Immigration, Overpopulation, Libertarianism, Wages for the Poor

(read from the bottom up)

Why do I share correspondences like this on the LRC blog? I do so, because in so many things, I like to emulate my friend and mentor, Murray Rothbard. Murray had a voluminous correspondence. Pretty much anyone who wrote him a non-impolite letter, would get a response from Murray. It is the same with me. Murray was unable to share this correspondence widely, given the technology under which he labored; I’ve got the advantage over him in that regard. However, it is my understanding that the Mises Institute will start published this correspondence. When this occurs, we will all be the better for it. Lookit, I’m not trying to compare myself with Murray, in any way other than we both write a published a lot. But he’s somewhere up there, looking down upon us, and, I think, cheering those of us on who are trying to bring honor to him, to promote liberty, as he has done. My thought is that if there is one person who was interested in my thoughts on Austro-libertarianism, there might well be others. Hence, these blogs.

Dear Chris:

Worried about over population? Read these:

Bauer, 1981; Boudreaux, 2008; Desrochers, 2015;  Friedman, 1972, 1977; Gaylor and Weil, 2000; Robbins, 1928, 1966; Rothbard, 2011; Say, 1821; Simon, 1981, 1990, 1996; Sowell, 1983; Williams, 1999; Wittman, 2000

Bauer, Peter. 1981. “The Population Explosion: Myths and Realities,” in Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Boudreaux, Don. 2008. “Optimal Population?” April 8;

Optimal Population?

Desrochers, Pierre. 2015. “The Simon-Ehrlich Wager 25 years on; As the famous environmentalist bet showed, Malthusians are always wrong.”

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-simonehrlich-wager-25-years-on/17482#.Vm4zL09Ig5s

Friedman, David. 1972. Laissez Faire in Population: the Least Bad Solution, New York: Population Council

Friedman, David. 1977. “A theory of the size and shape of nations.” Journal of Political Economy, 85:59-77.

Gaylor, Oded, and David N. Weil. 2000. “Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond,” American Economic Review  90 (September): 806-828

Robbins, Lionel. 1928. “The Optimum Theory of Population” in London Essays in Economics: in Honour of Edwin Cannan, eds. T. Gregory and H. Dalton. Routledge: Abingdon, UK.

According to google books (link- https://books.google.com/books/about/London_Essays_in_Economics.html?id=HydBAAAAIAAJ ) the publisher is Routledge.

According to their Historical Resource website (link- https://www.routledgehistoricalresources.com/economic-thought/books/london-essays-in-economics), they are located in Abingdon, UK. If you follow this link and click the “cite” button in the middle right of the page, several versions of the full citation appear however these are dated in 2013.

Robbins, Lionel. 1966.  The theory of economic development in the history of economic thought. “Lecture two: population and returns.” pp. 22-33; London: Macmillan, St Martin’s; http://library.mises.org/books/Lionel%20Robbins/The%20Theory%20of%20Economic%20Development.pdf

Rothbard, Murray N. 2011. “Malthus and the Assault on Population.” August 2;  http://mises.org/daily/5501/

Say, Jean-Baptiste. 1821. Letters to Mr. Malthus. https://mises.org/library/letters-mr-malthus

Simon, Julian. 1981. The Ultimate Resource, Princeton: Princeton University Press

Simon, Julian, 1990. “The Unreported Revolution in Population in Population Economics.” The Public Interest.  Fall:89-100.

Simon, Julian. 1996. The Ultimate Resource II. Princeton University Press

Simon, Julian. 1996. The Ultimate Resource II. Princeton University Press

Sowell, Thomas. 1983. The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspective. New York: Morrow.

Williams, Walter E. 1999. “Population control nonsense.” Jewish World Review; Feb. 24

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams022499.asp

Wittman, Donald. 2000. “The Wealth and Size of Nations.” Journal of Conflict Resolution.Vol. 44, No. 6, pp. 868-884

According to Sowell (1983): “Every human being on the face of the Earth could be housed in the state of Texas in one-story, single-family homes, each with a front and a back yard. A family of four would thus have 6,800 square feet- about the size of the typical middle-class American home with front and backyards.”

The bet:: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager

Best regards,

Walter

From: C

Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 10:17 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Walter,

Re: “Immigration and Homesteading”

How to handle disputes? Two homesteaders want the same piece of land?

“For us to attain a libertarian society, not only would Ron Paul have

to be president, but he would have to have the support of both houses of congress and

numerous state legislatures to boot. This will not bloody likely happen. Therefore, open

borders, it cannot be denied, will result in the domestic population being overcome.”

