Thursday, September 14, 2006

Exploited immigrants very happy people

Ever since the European Union was established there has been a relatively free labour market between member states. And Polish workers have taken advantage of this opportunity by moving into the rest of Europe in search of better jobs and better living conditions. French Leftests have ridiculed Polish workers and demonized them. No surprise there.

The British Broadcasting Corporation went out and surveyed Polish workers in England. And they reported that one quarter of the survey participants admit they are paid below the legal minimum wage. So one in four is being "exploited" according to common labour theory.

The problem is that someone forgot to tell the Poles they ought to be unhappy about this. They seem quite happy. Two-thirds of them said they were happier in England than when living in Poland. Out of 135 Polish workers surveyed only eight regretted coming to England.

Now here is something to chew on. One if four is paid below the legal minimum, that would be around 32 of them. Only eight regret coming to England. And I doubt that all eight of them were in the low paid category. So most the "exploited" workers were happy in England and most were happier in England than in Poland.

But the law says the wages they receive aren't enough to make them happy. They are supposed to miserable. Now if the employers of these workers were forced to pay the higher wage would they still be able and/or willing to hire these immigrant workers? And if the answer were no would the immigrants report themselves as being happy if they were unemployed?

Can we separate their happiness from their ability to find employment? I doubt we can. They went in search of employment after all. And is there a connection between their employability and their willingness to accept a lower than legal wage? Again it is likely to say this is the case. So enforcing the law would most likely make these workers worse off not better off. It would increase the level of dissatisfaction. The employers would be less happy as the work goes undone. The immigrants themselves would be unhappy being unemployed.

By the way we should note the Polish workers did have complaints but not about the wages. They hated English cooking. Hey, guys get in line. Everyone hates English cooking. HL Mencken referred to it as one step removed from cannibalism. And they thought the English weren't willing to work hard. No doubt all that welfare.