Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2010
Immigration in a Division of Labor Economy

We continue with Prof. Reisman, who applies the principles of population and the division of labor to the issue of immigration.

7. Free Immigration

It is necessary to address the issue of free immigration, which is closely related to the subject of population growth. This section will show that free immigration is in the long-run material self-interest of the citizens of a capitalist country.

The words capitalist country must be stressed. To the extent that a country has a welfare system, tax-supported hospitals and schools, public housing, and so on, and the immigrants come to take advantage of these offerings, the effect is a corresponding loss to the present inhabitants of the country, who have to pay the costs. The above proposition applies to a country insofar as it is without these and other welfare-state-type programs—a country in which the immigrants must be self-supporting and themselves pay for whatever they receive. By the same token, the freedom of a country implies the absence of economic disabilities imposed on immigrants: there are no minimum-wage laws or pro-union legislation to prevent them from gaining employment, and no legal obstacles to their starting businesses, buying land, and so on.

Under such conditions, the freedom of immigration must ultimately prove economically beneficial to everyone. Because among the immigrants and their descendants will be individuals of great talent, capable of achieving great things in a free country, but who would be stifled and be able to contribute little or nothing in the lands of their origin. In effect, the freedom of immigration into a free country from countries that are less free or unfree is a vital means of unlocking human talent and increasing the gains from the pyramid of ability.

As a simple example, one should consider what would have been the effect on Andrew Carnegie, and not just on the American but on the world steel industry, if he had been prevented from immigrating to the United States and confined to the less free environment of Scotland and Great Britain. One should consider what would have been the effect on the development of the helicopter if Sikorsky had been prevented from immigrating to the United States from Russia. Is it likely that the Russians would have seen the value of his ideas before they had been proved by actual repeated demonstration in the United States?

Indeed, we should consider the effects if the ancestors of any American industrial innovator had had to remain in their native lands, and thus that person have been born and spent his life in a country like Italy, Poland, Russia, or Germany, or even France or Great Britain, instead of the United States. Probably most of the innovators would have been stifled or at least significantly held back.

The historical advantage noted in the previous section, of the people of the United States having access to more business talent than the people of any European country, was due to America’s policy of greater economic freedom in general combined with her policy of free immigration in particular. The latter gave the United States a larger population from which to draw such talent, while the former ensured that in the larger population a greater frequency of such talent would be manifested, because freedom is the essential condition for the development and flowering of such talent. The combination of free immigration and general economic freedom thus results both in more people and, at the same time, as an inextricable part of the same process, a rate of economic progress that is not only rapid, but also further accelerated by virtue of the immigration. Simply put, free immigration into a free country accelerates economic progress, because talent requires freedom in order to flourish. Free immigration into a free country brings talent to freedom, and so enables more of it to develop and contribute to economic progress. The acceleration of economic progress it achieves ultimately far outstrips whatever short-run problems may accompany an increase in immigration.

Our teacher is Prof. George Reisman. His book, Capitalism, is one of the best economics texts ever written. It is thoroughly Free Market in perspective. We recommend purchasing the book using the link at right. You can also view the book online for free here.[pdf] We are drawing this information from chapter 9, "The Influence of the Division of Labor on the Institutions of Capitalism," Part C, "Economic Competition," pages 358-366.  



There are a few arguments against free immigration which can be considered, although they have already been refuted in principle.

Continue to Refutation of the Arguments Against Free Immigration

 George Reisman's Program of Self-Education in
the Economic Theory and Political Philosophy of Capitalism

Gary North's essay on Darwin, Malthus, and a Biblical world-view

In his book The Myth of Over-Population, R.J. Rushdoony shows that the symptoms of "overpopulation" are actually symptoms of government intervention. Darwinian and Malthusian assumptions govern the modern State, and both the Republican and Democrat Parties.

Order Now:
The Myth of Over-Population

Recent Blog Posts

In the Next Two Years, Congress should:
  • expand, or at least maintain, current legal immigration quotas;
  • increase permanently the number of H-1B visas and deregulate employment-based immigration to facilitate the entry of skilled immigrants;
  • remove the new one-year time limit on filing for political asylum and reform the "expedited removal" laws;
  • repeal employer sanctions;
  • stop the move toward a computerized national identification system and the use of government-issued documents, such as birth certificates and Social Security cards, as de facto national ID cards; and
  • reduce restrictions on the movement of workers within the North American Free Trade Agreement area.
By the end of the decade, Congress should:
  • Abolish all anti-immigration laws.

As soon as possible, America should:

  • Create a vast network of voluntary social service agencies to meet all immigrants at the borders or piers and ensure their literacy and familiarity with American values.
  • Commit to on-going transmission of American values to immigrants in all areas of life. Read more about this.