Barry R. Chistwick wrote an anti-immigrant in today's NY Times. I have had no training in economics, and would appreciate any comments that might help me understand his position better. I am especially confused by these three issues:
- He talks of the "goods that other countries can produce more efficiently", but he seems to really mean that 'they can produce more cheaply.' To an economist, are these terms synonymous? A country that pays a child pennies for his labor, or even uses slave labor, will produce a T-Shirt more cheaply than we can in the U.S.? Is this "more efficient"?
- He states that new immigrants are not evenly distributed in the U.S, and instead are concentrated in the "big six" - California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas. If you forget New Jersey, the remaining "big five" for immigrants are the "big five" for everyone else in this country. They are the five most populous states in the U.S. (New Jersey is #10.) What's the point?
- He then takes it to the next level, and points out the unequal distribution of where the immigrants move to within those states: "while there are many in New York City"... "relatively few are in upstate New York." It might be news to Chiswick, but nobody is moving to upstate New York. It's population decreases each year. What is the significance of stating that immigrants are not moving to places that American workers are fleeing from
Chiswick seems to be one of a thankfully small group of academics whose opinions are supported by "facts" - facts which are utterly without relevance to the argument at hand.