Let Anyone Take A Job Anywhere

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

If we value a free market in goods and free movement of capital, should we embrace the free movement of labor? Reciprocal treaties would allow citizens of the U.S. and other countries to work legally across borders. Would the elimination of barriers in the labor market depress wages and flood the marketplace with workers? Or would the benefits of a flexible labor supply be a boon to our economy, all while raising the standard of living for anyone willing to work?

  • Caplan 90

    For

    Bryan Caplan

    Professor of Economics, George Mason University

  • Vivek-Wadhwa90px

    For

    Vivek Wadhwa

    Vice President of Innovations and Research, Singularity University

  • Kathleen-Newland 90px

    Against

    Kathleen Newland

    Co-Founder, Migration Policy Institute

  • RonUnz90x90

    Against

    Ron Unz

    Publisher, The Unz Review & Former Publisher, The American Conservative


    • Moderator Image

      MODERATOR

      John Donvan

      Author & Correspondent for ABC News

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Caplan 90

For The Motion

Bryan Caplan

Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He is the author of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (2008), named "the best political book of the year" by the New York Times, and Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think (2012). He has published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. He blogs at EconLog, named a top economics blog by The Wall Street Journal. Caplan is currently writing a new book, The Case Against Education.

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Vivek-Wadhwa90px

For The Motion

Vivek Wadhwa

Vice President of Innovations and Research, Singularity University

Vivek Wadhwa is Vice President of Innovations and Research at Singularity University; Fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University; Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at the Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University; and distinguished visiting scholar, Halle Institute of Global Learning, Emory University. He is author of The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent (2012), which was named by The Economist as a book of the year. He was named by Foreign Policy Magazine as a Top 100 Global Thinker in 2012. In 2013, Time magazine listed him as one of The 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech.

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Kathleen-Newland 90px

Against The Motion

Kathleen Newland

Co-Founder, Migration Policy Institute

Kathleen Newland is the co-founder and a trustee of the Migration Policy Institute, where she directs policy programs on Migrants, Migration and Development and Refugee Protection. She has worked as a consultant to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labor Organization, the Office of the Secretary-General of the UN, and the World Bank. Prior to MPI, she co-directed the International Migration Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment, lectured in International Political Economy at the London School of Economics, and was the Special Assistant to the Rector of the United Nations University. Currently, she is an overseer, as well as Chair of the Advocacy Committee, of the International Rescue Committee, and a board member of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the Stimson Center, and USA for UNHCR. She is Chair Emerita of the Women’s Refugee Commission. Newland is the author or editor of eight books, in addition to many shorter monographs, book chapters, policy papers, and articles.

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RonUnz90x90

Against The Motion

Ron Unz

Publisher, The Unz Review & Former Publisher, The American Conservative

Ron Unz, the publisher of The Unz Review, is the former publisher of The American Conservative, a small opinion magazine, and is the founder and chairman of UNZ.org, a content-archiving website providing free access to many hundreds of thousands of articles. He previously served as the chairman of Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a financial services software company which he founded in 1987. He has long been deeply interested in public policy issues, and his writings on issues of immigration, race, ethnicity, and social policy have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Nation, and numerous other publications. In 1994, he launched a Republican primary challenge to incumbent Governor Pete Wilson of California, running on a conservative, pro-immigrant platform against the prevailing political sentiment, and received 34% of the vote. Later that year, he campaigned as a leading opponent of Prop. 187, the anti-immigration initiative.

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Declared Winner: Against The Motion

Online Voting

Voting Breakdown:
 

49% voted the same way in BOTH pre- and post-debate votes (28% voted FOR twice, 16% voted AGAINST twice, 5% voted UNDECIDED twice). 51% changed their minds (15% voted FOR then changed to AGAINST, 3% voted FOR then changed to UNDECIDED, 4% voted AGAINST then changed to FOR, 1% voted AGAINST then changed to UNDECIDED, 11% voted UNDECIDED then changed to FOR, 18% voted UNDECIDED then changed to AGAINST). Breakdown Graphic

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    24 comments

    • Comment Link Amaroq Sunday, 27 October 2013 02:36 posted by Amaroq

      Yes, people should be free to immigrate anywhere and work anywhere they wish. But we have to establish the context this question is being asked in.

      Ideally, the market should be truly free. A truly laissez-faire capitalism, with no regulation and no taxes. The government should be very limited, solely to the role of police, courts, and army. All of which should be funded and staffed on a voluntary basis.

      In that context, open immigration should absolutely be allowed.

      However, in today's context, the government's iron grip on our economy and our lives has created a conflict of interest between citizens and immigrants. It is mainly the welfare state that is creating this conflict of interest. It creates an incentive for immigrants to come here and -not- work and receive other peoples' money in the form of welfare benefits.

      Keep in mind though, that this conflict of interest is an artificial one created by the government. We should move toward a freer society, where everyone is able to take whatever actions they wish in the economy (as long as they aren't committing force or fraud). And then it will be in everyone's interest to have open immigration, and we should very well encourage open immigration at that time.

      The freer the market is, the more we have to gain from open immigration and letting anyone take a job everywhere. The more unfree the market is, the more likely we are to simply be exploited by those immigrants looking for a free ride from the system that forces us to give them our money. (This goes for everyone who wants a free ride from the state. But the topic is about immigration, so I focused on that.)

    • Comment Link June in PA Wednesday, 23 October 2013 16:23 posted by June in PA

      Wages for US workers have already been stagnant for years due to the influx of cheaper foreign or illegal alien labor. With millions of US citizens out of work, this policy will further damage our citizens. The only benefit is lower labor costs for unscrupulous businesses. Who will buy their products or services when we're working at part time minimum wage jobs?

    • Comment Link Scott Moreland Wednesday, 23 October 2013 11:58 posted by Scott Moreland

      I am firmly FOR the globalization of labor, not only for those that would come to the US for opportunities, but also for those US citizens that are increasingly finding that some of the best and most exciting jobs are found overseas. If the US is resistant to a simple and inclusive work visa program, we can expect in-kind reciprocation, as well as ill-will from our global partners. We do a disservice to our citizens by limiting their opportunities to find work abroad.

      Also, it is an unfortunate reality that the US is no longer the premier cultivator of ambitious and educated innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs, and other drivers of social progress. We DO enjoy many strong and revered institutions, state-of-the art research and educational facilities, and a high quality of life that attract these kinds of people, if only we let them come.

      For unskilled labor, we already outsource work when it becomes too expensive to produce domestically. Instead of exporting manufacturing and services, why not bring unskilled laborers (and prospective consumers) legally to our country, and keep the corporate taxes as well as new individual consumer revenues here in this country?

    • Comment Link Gloria Fleming Saturday, 24 August 2013 20:06 posted by Gloria Fleming

      I am glad I get to vote on these debates!!

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