Friday, November 27, 2009


We are told that the world should be without borders, for corporations and stuff. Borders are clogs in the celestial mechanism of the market. They are protectionism, which is darkness to the market’s light.

But when the discussion turns to people, somehow the argument flips. Then it’s troops, fences, regulations up the kazoo. Corporations get magic visas; cars and video games get them too. But when an actual human being tries to cross the border – well, call out the National Guard.

To which one has to say, “Wait a minute.” If the world should be borderless for artificial persons called corporations, then why not for real people? If Ford can go to Mexico to find cheaper labor, then why should not Mexican workers be able to come to the U.S. to find higher-paying jobs – or jobs, period? The proponents of global corporatism think that real people should be content with second-class status. I don’t think so.

There are over 24,000 Filipino nurses in the U.S. alone, and over 2.5 million overall. There are nearly one million n Saudi Arabia. Hong Kong has over 120,000 Filipina maids.

To put this another way, the Philippines has turned labor into a global commodity that is almost as mobile as capital. There is no denying the monetary inflow that has resulted. Expatriate Filipinos remit over ten billion dollars a year, which comes to over ten percent of the nation’s cash economy. Millions depend upon those remittances for food, housing, tuition, everything. In farm country, when you see a sturdy cement house, you can be almost certain that someone in that family is sending remittances from abroad.

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