Monday, January 26, 2004

A Discussion With Seth Morgan
Seth Morgan is one of my good friends who is also from Ohio. I am not sure if he is a social democrat, a socialist, or a communist these days, but whatever he is, he is definitely not a limousine liberal. The guy studied econ and agriculture (how often do you see that combo?) so that he could help out indigent farmworkers in Latin America. Then he put his degrees to work the hard way - in the fields with the farmworkers. He's back in the states these days, and has done a lot of work with migrant workers. The guy is brilliant, and with his permission, I thought I'd publish a discussion I've been having. My response and his will be posted in the comments when I get around to it.

Hey Republican....I mean, Elliot!!! What's up man!? Glad you sent the quotes.....although I was a little lost as to the reference of the quotes, here are my initial thoughts....

1) Having worked (and currently working) with illegal, mainly Mexican, ag-workers, if they have the opportunity to achieve legality through amnesty, they will do it; they will grasp legality with or without employer pressure to "keep quiet". Why? For the sheer fact that a legal or illegal
immigrant can easily find another unskilled to low skilled ag job or construction job easily accomplished through family connections and farm contractor relations (typically a Mexican born entrepreneur who now lives in the States and speaks both languages). In fact, it appears much easier for an unskilled Mexican worker to find these jobs because of these connections than for native born Americans. Thus, employer pressure would incite no fear.

2) Penalties for employers....well, the point of hiring illegal immigrants is that a) in the menial agricultural jobs, Mexican workers work harder and are more reliable than domestic hires (for reasons I will not enumerate here) and b) low wage. If we have strong penalties for employment of illegals here, we need penalties for multinationals using cheap labor abroad. It all comes back to the economic (capitalistic) principle of competition. Labor is the single largest cost for production industries....cutting labor costs makes a company more competitive. Since ag companies can not physically move ariable land over seas like Levis, for example, could simply move production over seas, ag-business cannot hide their use of cheap labor. Thus, the years of stagnation over illegal immigration. Our economic system "depends" on cheap labor, workers with no other choice but to work for what they get because of their poor situation. But, it is happening within US borders in respect to ag jobs. What to do? A catch 22. Economics and law with conflicting interests......and, of course, there is the third party...the workers' interest, often ignored.

I will stop there. I await your comments.


Update - The Discussion Continues....

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