Chuckles from the Occupy Wall Street Movement
So this guy listed some proposed demands for the movement. I assume he was trying for “demand triple, settle for double” and his demands are outrageous (from an economic perspective) throughout but these two caught my eye:
Demand one: Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Free trade” by re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market to level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations that are dumping cheap products onto the American market have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hr.
Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
The incredible thing is that he completely fails to realize is that immigration and free trade have the same effect. No, seriously. Wages for Mexicans rise and wages for Americans fall. Under free trade this happens because labour-intensive production moves to Mexico, increasing demand for Mexican labour and reducing demand for American labour. Under immigration, Mexicans come to America, earning a higher wage themselves and reducing wages (via competition) for American workers. To phrase it differently, factor movements and the movement of goods and services are equivalent. Nonetheless, gains outweigh losses, although they accrue to different people.
This raw fact, by the way, is one that has a broad consensus among economists.
Of course, I support both free trade and open borders and it’s an eternal puzzle to me how 90% of the politically active part of the planet can have such inconsistent beliefs. Right wingers oppose immigration on the economic grounds that it hurts American workers and yet support free trade. Lefties oppose free trade on the ground that it hurts American workers but support open borders.
Of course, there are different social effects. Under free trade but closed borders, Mexican workers don’t get access to American schools or hospitals or institutions. They don’t vote. There are also some economic differences: productivity is lower. But few people actually focus on that.
I suspect that this is one of those cases where real motives are different from stated motives and economics is used as (thin) veil.
But do read the article. Damn funny. Especially the part where he demands that all debt on the planet be wiped out.
UPDATE: somewhat more sensible list here.