November 4, 2013

Open borders debate: Let the recriminations begin!

In a public debate on Open Borders (topic: "Let anyone take a job anywhere"), Bryan Caplan and Vivek Wadhwa got crushed by Ron Unz and Kathleen Newland. (Transcript, video).

Before this debate on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (i.e., perhaps the best possible location for Caplan and Co. in the U.S. -- the Upper West Side is Ground Zero for the intellectualized Ellis Island ancestor worship schmaltz that dominates the mainstream media worldview on immigration), 46% of the audience started out for Open Borders, 33% undecided, and only 21% against.

After the debate, pro-Open Borders dropped from 46% to 42%, undecideds dropped from 33% to 9%, and Against soared from 21% to 49%.

This is apparently one of the larger swings in IntelligenceSquared debate history.

Bryan Caplan has been lamenting his defeat at great lengths upon his blog. He has too many recrimination posts to link to individually, but one theme is that his partner, the charming Vivek Wadhwa, treasonously betrayed Caplan's side by just not being extremist enough.

Here's something worth noting that Caplan wrote last summer:
Think about it like this: Steve Sailer's policy views are much closer to the typical American's than mine.  Compared to me, he's virtually normal.  But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah.  I have to admit, it's bizarre.

That I'm moderate and sensible, coming out of the mainstream of the American intellectual opinion going back to Ben Franklin, contributes to the hatred toward me.

It's amusing how several of the more Straussian intellectuals who react to my siting myself squarely in the center of prudent reasonableness do so by emphasizing their most extremist positions: "Let anyone take a job anywhere!" "Let them eat beans!" "Let everyone grow up in a highrise apartment like I did!" Others pretend that an absurd strawman version of me represents the media mainstream: "The conventional wisdom is that your IQ score represents the only thing important about you, but the latest brain scans prove this universal dogma wrong!"

101 comments:

Daniel Schmuhl said...

What is funny is what a sore loser Bryan is. He made 7 posts about since losing. What is even funnier is how Bryan can't get along with his Indian debate partner while arguing for open borders.

His partner had this to say about him, "You were smug, arrogant, and resorted to silly analogies."

Dahlia said...

That debate was hilarious. Vivek disowned Caplan in the middle of it and kept trying to get Ron Unz, an opponent, to sell to everyone is minimum wage idea. Caplan's face when this and other protectionist measures were pushed were priceless, but his funniest moment was when Vivek mentioned "Mexican hordes".

I hadn't seem the latest from Caplan, but I saw that he was taking it extremely hard.

Unz and Co. pantsed him.

Anonymous said...

What was funny was how Caplan's side collapsed into incoherence and disunity. Caplan's partner supported the minimum wage, which baffled Caplan since he's so dogmatic, and then Caplan's partner spent most of the time trying to distance himself from Caplan, although it wasn't exactly clear what he was arguing for.

Anonymous said...

The debate was indeed hilarious because Caplan the dogmatic libertarian was paired with Vivek Wadhwa, who is some sort of BS salesman/marketing guru type. And being a BS salesman/marketing guru type, Wadhwa immediately started abandoning Caplan's position once he saw that it wasn't going to sell. Though Wadhwa wasn't very coherent and it wasn't clear what exactly he was advocating. He was mainly just spouting buzzwords about the "knowledge economy". What was clear though was that he was trying to distance himself from Caplan.

Anonymous said...

The Indian dude was a moron. I don't care how high his IQ is. IQ is not enough if it is not informed by facts.

Why do I say this?

Because after Unz discussed how income had remained flat for the bottom 90% for the last forty years, the Indian waxed ecstatic about the glories of the Internet and how immigrants such as he, himself, had moved up in life and how all boats were rising and how Mexico would soon begin exporting high tech programming geniuses blah blah.

What world was he talking about? The self same world of Ivory Tower elite intellectuals that Unz had criticized as being out of touch with the real economy. In the real world, 95% of Mexican immigrants perform menial work and compete with low-level, hapless, unprotected American workers whom they have displaced. The Indian simply skates right over the actual demography of immigration and the plight of those who have been actually harmed. He either simply cannot see that real people are suffering from erroneous thinking by people like him or he doesn't care.

PC Makes You Stupid said...

The schmaltzy Ellis Island ancestor worshippers, whoever they are, must be just devastated by your sarcastic codespeak.

Anonymous said...

Steve, has anyone advocated open borders ONLY for workers able to earn $100,000 or more? I think the USA needs more net tax payers and fewer net tax eaters. So this is my proposal

Bert said...

You gotta lover libertarians. They have an knack for making themselves seem like the biggest fools on the planet.

Handle said...

Got crushed? He still got 42% support even after all that Haiti talk. That's terrifying.

Grey said...

Mass immigration causes a hidden deflationary spiral through reducing the velocity of money.

America is on a runaway train and the only thing that could possibly save it - and even then only a slim chance - is the military throwing Wall St. into the ocean.

If the Chinese want to survive the eventual crash then they ought to take down the dollar as soon as possible and - a little later when the western governments have got their hands full dealing with the consequences - nationalize all western the western-owned assets in China and then resell them to their own citizens.

Silver said...

"Caplan's face when this and other protectionist measures were pushed were priceless, but his funniest moment was when Vivek mentioned "Mexican hordes"."

Hehe, at what point did he say this? I enjoy watching alarmed expressions by libby nitwits but can't be bothered sitting through the whole thing.

Btw, "Mexican hordes" was a bit gauche. How about "Mexicaines sans frontieres"?

Silver said...

He still got 42% support even after all that Haiti talk. That's terrifying.

Dude, the audience was NYC upper west side. Scots-Irish territory. It's actually encouraging.

Rummy said...

Caplan was horrible but I was surprised by how dumb Unz was on the minimum wage issue. He said that if we had a billion people move here that a $12 min wage would at least make sure American workers got paid a decent wage. It didn't seem to cross his big mind that such a scheme wouldn't guarantee all those workers employment.

DPG said...

Bryan really struggles with Theory of Mind. He doesn't comprehend that ridiculous reductio ad absurdums, while logically conclusive to his systematizing brain, are simply not persuasive to people who mostly think and care about everyday life. He gives me the squeamish yet sympathetic feeling that one gets when listening to a Best Man bomb during the toast.

