The Government’s migration policy seems set to fail to achieve its policy of reducing migration to the tens of thousands a year. Of course there is always a non-negligible chance of the Tories tanking the economy, in which case they might just do it.
Laban Tall comments and makes the obvious point that – of course! – capitalists want cheap labour. A Tory Government dominated by its big business interests would therefore make only token movements towards reducing the numbers of migrants. He even quotes Marx, just to annoy the pro-migrant left:
Karl Marx, 1847 :
“The main purpose of the bourgeois in relation to the worker is, of course, to have the commodity labour as cheaply as possible, which is only possible when the supply of this commodity is as large as possible in relation to the demand for it”
I say quotes… possibly misquotes is a better description. Implying capitalists do nothing but seek cheap labour does them a great disservice. Junkers in Prussia sought cheap peasant labour, Boyars in Russia sought to reduce the cost of labour by creating serfs, they were leaches on society.
Capitalists have a more progressive role:
Karl Marx, 1848 :
“The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part… The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society… All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.”
Now Laban knows this, he used to be a bit of a radical, so he knows his Marx. But he does love winding up Lefties, which is as admirable a hobby as mine, of riling rightists.
The point of capitalists in Marx’s theory, or a vulgar version of Marx’s theory, is to get us to the future. Capitalists create the means of production which produce the plenty which a transition to a classless society requires. Think Soviets plus electrification plus fordism plus computers plus-just-in-time-production (minus fordism?) plus the internet etc.
Laban’s vision of the future no doubt includes a great deal less migration. You could go the Japanese route as suggested by some, and severely restrict migration. Doing this would involve moving the UK from 20 miles off the coast of Europe to 100 miles, and diverting a vast quantity of air and sea traffic…perhaps that isn’t as practical as it sounds at first blush.
Alternatively, you could make less people want to move less. The main thing which drives migration is differences in productivity, and therefore income, between people living in rich countries and people living in poor countries. Migration raises the productivity of those that migrate and the wages of those that stay behind. Both reduce global inequality and the urge to migrate.
In a world of developed countries, which is where the world is heading, the urge to migrate will be much weaker. There are those who hate the country and culture they grow up, but most don’t really want to move. Eliminating the massive inequalities of wealth the world sees is the only sure way of reducing migration. Another thought, it is a little odd that the most rabidly anti-migrant are also the most rabidly anti-foreign aid.
So, rather than fight migration, those that don’t like it should, like old Marxists, welcome the forces which push us towards the future. More Marxists that means advancing capitalist development, for anti-migrants that means more migrants and more aid. Neither group likes this, but both groups must honestly accept the logic of their position.
So Laban, does that rile the rightist as intended?