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An Economics-Minded Reader Questions Skill Transfers
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January 29, 2007, 04:00 AM
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Re: James Fulford`s Thomas Sowell On Economics And Immigration

From: An Economics-Minded Reader

With regard to your Sowell piece, the brewer technology example that you mention is very good.  Importing technological and scientific skills not available here, as we did between the World Wars and which were necessary for national defense, makes perfectly good sense.  But is that the present case?

I doubt it.  In what areas are the people exporting countries ahead of us?  It is certainly advantageous to businesses and universities to keep payrolls down by importing people.  They can offer the lure of gaining access to all that Americans have invested in their country and that their home countries have not. Of course, equally-qualified natives can not compete with this subsidy and must give up working in these areas, at least in part, unless they are positively superior to the imported labor.

James Fulford writes: see Latin American Immigration Unlikely to Spark A New Renaissance and The Arts May Need Trade, But Not Immigration by Steve Sailer for more on why modern-day Mexican immigration is not the same as nineteenth-century Braumeister immigration.

Sowell`s point was that "skills have never been evenly or randomly distributed, whether between ethnic groups, nations, regions, or civilizations." What that means is that if the labor force in a particular occupation doesn`t "Look like America" it may not be the result of a plot. But modern mass immigration is actually lowering the average skill level of American workers.