AFAIK wrote:Sometimes the capitalists draw the conclusion that it is better to play along with consumers like when they decided it was more profitable/ economical to use wage labour rather than slave labour.
There were plenty of consumers that didn't care. The Corn Laws in Britain were largely debated, in part, knowing that it would be cheaper to pull in bread from American slaves and Russian serfs than to perpetuate the problematic half feudal economy that was kept in places like in Ireland.
There is also a commercial element to it. When you get to a certain level of production, slavery no longer becomes profitable if you want to be able to grow. Eventually you're producing as much to feed and house your slaves as you are to get more labour and produce extra.
I guess, in short, I reject the premise that capitalists simply accepted the will of the consumers in these cases.
Case in point, if you asked a consumer how he or she felt about child labour, you'd almost certainly get people saying they're against it. Yet, here we both are wearing clothes and using machines that we know were made with children's hands. That's the market.
AFAIK wrote:my impression is that the US does almost nothing to prevent the employment of illegal immigrants. If managers and executives were regularly prosecuted and imprisoned for employing illegals then demand for illegal migrant labour would fall significantly.
You'd be right that the action for employing illegals would fall. The demand
would still exist, however.
When people stopped buying baby carrots, or lettuce, or whatever else was produced by illegal immigrants because now wages were $15 an hour—demand would raise significantly for a cheaper alternative from customers; and a cheaper labour source from the companies. It is likely that freeze-dried products from countries that still used more exploitive labour would begin to sell much faster and better than a $3 apple.
AFAIK wrote:It was fully successful in its explicit goal of keeping Chinese immigrants out of America and succeeded in its implicit goal of keeping them out of the labour market for decades. This act was passed in 1882 and failed to anticipate technological developments such as container shipping and the internet and political developments such as China's ascension to the WTO and granting of market economy status. Furthermore, many people consider the economic development of poor countries to be a good thing and the importation of millions of 3rd world workers and their housing in vast inner city slums to be a bad thing. By that standard the exclusion act was a great success.
The success, even in decades after, was very much in dispute. It was frequently said that the Chinese were able to still sneak ashore:
North American Review wrote:From the passage of the first Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 to the present time, there have been in the matter of hearings on habeas corpus in Chinese cases serious and radical conflicts of opinion between the judges of the Federal courts and the executive officers of the government, which have been the cause of a great many admissions. The very fact of the existence of such a wide difference of opinion as to the construction and administration of existing law is the most effective argument that could possibly be adduced to show the imbecility of the Chinese Exclusion Acts, and of the absolute impotency of such measures to meet and cope in an efficient and effective manner with this great evil. Then the careless and absolutely inefficient manner in which the question of Chinese immigration has been treated by Congress has been the cause of the admission of thousands. This is clearly demonstrated by the admission of 502 Chinese persons for the Chicago Worlds Exposition, 350 for the San Francisco Mid-Winter Fair, 206 for the Atlanta Exposition, and about 600 for the Nashville Exposition under joint resolutions of Congress permitting alien laborers to be imported in connection with the foreign exhibits. All of the above 1,656 Chinese laborers obtained admission into the United States by the payment of about $225 each to the holders of the concession for Chinese exhibits at the above expositions. In most cases the women who were brought in at the same time were sold in San Francisco for immoral purposes.
The official statistics of the government purporting to show the yearly admission of Chinese into the United States in no way approximate the truth. They fall far short of the actual facts and cannot be relied on. For example, they do not include the 16,000 who crossed the boundary into the United States after their discharge upon the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. In these figures no account whatever is taken of the thousands that have been smuggled across the waters of Puget Sound and along the Canadian boundary line, nor the carloads passed in over the Mexican border. No account has been taken of the vessel loads of Chinese smuggled into the country along the Gulf coast. And still another fact must be taken into account, and that is that vessels on the route between San Francisco and Chinese ports are as a rule manned by Chinese crews, many of whom are constantly deserting and remaining in this country. No account has been taken of the 1,500 alleged merchants landed at Portland, Ore., by a corrupt collector of customs at $50 per head; or the hundreds who were admitted into Idaho and Montana upon forged certificates with counterfeit seals attached.
The census returns of the number of Chinese in the United States are equally defective. The census of 1860 placed it at 34,933, 1870 at 63,199, 1880 at 105,165, and 1890 at 107,475. Any one familiar with the Chinese understands the improbability of obtaining exact statistics concerning them. The Chinese Six Companies have always endeavored to prove as small a number of Chinese in this country as possible, and it is well known that when the census takers were taking the census the Chinese avoided them. As evidence of the unreliability of the census, in 1869 II. C. Bennett, Secretary of the San Francisco Chinese Protective Society, with the aid of the Chinese Six Companies, made a careful estimate of the number of Chinese in the United States, and gave 90,000 as the number.