The best thing he could do for his cause would be to abstain from being the public face of open borders.

DoJ said...

While Wadhwa may have been somewhat incoherent, his "I believe in exporting prosperity, not importing poverty" comment singlehandedly destroys the current open borders case, and this point needs to be relentlessly shoved in their faces until they totally revise their proposals to account for it.

Dahlia said...

Silver, it was during a very fast-paced back and forth when Vivek was exasperated by Ron Unz, accusing him of painting an apoplectic scenario if we allowed anyone to take a job anywhere. I know it was towards the end. I watched it a couple days ago so my memory of it isn't so crisp. Do a search of the transcript. It was an unguarded moment for Vivek, surely.

DoJ said...

While Wadhwa may have been somewhat incoherent, his "I believe in exporting prosperity, not importing poverty" comment singlehandedly destroys the current open borders case, and it should be relentlessly shoved in the faces of open borders advocates until they've revised their proposals in a way that takes the concept into account.

Dahlia said...

Silver,
It was great. I'm a laugher anyway, but I laughed throughout and kept pausing it to show my husband the best parts. Vivek literally asked for a different debating partner in the middle of it. No hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

"I believe in exporting prosperity, not importing poverty"

good line

Anonymous said...

While Wadhwa may have been somewhat incoherent, his "I believe in exporting prosperity, not importing poverty" comment singlehandedly destroys the current open borders case, and this point needs to be relentlessly shoved in their faces until they totally revise their proposals to account for it.

Right, that was one of his empty mantras he kept repeating.

Anonymous said...

you gotta fight mantra with mantra

Anonymous said...

Caplin reminded me of Groucho Marx. He had the same expression and head movements that Groucho used to have when he was waiting to speak on TV shows.

Art Deco said...

Bryan Caplan and Vivek Wadhwa got crushed by Ron Unz and Kathleen Newland.

Great. Now can we please drop kick Dr. Caplan out of the country, along with the billionaires lobby?

DoJ said...

Right, that was one of his empty mantras he kept repeating.

No, it's not an empty mantra; it reflects asymptotic outcomes which myopic economists fail to account for when they extrapolate from estimated immediate rates of change, but which any normal human male with typical levels of territoriality instinctively understands. If you keep exporting prosperity, most of the world eventually becomes prosperous; if you keep importing poverty, more and more of your own territory's carrying capacity is captured by the imports and eventually the proverbial golden goose is destroyed.

I'm no fan of Wadhwa, but he's not always wrong, even when he repeats himself.

Dave Pinsen said...

Almost done watching this on the Interwebs now -- was this televised? I've seen previous Intelligence Squared debates on Bloomberg TV.

Even Caplan's global utilitarian arguments for open borders are pretty weak. For example, he cites Puerto Rico as a success story because it has open migration to the US. But hasn't it been massive US Aid to Puerto Rico designed to stem that migration that's been responsible for the rise in Puerto Rican GDP?

Anonymous said...

I've got news for you, Steve, American Jews don't worship their ancestors (or God, or Israel), they worship Obama, the Democratic Party, the NY Times and Roe v Wade.

Since when are Caplan, Cowen and the rest of the open borders crowd Straussians? I don't recall ever reading an attack on you by a Straussian for your ideas on immigration or demographics.

Anonymous said...

His partner had this to say about him, "You were smug, arrogant, and resorted to silly analogies."


Ha ha, so Caplan in person is the exact same person he comes across as on his blog.

Anonymous said...

Even Caplan's global utilitarian arguments for open borders are pretty weak. For example, he cites Puerto Rico as a success story because it has open migration to the US. But hasn't it been massive US Aid to Puerto Rico designed to stem that migration that's been responsible for the rise in Puerto Rican GDP?
11/4/13, 4:33 PM
Puerto Rico once was the fiscal conservative dream come true, taxes were zero for foreign investment up until 2,006 but its average income was well below Missassipni closer to Mexico. Alos, the cheap labor libetarians and those on the right are having a rude awaking, Seattle might go to 15 per hr, we have to seen the results even cheap labor southern states will be pushed to pay 8 per hr and 9 per.Even Caplan's global utilitarian arguments for open borders are pretty weak. For example, he cites Puerto Rico as a success story because it has open migration to the US. But hasn't it been massive US Aid to Puerto Rico designed to stem that migration that's been responsible for the rise in Puerto Rican GDP?
11/4/13, 4:33 PM

Anonymous said...

Supporting a $15-an-hour minimum wage could be suicide for politicians in Seattle. It’s too low.

Ed Murray, who’s running for mayor, vows to phase in that minimum for many jobs if he’s elected tomorrow. Incumbent Mike McGinn has declared he may not necessarily stop at $15.

Much of the U.S. would scoff at mandating a full-time pay equivalent of $31,200 a year, but in the biggest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest it’s an idea taken seriously. Subruban Seatac is voting on a proposal to require $15 for airport workers. Backers of the minimum — more than double the federal $7.25 and 42-per-cent higher than San Francisco’s $10.55 — include two of the region’s representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and business leaders, among them an early investor in Amazon.com Inc.

“I hope they do it, because we’d love to study the results,” said Barry Hirsch, an economics professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, who documented that some consumer prices rose after the last rise in the federal minimum wage.

More than 120 cities across the country have enacted so-called living wage laws for certain workers, often those receiving municipal contracts, according to the National Employment Law Project. Los Angeles airport employees, for instance, are guaranteed $15.67 an hour. Seattle, which has a population of 630,000, would be the first big city to embrace $15. The Washington state minimum of $9.19 is already the highest in the U.S.

Supporters of efforts in the Seattle area — who are opposed by Alaska Air Group Inc. and other major employers — cite evidence of slowing middle-class job creation and rising income inequality. “This is a discussion that’s going to spread across the nation,” said Murray, 58, a Democrat in the state senate. His proposal would extend the wage first to city workers, then to employees of national fast-food chains and retailers.

The average family earns less today than in 1989 after adjusting for inflation, Census Bureau data show. The top 10 per cent of U.S. earners collected more than half the nation’s total income in 2012, the highest proportion since at least 1917, according to research published in September by economist Emmanuel Saez at the University of California at Berkeley.

