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Immigration Ruins Capitalism?

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Kate87
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If there was a perfect constitutional republic with perfect capitalism, wouldn't open immigration ruin it? This was a debate I was having the other day with someone and I would like to get your thoughts on it. I don't necessarily agree with this view, but I am finding it difficult to answer, so here it is in more detail:

 

If you allow uneducated poor people into your country, these immigrants will have children. These children will be less educated, and poorer than the average person. These children will be citizens with voting rights. They are likely to support redistributionist policies and other economically statist policies.

 

Now of course in a perfect republic, lots of these statist policies will be illegal. However this will not stop the great mass of poor immigrants from organising and presenting political pressure. The more people you let in, the greater this pressure will become, until eventually a constitutional amendment will be sought to allow *only a little* tax to fund some government programme. This is then the slippery slope which eventually leads to the welfare state we know and love today.

 

This argument is not advocating banning immigration, because lots of immigrants have in demand skills and will not be poor and uneducated. Instead this argument is advocating immigration restrictions, perhaps an income test where anyone earning less than X amount cannot come to the country to live. You could argue that the above scenario is already happening in America today, with the Democrats enjoying support from immigrants in exchange for enacting statist policies. How would you respond to this argument and is the solution of an income test moral?

Edited by Kate87
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[...]

They are likely to support redistributionist policies and other economically statist policies.

 

No, they are likely to read Ayn Rand when they are 16 and begin a life-long support of a principled defense of capitalism.

 

Or, maybe neither of us can possibly know what they are "likely" to do...

 

Open immigration is based on the same principle that capitalism itself is based on. To deny one would be to deny the other, and vice-versa.

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People don’t move to change a new culture, but to become a part of it.  My great, great grandparents left Poland and Germany because America had liberty, not the stagnation of Prussian welfare at the time.  Plus, in my experience in the produce business immigrants are more than willing to work hard to do what needs to be done – They are just happy for the opportunity they couldn’t get elsewhere.  They also frequently do the jobs third and fourth generation citizens do not want to do.  Examples include on a farm or in a restaurant.  You’d be amazed at how many French dishes are actually cooked by a Hispanic immigrants. 

 

If anything, immigration insures prices don’t go up and bring new intellectual capital to the table.

 

Although, in the end, it is still a moral argument -  Open immigration recognizes individual rights, not utilitarian expediency. 

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If there was a perfect constitutional republic with perfect capitalism, wouldn't open immigration ruin it? This was a debate I was having the other day with someone and I would like to get your thoughts on it. I don't necessarily agree with this view, but I am finding it difficult to answer, so here it is in more detail:

 

If you allow uneducated poor people into your country, these immigrants will have children. These children will be less educated, and poorer than the average person. These children will be citizens with voting rights. They are likely to support redistributionist policies and other economically statist policies.

 

Now of course in a perfect republic, lots of these statist policies will be illegal. However this will not stop the great mass of poor immigrants from organising and presenting political pressure. The more people you let in, the greater this pressure will become, until eventually a constitutional amendment will be sought to allow *only a little* tax to fund some government programme. This is then the slippery slope which eventually leads to the welfare state we know and love today.

 

This argument is not advocating banning immigration, because lots of immigrants have in demand skills and will not be poor and uneducated. Instead this argument is advocating immigration restrictions, perhaps an income test where anyone earning less than X amount cannot come to the country to live. You could argue that the above scenario is already happening in America today, with the Democrats enjoying support from immigrants in exchange for enacting statist policies. How would you respond to this argument and is the solution of an income test moral?

 

To the extent that the "a perfect constitutional republic with perfect capitalism" is "perfect" and for that matter to the extent that it is a "constitutional republic" and "capitalist" it will be immune to being ruined by "the great mass of poor immigrants", as well as any great mass of backward, religious, pragmatist, or undereducated domestic individuals... as such although the parties wouldn't exist the lobby pressure felt by both the Democrats and the Republicans would simply be ineffectual.

 

A perfect constitutional republic with perfect capitalism would not succumb to the political pressure based on any form of wealth redistribution... that kind of "pressure" would amount to the ramblings of a mystic, wholly incoherent and irrelevant to society and government.

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In the U.S., for instance, the GOP-dominated states tend to have lower median income than Democrat-dominated states. That's a prima facie hint that lower income is correlated with religious beliefs and xenophobia, but not with particularly above-average support for redistribution. In fact, income does not determine ideology.