One year later the census only gave 63,199. The testimony of Hon. F. A. Bee, the Chinese Consul at San Francisco, ought to have weight on this question. He was reported in a San Francisco journal in 1888 as having testified in a Chinese investigation in that city that “within the last six months more Chinese women had arrived, and been landed by the courts as previous residents, than ever departed between 1849 and 1887,” and, furthermore, “that all the women brought into this country were brought here for immoral purposes.”
The folly and inefficiency of the restriction acts are further demonstrated by Special Treasury Employee T. Aubrey Byrne, in his report to the Secretary of the Treasury, dated March 29, 1897. He says: “Of the total admissions of Chinese into the United States during the fiscal year 1896, over 35 percent were affected through the Vermont district. The Chinese inhabitants in Boston in 1895, compared with 1885, show an increase of 192 percent. In the State of Massachusetts the increase in 1895 over the number in 1885 is shown to be 273 per cent. It must be borne in mind that the majority of the Chinese entering Massachusetts through the Vermont district do not remain in this State, but pass into other States to take up their laundry work. For arrival of Chinese laborers in this special agency district 1896 was the banner year, and, judging from the inflow during the first two months of 1897, it is quite probable that the current year (1897) will outrank any preceding twelve months.”
Taking the Custom House record of Chinese coming into the United States through the district of Vermont from June 1, 1895, to February 23, 1897, and adding to them 581 alleged boys, etc., who were admitted into the country by the United States Commissioner at St. Albans, Mr. Byrne shows that the total admissions for the period in Vermont stood 2,947, or more than were admitted into the remainder of the United States.
In the State of New York the census of 1890 gave 2,935 Chinese. At the time of the passage of the Geary Act of May 5, 1892, requiring all Chinese laborers to register, Internal Revenue Collector Keriom of the Southern District of New York made a canvass of the Chinese in his district and found that there were only 500 Chinese who would have to register. When the amended act was approved November 3, 1893, and before the Chinese registration began, the collector made another canvass and, much to his astonishment, found 1,200 Chinese. When the registration was completed it was found that over seven thousand had registered in New York City. According to the best estimates there are today (1897) all told in New York and Brooklyn and within a radius of ten miles about 12,000 Chinese. There are, it is believed, notwithstanding reports to the contrary, as many as 700,000 Chinese, perhaps more, in the United State. It is estimated that there are as many as 150,000 in California, 20,000 in Oregon, 10,000 in the State of Washington, 10,000 in Montana and Idaho, 4,000 in Nevada, 3,000 in Arizona, 3,000 in Colorado, 3,000 in Wyoming and Utah, to say nothing of those scattered over all portions of the country. Gradually, and almost imperceptibly, like the coming of a cold wave or the rising of the tide, the “Little Brownies” have crossed the Great American Desert, the Rocky Mountains, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and the Alleghany Mountains, and to-day there is scarcely a city, town, or hamlet, either large or small, not excepting the capital of the nation, in which there are not more or less, and in many of them a very considerable number of Chinese persons.
That the present Chinese restriction acts, as at present administered, are worse than pretence is conceded by all familiar with their operations. Judge Hagar, while Collector of the Port of San Francisco, a few years ago, stated “that the restriction act, as now administered, is an utter failure,” which assertion has been verified in a thousand ways in the past few years. John II. Seuter, U. S. Attorney in the Vermont District, on December 30,1896, said that in his district the “Chinese hearings are in a certain sense farcical,” and Leigh Chalmers, Examiner of the Attorney-Generals office, in a report dated July 1, 1896, said “that nine out of ten of these (Chinese) cases do not amount to the dignity of a farce,” and that the “U. S. Attorney and Commissioner both agree to this conclusion, but say there is no remedy.” Win. A. Poucher, U. S. Attorney at Buffalo, in a letter to the U. S. Attorney-General, dated April 30, 1897, said that his assistant had “attended examinations at Malone and at Plattsburg, . . . and has reported that it was absolutely useless, under the present condition of affairs, to attend any further examinations, as it was a waste of time and money,” and that he was “powerless.”
