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Free Movement Of Labor In North America  
User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2097 posts, RR: 5
Posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3290 times:

Following on from the thread about the US/Mexico border, what would happen if NAFTA became a true free-trade area, like the EU, and immigration and employment controls were abolished between the US, Canada and Mexico?

In the last 2 years, the UK has taken in approximately 500,000 Poles, Latvians, Czechs etc, who now have the freedom as members of the EU to come here and work. There's been no social unrest whatsoever, the unemployment figures haven't changed significantly, the economy is still growing.

The only thing that would happen if the US opened its borders to Mexico, is that there'd be an initial rush of migrants to the more prosperous US states, and a more buoyant economy for everywhere else. No problem.

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17412 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3288 times:

Quoting MainMAN (Thread starter):
the UK has taken in



Quoting MainMAN (Thread starter):
There's been no social unrest whatsoever, the unemployment figures haven't changed significantly, the economy is still growing.

Yeah but what about the mainland? Silly



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineCairo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3282 times:

The US government is already quietly trying to push the agenda:

http://www.spp.gov/

They are arguing for it more in terms of security benefits, but clearly they envision an EU-like borderless continent with free flows of labor and massive superhighways to connect Canada and Mexico and all points in between.

The border to Mexico is, in effect, already open anyway. Fromalizing the reality may allow greater tax revenues since the government can start keeping track of the now currently undocumented workers.

Personally, I think Canada-USA would absolutely work; although I am a bit concerned that trying to completely integrate US and Mexican labor forces in one swift move could be harmful.

Cairo


User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2097 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3281 times:

Quoting Cairo (Reply 2):
although I am a bit concerned that trying to completely integrate US and Mexican labor forces in one swift move could be harmful.

This is what I don't really understand. In the long term, I can't see how integrating labour forces could be harmful to the US at all.

In terms of Canada, that's just crazy. There's no reason at all why Canadians can't work in the US. The British and Irish have always had free movement, benefitting both. As far as I'm aware, so do Australians and New Zealanders.


User currently offlineBushpilot From South Africa, joined Jul 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3270 times:

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 3):
This is what I don't really understand. In the long term, I can't see how integrating labour forces could be harmful to the US at all.

You would think that the potential economic benefits in the long term would push this through with Mexico. I dont have a problem with this, But the main difference is that there is in many many many Americans eyes, and powerful Americans at that, the Mexicans speak a different language and are a different color. Trust me, if there was a large population of Canadians who wanted to travel to the midwest to become cow milkers, it would happen. It isnt about economics, it is about nationality. Call it racist or whatever you like, but there are a ton of people who dont want mexicans here specifically.

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 3):
The British and Irish have always had free movement, benefitting both. As far as I'm aware, so do Australians and New Zealanders.

I believe this is the case, or it is much easier. I nearly immigrated to Australia a year ago, if I was a British commonwealth citizen it would have been a snap. The US isnt part of the commonwealth.


User currently offlineMainMAN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 2097 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3266 times:

Quoting Bushpilot (Reply 4):
You would think that the potential economic benefits in the long term would push this through with Mexico. I dont have a problem with this, But the main difference is that there is in many many many Americans eyes, and powerful Americans at that, the Mexicans speak a different language and are a different color. Trust me, if there was a large population of Canadians who wanted to travel to the midwest to become cow milkers, it would happen. It isnt about economics, it is about nationality. Call it racist or whatever you like, but there are a ton of people who dont want mexicans here specifically.

That's what I thought too; there must be a real fear that large parts of the (southern) USA could potentially become Spanish-speaking and let's face it, Catholic, which doesn't quite fit in with the WASP establishment view of the world.

Quoting Bushpilot (Reply 4):
I believe this is the case, or it is much easier. I nearly immigrated to Australia a year ago, if I was a British commonwealth citizen it would have been a snap. The US isnt part of the commonwealth.

There are still plenty of hoops to go through to move to Australia, and mountains of paperwork. Basically, if you've got a very definable skill, and quite a bit of money, you can do it. Beeing able to buy a house without having a mortgage helps.


