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OpenMarket: Labor and Employment

  • Are European Roads Safer Than America's?

    June 12, 2007
    Marlo was just on an interview on CNBC where a question was asked about road accident rates. A Greenpeace spokesman said that European roads were much safer than America's, demonstrating that you can have a vehicle fleet of smaller sizes without compromising safety. Marlo admitted that he had no idea of road accident rates. Marlo's answer was much more honest than our friend from Greenpeace's. According to the figures from the International Road Traffic Accident Database, there are indeed many more accidents per head here, but there is virtually no difference per vehicle kilometers traveled: Country/Accidents per 100,000/Accidents per million VKMT/killed per billion VKMT Austria 497/0.50/9.3 Belgium 472/0.52/11.5 France 140/0.15/9.6 Germany 408/0.49/7.8 UK 340/0.40/6.4 Netherlands 166/0.24/7.7 USA 647/0.46/9.4 The...
  • Of Gas Prices and Carbon Taxes

    May 21, 2007
    Iain, I found your post on how higher gas prices have reduced travel very interesting. In the short term, what you present is a good first guess and it tells us what would happen in the first year of a carbon tax. But I think there's another level worth looking at. Some percentage of auto travel -- commutes to work for example -- is difficult to change in the economic short run (the period before changes can be made in land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurial ability/smarts). It seems to me that changing any of these factors (getting to the long run, in other words), will take quite a while when it comes to automobile travel. It takes over 25 years -- longer in desert areas -- to turn over the nation's vehicle fleet. It also takes significant time to change land use patterns, create new...
  • Mises on Immigration

    May 18, 2007
    As long as I'm on the subject of immigration, a complex matter, I always find Ludwig von Mises always quotable, providing clarity in such complex matters (I've previously cited him on labor more generally). As he notes in the essay "The Freedom to Move as an International Problem" (1935):
    If the European workers are prevented from emigrating and thus have to stay at home, this does not mean they will remain idle as a result. They will continue to work in their old homeland under less favorable conditions. And because of the less advantageous conditions of production there, they will be compensated in lower wages. They will then compete on the world...
  • A Free Market means a Free Labor Market

    May 18, 2007
    CEI's mission of "advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government" doesn't come with the caveat of "unless it costs too much under our current welfare state." Eli, while I agree that immigration, either legal or illegal, isn't driven by the availability of state-provided social services, I think you miss a key factor. In addition to greater economic freedom, people who enter the United States illegally do so because of the demand for labor here. The push of "Mexico's poverty" is only half the picture; the pull of American jobs is also crucial -- though the economic freedom you mention is what allows those U.S. jobs to be created. I more strongly disagree with your contention that America has "little choice but as to keep on building walls to keep out illegal...
  • But Maybe It's the Best we Can do For Now

    May 18, 2007
    Hans, I disagree with some parts of your post on immigration and agree with others. On one hand, I'm in total agreement that we should ditch "family reunification" as a basis for legal immigration, bring in more skilled workers and swear never to do another amnesty. But I'd disagree with you on two major points. First, who says that physical barriers won't work? There's actually ample evidence that they would. Where we've built them, near San Diego, they've displaced a large amount of immigration. We build more and we can displace it until it has no place left to go. Second, although I think that illegal immigration is a net minus for society, I'm not convinced that social services consumption drives it. Coming over as an illegal immigrant costs lots of money (Coyotes charge about $3,000 per head...

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