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The Free Market & Immigration:
Two Thought Experiments

good for the economy929 words

German translation here

Free market proponents of open borders and mass immigration must be happy about this story. As we know, the free marketers tell us that nations with low birthrates require alien immigration because of “labor shortages” (yet Spain and the USA have high unemployment coupled to large-scale immigration), or the need for “greater productivity and economic growth” (yet many immigrants are low-skilled and on welfare and even when high-skilled often tend to be net consumers of services), or the need for “younger workers to pay for the social services for aging/retired natives” (as if, when they amass sufficient political power, young non-Whites will cheerfully pay for the care of old White folks, who they hate).

Then one can also question whether opposition to immigration is really irrational from an economic standpoint — the natives’ economic standpoint — when virtually all of the benefits (if any exist) of “economic growth” accrue to the immigrants (and possibly to wealthy natives) themselves rather than to the general native population. These are, of course, all economic arguments.

We, on the other hand, argue that there are more important things than economics — such as demographic displacement, race survival, genetic interests, and culture. But let’s get back to some basics of the general free market argument and consider two simple thought experiments.

1. The supporters of the free market assert that it is the most rational and efficient approach for allocating resources, managing the economy, and increasing standards of living. We are told that supply and demand and other free market mechanisms promote rational decision-making and incentivize behaviors that lead to optimized outcomes for society. Thus, they look at the global economy and say if there is a labor shortage in “X” and a labor surplus in “Y” then the free market dictates that the most effective solution to the problem is a movement of labor from “Y” to “X.” That is how the labor shortage of “X” — possibly due to a low birthrate — is solved.

Why does the solution need to be global? What happens if a country with a low birthrate will not, or can not, make up for the “labor shortage” with immigrants? (Note: Japan may be a real-life experimental model for this scenario, if they maintain their hard line against immigration, which seems doubtful over time). The reasons for “no immigration” need not concern us, let us assume, for the sake of this model system, that mass immigration is not possible or desirable. What happens then?

If the free market is so very efficient in finding the correct solutions for societal problems and resource allocation, shouldn’t it work in a national context? Why can’t the free market solve a purely internal problem of low birthrates and labor shortages? Why the hypocrisy in asserting the magical properties of the free market on a global level but its hopelessness on a national level? Shouldn’t the free market work, locally and nationally, to lead to policy choices and resource allocation to incentivize pro-natalist policies, to increase the native birthrate? How about increasing productivity through better education and, above all else, enhanced automation? If the free market really is a “miracle worker” then it should lead to creative solutions to national problems that do not depend on temporary fixes involving shifting problems such as overpopulation/poverty from one nation to another. The vaunted free market should incentivize either pro-natalism or birth control whenever and wherever each is needed.

Thus, in our thought experiment: what would happen to a low-birthrate nation in the absence of immigration? Will the population really dwindle down to zero? Will the economy collapse? Will everyone just sit around passively and let the nation disappear from the face of the Earth? Indeed, one can argue that without the immigration safety valve, nations would be forced to develop long-term solutions to their societal problems, instead of increasing these problems and postponing their solution to the next generation. If the free market really worked, it would be independent of scale, and would work for one nation and not just on a global level.

2. One can consider the opposite thought experiment. Instead of restricting the free market from global to national, one can expand it from global to inter-stellar. Assume that the Earth is contacted by an alien species, a bizarre species quite different from humans. These aliens are very fast-breeding and have over-populated their own planet. Earth’s environment is suitable for them. Further, they are highly intelligent and productive — indeed, superior to humans as inventors and workers.

These aliens want to ship their surplus population to the Earth, where they will join the economy, work hard, invent, create businesses, and sharply increase economic growth. Of course, these fast breeders will soon begin to fill up the Earth with their numbers, crowding out native humans, and, of course, their home world population will also be increasing, and clamoring to come to Earth as well. But . . . the Earth’s economy will be growing! Isn’t that all that matters? If concerns about demographic displacement, culture, etc. are all “irrational” then the free marketers should have no problem with a scenario that includes the gradual displacement and replacement of humans by aliens, all in the name of global economic growth for the Earth. Will they make this argument? If so, they expose themselves as traitors to humanity. If not, then why does the “there are after all, more important things than economic growth” argument not apply to the internal Earth situation? Maybe White folks don’t want to be displaced and replaced in their own countries by alien immigrants?




