The Tories further screw over Paul Sagar

Paul points to the perennial conservative cant; “let the market rule, save for immigrants.” The Tory led coalition have  eliminated the Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa; in effect making it much harder for students to work in the UK after gaining their qualification.

I think it very likely that Cameron and co would be happy to see the free movement of capital, goods and currencies. This country has more or less this system now, save for some foolish EU wide-tariffs and other minor restrictions. However, an international market for labour is one area where conservatives break ranks with their free market.

What interests me is that coalition policy may be good for Paul (and possibly me) as individuals. Paul is (and I will be soon, I hope) a graduate degree holder who would be competing for jobs with those migrants who will now not be here. Initially I thought that in arguing against the policy Paul was being very selfless.

Then the first three months of my LSE masters kicked in and I “remembered” that Paul is a utility maximising individual operating under conditions of complete information and perfect markets. Of course he’s not being selfless. [1]

The Tory policy may also have another longer run impact which is not going to be apparent from student enrollment numbers; the decline of British universities. Universities are not just placing of learning and research, they are a cluster of academics and students which produce far more knowledge than the mere sum of their parts would produce.

By restricting the market for students to universities the Tories are restricting the future market for PhD students, researchers, lecturers, fellows and professors. This will have an impact of the viability of British universities in this very competitive market.

For Paul, who I understand wants a career in academia, the loss of this potential future clustering more than offsets any small short-term wage premium he receives for not being foreign in the medium term. The Tories are risking British universities future capacity for excellence, hurting foreigner’s life chances, and screwing Paul Sagar’s future career prospects , bastards.


[1] What about symbolic rationality you say, well that is inconvenient for this particular argument, so I’m going to assume it away. That’s what an economic history masters can offer you.