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Friday, August 11, 2006

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A. PERLA

"A8 migrants are such a small part of the labour force (1-2%) that it is hard to imagine how they could "depress the wages of all"!"

Such a remark is typically unionist hype. I see it all the time in France. By NOT depressing wage rates, these people remain unemployed, but on the dole, which is paid for by taxing those who work - which keeps thier total salarial mass at uncompetitive levels in non-skilled jobs. It is simply idiotic.

The job situation in France is particular, very particular. It is interesting to take a look at historical unemployment rates of different EU countries. France has shown unemployment ranging from 8 to 12% for the past quarter of a century. Entire families have been on social assitance from generation to generation.

Why? Its much vaunted "France sociale" where state disbursements to the unemployed (a gas works if there has ever been one) makes total income so high that people actually refuse minimum-wage jobs, which remunerate just a bit higher (but might require one to move cities). Some of these cases are immigrants who have no right whatsoever to be on the dole - but their numbers are really insignificant (in relation to the journalistic frenzy that they seem capable of provoking on the far right).

Sarkozy is presenting to the French legislature a law that will allow France supposedly "chosen immigration". France, like the rest of the EU, will require immigrants to fill selected sector jobs. Unfortunately, the people that is washing up on European shores are mostly unskilled labor. They are very rarely political asylum seekers.

Europe simply no longer has enough unskilled labor jobs going. The companies who employed them in menial assembly work have long since moved either east or are simply sourcing out of the Far East.

I see no alternative to simply sending them back. Europe will continue to have significant challenges in its passage from the Industrial Age to the Information Age. These challenges will be numerous enough to keep us occupied as they put the burden on students to enhance significantly their skill sets towards higher levels of sophistication.

The trades cannot simply absorb all of them. Anyone not believing that need only take a look at France. (Or Germany. Or Italy.)

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