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Old 02-14-2010, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 14,792,813 times
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I had a Mexican roommate last summer. He was, like me, studying as part of an REU at the University of South Florida. Although from a poorer state, he was fairly well-off, though not rich. I taught him English, and he taught me Spanish. During one of our conversations in Spanish (before his English was perfected to the degree it is now), I asked from what social class came illegal immigrants. He responded "los pobrecitos" - apparently the informal Mexican word for the lower class.

Now, it is common knowledge that many of the Mexicans immigrating here are of a poor, rural background. When you see "poor" and "rural" together, you automatically think "agriculture". And many of the Mexican immigrants, as they do here, worked in the agricultural sector back home. There were 2.5m illegal Mexicans in the United States in 1995, 8m in 2005. What comprised the "push" from many of the Mexican farms? The answer perhaps lies partially in NAFTA.

NAFTA, designed to promote "free trade" across borders and break down tariffs and other import restrictions, has allowed U.S. corn - subsidized by the government - among other agribusiness goods to compete with corn and other products on the Mexican domestic market. Over 2 million farmers have been driven off their land, while CORN tortilla prices (which you would have expected to decrease) have risen by 50%.

Many illegal aliens, then, have likely immigrated to the U.S. because they couldn't compete with government-subsidized U.S. corn. In Mexico, there are likely few other opportunities for them, at least not that would feed and clothe their families. So they emigrated out of Mexico and into the prosperous States, willing to do any job whose pay they would be able to send home to their family. If they were to remain in Mexico, they would be confined to abject poverty, and their families would suffer, if not die, because of business contracts they had no part in nor any influence over.

I can completely understand opposition to free trade and opposition to immigration - and I also understand support of free trade and support of immigration, since labor markets are geographically elastic. Yet I can not comprehend how one can support free trade agreements such as NAFTA and still oppose the flow of illegal immigration. This would seem heartless to me.

Anybody want to comment?

Immigration Flood Unleashed by NAFTA's Disastrous Impact on Mexican Economy
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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Yes, I will comment. NAFTA needs to come to an end. It neither benefited Mexicans nor Americans. Americans have lost their jobs due to NAFTA also. It is a two-way losing street.
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Old 02-15-2010, 07:36 AM
 
Location: SouthCentral Texas
3,855 posts, read 4,092,848 times
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NAFTA, designed to promote "free trade" across borders and break down tariffs and other import restrictions, has allowed U.S. corn - subsidized by the government - among other agribusiness goods to compete with corn and other products on the Mexican domestic market. Over 2 million farmers have been driven off their land, while CORN tortilla prices (which you would have expected to decrease) have risen by 50%.


Announcement that American Enregy Companies were going to proceed with Bio-fuels production caused the rise in Corn prices...not NAFTA...

Technology Review: Ethanol Demand Threatens Food Prices

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, this year the country is going to use 18 to 20 percent of its total corn crop for the production of ethanol, and by next year that will jump to 25 percent. And that increase, says Marshall Martin, an agriculture economist at Purdue University, "is the main driver behind the price increase for corn."


The jump in corn prices is already affecting the cost of food. The most notable example: in Mexico, which gets much of its corn from the United States, the price of corn tortillas has doubled in the past year,
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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The impact of Nafta on the Mexican corn farmer was known before the accord went into effect. If you have a background in economics, you might know of the concept of comparative advantage. Mexico's comparative advantage is in horticulture: sugar cane, nuts, fruits, etc., which are specific to the region. It was believed that the displaced corn farmers would migrate to the horticulture and service-oriented jobs, which has been the case for many. But the impact of not only NAFTA but the 1994-95 economic crisis in Mexico (50 percent unemployment), its worse ever, was great.

Presently, Mexico has the most free trade agreements of any country: 12 with 44 countries. 90 percent of its trade is within free trade agreements. But if you look at GDP, income, and the banking/credit sector, Mexico has improved a lot. Its sovereign debt is investment grade, unlike many European countries right now. In fact, Jim O'Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, who invented the term BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) has written a report that by the year 2050, Mexico is projected to be the 5th largest economy in the world. Page 9: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/alumni/c...ldmansachs.pdf