“The more money workers make, the more opportunities people like me have,” said Nick Hanauer, a Seattle-based venture capitalist who has started 30 companies and was the first non-family
A new development higher wages being forced through. We have to wait for the results. Also, Kaptain will be shocked Robots will kill 20,000 maids and janitorial jobs in La in 2018.

Anonymous said...

That I'm moderate and sensible, coming out of the mainstream of the American intellectual opinion going back to Ben Franklin, contributes to the hatred toward me.

Your pariah-hood is directly related to your boosting ideas that, if widely embraced, would destroy the foundation of America, the assumption of equality. No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members.

That you enlist such ideas in support of generally popular policies like immigration restriction is like using nuclear weapons to defend one's country. It might work, but now we all die of radiation poisoning.

*That* is why you are a pariah. You're the Edmund Teller of immigration.

Anonymous said...

It was funny to hear Wadwha keep repeating his Friedmanesque inanities in his comical accent. One especially funny bit was his story about the "knowledge economy" which he repeated several times throughout the debate about how he wrote a book or something about women in tech. He talked about how Twitter made it so much easier. He said that he announced he was writing the book and got a bunch of tweets from women and seemed to imply that he was able to find women who wrote the book for him.

Steve Sailer said...

"No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members."

So, that's why Harvard uses a lottery to select its freshman class and Google picks resumes at random!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Caplan’s views are on Israeli immigration?

Anonymous said...

On behalf of my namesake, I'd like to apologize to Mr. Caplan for Mr. Wadhwa's disturbing lack of chutzpah and goyish naivete.

This apology is to be heard against a backdrop of Lennon's Imagine.

"But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it's bizarre."

Bizarre indeed!

Anonymous said...

Vivek must be an IQ^2 regular. He was also opposed to the proposition "Too Many Kids Go to College," arguing against Charles Murray and Peter Thiel.

Miguel S. said...

Peter Brimelow, in the afterword to Alien Nation, described how he'd ask a liberal audience, "Why do you want to change America?" And he'd let the left-liberals do themselves in by their naive honesty. That's pretty much what happened in this debate. It makes me wonder if conservative tendencies are simply natural even for most left-liberals.

It's also noteworthy that Caplan had no idea how to handle Unz because he's never met any right-conservatives, only right-libertarians. You can see this quite clearly in his concluding remarks. He needs to take a road trip away from greater Washington, but given his smarty know-it-all-ness, I am doubtful that he's able to learn very much from the real world anymore.

(Besides that: Steve, you've got to drop this so-called Straussian conspiracy. Insofar as I understand it, you're mistaken. And if you're just hamming it, you can be *much* funnier than that.)

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what Caplan’s views are on Israeli immigration?"

If the writer of the above question read the Econlog website, he/she would know that the writers there (like most libertarian ideologues) don't think much of Israel. Just because a person with a Jewish last name wants to inundate America with unneeded Latino immigrants does not necessarily mean that person is a supporter of Israel. By the same token, one can oppose open borders for the US and support Israel - the two positions really do not logically contradict each other.

Anonymous said...

Ron Unz’s argument that Wall Street would be the main beneficiary of an open job market system is 100% correct. Go up and down Main Street USA and what you see is that it has morphed into Wall Street. Wall Street controls most of the jobs in America. Wall Street is taking a penny out of most every transaction in America and is putting it in its fat bulging pockets. It is simple - more people, means more transactions, means fatter pockets.

Who is fool enough to think that the Wall Street oligarchs wouldn’t control Congress as they do now? Who thinks that the oligarchs would not set the rules. Who dares to think that they would not hire the cheapest labor that they could legally find.

p.s. In this debate, one side was taking an extreme position while the other side was taking a middle ground position - moderation wins again.

Anonymous said...

/* No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members. */

Hindu society has survived till this day, based on this exact assumption of inequality.

A Working Class American said...

caplan wrote:
"Think about it like this: Steve Sailer's policy views are much closer to the typical American's than mine. Compared to me, he's virtually normal. But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it's bizarre."
==================



Nothing bizarre about it. The media gets its money from advertising revenue. Ads are bought by big corporations. The more profits and revenues the corps make, the more ads they buy.

The more mass immigration, the lower american wages go and the higher corporate profits go.

The more mass immigration, the more consumers. The more consumers in america, the higher corporate revenues go.


More corporate profits and revenues means more ads in the media and the more money in the pockets of media owners, managers etc.


Bizarre, all right. I just cannot figure out why the media is so pro-immigration.




Anonymous said...

Steve, has anyone advocated open borders ONLY for workers able to earn $100,000 or more? I think the USA needs more net tax payers and fewer net tax eaters. So this is my proposal

The problem with following this idea is that you would "brain drain" the world, especially the third world. If you are going to support tight immigration controls and tell third worlders that they have to stay home and build up their nations, then you shouldn't take their best and brightest away from them. How are they going to ever build up their nations if they are continually losing their best and brightest?

TGGP said...

You really have got to check out Vivek Wadwha's response to Caplan's recriminations.

Anonymous said...

What's with the "Straussian" thing? Any Straussians in particular that you are thinking about?

Miguel S. said...

Every participant empathized with the longing that immigrants have for living in their home countries. But no one pointed out that what makes a country home-like is the relative scarcity of foreigners. And is there a double standard: Haitians get to keep their country Haitian, but Americans have to give up whatever remaining homogeneity makes America home-like?

Anonymous said...

The problem with following this idea is that you would "brain drain" the world, especially the third world. If you are going to support tight immigration controls and tell third worlders that they have to stay home and build up their nations, then you shouldn't take their best and brightest away from them. How are they going to ever build up their nations if they are continually losing their best and brightest?

Well, most of those from Mexico have never been the best and brightest. Some of them from Mexico have street smarts but not book smarts. Caplan doesn't really believe in the market place because these third world countries like Mexico should at least have the average income of Mississippi, the poorest state.

Grey said...

"Supporting a $15-an-hour minimum wage could be suicide for politicians in Seattle. It’s too low.