A constitution is not just about law, it is also about ideology. If you grow up in some countries, you will learn that the constitution aspires to income equality, and to various other pseudo "human-rights". If you grow up in the U.S., you will be taught about the freedom of speech, but you will also be taught much nonsense. A good constitution would make its ideology, and its intellectual hierarchy very clear and simple. This is the first step where citizens get an understanding of "who we are as a country".

Clarity also means that other people would have a firmer idea of the ideological basis of such a country. When it comes to would-be immigrants, before they are allowed to become citizens (as opposed to residents) they should have to demonstrate an understanding of the ideology: not agreement, but understanding. [i would also add this as a requirement before natural-born citizens can vote.]

In addition, since such a country will not have public welfare, there is be less incentive for some of the less desirable folk to immigrate.

Of course, even given all this, people can change their views and change the constitution. I don't see that immigrants or children of immigrants would be special. It is probably a bit more likely that pampered, guilty rich kids who recognize they're bums, and wish to "check their privilege" will agitate for the government to redistribute some of their fortune.

Edited by softwareNerd
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Not all poor people want handouts. Case in point: me.

To prevent an innocent from living somewhere, at gunpoint, would be atrocious. Simple as that.

The solution is philosophy; political practice is a side effect.

If the society were mainly composed of Objectivists i doubt any ambitious furor would be able to find an audience anywhere outside of a comedy club.

---

Tangential:

Could one forbid self avowed collectivists entry, on the grounds of national self defense?

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I agree that a Capitalist country would face mass immigration, because immigrants are mostly motivated by economic opportunities, not handouts (just look at Singapore, which has almost no welfare, and very limited entitlements (basically just some infrastructure), and still attracts large numbers of immigrants, poor and rich).

 

But there is nothing in LFC to suggest that immigrants must be given citizenship (and therefor be able to vote, or run for office). Citizenship could be a condition of contributing to the government and understanding the principles the country is founded on. In other words, there are still mechanisms in place to prevent any kind of sudden ideological shift due to immigrants flooding in from a Marxist or religious country.

 

I can even imagine a situation in which non-citizens outnumber citizens. As long as the path to citizenship is an objective process and non-citizens aren't legally discriminated against, even that shouldn't be a problem. To use Singapore as an example again, the main conditions for a resident to become a citizen are gainful employment, at least two years spent in the country, and no dual citizenship; those three legitimate conditions, together, are a significant barrier to naturalization; a LFC could add a constitutional test and a type of contract in which the citizen agrees to pay a percentage of either their income or property, as a contribution to the government for the next few years, subject to renewal in exchange for continued voting/running for office rights.

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I noticed that there are a few "wouldn't/shouldn't be a problem" type statements in my above post. Just to cut down on those a little (because hypotheticals are weak arguments at best):

 

Free immigration doesn't mean guaranteed citizenship. Citizens of a LFC country, if they see their way of life threatened by potential political changes, have the right to protect themselves and delay the registration of new citizens born outside the country for as long as necessary (this would likely happen by setting the thresh-hold high enough that few would naturalize successfully). Furthermore, immigrants do not have the right to citizenship. They have the right to entry, and to equal rights under the law, but not to citizenship and the vote. Growing the citizen base of a country is beneficial (more people contribute to the government), but not a must.

 

If a group of immigrants chooses to be belligerent about the arrangement (this is the part I previously suggested likely wouldn't happen), the LFC country then has the right to kick them out. Free immigration doesn't mean open borders: it means the free immigration of peaceful people. 

Edited by Nicky
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  • 3 months later...

Something relevant to this topic.

 

This paper used an attitude survey as a starting point, and classified the results based on whether the respondent self-identified as foreign-born or American-born .Some highlights:

- Should there be restrictions on speech and books of certain types: racist, atheistic, communist, anti-American Islamic, etc.: In most categories, a higher percentage of foreign-born respondents (FBRs) were okay with restrictions,, compared to American-born respondents (ABRs)

- About 35% of FBRs vs. 45% of ABRs supported marijuana legalization

- About 24% of FBRs vs. 18% of ABRs supported affirmative action

- A slightly higher % of FBRs wanted government to counteract income inequality

- The two groups did not difference significantly on the legalization of porn 

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Aren't we all immigrants really? I'm sure the founding fathers asked similar questions, and drafted the constitution with the intention to keep rational defenders of liberty at the helm. 

