Friday, 29 October 2010



The following by Alistair McConnachie appeared previously in editorials in the August 2005 and October 2006 issues of Sovereignty, and in an article in the May 2006 issue.

Many who defend and promote the huge levels of immigration into the UK are self-styled "anti-capitalists" and "greens" who would be expected to oppose anything -- like mass immigration -- which promotes capitalist economics and unsustainable growth.

Let's consider some of their defences in the light of basic capitalist economics.

Immigrants are the best way to address our essential skills shortage/are needed to fill job vacancies

Basic economics tells us that a skills shortage in any field of labour is always remedied in a market economy by offering higher wages. These rising wages will act as an incentive for people to train to enter these fields.

Consequently, after a few years, the shortage is remedied, while per capita incomes have risen.

However, if shortage of labour is merely remedied by importing ready-trained workers from abroad, then the wage level never rises, and indeed, may fall. At the same time, the shortages will continue because there will be no financial incentive for the indigenous population to train in that field. They will have been dis-incentivised!

This will be exacerbated by the fact that employers will have no incentive to invest in training programmes, because they're able to get ready-trained employees without expense.

Thus the indigenous skills-shortage will continue, and in the long-run, per capita income will fall. The only beneficiaries here are the employers.

And it is not just us saying that, it is the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King. He was reported as saying that the recent migrants from Eastern European EU countries had kept the lid on wages and prevented inflation from rising: "Without this influx to fill the skills gap in a tight labour market it is likely that earnings would have risen at a faster rate, putting upward pressure on the costs of employers and, ultimately, inflation." (Larry Elliot and Charlotte Moore, "Migrants hold down inflation says governor", The Guardian, 14-6-05, p.15.)

In this regard we cannot do better than to quote MigrationWatchUK's Sir Andrew Green and his response in The Daily Mail letters column of 11 May 2006.

Immigration has little effect on vacancies. We had 600,000 vacancies in 2001 when the Government first gave this as a reason for expanding immigration and we still have a similar number, despite net immigration of roughly 900,000 in the same period. The reason is that the number of jobs in an economy isn't fixed. Immigrants also create demand and thus extra vacancies, so there is no end to the cycle. It would be much better if employers trained British workers rather than importing them from abroad. They could also try paying a decent wage to the unskilled, whose pay is being held down by the current large-scale immigration. No wonder some employers are happy.

So why do those who claim to be for "the workers" and against "the employers", support mass immigration? Why should those who claim to speak for the working class support an immigration system which holds down wages for the benefit of the employers?

Why should people like Mike Brider, Scottish secretary of the T&G say to a meeting of Polish immigrants, "T&G Scotland warmly welcomes the role and contribution which migrant workers are making to our economy and communities." (Dave Sherry, "Polish workers organise", Socialist Worker, 14-10-06, p.14)

Does he not have a clue that in October 2006 it was revealed that there are 962,000 claiming jobless benefits in the UK, and a further 3 million on incapacity benefit of which the government estimates one third are fit to return to work? Does he have anything to say about this? No he doesn't! He just wants to suck up to people he thinks will join his "Union" and keep him in a job!

What we are saying is that importing cheaper foreign labour keeps wages low throughout society.

The economy is growing as a result of immigration

Yeah, and so are interest rates, house prices and taxes -- as wages fall.

Obviously, any influx of people will encourage an economy to "grow" in the sense that there are more people needing more goods and services and more economic activity is likely. For example, if we imported the whole of Poland tomorrow we would, overnight, create hundreds of thousands, if not millions of new jobs, and we would have huge economic growth.

But why is that growth, per se, necessarily a good thing? In many ways it would be a very bad thing! You would only consider that a good thing if you were some kind of "capitalist"! Why do those who want a sustainable economy and world, justify immigration levels on the basis of growth?

The indigenous Britons are lazy
Why do those who claim to speak for "the working class" attack the British as lazy and feckless?

Britons are unwilling to do these jobs
Rubbish. That's a slur on British people. There is not a single job in the whole of Britain that a young Briton somewhere is "unwilling" to do…if the price is right. If they are not doing these jobs then it is because the price is wrong, and the price will continue to be wrong just so long as employers are able to keep wages low by importing people.

We have an aging population

Why does that mean we should import young people from abroad! As young people come here, then the countries from which they emigrated will be deprived of their young people, and that will only exacerbate that country's aging population problem.

Immigrants have larger families who will ultimately provide us with a new and motivated workforce

This is arguing that the present British working class should be outbred, and ultimately replaced, by a new class of "super-workers". That is a highly capitalistic, and inhumane, way of viewing the working class and the economy. Why do those who support the workers speak in such busy-bee, hive-style economic terms?

Why some "Leftist" Open-Door Advocates Argue for Immigration on a Capitalist Basis

There are various types of left-wing mass immigration supporter. Some are obsessed with their principle of "equality" which mandates open-borders regardless of how physically damaging in practice. Others don't want to make judgments in case they have to "discriminate", and others simply are doing what they think is "right" because they have never been presented with a sensible alternative. It is to the latter we address the following comments:

We venture to suggest that you who come out with this economic nonsense in order to defend present levels of immigration may not necessarily be "capitalists". So why are you making an argument for capitalist economics, which leads to unsustainable growth? Why are you siding with "the employers"?

It is because instinctively you don't want to be seen to be "nasty" to immigrants. Immigrants, after all, are often fine people. You think that any argument seeking to limit immigration is "racist" -- in the sense of being hostile to immigrants simply because they are immigrants.

Understandably, you want to be seen to be "moral" and "good" and "nice people". So, you don't speak out against the present level of immigration because you can't see any moral or economic alternative to it.

Therefore, you grasp at economic fallacies which sustain present levels of immigration, even though you sense deep down that these arguments are going against your principles of solidarity with the working class, and environmental sustainability.

You want an economic alternative which is fair to all -- fair to the indigenous population, fair to the immigrants, fair to their home countries and which helps these countries to prosper -- and which is not "anti-immigrant", or mean-spirited.

Sovereignty has always argued that there is no contradiction between wanting to stop present levels of immigration and wanting the best for the immigrants and their home countries.

However, it is in glaring contradiction and highly inconsistent, to be against capitalism and unsustainable growth, yet support open borders and mass immigration!

Sovereignty has long championed the principle of Localisation as the moral, economic and sustainable alternative to Globalisation, of which mass immigration is one of its inevitable symptoms.

It is highly consistent, morally and economically, to argue as we do for border controls and localised economics.