Ed Murray, who’s running for mayor, vows to phase in that minimum for many jobs if he’s elected tomorrow. Incumbent Mike McGinn has declared he may not necessarily stop at $15."

This is related to the velocity of money idea. If driving wages down with mass immigration shifts spending from high velocity categories to lower velocity categories then it creates a deflationary effect.

(Obviously doing it on its own in the context of open borders will just increase the number of illegal workers so it's no use without border security.)

Sideways said...

Unz and his partner did a terrible job and still won. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen Newland and Ron Unz were incredibly weak in countering the absolute disaster argued for by the other side. Amazingly enough, Bryan and Vivek sucked even worse.

1. Bryan Caplan's hypothetical that you could let everybody in, yet prevent them from getting suffrage is completely untenable.

2. Is Ron Unz aware that the minimum wage would have to be adjusted by inflation? Otherwise prices would simply rise and his 15$ minimum wage becomes worthless. This in turn would open the floodgates for good.

3. Workers aren't just differentiated by levels of compensation. Ron's assumption that american workers would keep their jobs at minimum wage levels is unfounded.

4. Unz and Newland conveyed to their affluent audience that they would personally benefit, but should object to open borders out of the goodness of their hearts. That is a bad move. They should have pointed out negative effects on the upper class. Why should we assume that the immigrant masses would respect the rights of capital owners or support the kinds of programs and policies the upper class enjoys?

5. All of the panelists assume that prosperity comes from people who create websites. No mention of natural resources and land. (Unz talked about capital but didn't specify what he meant by that).

6. All of the panelists assume that immigrants are individualistic rational profit-maximizers who only migrate because of accurate evaluations of lifetime earnings prospects.

Based on the shared premises of the debaters, Bryan Caplan's conclusions are correct. He lost a battle, but not necessarily the war. He played offense; the others defense.

Anonymous said...

"No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members."

Equal right to drive a car - unless you're blind or six years old.

That is equitable.

Equal right to be a supermodel unless your'e 3' 6" tall.

That is equitable.

Equal right to go to MIT - unless you're too dumb.

That is equitable.

Equal before the law - no exceptions there imo.

That is equitable.

"Equality" and "Equity" aren't the same thing.

The blank slate insists certain things are equal which aren't. That creates an inequitable state.

.

"Just because a person with a Jewish last name wants to inundate America with unneeded Latino immigrants does not necessarily mean that person is a supporter of Israel."

Sure but that's not the point.

The point is that a huge number of media pundits say they support unlimited mass immigration and diversity because they think it is a good thing.

If they think it is a good thing then they'd want it for Israel too yes?

If it turns out they want it in America but don't want it in Israel that implies they actually think it is bad thing - at least for the majority population.

Which would imply they're American citizens who are actively trying to harm the majority of their fellow citizens.

Anonymous said...

This is actually a pretty crappy debate. The best reason to watch it is to watch the video proof of Steve's most devastating critique of libertarianism: it's applied autism. I don't know how Caplan is professor of anything. Except maybe professor of dungeons and dragons studies. I'd believe that.

rho said...

Caplan made it an anti-sexist/Semetic/racist issue at the start. Appeals to PC emotions are ridiculous.

I would have thought Caplan had better arguments than veiled accusations.

Anonymous said...

"No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members."

So, that's why Harvard uses a lottery to select its freshman class and Google picks resumes at random!

They *assume* nothing about groups. They *test* individuals.

Your interest in group differences, especially IQ, is pretty much tailor made to have people assume group inequality rather than judge people as individuals, along with the disaster that accompanies it.

The rest (anti-AA, etc.) puts you out in right field, but doesn't make you a pariah.

Hindu society has survived till this day, based on this exact assumption of inequality.

I stand corrected. I suspect prosper is a better term.

Anonymous said...

"They *assume* nothing about groups. They *test* individuals."

They "assume" equality between groups and therefore make adjustments for the social factors which they "assume" must be the cause of the actual measured differences.

The result of this is discrimination against certain other segments of the population.

rho said...

Haven't made it all the way to the end yet, but I'm disappointed that Unz never suggested that anybody better looking (and cheaper) than Caplan should apply for his job.

Hell, both of those guys could be replaced with earnest bikini models with scripts. Anybody should be able to take any job after all.

Silver said...

Puerto Rico once was the fiscal conservative dream come true, taxes were zero for foreign investment up until 2,006 but its average income was well below Missassipni closer to Mexico.

Mississippi is not the most apt comparison. Prosperity is something a country grows into. It takes time. It's not a matter of implementing a set of policies and then giving it five years to see how it works out before declaring them a failure, or something like that, which is the attitude a lot of popular commentary seems to take.

The most apt comparison for Puerto Rico is other latin countries, not individual American states. When it comes to economic growth as a "public value," the US and Europe have been at it much longer than latin America. Whatever you want to say about the differences in the aptitudes of the respective populations (much of it true, usually, but some of it wildly exaggerated I'm afraid) the time factor itself is going to make a significant difference.

Judged against other latin countries, Puerto Rico has done exceedingly well according to per cap gdp data. But this seems mostly to have been a consequence of PR's significantly slower population growth, which in turn partly resulted from emigration to the US and partly from PR's relatively early demographic transition from high fertility to low fertility (itself related to emigration of young people). A population growth more similar to their latin cousins would have seen PR's performance decline to a level more in line with what other latin countries achieved from 1950 onwards.

And when you consider that PR is plagued with many of same problems that the rest of latin america faces it's difficult not to conclude that human factors matter much more than the fiddling with fiscal factors (at least within a broad 'sane range' of fiscal factors).

Silver said...

"No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members."

We're all equal, but we're not so equal that individual differences don't matter. The right struggles with the first part of that statement, the left struggles with the last part.

Am I making a 'fundamental assumption'? Well, if by 'fundamental assumptions' you mean something like a social phenomenon in which an individual's inferiority is considered to be the most important fact about him, I can agree that would be a rather rough place to live - in that case whether such a society can 'survive' or not is secondary consideration because who the hell would want it to anyway.

Now, what about the fundamental assumption of total, 100%, geometrically precise, no questions asked, equality-to-the-point-of-identicality equality? That one seems capable of wreaking social havoc too, doesn't it.