User currently offlineBushpilot From South Africa, joined Jul 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3260 times:

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 5):

I am only speaking for myself as an outsider looking in. Hell I am an Alaskan, the only time we really see Mexicans is to come work in the fish canneries. But that is certainly seems to be the real issue here. People can talk all they want about how they showed up illegally, are taking American jobs, are crime ridden etc. That is all a front to a large poppulation of this country who:
A. Fear change in a major way. Even if it is better and progressive.
B. Fear the unknown...for example, they dont like having spanish instructions everywhere, and those brown people are saying things I dont understand, are they talking about me?
C. Are flat out racists. Sure we have had the civil rights movement and all that, but there are still some truely deep seeded racists in this country. Nobody seems to freak out about the white immigrants illegal or not, plenty of people dont like dark skinned people regardless of thier status. It truely is sad and shameful, that being said, the population at large are very welcoming, but generally more silent about the issue.


User currently offlineCairo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3240 times:

Quoting MainMAN (Reply 3):
This is what I don't really understand. In the long term, I can't see how integrating labour forces could be harmful to the US at all.



Quoting MainMAN (Reply 5):
That's what I thought too; there must be a real fear that large parts of the (southern) USA could potentially become Spanish-speaking and let's face it, Catholic, which doesn't quite fit in with the WASP establishment view of the world.

Where I am from, Texas, Mexicans are an essential part of the community, and are fully integrated within one generation after arriving. 30% of Texas is already Spanish speaking, and southern California is the same way.

This is purely anecdotal, but everyone in Texas I've known admits that Mexicans are beneficial for us - mainly because (yes - the cliche is true) they do the work Americans don't want to do - like roofing in 100 degree heat, digging ditches, washing dishes, etc... and the overall Texas employment rate remains healthy.

Whenever Texans have a need for hard, heavy, hot work; they don't run an ad in the employment section of the newspaper or on monster.com, they just go to certain areas of town where 'day-labor' Mexicans congregate, and hire some illegal employees on the spot. Eventually these workers usually get steady employment.

As for the matters of taste or preference you mentioned, yes the fears exist, but many of us have come to see Mexicans generally as very very hard-working (harder working than Americans), devoted Christians (family values are huge with Mexicans) who are more law-abiding than many home-grown Americans.

I think the real scare is a sudden severe inundation of Mexican workers that might prove impossible to employ if they came all at once. There is also an overriding fear that they drive pay down by offering cheap labor. (this may be true) If it was guaranteed that no traumatic massive move would happen, I think a lot of people agree that some sort of free movement of labor is beneficial.

Cairo


User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3219 times:

Quoting MainMAN (Thread starter):
Following on from the thread about the US/Mexico border, what would happen if NAFTA became a true free-trade area, like the EU, and immigration and employment controls were abolished between the US, Canada and Mexico

Because the American and Mexican economies have produced a completely different set of economic classes, it would be a disaster if there existed completely free movement of labor.

Both poor and very poor people, of which there are many in Mexico, would flood the United States, depressing wages and demolishing the standard of living everywhere they settled, destroying our way of life other than for the upper classes. Bill Gates wouldn't be affected by free labor; "Joe Sixpack" decidedly would be.

There would be a race to the bottom as companies competed for labor "efficiency". Since, the less that a company paid for the least required amount of labor, the more that company could stand to compete with other companies that did as well, labor rates would dive and labor supplies would still tend toward excess, causing a massive ripple effect on the rest of the economy.

I am not a big supporter of NAFTA or, certainly, its proposed successor, and I think that there is, to say the least, much to be said for preventing the elites in all three countries involved from imposing their plutocratic ways on the vast majority of the American public.

The move toward the erasure of the border between the U.S. and Mexico must be stopped, and immediately.

[Edited 2006-10-06 11:38:40]

User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3210 times:

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 8):
Both poor and very poor people, of which there are many in Mexico, would flood the United States, depressing wages and demolishing the standard of living in the United States, other than for the upper classes. Bill Gates wouldn't be affected by free labor; "Joe Sixpack" decidedly would be.

Well, no two countries are alike, so I would hesitate to transfer ours to the US, but that hasn't been the experience here with the flood of Eastern European immigrants who have come in. The numbers in which they've arrived has added 1% to the total population, so it's a fairly substantial number. The result has been an upsurge in economic activity, and unemployment remains ridiculously low (structural unemployment is, for the moment, virtually non-existent). Plus there are the same issues with language and so forth.

