Poor People Make Great Immigrants

Workers looking at the Forbidden City. Beijing, 2012

I have been in business and the best thing you can have is a cheap and abundant labor. Whether you’re running a restaurant or Amazon, you need people, and the cheaper those people are, the more money you get to keep. Poor people work for cheap. They drive the whole economy.

If poor people want to immigrate your country, shut up and be blessed.

Poor People Make Everything

Poor people have made your clothes, your phone, basically everything you own that wasn’t stupidly expensive or ‘bespoke’. They have picked, handled, transported and probably made your food. They take out your garbage and keep your cities livable. They care for your children and your sick. They have also made all the fortunes you see — all the millionaires and billionaires — with their labor.

Literally look around the room you are in. Look around your body. Poor peoples hands have touched your clothes, they have built your furniture, your electronics, even your most sophisticated products. They have carried these items on and off ships, they have driven them through the night; they have waited around till you walked in to buy them. We are literally held and carried aloft by the labor of the poor, and we scoff at it. We should be grateful. If poor people want to immigrate your country, shut up and be blessed.

When a poor person is working everyone is making money, except probably the poor person.

Poor People Make Money

The nature of a capitalist economy is that people making or doing stuff makes money. The worker makes some money for themselves. The capitalist sells the product for more and keeps the surplus. The consumer also gets a surplus, in the form of cheap goods or services. The state gets a cut of everything.

When a poor person is working everyone is making money, except probably the poor person. They are likely spending most of their paycheck on essentials or rent or exorbitant debt, and the rest on payroll or sales taxes. They are basically the perfect capitalist unit which extracts the least surplus from the whole process.

For Nations

If a poor immigrant lands at your door, they are not another mouth to feed. They are a gift. They are people who will work, and for less money than the frankly entitled people that are already there. Immigrants bring the gift of labor — a gift for capitalists and consumers and the entire economy.

Globalization has allowed this gift to happen without people seeing it. An iPhone gets built by poor people in China without having to see the poor or interact with them. But this has limits. Rich economies need people in their countries to supply services — nurses, cooks — and to make their local manufacturing more competitive. They also desperately need young, working people to make up for declining birth rates. Immigrants pay for entitlements, they don’t drain them. Immigrants are the children rich countries forgot to have.

For Capitalists

A true capitalist loves the poor, not because they are charitable, but because they are greedy. Poor labor creates the most surplus, because it can be exploited. The more poor people you have the better, the more surplus it creates. In short, poor people will work terrible jobs for peanuts, and the capitalist can keep the difference.

For Consumers

Someone in a capitalist society (ie, a consumer) also loves the poor because they make everything cheaper. You get TVs and restaurant dinners for prices you can afford because people didn’t get paid that well. You get people doing the work you need but don’t want to do — like building your house, feeding and clothing you and caring for your children and sick — literally the most important things in the world. For cheap. Because they’re poor.

The hatred of the poor is stronger than any economic force.

Poor People Are Dirty Though, Ew

Westerners like to say they are capitalist, but really they just like being rich. They don’t understand the weird trade-offs required to make capitalism work. For example, ‘they’re going to take our jobs!’ is not a bad thing. More competition means lower pay, which is music to a capitalists ears.

Unfortunately, this political slogan isn’t even true. Westerners don’t want to work in meat packing plants or warehouses, those aren’t ‘their’ jobs in any real sense anymore. It’s just racism, and ancient hatred of the poor.

Westerners are so repulsed by the idea of poor brown people that they demand ‘skilled’ migration, which actually does take their jobs. They would rather lose a desirable job to a presentable brown person than have a ‘dirty’ (re: poor) brown person do labor their country desperately needs. The hatred of the poor is stronger than any economic force.

Evolution

This hatred is an old evolutionary feeling that goes back to when you could only support say 100 people on a given plot of land, like modern toque macaque populations in Polonnaruwa¹. These apes are fiercely hierarchical and the ones at the bottom literally get beaten and not fed. This makes evolutionary sense because there’s only so much food to go around. Their population waxes and wanes with the food supply.

Economics

But that’s not economics. Humans have more than enough food and we’re creating value out of loot boxes in video games. We have mastered cooperation and tamed competition into serving our collective ends. Capitalism has figured out how to extract value out of the poor rather than just starving them to death. But this is a paradox, like many things in capitalism, which most people don’t really understand.

The paradox is that poverty creates wealth. Cheap labor creates cheap goods and a surplus for capitalists and the state. This is very simple equation, it’s only human culture that’s complicated. But it shouldn’t be. I’m not even getting into the moral abomination that is discrimination against the poor. I am simply saying that from a purely capitalist perspective, the poor are great. The more poor immigrants, the better. Welcome them in. Invest in them. They’ll make money for everyone.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication. Patreon: patreon.com/indication

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store