“From a utilitarian point of view, we do greater harm to them by

being unclear about what libertarianism is all about, than by seizing temporary relief. From

a realpolitik point of view, we libertarians can afford to take am unadulterated position.

We are not in charge of immigration policy. Our views will be little noted,[nor long remembered] and certainly not implemented, by the powers that be.”

Although I have labeled myself an anti-war bleeding heart Ron Paul Libertarian, I confess that I have not studied Libertarianism or NAP. I believe in live and let live, being neighborly, smaller government, less “unjust enrichment”, and birth control so our 7 billion does not become 10 billion.  I am not too concerned about immigrant criminals. Most all immigrants I know are fine people. I fear the horde and I support anything to stop it. Even a violation of Libertarian principles and NAP.

By the way, I cannot find:  Block, Walter E. 1988. Dollars and Sense: “Migration patterns tell real story.” January 12.  I only find references to it.

Best C

On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 1:21 PM wrote:

Dear Walter,

I am reading your pubs one a day and I comment upon them as I go.

Best, C

On Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 11:15 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear C:

I take it you have not read my pubs on this subject.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: C

Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 10:46 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Walter,

Re: HOPPE, KINSELLA AND ROTHBARD II ON IMMIGRATION: A CRITIQUE 2011

A thought experiment: Open our borders. The Chinese government wishes to takeover the USA. They just send over 300 million Chinese. China conquers the U.S. without guns, just some money.

A thought: Our family may not wish to take any immigrants into our home. Could our neighborhood decide collectively not to accept immigrants, could our city, our state, our nation?

Even if open borders is consistent with Libertarianism, are the consequences desirable?

Another thought: We own our home on a 1/3 acre lot. I think the Libertarian view is that I can decide unilaterally who is invited in and who is not. Say I purchase a 1/3 acre lot on the California/Mexican border. I think I would have the same right of who is invited in and who is not. Take that to the extreme: I buy a 100ft strip of land from the Pacific to the Gulf Coast. Could I still decide who is invited in and who is not?

Best, C

On Mon, Nov 12, 2018 at 9:14 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear C:

My pleasure.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: C

Sent: Monday, November 12, 2018 8:49 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Walter,

Re: “The Libertarian Case for Free Immigration”

I benefit economically from immigration due to low prices, yet do not suffer because I am not in the labor pool. I have quipped, “I share the gain, but not the pain”. Seems like “unjust enrichment”.

You even validate my concern: “it is true that under some circumstances, workers in

the receiving country (and capital and land in the country or origin), will lose out. Conversely, capitalists and land owners in the receiving country gain from the cooperation of a larger supply of labor,”

Which workers have lost out and by how much? I have not been able to find the data, but there are a lot of unhappy workers out there that know what is in their pay checks. They look around and (in California) a quarter of their coworkers are foreign born. Their desire to reduce immigration is understandable even without PhDs in economics.

Walter, Thanks for sharing decades of your work,

C

On Sun, Nov 11, 2018 at 5:11 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear C:

Good luck to you on this.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: C

Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2018 2:44 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Walter,

I am starting at the top of your list of documents: “The Illogical Fear of Automation, Falling Wages, and Falling Prices.”

Your argument for automation makes sense to me. I do not, however, see that “The same reasoning applies to immigration”. Immigration does increase the GDP. It does lower labor costs. It does lower prices. BUT, it does not improve productivity. It benefits people, such as myself, who are not in the labor market. My guess is that the reduction in prices does not make up for the reduction in wages for our laboring folks.

Perhaps the next article in your list will enlighten me.

Best,

C

On Sun, Nov 11, 2018 at 8:51 AM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear C:

I look forward to seeing your reaction to my solution to this problem: privatize everything.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: C

Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2018 1:31 AM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Old Man,

You have really researched and thought about the immigration issue. I agree that I have no legal or moral right to the value of my properties. In our situation, 100% of the recent sales in our neighborhood have been to Asian and Indian buyers for cash at prices 100 times the original (mid 1960’s) prices of the homes. It is legal, but I am not obligated to like it. I would like to see our laws changed.

I read your “A response to the libertarian critics of open-borders libertarianism” I intend to read more of your articles.

