Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Xenophobia And Migration

Show me a town fighting brain drain and I'll show you an intolerant community. Talent retention is local jobs for local graduates. Outsiders, foreign or domestic, need not apply. Matthew Yglesias with some bad intuition:

A related intuition I have that I'd be interested in reading relevant research on is that when you take the basic dynamic of population migration out of the "immigration" context, suddenly people understand it more clearly. When people hear about a town that's attracting many new residents, they say it's "booming" not that the newcomers are poaching a fixed supply of jobs. Nobody in Texas seems to have proposed trying to close the state to migrants from the Northeast and Midwest; rather, they see the state's attraction to migrants as one of its strengths. The "foreign-ness" of newcomers from other countries distracts people from fundamental dynamics that they understand in other contexts.

Emphasis added. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any research comparing attitudes about immigrants and domestic migrants. I don't think we need to bother with the question. California. Okies. Southern Blacks. Northern cities. Carpetbagger. "Gangs of New York".

Perhaps that last one deserves some explanation:

In the month preceding the July 1863 lottery, in a pattern similar to the 1834 anti-abolition riots, antiwar newspaper editors published inflammatory attacks on the draft law aimed at inciting the white working class. They criticized the federal government's intrusion into local affairs on behalf of the "nigger war." Democratic Party leaders raised the specter of a New York deluged with southern blacks in the aftermath of the Emancipation Proclamation. White workers compared their value unfavorably to that of southern slaves, stating that "[we] are sold for $300 [the price of exemption from war service] whilst they pay $1000 for negroes." In the midst of war-time economic distress, they believed that their political leverage and economic status was rapidly declining as blacks appeared to be gaining power. On Saturday, July 11, 1863, the first lottery of the conscription law was held. For twenty-four hours the city remained quiet. On Monday, July 13, 1863, between 6 and 7 A.M., the five days of mayhem and bloodshed that would be known as the Civil War Draft Riots began.

American history is full of such labor tension, whether immigrant or domestic migrant. That continues today with such pejoratives as "Californication":

In the 80′s there was the great Yankee Migration that led to the foundation of the Great Wall of Texas Society (to be built along the Red River).  The GWoTS didn’t build a wall but they did sell a few collectible bricks and hold some darn fine BBQ’s.  At that time a couple of popular bumper stickers were “We Don’t Care How You Did It Up North!” and “Welcome to Texas – Now Go Back”.

Now we have another influx of folks coming to Texas for the jobs, low taxes, etc. only this time they are often from the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.   Which again serves to illustrate that Liberals are like locusts.   They lay waste to a land of plenty and then move on to the next place of bounty and do the same thing.  Having thoroughly screwed up the West Coast, they come here seeking prosperity only to complain that here isn’t like where they came from.  For the sake of clarity: If you come here because you like it here – Welcome!  If you don’t like it here – Go Back!

I'm a Rust Belt refugee and I've lived in a bunch of different places. I'm intimate with the sentiment. The very act of migration is demonized. Those who leave are dead to us. Only those who stay deserve to have jobs. Buy local.

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