Actors Equity And Unamerican Actors
October 11, 2007, 03:44 AM
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Actors Equity is a violently liberal union. When Joseph McCarthy was investigating Un-American Activities like Communism, they were for said Un-American Activities. Their webpages on the Cold War and Vietnam indicate that they were on the losing side of the Cold War, but the winning side of the Vietnam War.

But economist George Borjas has been reading the Actors Equity contract,[PDF] and is impressed by their capitalistic and somehow nativist grasp of the Law Of Supply And Demand as it applies to foreign vs. American actors.

Provision 3(F) struck me the most:

Notwithstanding any of the above provisions, it is the purpose of this rule that a balance be maintained so that in each country where English is spoken, the number of non-resident aliens from each such country admitted to perform under this Rule shall not exceed the number of United States citizens employed in the theatre in such foreign country. It is understood that while absolute equality in numbers is not capable of attainment, it is nevertheless the intention of this Rule that failure to adhere to this precept violates the letter and spirit of this Rule.

In other words, the number of non-resident alien actors originating from an English-speaking country cannot exceed the number of American actors working in that country.

Actors' Equity, of course, knows something about the laws of supply and demand (even if some economists have somehow forgotten them in this context): the wages of American actors are kept high by such restrictions.

Just imagine how the U.S. labor market would look if workers in other industries had labor contracts that restricted supply along the same lines as the "enlightened" and "progressive" entertainment industry.[The Borjas Blog: Immigration Is Good For Thee, But Not For Me]