I have described myself as a “bleeding heart anti-war libertarian” I believe in “live and let live” while being neighborly. I also believe that we, the United States, have a good thing going. Our land, resources, our culture, our Constitution, our common language, our economy. My sense is that permanent immigration in the last few years has made things worse for the majority of our citizens. It benefits the immigrants and benefits our richer citizens. Communication and establishing a rapport are much easier between people who are native American English speakers. Example our Blue Cross statement is in 19 different languages. I submit that the first priority of our government is the welfare of our citizens above the welfare of the rest of world. Our government has the right to decide who is allowed to come into our country. I advocate that we enact laws to stop all permanent immigration. If citizens feel a moral obligation to help the rest of the world, and I do, then we citizens should support massive birth control programs for the rest of the world.

I oppose open borders because I have spent time in India and I would not like to see the population of the U.S. approach a billion. I feel that 320 million is more than enough. And we have enough of our own problems, we do not need to import more.

Thanks for listening to my rant,

C

On Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 6:27 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear Young Pup (I’m 77, so I think I’ve got you beat in this dimension):

Yes, if most immigrants are computer nerds, other things equal, this will tend to drive down the wages of our local computer nerds. On the other hand, if most immigrants are unskilled, other things equal, this will tend to drive down the wages of our local unskilled people. It all depends upon what types of immigrants we get, and that keeps changing.

I personally, am more worried about rape-fugees, and truck bombing-fugees than I am about changing neighborhoods, but, I feel for your plight. It is indeed a serious one. Clint Eastwood was recently in a movie about this sort of thing. I think the only way to protect yourself from that is to purchase a house in the middle of a 100 acre plot. No changing local neighborhoods, then.

This article of mine demonstrates that property owners own, only, their physical property, not its value:

Hoppe, Hans-Hermann and Walter E. Block. 2002. “Property and Exploitation,” International Journal of Value-Based Management, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 225-236; http://www.mises.org/etexts/propertyexploitation.pdf

I think we can extrapolate from that to say that the property owners’ rights are not violated if a new group of people move in. Consider gentrification. Very rich people move into a neighborhood. There are now different kinds of stores. The older inhabitants resent this. But, have their rights been violated? I think not.

I hope this is helpful to you.

If you are interested, here are all my pubs on immigration:

Block, 1983A, 1983B, 1988, 1990, 1998, 2004, 2011A, 2011B, 2013, 2016A, 2016B, 2017; Block and Callahan, 2003; Deist, 2018; Gregory and Block, 2007;

Block, Walter E. 1983A. “How immigrants CREATE jobs,” North Shore News, p. A6, January 30; http://tinyurl.com/2xklvn

Block, Walter E. 1983B. “Protect Canadian Jobs From Immigrants?” Dollars and Sense. February 7; reprinted in Block, Walter E. 2008. Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective: Employing the Unemployable.  London, UK: World Scientific Publishing; http://www.amazon.ca/Labor-Economics-Free-Market Perspective/dp/9812705686/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336603241&sr=1-7;

Available for free here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B00FX9dsY4zJNXU5SmVKYVBQOWs/edit?usp=sharing;

http://direitasja.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/labor-economics-from-a-free-market-perspective-walter-block.pdf

Block, Walter E. 1988. Dollars and Sense: “Migration patterns tell real story.” January 12;

Block, Walter E. 1990.  “Immigration,” Fraser Forum, January, pp. 22-23.

Block, Walter E. 1998. “A Libertarian Case for Free Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies: An Interdisciplinary Review, Vol. 13, No. 2, summer, pp. 167-186; http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/13_2/13_2_4.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2004. “The State Was a Mistake.” Book review of Hoppe, Han-Hermann, Democracy, The God that Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order, 2001May 25. http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1522

Block, Walter E. 2011A. “Hoppe, Kinsella and Rothbard II on Immigration: A Critique.” Journal of Libertarian Studies; Vol. 22, pp. 593–623; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_29.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2011B. “Rejoinder to Hoppe on Immigration,” Journal of Libertarian Studies Vol. 22: pp. 771–792; http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_38.pdf

Block, Walter E. 2013. “Rejoinder to Todea on the ‘Open’ Contract of Immigration.” The Scientific Journal of Humanistic Studies, Vol. 8, No. 5, March, pp. 52-55

Block, Walter E. 2015. “On immigration.” December 21;

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2015/12/walter-block-on-immigration.html

Block, Walter E. 2016A. “Contra Hoppe and Brat on immigration.” Management Education Science Technology journal, Vol 4, No. 1, pp. 1-10; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2016/Sadrzaj_eng.html; http://mest.meste.org/MEST_1_2016/7_01.pdf; (1333)

