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The “Lump of Labour Fallacy” Fallacy

April 1, 2013

Mass immigration to the West is not only economically illiterate, it is contra the teachings of the Catholic Church, and thus immoral. Anyone who supports mass immigration is an enemy of Christendom, whether motivated by enmity or ignorance.

In their teachings on economics, part of what is called social justice, the popes started with microeconomics, that is the relations between individual economic actors, be they workers, capitalists or landowners. Pope Leo XIII’s seminal encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891) restated the Church’s continuous teaching that pace capitalism and socialism, labour is not merely one factor of production. According to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church “…by the grace of God, work can be a means of sanctification and collaboration with Christ for the salvation of others” (para.513). Bl. Pope John Paul II claimed that, “…even in the age of ever more mechanized “work”, the proper subject of work continues to be manLaborem Exercens (1981).

From Bl. Pope John XXIII onward papal encyclicals on social justice have tended to deal with the economic interactions between countries, or macroeconomics as it is know in the trade. Initially, the popes noted how international trade shared characteristics with leonine contracts, for example Pope Paul VI wrote in Populorum Progressio (1967) “[Free trade] certainly can work when both parties are about equal economically; in such cases it stimulates progress and rewards effort…But the case is quite different when the nations involved are far from equal,…in this case, the fundamental tenet of liberalism, as the norm for market dealings, is open to serious question.” He added, “Now in trade relations between the developing and the highly developed economies there is a great disparity in their overall situation and in their freedom of action”.

Of course the popes do not discriminate between macro and microeconomics – what applies in one discipline applies in the other, as Paul VI made clear, acknowledging the teaching of Leo XIII; “In Rerum Novarum this principle [leonine contracts] was set down with regard to a just wage for the individual worker; but it should be applied with equal force to contracts made between nations:” John Paul II, again in Populorum Progressio, wrote that, “Emigration in search of work must in no way become an opportunity for financial or social exploitation. As regards the work relationship, the same criteria should be applied to immigrant workers as to all other workers in the society concerned”.

In looking at any question, the Church, unlike those with a nefarious agenda, considers all those affected and weighs their respective claims. Immigration is no different in this respect, and as Pope Pius XII wrote in Exsul Familia Nazarethana (1952), “…the sovereignty of the State, although it must be respected, cannot be exaggerated to the point that access to this land is, for inadequate or unjustified reasons, denied to needy and decent people from other nations, provided of course, that the public wealth, considered very carefully, does not forbid this”. Note, the immigrants are assumed to be “decent” and that their claims must be balanced against the rights of natives. This is significantly different from the one-sided arguments pushed by subversives (see “critical theory”) who give immigrants an absolute right to migrate to the West, irrespective of their moral character or their impact on the economy.

Finally, the Church, with Her special care for the most vulnerable, recognizes that it is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good and that what suits the powerful may not be in the best interests of the poor. To protect their interests, the State must explicitly consider how policies impact the most vulnerable, and act accordingly. Again, Leo XIII (Rerum Novarum) said it first and best, “The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. And it is for this reason that wage-earners, since they mostly belong in the mass of the needy, should be specially cared for and protected by the government”. Thus when any policy has a deleterious effect on the poor, the state is duty-bound to do everything it can to maintain the real value of wages.

Examining mass immigration through the lens of Catholic social teaching, we can see that the policy breaches every tenet laid out in the documents cited above.

When mass immigration to the UK was starting in the 1950s, the first two complaints of the locals were that, 1) “They are changing our street” and 2) “They are taking our jobs”. The proponents of mass immigration had a counter-argument for each objection, being “You’re a racist!” and “That’s the Lump of Labour Fallacy”, respectively. Anyone who wanted to retain the British monoculture, with local variations, was a racist, and anyone whose wages dropped and blamed it on immigrants was an economically illiterate racist. And that was pretty much that for the next 60 years.

Economists and sociologists now acknowledge the value of social capital – that commonly held “rules of behaviour” lower the costs of living for everyone, since not every interaction has to be negotiated afresh. Immigration as a political issue is at the forefront of the British electorate’s mind because of the imminent arrival of many Romanian and Bulgarian citizens and their entitlement to access the UK’s anti-Catholic welfare state. In order to prevent defections to political parties that might take immigration seriously, the LibLabCon are spewing platitudes about how they feel our pain. Provided a person has established their politically correct bona fides, he may admit that the costs of the social upheavals were borne primarily by those who could least afford them. Labour leader, Ed Miliband, paid lip service to this fact is a recent party political broadcast, as have the prime minister and his deputy. However, those outside the politically correct fold (and thus are likely to do something about it) will continue to be lambasted as racists. Such is the case with a UKIP poster in Manchester which reads, “Stop open door EU immigration. Enough is enough.” Within hours trade unionists had organized a campaign to bombard the billboard company with complaints to get the poster removed. Similarly, reluctant Croydon resident, Emma West, has yet to be tried for her notorious YouTube appearance decrying the multi-cultural milieu in which she is compelled to live. I’m sure if West had the means she’d be happily ensconced in Epsom and like the rich white-flighters, immigration would be out of sight, out of mind – if only for a few years more.

