Ron Unz On An Intelligence Squared Debate About Open Borders
November 01, 2013, 09:30 PM
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Ron Unz emails on an Intelligence Squared Debate in New York:

NYC Immigration Debate

I just returned from a brief trip to NYC to participate in an Intelligence Squared debate on the proposal "Let Anyone Take a Job Anywhere," which went very well.
 
As a useful means of gauging the impact of the arguments, the organizers take before and after votes of the large New York City studio audience, and unsurprisingly the Open Borders proposition started off with a landslide majority in favor.  But after nearly two hours of discussion, with the arguments of both sides getting reasonable airing, there was a swing of 32 points against the idea, allowing our side to win handily.  Apparently, the swing in audience opinion may have been the sharpest for that any recent debate, perhaps illustrating the rather one-sided presentation of the issue in the major elite media.  The show is being broadcast on NPR stations and is also apparently carried by some PBS stations, but can most easily be watched on-line at the Intelligence Squared website.  Everyone can draw their own conclusions about the effectiveness of the arguments made.
 
One unexpected and very heartening aspect of the debate was the strong and recurring endorsement of my Minimum Wage Proposal by Prof. Vivek Wadhwa, one of my opponents.  He very reasonably argued that a much higher minimum wage—probably in the range of the $12.00 per hour I`ve frequently suggested—would constitute a  crucial component of any proposal to allow much larger numbers of foreign workers to come to America and would greatly alleviate many of the economic ill effects of our high existing levels of immigration.  However, his partner, Prof. Bryan Caplan, a much more doctrinaire libertarian economist, took strong exception to his, arguing that the complete opening of American borders to foreign workers should be coupled with the elimination of all existing minimum wage laws, a combination of government policies whose social consequences would seem quite doubtful in my own opinion.
 
During the trip I also met with a group of Asian-American parents in NYC who had invited me to discuss the findings of my Meritocracy research with them and seem determined to do what they can to publicize and eliminate the secret racial quotas currently used by the Ivy League universities to restrict the admission rates of high-performing Asian students.  Given the total unwillingness of the universities themselves or the American courts to address the issue, efforts by such parents constitute the only hope of change taking place in the future, and I wish them very well.
 
As for me, it`s now back to furious programming, with the hope that my new project may finally be ready for official release within another few days.[Emphases added]