NYT: "Immigrants Keep an Iowa Meatpacking Town Alive and Growing"
May 31, 2017, 08:00 PM
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From the New York Times:

Immigrants Keep an Iowa Meatpacking Town Alive and Growing

Waves of Asian, African and Latino newcomers have filled jobs at pork, egg and turkey plants where wages have fallen and work has grown more grueling.


STORM LAKE, Iowa — When Dan Smith first went to work at the pork processing plant in Storm Lake in 1980, pretty much the only way to nab that kind of union job was to have a father, an uncle or a brother already there. The pay, he recalled, was $16 an hour, with benefits — enough to own a home, a couple of cars, a camper and a boat, while your wife stayed home with the children.

“It was the best-paying job you could get, 100 percent, if you were unskilled,” said Mr. Smith, now 66, who followed his father through the plant gates.

After nearly four decades at the plant, most of them as a forklift driver, Mr. Smith is retiring this month.

In his 37 years at the meatpacking plant in Storm Lake, it has changed dramatically.

The union is long gone, and so are most of the white faces of men who once labored in the broiling heat of the killing floor and the icy chill of the production lines. What hasn’t changed much is Mr. Smith’s hourly wage, which is still about $16 an hour, the same as when he started 37 years ago. Had his wages kept up with inflation, he would be earning about $47 an hour.

Reading about how immigration is good for The Economy and how how immigration has, thank God, kept Storm Lake growing, I’m reminded about Stephen Jay Gould’s complaints about “reification.” In the Wikipedia article on Gould’s Science Denialist bestseller about IQ, The Mismeasure of Man:
According to Gould, the methods harbor “two deep fallacies.” The first fallacy is “reification”, which is “our tendency to convert abstract concepts into entities”[3] such as the intelligence quotient (IQ) and the general intelligence factor (g factor), which have been the cornerstones of much research into human intelligence.
Similarly, the important thing is immigration is good for The Economy. It hasn’t been good for Mr. Smith, but that it has been bad for the personal economies of the Mr. Smiths of America is just the cherry on top. The important thing is the good of The Economy.

[Comment at Unz.com]
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