Cheers for a Two-Tier Society
By Arnold Kling
U.S.-born workers are climbing the educational ladder, acquiring interactive/analytic skills and progressively leaving the manual jobs that would put them in competition with immigrants. If the trend continues as expected, the day is not far off when virtually all manual labor will be performed by foreign-born labor. This implies large wage gains for native workers, since they will be able to specialize in language-intensive and interactive tasks that are typically far better paid.
While some people shudder at the prospect of a more stratified society with immigrants at the bottom, keep in mind that the biggest gainers by far in this situation are the immigrants themselves. They can expect to earn six to seven times what they can now make in similar jobs in their countries of origin.
So it’s a win-win. We get more nannies, lawn-care workers, waiters, and hotel maids, the immigrants get more money, and our kids learn skills that keep them out of competition with the underclass. All we have to lose is our self-concept of an egalitarian society…
I can see why economists have difficulty selling our pro-immigration position.