"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Immigration Stunting, Not Stimulating, Innovation?

According to Rubenstein at ESR Research Economic Consultants, Immigration is stunting innovation in the U.S. Other countries, such as Japan, robotize menial tasks and have no need for an underclass to which lower wages are paid. They are particularly inventive, not because they are smarter, but because of "economic necessity." There's no such thing as "jobs Japanese won't do."

Read the report with a plethora of links to other articles, books, tables, and reports, as would be expected from an economic consultant.

Check out this report on robots. There's a really neat page on a robot lawnmower.

I wasn't aware that two workers and machinecould reduce labor tenfold. Wait, could it be that we stopped finacing of research into farming technology in 1979 because during President Carter's term because his Agriculture Secretary, Bob Bergland, "didn't want to replace an adequae and willing work force with machines." Wasn't this about the same time we started hearing about how Americans wouldn't take those jobs anyway?

Would it have been better if investment had been made in Mexico to better their lives rather than to import their poverty and create the invasive immigration quagmire in which we find ourselves, perhaps through the law of unintended consequences...or not?


  • At Thu May 11, 07:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Spiney Widgmo said…

    This bothers me the most about illegal immigration. Importing cheap labor doesn't just displace low wage workers, it discourages innovation and makes the entire society poorer.
    1) It discourages employment for higher level workers like engineers, managers, service technicians etc because there is no need to direct capital into development of labor saving equipment.
    2) Indirectly this decreases the need for feeder industries that train these professionals. Ask engineering professors.
    3) Low skill labor primarily benefits the rich. Low skilled labor dereases expenses immediately and does not require the deployment of capital to gain a benefit. In other words they earn an undue reward without a risking a loss. They get additional wealth without any risk and without creating any new value in society. They are rewarded purely for labor arbitrage not for decreasing expenses through innovation.
    5) With socialism lite, many of the costs of this labor are externalized through schools, government subsidies and emergency rooms. This socialism does not exteralize the capital costs, hence it makes labor even cheaper with respect to automation.
    6) The use of cheap labor delays or prevents the invention of methods and hardware that would decrease all future costs associated with a particular job.
    This final one is the one that bugs me the most.
    Because labor is cheap it suppresses the development of less labor intensive and less costly methods. It suppresses automation and innocation. Society as a whole is not improved and we are all poorer.
    This is the path to stagnation and decay.


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