Claremont Review of Books on We Wanted Workers

Christopher Caldwell has a very thoughtful review of We Wanted Workers in the latest issue of the Claremont Review of Books. He raises so many interesting points that I am going to have to mull over them for a while. His concluding paragraph, and especially that last sentence, catches in a nutshell the core of the immigration debate these days:

If…immigration suppresses the wages of workers, and transfers much of their wealth to elites, then liberalized immigration is a policy that cannot be carried out without simultaneous injuries to democracy. For why would native workers favor a system that makes them poorer? Perhaps they have somehow been hoodwinked out of an accurate assessment of the effects of the system. Perhaps they have lost their purchase on democracy itself. Either way, in exchange for a nickel here and a nickel there, we appear to have created a political problem of considerable gravity.

True, true.

Author: George Borjas

I am a Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.