These law officers of the government are charged with the enforcement of the exclusion laws, but they practically admit that owing to the loose interpretation of the laws by sympathetic U. S. Commissioners, and ~the radical diversity of opinion between the judges of the Federal Courts, the crafty practices and fraudulent devices of the Mongolians themselves, the ready aid of well-paid allies on the border line, perjured witnesses, and the oath-breaking and bribe-taking public officials, the exclusion laws have become more honored in the breach than in the observance. From Tampa Bay at one corner, from Puget Sound at the other, from El Paso at the south, from San Francisco at the west, to New York at the east, to the Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine line on the north comes the same narrative of betrayed trusts on the part of debauched customs and judicial officials, and of hordes of these barred and branded Mongolians pouring into the United States, each with his bribe-money in one hand, his fraudulent papers in the other, and perjury on his lips. With several years experience in attempting to enforce this supreme law of the land, our faith in effective legislation upon this subject is much impaired. Laws deemed apparently faultless have proven but legislative makeshifts. They do not meet the evil, but rather aggravate it by offering opportunities for their evasion through perjury, chicanery, and frauds. The entire customs service of the country, the Federal judiciary, and those appointed specially to enforce these laws, all admit that the Chinese Exclusion Act is a pretence and fraud in that it assumes to be legislation in pursuance of treaty stipulations, when in fact it is in violation of them; that it pretends to correct the evil complained of by offering opportunities for its evasion through the crafty practices, fraudulent devices, and bold perjury of the criminal Chinese; that it has opened a door to the perjurer, who is too ready to swear himself within the pale of our laws, and thus whole legions of these people are flocking to the United States who are not entitled to come. Thus with every precaution under existing laws, and in the face of every effort, we have fi1ed so far to arrest the incursions already effected over the border lines of the neighboring territory; as we have seen, well-known routes are established by trails and by water ways, along which they come. When once here they mingle and merge with ad become an unrecognizable portion of the “former residents.”
J. Thomas Scharf
If, however, we are to dismiss a good amount of the people at the time reviewing the laws, then even then we see that partially as a result of said laws, the moment the technological developments were put into place, China was ushered into the WTO and the companies all went over there.
In short, again, the demand for cheap labour by companies and customers created a demand for more Chinese labour.
The argument that I'm making, and it seems to be proven more or less true, is that:
1. Quality aside, people would prefer to pay less.
2. Businesses would prefer to pay their employees less.
3. These two truths provide an opportunity for cheaper labour to exploit.
4. Attempting to crack down on cheaper labour makes it more rare, and thus more valuable, to the employers.
This is all basic capitalist economics. And I don't know that, so long as we adhere to capitalist economics, we're going to really come to a point where everybody wants to pay more for labour to get more expensive goods—just because some people are brown in the wrong place or whatever.
AFAIK wrote:If you're still convinced that, "None of these work, or can work," then why are you promoting Socialism? An ideology that has failed more spectacularly and definitively than immigration control.
This isn't particularly relevant, but to go in to it, let me use an analogy.
Let us say that the American Civil War was occurring. Britain and France, in this scenario, immediately join the Confederacy and start deploying troops into the United States as support.
Then Canada joins, and starts streaming troops into the United States to stop the Union.
Then the Japanese invade the Pacific Coast, nominally joining with the Confederacy.
Then New England declares independent Republics against the United States.
Mexico then invades to take back its old land in California, New Mexico, and Arizona territories.
Germany, seeing an opportunity, begins scuttling all trade against the Union.
Throughout this, the Union survives. It has so many more people, it pushes everyone off and eventually wins.
If we were to add a World War on US soil right before this happened, we'd have some approximation of what the Soviet Union looked like.
Do you think that the Union emerging from such an apocalyptic war would look anything like Lincoln had hoped?
Do you imagine that it would be a functioning republic set to achieve all of its ideals? Or would it, as Lenin said many times, be compromised in such a way that it did not fit what they were hoping to create?
If, after this war, the US was isolated, the foreign opponents demanded a Stalin like figure to take charge (the West, at the time, greatly distrusted Trotsky and would only deal with the Soviet Union should Stalin be in charge in the immediate aftermath of Lenin's death), and the US was never really able to get back on its feet—would that mean that the institution of the capitalist republic could never work? That everyone should always be a constitutional monarchy?
I suspect that you would be fair in saying it was hardly a promising start and a testament to Lincoln and his system that he won against such odds to begin with.
But more than that, dialectic-materialism is based upon verifiable facts. We can (and do) quibble about how the systems they represent work, but the base idea is to see how change happens and apply that reality to what actions we take. This is, in my view, far more scientific than glossing it over as a magic, "invisible hand," that will fix everything. Further, it acknowledges limitations in the capitalist mode of production instead of falling back on, "This works right now, so it will work forever."
The early experiments in a bourgeois government, Cromwell, the French Revolution, even to some extent some of the American experiments, all ended in dictatorship and failure. Why extend one set of standards to one system and not the other?