Now, that's not to say for a second it's been universally popular. There is always the Daily Bigot running stories everyday that it's the end of the world, and the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers have more to do with political issues than anything economic. Still, the central point is that our experience hasn't matched the doom and gloom predictions.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineTravelin man From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3177 times:

I think there are two other reasons that the freedom of movement of people has not (and most likely will not) take place: Terrorism and Drugs.

While it is already ridiculously easy to get into the US, removing border controls and restrictions would assume that Canada, the US, and Mexico would all have effective means of controlling their external borders with other countries. If terrorists are able to get into Mexico with no problem, with no border they have a clear shot at the US.

When it comes to drugs, many meth labs have already moved South of the Border because there has been a crack down in the US. Removing the border just opens the spigot again.

Honestly, until Mexico cleans up their corruption internally (with the Police, etc.) I definitely would not advocate open borders. And believe me, I am far from a Right Wing Republican.


User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3173 times:

Quoting MainMAN (Thread starter):
In the last 2 years, the UK has taken in approximately 500,000 Poles, Latvians, Czechs etc, who now have the freedom as members of the EU to come here and work. There's been no social unrest whatsoever, the unemployment figures haven't changed significantly, the economy is still growing.

I suspect that EU labor laws have a great deal to do with the stability.

Are UK employeers free to dump English employees to hire immigrants that will work at greatly reduced wages and for longer hours.


User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3167 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 11):
Are UK employeers free to dump English employees to hire immigrants that will work at greatly reduced wages and for longer hours.

To all intents and purposes, yes. If you're working on the assumption that UK labour laws are like those of France, you coudn't be further out. UK employment law is relatively lax compared with much of Europe.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineAerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3158 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 9):
Still, the central point is that our experience hasn't matched the doom and gloom predictions.

But the two situations are not comparable. The former Soviet bloc, while still economically disadvantaged, does not compare to the Third World conditions in much of Mexico.

Mexico, truth be told, is a country of diverse citizenry, and its developed areas can compare to any First World country. But the sad truth is that most of the country still lives in poverty, and much of that poverty is grinding and irremediable. I do not believe that countries such as Czechoslovakia or Romania can be compared to Mexico, either in numbers of extremely poor citizens, or in ease of emigration across relatively unprotected areas of national borders.


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13985 posts, RR: 62
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3147 times:

Quoting Banco (Reply 9):
Well, no two countries are alike, so I would hesitate to transfer ours to the US, but that hasn't been the experience here with the flood of Eastern European immigrants who have come in. The numbers in which they've arrived has added 1% to the total population, so it's a fairly substantial number. The result has been an upsurge in economic activity, and unemployment remains ridiculously low (structural unemployment is, for the moment, virtually non-existent). Plus there are the same issues with language and so forth.

I think the problems would not happen too much with people who actually wanted to live permanently in their new country and wanted to integrate, but rather from e.g. temporary labourers, who would get hired for low wages, sleep in collective accomodation (e.g. portacabins equiped with bunk type beds, taking a few months worth of food from their original) to save as much money as possible, to return a few months later to their old country, where they would be considered rich due to savings and exchange rate.

E.g. in the Philippines a nurse earns about $ 300 a month, which works because normal living expenses (accomodation, food) are suited to this level of income (of course imported technological goods like cars or electronics are comparably more expensive then, because they cost as much as in the countries of origin. You wouldn't get a Mercedes at one tenth of the price in Germany, just because the salary level is one tenth of the German one). In Germany you couldn't live of this money. In a city a single room would cost you about this much just for rent.
Now temporary immigrants living on the cheap in industrialised countries can outcompete any local who has to live permanently in a richer country and can thus lead to the loss of jobs for locals (e.g. in Germany even the association of cleaning companies is demanding a minimum salary law from the government at about 5 to 7 Euros per hour, because they are afraid of companies from e.g. Romania or Bulgaria who can send temporary workers over to work for e.g. 2 Euros per hour. A Bulgarian aircraft maintenance engineer contractor I worked with once told me that if he worked for two months in Ireland in shared accomodation, he could live two years of this money in Bulgaria afterwards, though he received regular rates in Ireland.
My Filipino girlfriend e.g. just bought herself a nice two bedroom house in the Philippines for € 8000, which she can pay off in about one year time, working in Ireland at a salary of about €2500 a month. If she lived in the Philippines, she would need to pay at least ten to twenty years to pay off her debts, since the price of €8000 in the Philippines would equal about €150,000 in Europe, based on Western European salaries.)

Jan


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