But to your point about free trade, I partly agree with you. Cambridge University economics professor Ha-Joon Chang has written a persuasive book ("Bad Samaritans"), in which he argues that only two countries developed within the context of free trade: Holland and Switzerland. The rest, including the US, used protectionist policies such as tariffs (taxes on imports) and subsidies. Read about our first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who put tariffs on imports from Britain to protect American manufacturing; Britain's industries were more efficient. The revolutionary war was partly fought for economic reasons. The Whig Party (precursor to the Republican party) called Hamilton the greatest Treasury Secretary in history and protectionism the "American system." The Southern Democratic party were free traders as they had very cheap labor, slaves, and could compete with anybody. But the North had 10 times the GDP of the South, and we know who won that war. Prof. Chang argues that it is unfair for a developing country like Mexico to directly compete with a developed country like the US; it's akin to Brazil's world cup team playing an U-12 girls team.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Mesa, Az
21,148 posts, read 36,669,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specultr View Post
The impact of Nafta on the Mexican corn farmer was known before the accord went into effect. If you have a background in economics, you might know of the concept of comparative advantage. Mexico's comparative advantage is in horticulture: sugar cane, nuts, fruits, etc., which are specific to the region. It was believed that the displaced corn farmers would migrate to the horticulture and service-oriented jobs, which has been the case for many. But the impact of not only NAFTA but the 1994-95 economic crisis in Mexico (50 percent unemployment), its worse ever, was great.
Presently, Mexico has the most free trade agreements of any country: 12 with 44 countries. 90 percent of its trade is within free trade agreements. But if you look at GDP, income, and the banking/credit sector, Mexico has improved a lot. Its sovereign debt is investment grade, unlike many European countries right now. In fact, Jim O'Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, who invented the term BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) has written a report that by the year 2050, Mexico is projected to be the 5th largest economy in the world. Page 9: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/alumni/c...ldmansachs.pdf
But to your point about free trade, I partly agree with you. Cambridge University economics professor Ha-Joon Chang has written a persuasive book ("Bad Samaritans"), in which he argues that only two countries developed within the context of free trade: Holland and Switzerland. The rest, including the US, used protectionist policies such as tariffs (taxes on imports) and subsidies. Read about our first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who put tariffs on imports from Britain to protect American manufacturing; Britain's industries were more efficient. The revolutionary war was partly fought for economic reasons. The Whig Party (precursor to the Republican party) called Hamilton the greatest Treasury Secretary in history and protectionism the "American system." The Southern Democratic party were free traders as they had very cheap labor, slaves, and could compete with anybody. But the North had 10 times the GDP of the South, and we know who won that war. Prof. Chang argues that it is unfair for a developing country like Mexico to directly compete with a developed country like the US; it's akin to Brazil's world cup team playing an U-12 girls team.
All the more reason to cancel NAFTA----------it is hurting both Mexico as well as the USA.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:47 PM
 
25 posts, read 26,430 times
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"All the more reason to cancel NAFTA----------it is hurting both Mexico as well as the USA."

Globalization and international trade agreements are the future. You and I cannot stop it--no one can. It has a life of its own now. Instead of canceling NAFTA, a more realistic solution would be to reform it.
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Old 02-15-2010, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Mesa, Az
21,148 posts, read 36,669,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specultr View Post
"All the more reason to cancel NAFTA----------it is hurting both Mexico as well as the USA."
Globalization and international trade agreements are the future. You and I cannot stop it--no one can. It has a life of its own now. Instead of canceling NAFTA, a more realistic solution would be to reform it.
Things ebb and flow throughout history; read that the odds are quite high there will be more 'tribalism' in the world on a macro level (nations/regions with similar societies vs. ethnic enclaves).
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:47 PM
 
25 posts, read 26,430 times
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The educated hoi olligoi will keep tribalism in check. After all, there's money to be made. And the standard of living is improving for millions in the world thanks to trade and advances in economics. The hoi polloi might want to see a race war, but it's not going to happen imho. The mass deportations of Mexicans, including US citizens, in the 1930s and in 1954 (Operation *******) are an embarrassment, as are so many of our ancestors' actions predicated on race: massacre of native populations, African slavery, segregation, deportation as racial cleansing, etc.
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Mesa, Az
21,148 posts, read 36,669,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by specultr View Post
The educated hoi olligoi will keep tribalism in check. After all, there's money to be made. And the standard of living is improving for millions in the world thanks to trade and advances in economics. The hoi polloi might want to see a race war, but it's not going to happen imho. The mass deportations of Mexicans, including US citizens, in the 1930s and in 1954 (Operation *******) are an embarrassment, as are so many of our ancestors' actions predicated on race: massacre of native populations, African slavery, segregation, deportation as racial cleansing, etc.
The real embarrassment is not deporting people who have no right to be here-----------read that illegal aliens. Read that it is time for another Operation WB (and that would include any illegal--------not just Mexicans).
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Old 02-16-2010, 07:38 AM
 
Location: San Diego
32,898 posts, read 30,151,453 times
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Self-deportation in that era was not deportation. It was a chosen exodus to counter a previous move made illegally. Mostly by fear of being removed for their offenses.
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