 

Problems with immigration reform stem from the silly attitude of treating immigrants as a charity case. This whole idea of "send us your poor, sick, tired huddled masses", etc. Obviously you can't blame a bit of poetry, but the sentiment is echoed today...making us look like an asylum for the poor and wretched, when in reality America is a fairly young, diverse nation that was built with the muscles and ideas of immigrants .

 

So now the whole approach towards immigration is one of selfless compassion (especially on the OFA website). Meanwhile obama's deported like 2 million since he took office. 

 

I say for illegal immigrants, just offer them permanent residency, and bar them from citizenship. I think the "dreamers" program is a good idea, but only solves a very small part of the problem

Edited by Ben Archer
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...the silly attitude of treating immigrants as a charity case. This whole idea of "send us your poor, sick, tired huddled masses", etc.

I used to bristle at that line, but I now interpret it as a challenge to other systems rather than as an invitation to the poor. The poet says "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp". I interpret the poem as saying the America can take people whom other countries consider as the "refuse", but who are "yearning to breathe free" and show that these people can be great if they're given the one thing that America gives best: freedom.
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It's not my favorite bit of poetry, but that's how I tend to interpret it too. Unfortunately it's that one line that's always quoted, about the wretched huddled masses and all that. If you go to OFA's immigration website  it's plastered all over the place like their slogan. 

 

I think we could look at the horrid state of Britain's exports right now and say it is largely because of their terrible immigration policies. You know their number one export right now is the recycled cardboard boxes from their Chinese imports?! Obviously their issues with the EU and Scotland's threat of devolution play a role, but the lack of innovation in their manufacturing, entertainment, education, and other exports is really telling. 

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Oh right...even then I would've guessed  the "got talent" series did better than top gear

 

 I had it wrong though: the cardboard company is Mark Lyndon Paper Enterprises, and is one of the fastest growing (10x growth in exports last decade) and best performing. Seems I derailed the immigration talk  :wacko:

 

So for illegal immigrants: offer them permanent residency, and bar them from citizenship.

Edited by Ben Archer
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So for illegal immigrants: offer them permanent residency, and bar them from citizenship.

I think they should be on some "path to citizenship". The general rule is that one can get citizenship after holding a "green card" (Permanent Residence Status) for 5 years. Prior to getting a green-card, legal folk are here on "non-immigrant visas". Illegals should be given some type of work-visa.

It is also important to raise the number of work-visas in existing categories. The H1-B visa, used by most software folk and by U.S. college educated foreigners trying to stay beyond the "practical training", backs up every year. I personally know a rocket scientist trained at one of the top U.S. schools who had to stay out of the country for a year and was lucky to get under the quota the next year. In addition, the special restrictions on the immigration of doctors should be removed -- completely crazy when people are griping about health-care costs.

Edited by softwareNerd
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  • 3 weeks later...

What about not Platonic, but semi Capitalist countries like the United States or Switzerland. The both have different immigration policies with different results. Switzerland supports a large floating population of residents and workers who are not citizens. America is thinking of amnesty for the illegals but has tough immigration policies for the legals. 

Japan is Capitalist to some extent and uses robots instead of immigrants to solve the population crisis inherent to post industrialization. Shouldn't that be the way? 

Edited by volco
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If there was a perfect constitutional republic with perfect capitalism, wouldn't open immigration ruin it?

 

If you allow uneducated poor people into your country, these immigrants will have children. These children will be less educated, and poorer than the average person. These children will be citizens with voting rights. They are likely to support redistributionist policies and other economically statist policies.

 

This is then the slippery slope which eventually leads to the welfare state we know and love today.

 

 

 

The United States is not likely to alter its present course on immigration. It should be noted that both mainstream parties are embracing amnesty, or any other toothless compromise that "guarantees" votes. As suggested with selected quotes above, there are solutions to America's immigration dilemma, but they would not be politically possible at this time. Perhaps it the hypothetical Republic of Laissez-Faire Capitalism, one of the constitutional requirements for citizenship would be some form of literacy test, (also politically unpopular), along with some other voter's responsibilities. It is the misfortune of the US that so many of our residents embrace the morality of the welfare state, with no clue as to its long term effects on the lives of individuals. Whether non-citizen or native, I often hear people quite casually expressing praise for the "good deal" made possible by the "Fair Deal, New Deal, Square Deal, Great Society, and the Big F***ing Deal(s)."

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