You're only an "economic migrant" if you're poor and brown

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So many things white people do and say make so much more sense when you’re willing to consider the possibility that their real motivation is just plain old racism …


How can anybody be “poor” if they have the capital of their abilities? Isn’t “being paid” a McGuffin if one does things which are beneficial to people? It seems unlikely that what one does only becomes “wealth” once one is bribed to do it by some self-interested economic gatekeeper. If it’s “wealth” if I do it for Apple or Google, then it is just as much “wealth” if I do it for those of my community.

Which form of that “wealth” pays rent and purchases food?


Well of course they are. Who wants to be poor? Who wants to live in a country battered by warfare?

Of course they’re trying to get a better life. Of course they are economic immigrants. But that doesn’t make them bad people. That makes them intelligent people.

A Vietnamese friend told me of their trip to Australia on boats and refugee camps. Being attacked by pirates (nothing romantic about that at all), losing everything and eventually getting to a completely alien country. That family earned their spot in Australia. They went thru shit to get here. Us locals never have to battle like that.


Well, the economic bit does imply poor. It seems like foreignness and numbers are are more of an issue than brownness, I seem to recall a bit of hostility towards Eastern European migrants in Western Europe and, a bit further back, America.


On the plus side, they didn’t get put in concentration camps the way they would if they immigrated now…

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Not really.

For example I know several people who went to the US because they found research positions that simply paid far better than comparable positions in Germany. It would have been a basically comfortable middle class life either way, but because they moved they were sometimes paid up to twice as much for the same work. That motivation is as economic as it gets.


Keep this in mind.

I am an incredible person. I can grow food and build houses. But I accidently had my hand cut off.

This is where money as a proxy for ability makes a ton of sense. You and I are at our peaks, but I don’t think gouty oldsters or toe headed youngsters should be handicapped because they don’t innately grok Capital.

(I didn’t cut my hand off, but it has been close)


Economic migrants are usually uneducated and low-skilled. The kind of workers Europe for example already has too many of thanks to the decline in industry, with more being made redundant every year. It has nothing to do with being “brown” as anyone with an ounce of sense is able to tell from the backlash against Polish and other white, christian eastern european economic migrants. People with a degree or a decent amount of education, people who already have a good grasp of English or another lingua franca will be welcomed regardless of color or current financial status because they are needed in the workforce and are unlikely to be a drain on already near bankrupt social security systems.


Or just proxy for labor exchange once society gets even mildly specialized barter falls apart. I just fixed your roof, but I don’t need a new well and pipes run which is your business how do you then exchange your labor for goods you actually need like some veggies and bread?


Citation please.


So are you arguing that people whose skills are in demand aren’t economic migrants? I am not sure that’s how it works.


So are many Europeans. In fact, I’m willing to bet that they make far more use of the social security systems. Why don’t you kick them out? The only thing that keeps them there is literally accident of birth. Seems only fair to make that a two way street, wouldn’tyathink? That’s what your human life is worth, right? Only what you can provide in labor?


My wife’s cousin came from India, got his visa because he was a qualified accountant, except once he got here his degree wasn’t recognised. So he spent a decade as a tram driver, doing his degree over again. Luckily he had no family at the time.

As a Uni student I worked a summer pressing paint tins in a factory. One guy there had an engineering degree. Again, let into Australia then told “Sorry that doesn’t count”. But he had a family that needed to be fed and clothed. So he packed tins in cardboard boxes.


Bureaucracy at its finest.

For these cases, couldn’t there be something like temporary apprenticeship, where a known-good engineer watches the newcomer for a while, then says that he is or is not suited for the work? Would work better (though I bet that some holders of degrees “that count” wouldn’t pass such sieve, the schools sometimes produce quite some disasters).


I have been an economic migrant for the past 4 years. I’ve lived (and worked illegally) in two different countries now. I have little trouble finding work because of my educational background and solid skill set but getting the right work permit has been largely impossible because of restrictive bureaucracy in both of those countries. And of course no one would call me an immigrant or an economic migrant because I’m white. Instead I’m this mysterious “expat”. It’s messed up, for sure.


I’d’ve thought that there would be some way to fast-track a degree if one has already done the work in another country to earn a degree there. I mean, even if you believe that the degrees from a foreign college are worth somewhat less than the degrees from our noble institutions, it should be possible to determine what needs to be done to bring the work up to our standards without having to do the whole course over. Though I guess that shorter courses wouldn’t earn educational loan companies quite so much money.


Likewise only white folks seem to be called expats, while others are immigrants.


Nah, I like having Cory in the USA in spite of the fact that he isn’t a laborer.

Seriously though, someone’s value to a society/community/country/economy is whatever they can contribute to the whole. Most migrant workers, especially but not only laborers, work as hard or harder than us native-born sons and daughters. Xenophobia is pure undiluted bigotry.