith, amongst others - which was based strictly on rational, enlightnment reasoning and rigid mathematics and logical thought, descend into the sheer bullshit category of English literature 'theory', sociology,anthropology etc, where the dictum 'I think - therefore it is' holds sway ie whatever bullshit the leftist in question thinks is'correct', then verbiage, tortuous 'theory', brow-beating incessant lies and bald-face lying are used as a substitute for hard theory.

sideways said...

I can't believe he wrote that article and not once wrote the word "property"

Evanston IL happens to have a $.45 difference in gas prices from one part of town to another. I wonder, would the author would be surprised to learn that the cheap stations aren't anywhere near where immigrants live? Or maybe there's some other way in which poor black-populated areas are similar to poor immigrant-populated areas...

Half Sigma said...

I used to live in the DC area, and I too noted the HUGE price drop in gasoline when you left Alexandria, drove a few miles down "Jefferson Davis Highway" and bought gas in Woodbridge.

A Washington Post article back then attributed this to "different marketing zones."

StephenT said...

The idea that the highest value to which a culture can aspire is the lowest price on every possible item is, frankly, typical of someone with a third world background/mentality like Vedantam. You can see it in every rundown marketplace selling sub-standard garbage in the undeveloped world. No democracy, no scientific progress, no individual rights ... but you can haggle every price down to the lowest penny and THAT'S the important thing.
In places like Mexico the bottom-dollar rules everything. It's also true that Mexico is awash in cheap junk, crappy goods like clothes that fall apart and housing that collapses every time there's a two-point earth tremor. They have no middle class, a perpetually corrupt government, lowest educational achievement in the western hemi, and a completely debauched environment, but, hey, it's inexpensive! So lets take a lesson from those wise cultures and do whatever it takes to save a penny and bring those prices down!

The KnickerBlogger said...

So Shankar, how long can we keep importing 1 million + people a year and their high birthrates until we have the population density (and living conditions) of India.

But if immigration really does help and we are well off enough, why not encourage Mexico, India and China to accept mass immigration?

Mark said...

For every 1 percent increase in the ratio of immigrants to natives, prices go down by about 0.5 percent

Yet another argument that correlation equals causation. One reason prices are lower in immigrant neighborhoods is because immigrants live where it's cheaper to live. The undesirability of living near illegals drives down land prices, as well.

While sudden increases in immigration could drive up the cost of housing and retail items where production cannot be ramped up quickly

Funny how he just equates the two, as though people spend as much on housing as they do on gasoline, cell phones and Barbie dolls. Housing is far and away the largest expense for most Americans, and a USA Today article not long ago noted that the percent of income Americans are spending on housing has soared recently. In Utah last year alone the average price of a new house climbed by 22%. Oh, but gasoline fell by 5% in Wheaton, so I guess it all evens out.


Am I only one who's grown more than a little bit tired of reporters with foreign sounding names haranguing Americans about how mass immigration that is demographically destroying their country is really a good thing?

I would like to see Vedantam argue for more immigration to his native land (presumably India.) Preferrably from Africans, who I'm sure would come in large numbers. Until immigrants are entering his own land at a rate high enough to displace the native majority of India by 2060, he should just shut up.

It's funny that I'm a racist for wanting fewer immigrants allegedly because they don't look like me, but he's not a racist for wanting millions of more immigrants who look (and think) like him.

Anonymous said...

As has been noted already this article is completely stupid.

But seriously, did this guy ever take a math or economics class?

merchants quickly realize there is more profit to be made by decreasing prices on everyday items: "You decrease the price by 10 percent but increase the amount you sell by 200 percent."

Anything can sound good when you make up the numbers? A 200% increase in sales on everyday items?

Mark said...

In 1980 the top 1% of Americans earned, before taxes, 8.5% of income. In 2005 it was 21.2%. At the same time the national debt soared, the trade deficit soared, and individual consumer debt soared.

Those changes coincided with the largest increase in the immigrant population since the early 1900s. I'll take his 5% gas savings to those changes any day of the week.

Mark said...

What I continue to find funny is how differently the cheap labor crowd talks about illegal immigrants as opposed to American blue collar workers.

In their view, American blue collar workers are massive drains on the economy that have to be supported by vast income transfers facilitated by the American government. In supporting lower taxes on the rich, all we hear about is how American blue collars get far more from the government than they contribute in taxes.

Talk about an illegal immigrant, however, and suddenly he is Senor Menudo, the Mexican superhero who will singlehandedly save the American economy and Social Security from fiscal oblivion.

