Friday, July 21, 2017

Build that wall

There is the crazy rhetoric from this president on any topic, especially on the election-winning chant of "build the wall."  The phenomenally smart president has also outlined the engineering specifications: It will be a transparent wall that will have solar panels, which will generate power and, thereby, pay for itself.

And then there is the reality.

The reality that the flow of labor from Mexico to the US has slowed.

While this president and his minions live in their world of alternative facts, people and businesses that rely on the flow of labor from Mexico know better.  Like the agriculture business in California:
the $47-billion agriculture industry is trying to bring technological innovation up to warp speed before it runs out of low-wage immigrant workers.
California will have to remake its fields like it did its factories, with more machines and better-educated workers to labor beside them, or risk losing entire crops, economists say.
Build the wall, stupid president, before the immigrant workers rush back to Mexico!
“We don’t see — no matter what happens — that the labor problem will be solved,” said Soren Bjorn, president of Driscoll’s of the Americas.
That’s because immigrant farmworkers in California’s agricultural heartlands are getting older and not being replaced. After decades of crackdowns, the net flow across the U.S.-Mexico border reversed in 2005, a trend that has accelerated through 2014, according to a Pew Research Center study. And native-born Americans aren’t interested in the job, even at wages that have soared at higher than average rates.
“We’ve been masking this problem all these years with a system that basically allowed you to accept fraudulent documents as legal, and that’s what has been keeping this workforce going,” said Steve Scaroni, whose Fresh Harvest company is among the biggest recruiters of farm labor. “And now we find out we don’t have much of a labor force up here, at least a legal one.”
Not really news to us who have been following this for years.  There is no way to update the president and his minions unless "fox and friends" does a special show to highlight this issue.  But, don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen!

So, how  is the ag industry preparing for this?  One word: Robots!

I have written in plenty about this.  Like this post from a few weeks ago, in the context of the apple industry.

I will reiterate my lines from an oped of mine:
We the people need to try to understand such complexities in a rapidly evolving global economic geography. And, more importantly, we will need political leaders who can articulate constructive policy responses
This president ain't one of those political leaders!  Nor are his enablers in the Geriatrics Only Party!


Ramesh said...

Accentuating automation because of stupid policies is the most spectacular own goal that humanity can score.

If Mexicans don't want to come as farm labour, I am sure there are other Central American nationals who would be. I have always wondered why US and Europe do not have a policy wherein such workers are allowed to come and work for a finite period, but would never get residency benefits or social welfare benefits. People come and work for say 2 years, or more, but never get permanent residency. That way you control immigration but get labour.

Something like this is the policy all over the Middle East. As long as you work, you are allowed to state. Even if you have worked for 20 years, at the end of the employment, you have to leave. Many people are quite fine with that arrangement. Isn't this better than being "illegal" and constantly under fear of being jailed ?

Sriram Khé said...

I agree ...
But, there is one "yuge" difference between the work-permits in the Middle East v. here in the US ... a baby born in the US automatically gains American citizenship. No Middle East country has such a birthright citizenship. One in twelve births in the US is to an undocumented mother. Add another significant percentage to mothers who are legally here in the US.
Comparisons don't work for such profound differences.

Without doing any comparison, I am still confident that the US will benefit from immigration and temporary work permits. When regularized, when the work visa expires, the parents have to take their babies with them--of course, the baby can always return to the US as an adult ...