Block, Walter E. 2016B. “A response to the libertarian critics of open-borders libertarianism,” Lincoln Memorial University Law Review; Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 142-165; http://digitalcommons.lmunet.edu/lmulrev/vol4/iss1/6/;

http://digitalcommons.lmunet.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1071&context=lmulrev

Block, Walter E. 2017. “Immigration and Homesteading.” March. The Journal Jurisprudence. Vol. 35, pp. 9-42; http://www.jurisprudence.com.au/juris35/block.pdf

Block, Walter E. and Gene Callahan. 2003. “Is There a Right to Immigration? A Libertarian Perspective,” Human Rights Review. Vol. 5, No. 1, October-December, pp. 46-71; http://www.walterblock.com/publications/block-callahan_right-immigrate-2003.pdf

Deist, Jeff. 2018. “Block on immigration.” September 4;

https://mises.org/library/immigration-roundtable-walter-block

Gregory, Anthony and Walter E. Block. 2007. “On Immigration: Reply to Hoppe.” Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. 21, No. 3, Fall, pp. 25-42; http://mises.org/journals/jls/21_3/21_3_2.pdf; http://www.academia.edu/1360109/On_Immigration_Reply_to_Hoppe;

https://mises.org/system/tdf/21_3_2.pdf?file=1&type=document

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: C

Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2018 8:08 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Re: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Walter,

Thank you so much for your response. Please help me to understand.

I am an old retired engineer/business owner born a few miles from here. In the past 70+ years I have been witness to a six fold increase in this area’s population. Open fields and orchards turning into houses and businesses, overcrowding and congestion. I do not like it. Immigration is an obvious and very visible part of the increase. We have lived in our house for 40 years. About 1000 of these houses were built in the mid sixties. I am now a stranger in in my own land. When I walk 90% of the people I see are from a different culture and language. Nice people, I am sure, but If I want to be with an interesting culture I can hop on a plane. Net result, I oppose anymore immigration.

I am looking for a good political argument to support ending permanent immigration. In the process I have to avoid the danger my decision theory professor warned, “Believing is seeing”.

I see in our neighborhood there are no kids cutting grass. 100% of the grass cutters are foreign born. Kids do not have summer jobs doing manual labor. They go to summer school or have “internships” or travel. I did manual labor during my summers and was well paid. I suspect that is no longer true.

You say that “Immigration boosts domestic wages of some parts of the labor market, and reduce the of others, it all depends upon the skills of the immigrants.” Let us focus on “wages for the poor”. Is there solid data that shows that immigration depresses wages of the poor? I took Economics 1. It would seem that increasing the supply of unskilled laborers when the demand is constant would result in a reduction in wages.

Thanks again for your response,

C

On Sat, Nov 10, 2018 at 3:16 PM Walter Block <wblock@loyno.edu> wrote:

Dear C:

Thanks for your very thoughtful response to my essay.

We need not wait two years to find this out. There is already a wealth of empirical findings on these sorts of questions. The only trouble with them is that they contradict one another.

In my reading of this literature, immigration boosts domestic wages of some parts of the labor market, and reduces that of others; it all depends upon the skills of the immigrants. And this is continually changing.

Best regards,

Walter

Walter E. Block, Ph.D.

Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics

Loyola University New Orleans

6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318

New Orleans, LA 70118

wblock@loyno.edu

Skype: Walter.Block4

tel: (504) 864-7934

From: C

Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2018 4:36 PM

To: wblock@loyno.edu

Subject: Wages for Poor and Immigration

Dear Professor Block,

I read your article “How to raise Wages for the Poor” in The November 8 issue of The Epoch Times.

Yes, “All to many people still aren’t participating in the labor force.”

Yes, “We have more job openings than job seekers.” But, but I sense that these potential “seekers” just do not want to work for crappy wages.

Some economists have opined that the very recent increase in wages was due a tightening of the labor market. Supply and demand?

In California 27% of the population is foreign born, at least according to our Governor Jerry Brown. I would think that there is a similar percentage in the labor supply and that this increase in the labor pool would depress wages, especially for the poor.  A thought experiment on a micro scale: In Silicon Valley, Vietnamese women are the vast majority of manicurists. Send them all home with a generous stipend. What is going to happen to the price of manicures? Affluent people will pay more for manicures.

Now let’s do a real experiment on macro scale: Institute a 2 year moratorium on all immigration and see what happens to wages for the poor.

Respectfully yours,

C

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2:38 am on April 20, 2019