Amazing. Maybe every American should have as little education as the average wetback. Then our economy would really be hopping!

Anonymous said...

"tired of reporters with foreign sounding names"

Anon 12:08, didn't you know, 'everyone's an American! Really, Achmed the Paki taxi driver who just stepped of the plane is just as American as me, heritage means nothing! we're a proposition nation! They'll be no fundemental change if we become majority muslim!

Who would have imagined, in 1965 that Shankar anybody would be brow beating Americans from the Washington Post in 2007....but that's the point, all he is is a guy strengthening the position of his own ethnic group.

Mark said...

One thing about the effect of immigration on property values is that it's one of those phenomenon that impacts both the numerator (i.e., demand) and the denominator (i.e., supply) of housing.

If there's a 10% increase in demand due to illegal immigrants (or undesireable immigrants of any legal status), then there's also at least a 10% reduction in supply, because there's that many more neighborhoods where Americans - white Americans especially - simply don't want to live.

Low wage immigrants bring to neighborhoods all sorts of behaviors the natives don't like - they park their cars on the grass or the street, they fill the street with their noisy kids during the day and with their loud, drunken, disorderly men at night; they drive up crime; they ruin the schools; they don't mow their lawns or paint their homes; and there's more than a few houses I've seen in immigrant neighborhoods where the Christmas decorations are still up in June.

The zipcodes in my state where home prices aren't soaring dramatically are, not coincidentally, the ones with the highest percentages of immigrants.

The elite prognosticators can denounce this as racist all they want, but until I see any substantial number of them living in neighborhoods with lots of poor immigrants I won't care what they think.

When it comes to communities, unless there's some method of control, like covenant communities, HOAs, or very, very strict town ordinances, the bad will always drive out the good. People with low standards have no problem living near people with high standards. The same, of course, does not apply in reverse.

Anonymous said...

Let's Play: "Spot the Fallacy"

Are you trying to trick us? When was the last time an open borders lunatic limited himself to just one fallacy?

Mark said...

Getting off on a tangent here, but another US serviceman was awarded the Medal of Honor recently. His name? Michael P Murphy. He was a US Navy SEAL who died heroically in Afghanistan.

So let's see now: we've had 5 Medal of Honor recipients for actions since the end of Vietnam (and, thus, the draft). Two of them were in Somalia, and their names were Shughart (British, I think) and Gordon (usually Scottish). Two were in the current Iraq war, and their names were Smith (British) and Dunham (Scottish).

And now a serviceman with an Irish surname. Where are all those patriotic Hispanics and Chinamen we hear so much about in the brave ranks of decorated servicemen? Isn't it odd that people of British/Irish descent, only about 25-30% of the population, make up 100% of our recent Medal of Honor recipients?

Can you imagine the deluge of editorials and articles if even just one of them was Hispanic or Chinese or Indian?

Anonymous said...

"As if all we care about is the economy and how much things cost?"


Agreed! Glad to see most of us have not lost all sense of perspective.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't this comments section be renamed, "Bitter white guys rapping"? Has a nice ring to it...

Mark said...

Shouldn't this comments section be renamed, "Bitter white guys rapping"? Has a nice ring to it...

I love it when people complain about "white guys." The whole damn rest of the world wants to move in with us - us, not Orientals, not Indians, not Arabs, not Africans, not Guatemalans - and yet we're the ones hated most.

My complaint about white guys? Only one, really: that we're actually letting them move in with us.

Svigor said...

Mark, what I really like about the "bitter white guys" (and its permutations) thing, is how it relies wholly on western indoctrination.

What do they do when that fails? When we've gone far enough down the path to get well past the "well shucks I'm a white guy, so I'm not allowed to be bitter about anything; I'd better suck it up."

To put it plainly - YES, anonymous, we're bitter. NO, you aren't, because you aren't the one being screwed over six ways from Sunday (or you are, and you're just too stupid to notice).

Mark said...

To put it plainly - YES, anonymous, we're bitter.

Oh no, Svigor, I'm not bitter - I'm motivated. From now on, every last damn politician who comes asking for my vote and/or money will have to pander to every WASP instinct in my pale, white, flat-butted, blue-eyed body, just as much as and in the very same manner as he panders to Juan Valdez and LaTrina Shataqui Smith for their votes.

Who's really bitter? It's not the white guys. It's the blacks and Hispanics and Asians (mostly the first two) who thought they could get away playing the race-hustling game forever and ever without us noticing or caring. What they're gunna start to discover is that they're playing ball with the big boys now. We white guys may normally be pretty laid back, but when we commit, we commit.