The “Lump of Labour” theory is a pejorative term for the empirical observation that locals have to work for the same lower wages as immigrants or be displaced by them. The theory implies that the economy needs a certain amount of work done and if you add more people that work is spread over more workers, so wages fall. The politically correct mouthpieces claim that the average migrant is a net contributor and thus they add more value to the economy, hence it is a fallacy that migrants take locals jobs.

The reason that the Lump of Labour Fallacy is itself a fallacy is because un- and low-skilled migrants cannot support themselves in a high value-added economy, such as pertains in Europe and the US. [Japan doesn’t have this problem because it has very few immigrants (about 2% of the population) and is generally hostile to them, and certainly hasn’t changed any of its laws to accommodate them.] Globalization has created wage arbitrage opportunities, where every worker on the planet is competing with the cheapest workforce, i.e. the Chinese fascist state that has no health and safety laws and prefers to abort second children at eight and a half months, to teach errant parents a lesson.

It is expensive to live in the West and even those who are born and brought up under capitalism often find themselves prematurely unemployed or under-employed because surplus value is not retained by labour but expropriated by the usurers and capitalists. Rationally, labour seeks to retain its reward for effort, i.e. wages, but capital constantly changes the rules of employment to prevent that happening. In the first stage of capitalism, capitalists drove wages down below the cost of replacement workers, i.e. below the long-term subsistence level (because labour always underprices the infrequent but large costs of living, e.g. large home repairs, health care and retirement).

In the next stage to get wages lower, jobs that could be off-shored were, so that no local workers were needed. This was most easily done with high value-added manufactured goods, whose wage costs are a significant percentage of the total costs of production. There remained a number of jobs that are not suitable for off-shoring, either because the costs of transport are significant relative to costs of production or because they are services that must be delivered locally. In these cases, since the mountain cannot go to Mohammed, Mohammed must come to the mountain, and the off-shore workers were imported to do the work on-site. This is the third stage and that is where we are now – imported labour that is prepared to work for a fraction of the cost of local labour, displacing it.

If the Lump of Labour Fallacy were indeed a fallacy, then since mass immigration started the need for transfer payments per head would have gone down, or at least remained stable. However, we know that the fallacy is a fallacy because the welfare bill in the UK (and in the rest of the West) rises every year. See this site to have a look at how spending has changed over time. Capitalists have extracted excess value from labour using global wage arbitrage for the last 50 years, and their necessities of life have had to be supplied by the ever-shrinking pool of taxpayers. I have posted previously about the anti-Catholic outcomes of the welfare state, but crime and abortion are but two manifestations of how sordid the arrangement is.

Till the banking crisis of 2008, when debt could be created easily, the destruction of middle class jobs was not apparent because credit took the place of wages. But, now credit is no longer available, and therefore the insufficiency of wages is becoming more apparent daily. The global market capitalization of all traded financial assets (stocks, corporate bonds, government bonds, real estate securities, futures contracts, over-the-counter derivatives and mortgage-backed securities) is falling, despite the best efforts of manipulative central banks – the usurers’ lickspittles. This is the “float” that supports all economic activity, and pays for the high wage jobs that fund the Western lifestyle. This economic model has been broken beyond repair and it cannot come back. The implied adjustment to personal living standards is too dramatic for most of us to comprehend, and that is before the usurers steal cash out of our bank accounts. Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is a moment of unguarded candor, said that Cyprus would be the model for future expropriations.

Western economies need fewer un- and low-skilled workers, whether local or foreign because capital has supplanted labour. The capitalists and usurers have never allowed labour to earn its fair share of what it produces, making up the difference by offering credit in the short-term. But now the liabilities built-up since the last crisis cannot be met out of current income because the system cannot create debt fast enough. Egregious abuse of debt-based money has allowed successive governments to lull the electorate to sleep regarding how much unskilled immigration is good for an advanced economy. It was easier to take the money offered by the state and stay silent, than be punished financially (employment acts) and physically (UAF etc) for opposing immigration.

Immigrants from the East and from the southern hemisphere lack the skills and knowledge to support themselves long-term in the decaying West. Their importation was and is a deliberate act of Leftythinkers, as admitted by Andrew Neather, to make a shipwreck of the UK. What are the usurers’ plans once they have razed the economy and we are all living like the state-owned labour depicted in 1984? History is replete with examples of how usurers run economies when their demands are unfettered.


From → Chapter 1

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