[linux-elitists] Re: H1-B

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Tue Feb 18 06:00:17 PST 2003

on Tue, Feb 18, 2003 at 11:08:11AM +0200, Bulent Murtezaoglu (bm@acm.org) wrote:
> >>>>> "KMS" == Karsten M Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com> writes:
> [...]
>     KMS> Whether it surprises you or not, that's actually pretty close
>     KMS> to my argument.  Compete.  But on equal terms.  
> How will this be possible? I'm asking mostly out of ignorance.
> Especially the 'equal terms' bit.  International competition usually
> has a large element of inequality even for pure labor.  Legal/tax
> overhead is different, standards of living are different etc. etc.
> This is different from the differences in educational systems,
> culture / work ethic etc. but might actually be almost as significant
> a factor (try tracking debian in a country where even 24h dial up access
> costs $100-200 a month for example).

That's part of the bundle.

When you pick an area to do work in, you're buying a package deal:  the
local infrastructure, prevailing working conditions, employment laws,
labor rates.  Not to mention tarrif, import, tax, and regulatory issues.

You're also dealing with the fact that the local labor force (or a
significant fraction) likely would prefer working in conditions more
favorable to itself.  A global free market has two countervailing
forces:  business seeking lower costs, and labor seeking higher returns

I'm not saying that it's fully equal terms, but there's some balance.

>     KMS> And clean up
>     KMS> after the mess if you're stuck with a bunch of bodies, don't
>     KMS> just ship 'em back where they came from.
> I think the "open up the borders, let 'em compete" approach might have
> been at least tenable had the US had a more liberitarian sort of
> employment/taxation/SS system.  Barring that, the moment someone steps
> on a payroll, several issues arise that necessitate breaking the
> equality aim.  Taking responsibility for people who come over and
> find themselves in non-viable conditions creates more issues.  They
> migh not be insurmountable, but I just don't see how one would deal
> with them even in the abstract and I certainly don't see how these
> solutions could be implemented through a democracy.  Again, this is my
> ignorance rather than convictions.  

That's also part of what I'm shooting for.  H-1B was a way for business
to argue for increased inmigration without taking full accountability
for consequences.  Add the consequences to the equation, and the
relative merits of looking after your own first tend to ramp up.  I see
that as a more balanced accounting for issues.

> If A1='open up the borders', B1='they knew the rules
> when they came over', A2=we'll regulate who comes in and why"
> B2="we'll take care of them when the economy goes south."  the 
> combination that seems toughest to arrange is A1B2.  (A2B1 is closest
> to the present system).   Am I missing anything major here?

WRT B1:  research the general topic of informational assymetries.  It's
a major topic in economics (one of the principles of free markets is
that information is equally available to both sides -- it's one of the
more frequently violated assumptions).  Getting full information on
labor, working, and living conditions when you're half a planet away is
difficult at best.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   Remember Ed Curry!  http://www.iwethey.org/ed_curry/

More information about the linux-elitists mailing list