This is what you’re worth

Apr 14th, 2011 | Filed under Politics

Mass immigration threatens our way of life, says David Cameron

A footnote at the bottom of this article reads:

A Nobel prize-winning economist yesterday suggested ministers allow migrants to buy their way into the country.

Prof Gary Becker, of the University of Chicago, said selling visas for £30,000 a time would help the Government select the best migrants.

And further reading in this disgusting blog just confirms that there actually exist people who might think this is a good idea.. Well, by “people”, I mostly mean a Torygraph blogger, and of course Mark Littlewood, whom I sort of consider my nemesis in that every time he’s on TV I feel like he’s deliberately talking to me, taunting me with borderline inhuman neoliberal bullshit as if to say “Look, I have a platform for sick and damaging ideas, and I’m using it!”. I guess he probably doesn’t mean to direct it at me, it’s just how it comes across.

In any case, the notion that the “best migrants” are those who can either personally afford £30k or who possess skills that would convince the private sector to buy their entry for them is frightening. Is that really what this comes down to – confusing our definitions of quality with whatever is most easily monetised?

This absurdly ideological reliance on markets to provide the answer to everything seems equivalent to leaving your kids with a cannibal babysitter, promising him that upon your return you’ll bring him back a nice juicy steak. It’s all well and good having a long term plan to drive positive outcomes by nudging the system in the right direction, but the system is far more likely to just lurch outrageously in pursuit of short term gains, and you’ll be cleaning baby off your hob for weeks.

The free markets that landed us in the current global economic situation are now being lauded as the solution to it, along with just about every other problem we have. Using somebody’s monetary worth as a proxy for their input into society sounds like exactly the sort of plan that would be loved by a party that represents those who have the most wealth, and do the most harm to that society.

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