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EU = completely open borders?

  1. Nov 26, 2003 #1

    Monique

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    EU = completely open borders??

    I was very surprised by the news that being part of the EU means merging to form a single Europe.. I thought it was a cooporation thing.

    Today it was in the news that in the near future the Western European countries are going to face a large influx of workers from the East Block countries preparing to join the EU. People will be completely free to come and work where ever they want! No restrictions applied.

    I was very surprised.. (that could seriously destablizize economies)

    It has come to the discussion that maybe a permit system should be put in place to protect the foreign workers and to monitor the influx, and possibly to prevent too many people from coming.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 26, 2003 #2

    Nereid

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    Not (quite) so fast

    "Eight countries of central Europe will join the European Union on May 1st 2004, but not as completely as they might like. The main sign of their accession will be the immediate abolition of customs controls at frontiers with other EU coutries. But people crossing borders between old and new member states (or between new member states) will remain subject to passport checks, though EU nationals will not face any further inquiries about the purpose of their journey, their means of subsistence and so on.
    Controls on people will remain until the accession countries become full members of the Schengen system, which requires them to secure their borders with non-EU countries, to adopt the EU's common visa rules, and to hook their national computer systems up to a common system for pooling information about crime and immigration. A vote of existing Schengen members is needed to admit a new country. For the central Europeans, that may come in 2007."
    Source: The Economist, November 22nd-28th 2003, p6 of the Survey.

    Note: the current Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Iceland and Norway are not EU members; Ireland and UK, which are EU members, are non-Schengen countries.
     
  4. Nov 26, 2003 #3
    Invisible Lines On A Map

    Its a great idea (although Utopian). Get rid of those pathetic invisible lines on a map which create "nations". The only drawback would be equal access to wealth for all people.
    Oh, I forgot, no person of a rich country would want to share resources.
     
  5. Nov 27, 2003 #4
    Whatsyourname: I take it you are resentful of the rich, and yet compared to many you are a king because you have access to a computer.
    I generally don't like this whole EU thing, I find it unnerving and a little reminencent of the Revelation.
     
  6. Nov 27, 2003 #5

    Monique

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    Re: Not (quite) so fast

    Maybe, but noone will stop someone from Romenia who is searching for a better job in the Netherlands, when Romenia joins the EU. I wonder what this will mean for 1) the Netherlands economy when there aren't enough jobs and 2) for the Romenian economy when many people will go in search for an easy startup somewhere else.
     
  7. Nov 27, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Not (quite) so fast

    Look out Monique, I'm coming after your job
    just joking, I don't know any of that voodoo chemistry you do

    Anyway my point is that you will be free to work in another country, but somebody from there must hire you first.
     
  8. Nov 27, 2003 #7

    Monique

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    Re: Re: Re: Not (quite) so fast

    They will if they can get away paying such a person less wages than a native worker.
     
  9. Nov 27, 2003 #8

    Nereid

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    Basic economics

    The free movement of labour is good for all, not just those who get the jobs. Further, those who leave their native land of their own free will for greener pastures tend to be more entrepeneurial, creative, work harder, are healthier, .... than the stay-at-homes. The recipient country's economy, on balance, benefits substantially.

    Of course there are losers too. In many situations, native low-paid, non-unionised blue collar workers find they can't compete with the migrants. However, the alternative is products which are too costly to compete in even local markets unless there are high tarriffs or other trade barriers. Would you rather pay €20,000 for a PC made in the Netherlands, or €1,000 for one from China?

    Besides, would you rather that Ireland, Portugal, Greece, ... even Spain hadn't joined the EU Monique? Their economies were way behind the Dutch one 30 years ago. Much the same thing will happen to Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, ... even Romania! even Turkey!!

    A brain drain does cause the donor economy problems, but the best way for Bulgaria (for example) to address such an exodus is to liberalise the economy, open it up to trade and invesment, remove inefficient government agencies and regulations, etc. This is basically what Ireland did, and look at what happened! Unfortunately, the EU's 'regional assistance' program doesn't help much, because it focuses on the wrong things (infrastructure improvement is good though).
     
  10. Nov 27, 2003 #9
    A Fair Go

    Posted by Jonathan;
    “Whatsyourname: I take it you are resentful of the rich, and yet compared to many you are a king because you have access to a computer.”

    Of course I am resentful of the rich, because they exploit the third world and bleed it dry, at the expense of whole generations of innocents.
    Yeh, I have access to a computer (it’s not mine, its public property – I don’t own it, I don’t own a house or a car, I don’t even own a TV or video, my bank balance is $50). I guess I’m a King.

    Posted by Monique;
    “They will if they can get away paying such a person less wages than a native worker.”

