Friday, May 5, 2006

Nothing New Under the Sun

By Judith

You may have heard the argument that wages for jobs in America have been lowered to create a demand for immigrant labor because "Americans won't take those jobs."

The names and places may have changed, but the idea hasn't. Here's a quote from Old Thunder, the biography of Hilaire Belloc by Joseph Pearce.

"For Belloc, the issue of cheap imported Chinese labour was a further example of the manipulative power of big business. He insisted, during a further debate on the issue in April, that the shortage of labour used by the mine owners to justify the imporation of Chinese labourers had been deliberately created by the forced lowering of wages. It was nothing less than a cynical attempt to undercut the wages of native labourers. He was also concerned with the way that the Chinese labourers were being treated, asking in Parliament whether rumours that they were being routinely flogged were true. His concerns were shared by other MPs, most notably by Lloyd George, who declared that the importation of Chinese labour had 'brought back slavery to the British Empire'."

We may not be importing workers (they are coming of their own accord), but the result is the same for them in the low wages they receive and for American workers who can no longer afford to support families without two incomes, and sometimes extra jobs. It's a shameful business no matter in what century it occurs.

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