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The Forum > Article Comments > Immigrants: the market needs them > Comments

Immigrants: the market needs them : Comments

By Lucy Young, published 14/5/2007

Phillipe Legrain believes it is futile to resist the breakdown of national borders but does not consider the role they have in constructing national identity.

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They say that the one thing predictable about the future is that we have no idea what lies in front of us. Nevertheless hunches are permissible. My hunch is that the days when we get dewy-eyed about Anzac, Don Bradman and the Man from Snowy River are numbered. We have an increasing number of people in this country who cannot relate at all to our cultural icons. For good or bad, driving the irreversible change is the global economy.
Posted by healthwatcher, Monday, 14 May 2007 10:05:57 AM
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so we're going to import skilled workers, or, no- we're going to import grunt labor that will do work ozzies don't want. there are some breath taking holes in these propositions:

we get skilled workers by offering them higher pay than they could get in their native land. so the poor country supports the education, the rich country gets the benefit. is there no one in australia smart enough to do the work- if they were given access to education? this is capitalism in action: make others pay the costs of doing business.

then there's the other prospect: cheap labor doing work ozzies won't. there is no such work. there is work that ozzies will do if the wages are high enough, and wages will be high enough if the labor market is not inflated with imported people.

finally, this imported grunt labor is supposed to free all australians to be system analysts and brain surgeons. sorry, oz has the usual mix of capabilities in it's population. most will be at full stretch doing routine work. in a tight labor market, this routine work will be paid at a higher rate, allowing most ozzies to participate in a more nearly equal standard of living. i think that's a better way to live.
Posted by DEMOS, Monday, 14 May 2007 10:42:00 AM
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What about the workers we see clocking off for the last time on TV news because their unskilled/semiskilled jobs have gone overseas?

99% immigrants, who were brought here because there used to be jobs Australians did not want. Should we not see what we can do for them before we bring any more?

Most people losing jobs to overseas countries from now on will be immigrants. The next on the hit list is the car industry - heavily immigrant served.

I hate to think of the place where Lucy and her hero Legrain bury their heads to avoid reality.
Posted by Leigh, Monday, 14 May 2007 11:14:51 AM
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healthwatcher: "We have an increasing number of people in this country who cannot relate at all to our cultural icons"

I totally disagree.

That statements flies in the face of the fact that the last few Anzac days have had damn high turnouts especially among the young.
Plus, overseas Anzac tour operators are getting higher numbers of Australian participants.
Plus, we're just as devoted to sporting icons and nationalistic sentiment seems to be higher than ever (if not somewhat aggressive in many cases).
While everybody seems to think Australian identity is being undermined, the shrill cries that hammer out at the slightest hint of being 'un-Australian' and the recent debates on Australan values would indicate otherwise. If anything, we're getting more nationalistic, not less.

As for knowledge of history and cultural issues, that's more an issue with a decline in standards than it is in national identity - and that's a debatable issue as well.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Monday, 14 May 2007 12:11:28 PM
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Leigh - Lucy and her hero legrain?

Perhaps you should look at the part where Lucy pretty much disagrees with Legrain's analysis, says he hasn't considered many of the issues and says that Legrain wasn't taking on board criticism, instead getting defensive.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Monday, 14 May 2007 12:25:38 PM
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Thanks for this article Lucy.

I can only say that I would have put it a whole lot stronger:

Legraineís notion of completely open borders and everything else that he is on about is just as whacko as you can get. It deserves instant and complete dismissal.

Iíve got to wonder how this character managed to get his crazy message taken up by Australian media, or treated as a serious perspective worthy of debate by anyone!
Posted by Ludwig, Monday, 14 May 2007 1:49:12 PM
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