  1. A Gambell
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. I wrote a short note on related issue of Sustainability and Globalisation

    No, the import of cheap mass alien labour / consumers isn’t the (only) answer

  2. Jaego
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Automation will increasingly replace the need for workers. They know this. Yet they pretend they don’t, and continue to swamp us with needless aliens. Why? Well how do the Elite see things? Their big problem is getting rid of the vast human surplus. And of course destroying all opposition. If they pull out a pin to pop the balloon, they will be seen as the criminals they are. But if they just keep blowing up the balloon, they can play the great humanitarians until the end, when the balloon pops with them safely in control and able to manage the die off.

  3. Karen T
    Posted October 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Less people! Less people ! Less people! We need to breed to better our race. We do it with dogs and horses, but ourselves, we carry on like cockroaches.

  4. Glen
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Your first thought experiment is useful, but what I find interesting is how humans X and Y are presumed to be interchangeable, like bars of pig iron, by the free marketers. Labor’s genetic lines, interests (EGI), cultural-social capital, production (family), socialization, education and training, maintenance (subsistence and healthcare), depreciation (sickness and old age) and the costs associated with these are ignored and placed beyond the pricing system.

    The ideologically-driven dupes of usury finance, speculation, and socialized risk will deem your second thought experiment as “unrealistically hypothetical.” They will either ignore it or have it devolve into a fruitless discussion of the unrealistic v. realistic, Schrodinger’s Cat, the existence of sounds in the woods, faith and religion, etc.

  5. Peter Quint
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see if this Ebola scare will put a crimp in immigration. That’s what they were talking about on the radio this morning.

  6. Gladiator
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Note. Successful nations i.e. Germany and Japan, were destroyed after WWll. Yet they rebuild a robust economies for the past 50 years. Both had limited immigration, More in Germany than Japan and both countries are experiencing low birth rates and an aging populations. Their productivity rates surpasses those of most Western countries if not North America too? So, whether more equals more goods and services produced as much as their are consumed by the same number of people who produce or if the same amount of number better skilled and educated worker produces the same amount if not more?
    In economics what matters is costs and wages. Capitalism is all about PROFIT. The rest is secondary or none at all.

  7. Andrew
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Another great article by Mr. Sallis. I have no doubt that the capitalist elites would be in an enthusiastic uproar to import the productive aliens of this thought experiment, with the promise of vast increases in wealth for them.

  8. me
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Japan – aren’t they developing robots to serve them?

    Speaking of Germany, here’s a German Cardinal saying that Germany needs to produce more babies to solve “immigration” problem:

  9. R_Moreland
    Posted October 18, 2014 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Here’s the thing: much of modern libertarian economic doctrine was developed during the mid-20th century. This was a time of both nationalist politics and national economies in the Western world. In the 1940s or ’50s or ’60s there was “American industry” and “British industry” and “German industry” or whatever. Within that national framework one could debate various economic systems — free market, socialist, mixed, technocratic — because at the end of the day you’d still have an American or British or German people. You also had restrictive immigration policies which minimized the impact of cheap labor as well as preventing race replacement.

    Globalization pretty much finished all that. I don’t think I have to go into the details here.

    Yet too many free market ideologues today assume we are living in the world of 50 or 60 years ago. Same for old line socialists.

    What might have worked in the mid-20th century doesn’t hold up when the managerial class can move factories out of the country while importing virtually unlimited cheap labor into the homeland. You have a de facto unlimited supply of labor, which means the cost of that labor goes down (translated into lower wages). Free market ideologues might argue that this is a good thing since industry is now providing more goods at the cheapest cost possible, while socialists might hallucinate that a true international working class is finally in the making.

    Or they can look at it abstractly, and assert that regardless of the impact mass migration has on a country, there’s more freedom since anyone can cross any border and live wherever they want in the world (though for reasons which the ideologues refuse to consider, most of the migration is one way–from the third world to the first; very few people are pulling up stakes and moving to Haiti or Bangladesh, it seems).

    It is a reality that the US has entered into global free trade and de facto open borders. Yet the US is becoming an increasingly unfree and economically unequal country. There is a massive expansion of state policing and surveillance powers. Sectors of the immigrants themselves have been responsible for making parts of various cities into NO-GO zones, for example, thus depriving citizens of basic liberties like being able to stroll the streets. One reason that corporate executives can make 100 or 1000 times as much as the average worker is because of third world labor.

    There is a dawning realization of what is going on in some libertarian circles. Arguments have been made against open borders and such. But the real issue goes deeper. When it comes down to it, is liberty a universal principle? Or is it connected to certain racial types?

  10. dfens9
    Posted October 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Our present system is on the verge of collapse, that much is clear to anybody with eyes and a pulse.

    You can sense the depression in America, for example. People are sick of everything and it shows. The elite and system managers continue to insist that “more” and “growth” is the only path forward for humanity.

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