The Wobbly Guy said...

I don't know why they thought a minimum wage would be effective in maintaining the living standards of middle and lower class citizens.

What will happen instead is that immigrant workers will kick back some of their earnings back to their employers in exchange for being hired. On paper, it still seems as though they are paid minimum wage, but they are actually not. This still works out for the immigrant because their income is still great back in their own home countries.

In Singapore, employers abuse the special passes (which require certain wage limits) all the time.

One way to equalise this is to allow not just free labour movement, but capital movement as well. If poorer Americans and Singaporeans can purchase cheap property in third world countries, build gated communities there, and take advantage of the same arbitrage the immigrants are enjoying, then sure, I'd be less opposed to open borders.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

No society can survive a fundamental assumption of inequality of its constituent members.

I'm beating a dead horse at this point, but that's not true at all. The notion that all humans can or should be equal is a modern delusion. In fact, it's not even a delusion, more like a silly corporate motto that only a few suckers still believe. The sooner we stop acting like it's true the better off we'll all be.

Anonymous said...

Funny how often Caplan got all ad hominem on his opponents during the debate. Is "personalize it" Alinsky rule #2 or #3 ?

Svigor said...

Anyone else read the comments to Wadhwa's reply to Caplan? I don't think I've ever seen that much aggression masquerading as compassion in one place in my whole life. I refuse to believe that the cards are on the table in that discussion. They are all pursuing agendas that they don't want to make explicit. The conversation makes no sense otherwise.

Svigor said...

And not for the first time:

[Comment removed for supplying false email address. Email the webmaster@econlib.org to request restoring your comment privileges. A valid email address is required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed.]

Open borders, yes. Open discussion, no.

TGGP said...

For those wondering who the Straussians Steve's referring to are, Tyler Cowen frequently talks about Straussian arguments on his blog and is known for not making his real views explicit (I think he has been explicit about not being explicit!). He is the one making the beans argument in "Average is Over". Caplan is the one arguing "Let anyone take a job anywhere" in this debate. The one about the high-rise apartment is trickier. Ed Glaeser is one of the most notable advocates of increased density & high-rises in such works as "The Triumph of the City" and various economic papers. But Matthew Yglesias seems more on Steve's radar.

Anonymous said...

This is the actual Libertarian immigration position being worked on by groups in every country:http://rightsandpolicyreporter.wordpress.com/2013/03/26/li-clarification-immigration-treaty-approach-analysis/

"...Procedure: Encourage treaties, ‘in-principle’ regional goals or dialogues, or where possible usage (benign actions by people/social entrepreneurship) in

A progressive order of pacts of amity, cultural exchange, freer trade, legal comity, free immigration/transit/ trade using the Libertarian Reform in at least key elements ( juries, rights protection, non-punitive rehabilitation, etc. ) among national peoples, on
A progressively bi-/multi-lateral, then region/continental, then world basis, with relaxed border if-needed control if agreed between continents to protect against e.g. spread of disease, etc. but not so-called contraband, dangerous persons or weapons.( Again, the model is the internal US with its local reserves.) Near open border countries e.g. Switzerland should be studied and the process encouraged.
Dialogue on soft border zones ( as Mexico has with the US) to accomodate the majority of needs of entrants should be encouraged. Violations of stautes should be decriminalized and the excuse of tracking workers to justify mass ID programs discouraged. Guest worker programs have value as an intermediate step. Local asylum and free-immigration areas have been successfully tried in the US and Canada.
In recent times Mexico has adopted a mostly open-border policy.

There is no reason not to use and so we encourage omnibus treaties that address these issues at once allowing immediate immigration, but we realize that for the situation to be stable these needs e.g. legal comity must be addressed –and that in practice one thing is done at a time so people may adjust more comfortably in many cases.

Please note again that in some countries the problem is internal prohibitions e.g. while improved there is no internal fully free travel in China ( 2013).

Continental zones for our focus are defined as:

US/Canada/Oceania-PIF/Anglo-Francophone Americas/Antartica under trusteeship; possibly Latin North/Central-Carribean America
Latin Nations/Eurasia ( i.e. the EC+; LI is aware that there is a move to include North Africa/Mediterranean Asia in this; and a Pan-American treaty)
The Chinas ( internal)
East Asian Rim + Mongolia ( mostly present ASEAN nations)
India/Near East Asia ( mostly present SAARC)
Africa
Commonwealth nations are encouraged to examine relaxed controls and continued promotion of local prosperity
In other words, our focus is cultural-ethnically/ecologically similar areas. We certainly favor all nations as stated, but this is our focus. These are a general guide for action focus: at the same time we encourage localism and bi-lateral work as always.

Advocates of the Gilson Reform have done much since 1969:

Ending the wall between the Communist and other countries, bringing about mass free travel compared to what was
Increasing regional free trade and immigration approaches; a committment by China to evolve into a ‘United States of China’ on democratic lines
Encouraging many bi-lateral treaties and cross-border co-operation exercises, asylum areas, etc. via coalitions
In summary, if LI Activists focus even if just on amity-. comity, and confidence-building freer trade treaties, and continue to target abuses by petty regulations especially against ethnic and native peoples, a lot will be accomplished. Recognize that are best allies are diplomats, community activists and negotiators who already understand the problems in detail superior to most officials and are receptive to what we have to say as a result..."

Caplan has a tendency to wing it and I'm not even sure if he's a pledged Libertarian. Aregue on what the Libertarian view is.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Steve, has anyone advocated open borders ONLY for workers able to earn $100,000 or more? I think the USA needs more net tax payers and fewer net tax eaters. So this is my proposal

11/4/13, 2:44 PM
=====================

IIRC, Singapore has something similar, with pretty high floors on wages paid to prospective immigrants. Basically, you're not allowed to compete with their low earners.

Frankly, if it can be ruthlessly enforced (ie, if there is political will to do so), I'd be all for it. It would massively decrease immigration, and the highest earners (currently in raptures over cheap, pliant maids and gardeners) might finally have some skin in the game. I'd also be in favour of a massive increase of visas to, say, Canadian or Australian teachers, researchers and journalists.

Anonymous said...