    See this is what my whole gripe is about. Why is it, that rational human beings believe they can exploit third world labourers. We’re talking about people, like you and me. Sure, a lot of them are unskilled. On the other hand, a lot of them are a lot more skilled than you and me in their respective fields (be it in Astronomy or Sweat Shop Sewing for Nike).
    I advocate equality of wage and equality of opportunity. I do not believe life opportunities should be determined at the moment of birth, in that great “lottery of life”, where those born in Mexico are denied the same rights as those born in a richer EU nation. Only those who enjoy the spoils of exploitation could find fault in such a philosophy.
     
  11. Nov 28, 2003 #10
    Re: A Fair Go


    Just like those fantastic countries and workers paradises such as N Korea, or the old USSR maybe..... You are living in a dreamland my friend...........
     
  12. Nov 28, 2003 #11

    selfAdjoint

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    Your key word here is "exploit". Nobody (outside the PRC anyway) is holding a gun and forcing these workers to go to the factories. They go because it's a better life for them, by THEIR choice, than their villages (many of them are women, and factory jobs are seen as a form of liberation!)

    Your vision of evil capitalists, like some villain in a kid's cartoon, plotting to do bad things to third world workers is silly. Actually CEOs of big companies are running scared that some of their competitors will find some combination of technology and offshore manufacturing that will undercut them, and as they used to say "drive them to the wall". This is the down side of the free market, nobody from the bottom to the top is ever able to take success for granted; competition always rules.
     
  13. Nov 28, 2003 #12

    Nereid

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    Do you have a source?

    North Korea yes; Saddam's Iraq maybe; some parts of the world where quite nasty warlords rule (inc in Afghanistan) perhaps; the People's Republic of China??

    Perhaps you are thinking of "The Great Leap Forward" in the late 1950s? Or prison labour?

    If the latter, you'd be surprised at how many countries require at least some prisoners to work, in fields, factories, construction sites, ... Maybe even some states in the US?
     
  14. Nov 28, 2003 #13
    Re: A Fair Go

    It is not exploitative to offer a very poor person a job that can enable them to improve their lot in life. Poor countries, with people with little wealth or education need support from richer countries such as us. You can do this in three ways:

    1) Give our taxpayers money to their Govt, who are often corrupt and spend it on themselves or arms, or both

    2) Send aid to independant charities working in that country who do their best to help.

    3) Get business to invest millions of pounds of company money (not taxpayers) into jobs for the poor uneducated people who have no skills to offer other than their time.

    Method #1 has been tried and NEVER works, other than for disaster relief.

    Method #2 is used, works and makes a small difference, but will never make the country richer.

    Method #3 is the only method that works - it gives the workers some money which feeds down into the economy, it gives skills and training where there was none before, it gives the workers a hope of a better life, and when business starts making money, more businesses set up there - they want some of the action too. What does this do? Adds some competition to the job market. Wages go up, people get richer, everyone benefits.

    Advantages? We get cheaper goods. The taxpayers in our county pays nothing. Business succeeds and pays more taxes, benefiting us.
    The workers in the host country get skills and a wage, the country gets richer. The business invests more in its money spinning factories, and on the cycle goes.

    This is how S Korea, Hong Kong, the Phillipines, Kenya, vietnam and many, many other countries got themselves sorted out and became richer, better countries. It is not an ideal solution and there is indeed some real hardship and exploitation involved, but it solves the problems of the poor country long term and thus benefits the worlds population overall.

    What are your alternatives Nommos? Insist that each poor worker must be paid the same as a European or US worker? If so great, a lovely idea, but there will then be NO investment into anywhere poor. The cost of living is cheap in the third world. On the minimum wage in SE England you are impoverished - on the same wage in Sierra Leone, you are the richest man in the town.

    Idealism is great for discussions in Colleges and parliaments, but it doesn't solve real world problems.
     
  15. Nov 28, 2003 #14

    If China did it on under PuYie's reign of the Forbidden City -- I wouldn't be surprised to see labor laws that are unheard of by the US citizens of today, even if US constitutionalized and governed it already.
     
  16. Nov 28, 2003 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    Nereid,


    According to various reports I have seen, work choice is still not very voluntary is many parts of China. Tne gun image I used was deliberately modified by the maybe I used, and I don't think the statement as a whole was entirely mistaken.

    In any case I think we generally agree on the basics of the topic.
     
  17. Nov 30, 2003 #16

    Nereid

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    The importance of addressing misunderstandings about China

    SelfAdjoint,

    Yep, we're in basic agreement :smile:

    However, China is already a major player in the global economy; you can even make the case that it's *the* major player (e.g. it has overtaken the US as the #1 contributor to global economic growth). It is also changing quickly, and the nature of its economy and society are widely misunderstood. IMHO, this is potentially dangerous.

