In this thread,
I argued - against what seems to have been a unanimous consensus of opinion among babblers - in favour of the export-led development model in which poor countries run trade surpluses in exchange for transfers of capital from rich countries.
The I noticed
this other thread,
where (near the end, after having worked out some other issues) babblers seemed to generally agree that rich countries should be open to immigration from poor countries.
Here's the thing: both stories involve matching rich-country capital with poor-country labour. In one version, the rich-country capital moves to poor countries, and in the other, poor-country workers move to rich countries. Either way, poor country workers are better off. As for rich country workers, well, they'll have problems either way. If poor country workers are willing to work for lower wages, it really doesn't matter if they immigrate or not.
Since both policies amount to pretty much the same thing, and since we're mainly preoccupied by helping the poorest of the poor, economists generally support open borders to people as well as goods and capital. The only quibbles are practicalities: it's generally less disruptive to transfer capital instead of people, since capital doesn't have family and cultural attachments to its homeland. Nor does capital need much in order to integrate into its new home.
So here's my question: Why should poor country workers be obliged to immigrate in order to have access to rich country capital?
[ 18 March 2004: Message edited by: Oliver Cromwell ]