"I believe in exporting prosperity, not importing poverty"

I'm gonna start using it.

FWG said...

It's great to see most voted "Against the motion." It's hilarious to see the two arguing in favor turn against each other.

Anonymous said...

TGGP, neither Cowen nor Caplan (both of whom are pro-free-market economists, though Caplan crosses the line into loonie libertarianism) is a Straussian. I very much doubt that Caplan, in particular, has ever read anything by a Straussian. Straussians are not particularly interested in economics, and have no affinity for libertarianism. It's not what they do.

Just because a writer is a cagey about what he's really saying does not make him a Straussian.

Anonymous said...

For those wondering who the Straussians Steve's referring to are, Tyler Cowen frequently talks about Straussian arguments on his blog and is known for not making his real views explicit (I think he has been explicit about not being explicit!). He is the one making the beans argument in "Average is Over". Caplan is the one arguing "Let anyone take a job anywhere" in this debate. The one about the high-rise apartment is trickier. Ed Glaeser is one of the most notable advocates of increased density & high-rises in such works as "The Triumph of the City" and various economic papers. But Matthew Yglesias seems more on Steve's radar.

Right, but I don't think Cowen, Caplan, and Yglesias are in fact being "Straussian" about immigration. I think Steve is projecting his reasonableness onto them.

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in that discussion was the idea that nations of people with established cultures, are in themselves sacred. That they are sovereign, that they are of value as they are, that they can be disrupted by mass immigration, and that that is a bad thing.

Is America’s unique white European Western Christian culture, of value to the rest of humanity?

Are the ideals of a nation of free responsible sovereign neighbors with property rights, and “We the People” run government, and the prohibitions on government coercion found in the Bill of Rights - of service to all of humanity? Will the world lose if those ideals are fritted away in America?

Aren’t those ideals basically Christian in nature? What other religion and philosophy advocates those ideals? Sense the Kennedy 1970’s immigration laws, one by one those white European Christian American ideals are being diminished. Would those ideals be extinguished by a mass immigration - clearly YES!

The die is cast. Look at California - it is a one party state, with a one party media, with large concentrations of non white European peoples who are easily manipulated. The rights to personal freedom and property are being taken away daily, while the freedom to be irresponsible is growing.

Who is doing this to us and why? Who really wrote those laws?

Anonymous said...

"Comment removed for supplying false email address. Email the webmaster@econlib.org to request restoring your comment privileges. A valid email address is required to post comments on EconLog and EconTalk.--Econlib Ed"


Yes, I've gotten this treatment in the past over there. It has nothing to do with your your email address, which is perfectly valid, they just want a fig leaf to cover their regular deletion of inconvenient comments.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

This is the actual Libertarian immigration position being worked on by groups in every country:...

It sure is funny how much paperwork, treaties, process, civil order, etc. all this libertarian society requires! Who pays for all that crap? Who enforces it? The Mises Institute? The GMU Econ department? Somali pirates?

I once pointed out on mises.org that there was no way one of their theoretical security/arbitration agencies could abide by a competitor's ruling and still offer a marketable product.

The best response I got was from a commenter who said that there would be another arbitration agency to rule on the inter-arbitration agency disputes.

Dahlia said...

No
words

These two posts, done by co-bloggers not Caplan himself, are the latest in the saga since Steve made this post last night.

"If Wadhwa were in the position of poet Emma Lazarus, how might he have written her famous poem, "The New Colossus," which is at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Here's my attempt:
..."

Anonymous said...

"I'm disappointed that Unz never suggested that anybody better looking (and cheaper) than Caplan should apply for his job."


Like so many others in the "Hooray for global competition" gang, Caplan has tenure. That is, he CANNOT be fired or replaced even if (or especially if) somebody better looking, or cheaper, or just better, applies for his job.

You see this "Free market capitalism for thee but socialism for me" mentality all the time in the libertarian camp.

Dahlia said...

It has to be said...

In all the comments I've seen all over the internet about this debate, nobody has pointed out that part of Caplan's problem is that one of his opponents was Ron Freakin' Unz!

And since Caplan is not Gregory Cochran, his thumping was preordained.

From what I've read, Vivek probably understood who he was up against, but Caplan?

(BTW, my favorite audience member at the debate was the disgusted, young Asian guy who just couldn't get over Caplan; at the very end.)

Svigor said...

No, seriously, stop and fucking think about that for a minute. Caplan's commenters get worked up into a righteous moral fury over the refusal to acknowledge and implement freedom of movement (national trespassing) as a basic human right, even as they step over the corpses of comments made without ze papers, without a word of protest.

And I'm supposed to trust these bozos mean what they say?

Anonymous said...

Border Security is a bull. Illegals will always be able to get across the border even with a wall since they get smugglers. Border security is amnesty which it allows illegals to get jobs in the US because employers still hire them. Fine companies for hiring illegals not just put up a fence which they will get around and still get hired. All those that want to legalized illegals immigrants on the Republican side will use the secure the border line from John McCain to Ted Cruz. People around here are too fiscal conservatives or Libertarian because they don't want to hurt companies or individuals for hiring illegal immigrants.

peterike said...

Puerto Rico's economy has been helped greatly by its use of the U.S. dollar as official currency, allowing it to avoid the currency disasters so common to other Latin American nations. Might not last much longer though.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read through all of the comments, but if someone else hasn't already pointed it out, Bryan Caplan *still* has "prole jacket gape."

http://thriftstorepreppy.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/avoid-prole-jacket-gape/

Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny how Jews are always for open borders, except for Israel?

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it funny how Jews are always for open borders, except for Israel?"

How do you know Caplan isn't for open borders for Israel, genius? The man happens to be rather hostile to Israel, like most libertarians, regardless of ethnic background.

Bashing Israel is not going to help stop an immigration disaster in this country. But, if your real priority is screwing Israel, inundating the country with third world immigrants who don't give a shit about Israel, and will vote for far-left ideologues who hate Israel, is a good way to dilute what's left of the pro-Israel constituency in this country.

Grey said...

"Border Security is a bull. Illegals will always be able to get across the border even with a wall since they get smugglers."

Border security is good for all sorts of reasons - including peace of mind.

