Thursday, November 14, 2013

Free Labour vs Slave Labour

Here we are, late in the year 2013, and our local rulers still won’t accept that Cayman’s forty-year experiment with affirmative action and indentured migrant labour has failed. Sigh. How much more evidence do they need? Why are they such slow learners?

Cayman has three thousand registered unemployed men and women – in a community that employs 20,000 migrants, mostly unskilled. Despite all the pressure brought to bear on them by the authorities, private-sector employers continually refuse to hire individuals who can’t be fired for incompetence. Our government does hire incompetents, because one of its major duties is to be the employer of last resort. In fact, our three thousand unemployed are unemployable: even government won’t hire them.

But not all of them are unemployed. Some have unrecorded jobs in illegal occupations such as burglary, drug-dealing, pimping and prostitution. A few make a reasonable living by begging from strangers in the street or outside supermarkets. Some receive free meals, beds and occasional cash allowances from parents or other relatives; in effect, they live off their inheritances. None starve to death, and (to the best of my knowledge) none are actually homeless.

Further fiddling with the Immigration Law and regulations will not help a single one of them. Not one. So before our politicians toss any more xenophobic accusations around like confetti, they ought to stop pretending that permanent protectionism is the answer to the problem.

All intelligent people know that the answer to the problem is to abolish the indentured-labour system that all too often resembles bond-slavery. Only migrant labour is bound by indentures; only Caymanian labour is free to switch employers at whim. And free labour can never compete fairly with slave labour of any kind.

Our public servants are in thrall to Caymanian householders and other employers of unskilled labour. Most government bureaucrats run private businesses at taxpayers’ expense, and benefit mightily from the cheap migrant workers. Immigration Officers are famous for importing foreign slaves-in-all-but-name and selling their services. Again: free Caymanian workers can’t compete.

Unfortunately, there is zero chance that our politicians will acknowledge the truth. So the indentured servitude of the past forty years will be with us for another forty. What a prospect! Somebody once defined insanity as doing the exact same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. Yet that is what the politicians are doing. Well, they can fiddle with the protectionist legislation till the cows come home: the result will be the same. The insanity looks set to continue forever.

What humbug, to embrace the concept of human rights, while endorsing indentured servitude. If our local politicians – and the FCO clerks to whom they report – were honest in the matter, they would abandon the legal exploitation of migrants, and would accept the full blame for our local unemployment. To be clear: the blame is NOT the private-sector businesses: it is our rulers’ defiance of a basic law of economics. Let’s say it once more: free labour cannot compete with slavery.

Three years ago I posted on this blog an article called Everybody’s Cheating, commenting on how employers got around the law and how governments manipulated it. In February of this year (2013) I posted Protection versus Education, explaining the origin of the current indentures system, when the unskilled Caymanians of forty years ago were set up for exploitation by an alliance of the local elite of the day and the FCO clerks of the day.

They were tricked into giving up an educated future for the mirage of protection from competition by foreigners. Thus, the entitlement culture was born.