    For example, the 'danwei' controls, which may be the root of the reports you may have seen, are no more. (These gave a person's 'danwei' - 'unit' or 'workplace' - control over your housing, your children's schooling, medical plan, the right to marry, the right to change your job, and much more). In a sense its demise is as much a recognition of how irrelevant it had become as a deliberate change in social policy.

    Further, this change illustrates well how ecomonic development results in social change, both for good (e.g. greater freedom to seek your own job) and bad (e.g. millions left insecure re housing and medical coverage; they can't afford the 'free market' replacement to the 'danwei').
     
  18. Nov 30, 2003 #17

    selfAdjoint

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    Nereid, I accept your deeper knowledge.
     
  19. Nov 30, 2003 #18
    Pipe Dreams

    Posted by Adrian Baker;
    “What are your alternatives Nommos? Insist that each poor worker must be paid the same as a European or US worker? If so great, a lovely idea, but there will then be NO investment into anywhere poor. The cost of living is cheap in the third world. On the minimum wage in SE England you are impoverished - on the same wage in Sierra Leone, you are the richest man in the town.

    Idealism is great for discussions in Colleges and parliaments, but it doesn't solve real world problems.”

    Ah, the old “it’s too hard!” argument.
    Too hard, lets see.
    We can manage to put a man on the moon, send probes that are now outside our Solar System and comb the fine structure of matter
    Our governments (literally) spend thousands of billions of dollars on the technology of war, misery and destruction each year.

    I like the Sierra Leone argument. I wonder how many people realise the state of affairs in Sierra Leone. My friend recently visited Freetown there, and then journeyed to the civil-war parts (on the diamond fields). Its bloody dangerous. These slave labourers in Freetown don’t “work” in any sense of the word you and me know of. They mine diamonds (dodging landmines made in the West), which are then sold at grossly-deflated prices to South African and Western dealers. It is a nation ravaged by a merciless war, all over diamonds (for the West). So sure, I guess a warlord in Sierra Leone may earn a decent wage.

    My alternatives are;
    (1) Eliminate ALL Third World Debt, without penalty. (The IMF and assorted “pimp” nations do not need this money. They have profited from the exorbitant interest rates for too long now.
    (2) Open all borders and usurp all Heads of State (non-violently, preferably).
    (3) REDUCE military spending, don’t eliminate it. No weaponry will be constructed in future for use upon human beings on Earth. Weapon spending will be devoted to Earth-defence. This makes much more sense and would reduce spending significantly.
    (4) Globalise Transnational companies. Their profits would be sent to Consolidated Revenue, and would be owned by the people.

    Sure, it’s a pipe dream of mine. But then I ask myself, how could ANYBODY run this world WORSE? I think and think and think so more.
    Every time the answer comes back, “Nobody could”.
     
  20. Dec 1, 2003 #19

    Nereid

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    State of economics education in Australia?

    Lots to comment on here!

    Just to take one item ...
    Government institutions are rather bad at making sensible decisions about the allocation of scarce resources. And it doesn't matter where they get their instructions or roadmaps from - dictators, Presidents, parliaments, expert committees, the armed forces, or even 'people's committees'. Aside from conflict of interest and corruption issues - which are pretty horrendous - micromanagement of the economy by bureaucrats results in armies of well-paid public servants with no incentive to provide good service, and no accountability for bad decisions. Indeed, these people have every reason to cover-up failure, and the means to do so.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood your point. Could you say how - in some detail - 'the people' would make decisions on what to spend the billions in Consolidated Revenue on? How would those decisions of 'the people' be implemented?

    OK, maybe two items.:smile:
    Er, read any books on modern Chinese history lately? How about Mao Zedong and 'The Great Leap Forward' or 'The Cultural Revolution'? Or perhaps Kim Il Song and 'Juche'? Maybe Pol Pot? the SLORC in Myanmar/Burma? Then again there's the state socialism of the Congress Party in India, with the wonderful legacy of the British Raj and its civil service. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is doing a fine job of ensuring folk who live there are well-fed and prosperous (NOT). The week is young; I'm sure you'll get many more suggestions for who could run things worse :wink:
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2003
  21. Dec 1, 2003 #20

    Monique

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    Also why I started this thread is that several European countries have shown to be shifting towards the right (to central right), saying that immigration should be limited. In The Netherlands there are plans to ward certain population groups from cities, mainly low income and allochtonous people from Rotterdam.

    So I am surprised since all controle seems to be gone with the collective Europe, but I haven't heard anyone complain about it yet. Maybe because it is not an issue, or maybe because people don't know the issue, or maybe I have missed the news during my three year absence.
     
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