You are right that the only form of border security that will work *fully* in regards to illegal working is targeting the employers and making the cost vs benefit of employing illegals negative.

If there's no demand for illegal workers the supply will dry up.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read through all of the comments, but if someone else hasn't already pointed it out, Bryan Caplan *still* has "prole jacket gape."

I noticed that too. It looks like it was caused by, or exacerbated by, the fact that he didn't unbutton his suit jacket while sitting down. Not unbuttoning your suit jacket while sitting down is also a prole or geek thing.

Anonymous said...

"Bashing Israel is not going to help stop an immigration disaster in this country."

Missing the point - again.

There are 1000s of pundits in the MSM who say they support diversity and mass immigration because they say they believe it is beneficial.

If that was true they'd want it for Israel too - but they don't.

It's nothing to do with Israel per se. It's simply evidence that these media pundits think diversity and mass immigration is harmful to the majority and they support it despite or because it is harmful to the majority.

Sideways said...

Just because a writer is a cagey about what he's really saying does not make him a Straussian.

Cowen calls things Strausian all the time. It was a Cowen joke.

Steve Sailer said...

Cowen uses the term "Straussian" a lot to mean a strategy -- writing crafted to deceive or distract all but the closest readers -- rather than particular ideological tradition.

In contrast, two certain NYT op-ed columnists have an academic lineage two steps removed from Strauss: one attended classes given by Strauss follower Harvey Mansfield and the other classes given by Strauss follower Allan Bloom.

Miguel S. said...

And Paul Wolfowitz lived in the same dorm as Allan Bloom and took two courses with Strauss -- but he was Wohlstetter's student . . . Steve, these sorts of connection are balls and you know it.

Any way, Strauss was an amazing scholar. I don't know if you read him a lot; maybe you think so too. But his reputation has been jerked around by loathsome people for too long. Please don't help them.

Svigor said...

"Isn't it funny how Jews are always for open borders, except for Israel?"

How do you know Caplan isn't for open borders for Israel, genius? The man happens to be rather hostile to Israel, like most libertarians, regardless of ethnic background.

Bashing Israel is not going to help stop an immigration disaster in this country. But, if your real priority is screwing Israel, inundating the country with third world immigrants who don't give a shit about Israel, and will vote for far-left ideologues who hate Israel, is a good way to dilute what's left of the pro-Israel constituency in this country.


He wasn't bashing Israel, he was pointing out a fact. And that fact can help stop an immigration disaster in this country:

"I'm very pro-Israel, and if I'm elected I'll do everything I can to make our immigration policy more like Israel's."

"I'm very pro-Israel, and I'm worried that this open-borders advocacy will infect our foreign policy and lead to pressure on Israel to destroy itself with an open-borders policy. That is why, if I am elected, I will work to remove this open-borders lunacy from American politics."

"I'm very pro-Israel, and I hear a lot of criticism of the American Jewish community's supposed hypocrisy in advocating open borders for America, but closed borders for Israel. The American Jewish community is losing a lot of credibility because of this dichotomy, and I want to put an end to it and strengthen the American Jewish community's position by closing our borders, too."

"I love Israel and want to honor them by bringing their border policies to America. I want America to be more like Israel."

Et cetera.

But thanks for trying to do us a favor, we really appreciate the advice.

Anonymous said...

The man happens to be rather hostile to Israel, like most libertarians, regardless of ethnic background.


I had never noticed that libertarians (regardless of ethnic background) are hostile to Israel. Can you give any examples?

Anonymous said...

And Paul Wolfowitz lived in the same dorm as Allan Bloom and took two courses with Strauss -- but he was Wohlstetter's student . . . Steve, these sorts of connection are balls and you know it.

Any way, Strauss was an amazing scholar. I don't know if you read him a lot; maybe you think so too. But his reputation has been jerked around by loathsome people for too long. Please don't help them.


If he really was "an amazing scholar", and developed a loyal cult following that persists today, why would these sorts of connections be meaningless?

Anonymous said...

Why did Caplan try to argue that introducing a billion extra farmers would be a good thing? we pay people to not grow food as is, and for good reason: demand for food is inelastic.

Anonymous said...

and wow, Unz just refuted the central point of Caplan's argument a few minutes into his presentation. "here is a counter example where that* didn't happen."

Jay said...

Late to this one, but I posted this over at Caplan's blog--

A couple of problems with your explanation.

1. The anouncers made it pretty clear that the debate was not about the mainstream American pro-immigration position, as shown by the following:

"Well, of course, as I'm sure you've said, this is not a debate about immigration. It really is an experiment and a debate about pushing free market ideas to the limit."

"And when you look at this motion language, “Let Anyone Take a Job Anywhere," how literally do you think that we should expect the debaters to be arguing "anyone anywhere"?

-- Well, the motion language is pretty extreme, I must admit, and not terribly nuanced, but a motion that said, let more people take more jobs in more places would hardly have been a good debate."

2. The pre-vote totals don't match up with your metaphorical voting hypothesis:

In an IQ2 audience, only 46% favor the mainstream American pro-immigration position and 33% were undecided.

It really doesn't seem very plausible that all, or even most, of the 28% that shifted to the opposition did so for the reasons you suggest.

Anonymous said...

John Donvan:
Ladies and gentlemen, Ron Unz.
[applause]
18:55:00
Ron, you have one of those very, very disparate resumes that Intelligence Squared
loves. You're a physicist by training. But then you were a founder and chairman of Wall
Street Analytics,
which is a financial services software company. Then you ran for
governor of California. Then you were a publisher of the American Conservative.
You've been described, quote, unquote, as a "nerdy guy who lives and breathes policy
and politics." And I hope you know that in the Intelligence Squared universe that makes
you a sex symbol.
[laughter]
[applause]
Ron Unz:
Well, I guess we'll find out when the vote takes place

Anonymous said...

If anybody wants to see what libertarians think of Israel, they should go to any libertarian website (such as Econlog, where Caplan writes, or Cato) and search what they say about Israel. Ideologically-purist libertarians (as opposed to more mainstream free-market types) have little use for Israel, which is consistent with their opposition to giving culture, tradition or ethnicity any weight in government policy-making. It is also consistent with their anti-military proclivities and preference to avoid US involvement in foreign conflicts (even if we're not involved in the fighting).

Israel's immigration policy (such as its kicking out unwanted African migrants) does not get much criticism here (although it gets some) because the amnesty/open-borders crowd generally ignores the fact that the US already has the most liberal immigration policy in the world. If you look at other country's more rational approaches to this issue, it puts in question the rationality of what the amnesty/open borders crowd is up to.

Anonymous said...

Steve says that "two certain NYT op-ed columnists have an academic lineage two steps removed from Strauss: one attended classes given by Strauss follower Harvey Mansfield and the other classes given by Strauss follower Allan Bloom."

First, is there some reason you don't name these people? Do you thnk they would sue for libel based on these statements? Do you think they'd do something worse than that? Do you think there's a Straussian/Cosa Nostra connection (or maybe more likely a Straussian/Israeli mafia connection) like the relationship between Dean Faber and the local mobsters portrayed in Animal House? Really, this sort of thing makes you look paranoid.

Secondly, I assume one of the writers you have in mind is Bill Kristol, who got his PhD at Harvard under Mansfield's supervision. Kristol wrote at NYT for one year (over much protest), and his stint there ended quite a while ago. So it's not really accurate to refer to Kristol as an NYT columnist, as if he were writing there currently. But it is fair to call Kristol a Straussian. FWIW, Kristol is opposed to the Gang of Eight bill and (unlike his buddy, the egregious Bush-toady Fred Barnes) is becoming more rational about immigration issues.

I assume there other writer you're referring to is David Brooks. Perhaps he did take classes with Bloom. So what if he did? You have to be hallucinating if you think he's some sort of deep-thinking, double-meaning-using Straussian. Although he was more of a conservative back in the 90s, he's evolved into nothing more than a 21st century Rockefeller Republican. Somebody who thinks maybe Obamacare could have been slightly better designed, and maybe we should stick things out in Afghanistan. The David Gergen of his generation. Taking a class with a professor who studied under Strauss does not make one a Straussian.

Conatus said...

Ron Unz did a masterful job of debating the subject for the target audience. No one commented on that. I thought he said I don't know shit about economics(so don't play 'professor' on me) but it seems the working class of Americans are getting screwed by immigration. Their wages are going down, they are getting angry. That will cause a hornet's nest of political unrest. You rich people are the ones benefiting. You rich people control the debate, you control the politics. The proles know that.

The tacit message: Remember Germany in the twenties and early thirties? A hornets nest of political unrest due to bad times for the working class.Do something before that happens.

Steve Sailer said...

As you say, Kristol is not an NYT op-ed columnist, a fact of which I'm well aware.

I don't give names because people get denounced for admitting to being influenced by me. For example, look at how Malcolm Gladwell tried to wriggle out of his NFL quarterback draft fiasco with Pinker by revealing that Evil Me was one of Pinker's sources.

I've given out enough clues that sensible people who pay close attention will be able to figure some things out, but not enough for Media Matters or the $PLC to easily turn it into denunciations of these prominent crimethinkers.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I thought you were talking about columnists influenced by Strauss, not by you. If they're influenced by you, what's the relevance of their indirect connection to Strauss? Is it that it inspires them to channel your ideas without attribution? I don't think you have Straussian training to figure out that maneuver.

I understand you don't want to expose people upon whom you are an unacknowledged influence. I'm not naive.

Steve Sailer said...

You can distinguish between Straussianism as a world-view, Straussianism as a cult, and Straussianism as a technique of discrete, even surreptitious intellectual discourse. TGGP above gives an example of one intellectual who acknowledges the influence on him of Straussianism as a technique.

Anonymous said...

"Cowen uses the term "Straussian" a lot to mean a strategy -- writing crafted to deceive or distract all but the closest readers -- rather than particular ideological tradition."

Much of Jewish thought will have to be Straussian. If Jews were a relatively powerless group, they could honestly talk about their tribal interests in their own communities--and I suppose Hasidim(weirdo minority among Jews) do that.

If Jews were the vast majority, they could take their power for granted and speak more honestly about power and interests, as Wasps used to do--like Tom Buchanan in GREAT GATSBY.

But Jews are a small minority with majority-magnitude power. They are both powerful and vulnerable. As they control much of the academia and media, they feel compelled to speak for all of us, for the good of society as a whole. But Jews are also very much into their own interests and identity.

Thus, they have no choice to be Straussian since they are trying to make it seem like they're speaking for ALL OF US when they are really speaking for their own interests.

It's like Jews tell us defending Israel is all about defending democracy, American values, and Western Civilization.
But then, the same Jews argue that Europe and US must be third-world-ized in order to be more 'inclusive' and less 'racist' for the good of all humanity.

Both arguments serve Jewish interests. Where Jews are the majority(in Israel), they want majority power.
Where Jews are the minority, they wanna reduce majority power(of whites).
But both arguments are made in a Straussian fashion, i.e. 'for the good of lots of people than merely for Jews', but Jews know it's about Jewish interests.

Of course, Jews(at least smart ones)pick up on this, but many dimwit gentiles do not.

It's like the movie MARGIN CALL. Purely Straussian movie. On the one hand, it looks like harsh criticism of Wall Street. But Jewish Hollywood doesn't wanna go too hard on Jewish Wall Street. So, we have a character who has a dying dog. The movie ends with the image of him burying his poor poor dog. So, never mind all the foul things he did. We are made to feel sorry for him.
And the characters are all shown doing their foul deeds with much trepidation and self-loathing, i.e. they are not without a conscience.
And there's Jeremy Irons to make the face of Wall Street look WAspy. And then he says things like this happen again and again, i.e. it's really nobody's fault, and well, 'shit happens'.

Now, if Wall Street were controlled by people other than Jews, the movie would have much tougher. It wouldn't have ended with a man burying his dog but going home to beat up his wife(like all those movies about Southern folks with white men who beat up white women who realize they are fellow victims along with blacks.)

Silver said...

"(like all those movies about Southern folks with white men who beat up white women who realize they are fellow victims along with blacks.)"

The only one I can think of is "Mississippi Burning." Which other ones are there?