Monday 26 September 2016

Cheap labour wrapped up as a humanitarian crisis

Published 23/09/2015 | 02:30

Migrants walk towards Germany at the border crossing with Austria
Migrants walk towards Germany at the border crossing with Austria

For 25 years after World War II, growth rates were high in the capitalist economies. Real income rose, as did the consumption of goods. However, multiple economic recessions in the mid-1970's brought this to an end.

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To control costs, business began to migrate to areas of low-cost labour such as the Pacific Rim and Far East because labour was powerful and organised in the mature economies. Business tackled the problem of well-paid labour in the core capitalist economies with 'Liberalisation of the Labour Market', whereby low-cost labour was imported which also undermined indigenous costs. This was re-branded 'Freedom of Movement' for public consumption, especially in states like Germany where pay rates had been frozen for 10 years.

It was in this spirit that Angela Merkel called for more foreign workers to come to Germany to take up low-paid jobs, especially in retirement homes to look after the ageing population. Immigrants grow old too of course, but business needs come first and any criticism is castigated.

With this background, the commitment of EU navies to patrol the Mediterranean for refugees has been a boon to people traffickers who now only need to drop their cargo a few kilometres from shore.

The purpose of immigration everywhere has been to provide a cheap servant class and keep pay rates down for all. This is marketed for public consumption using key phrases such as "skills shortages" and "embracing diversity". Survey evidence for the decline of societal well-being with large influxes of newcomers is long-established and incontrovertible, though not often mentioned.

The human collateral of the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Iraq is a separate issue and we should not encourage the talent of these regions to abandon their homeland for Western business needs, because they are its future and what chance does it have without them?

PJ Walsh, Castleknock, Dublin 15

The poorest pay the price

The current refugee/migration crises in Europe raises a number of questions which have not been properly answered. If these people are genuinely seeking refuge, why are they so intent on passing through a number of safe countries in eastern Europe in order to reach the more prosperous states of northern Europe such as Germany?

In this light, should we not also view them as economic migrants and not solely as refugees?

This brings a whole new set of criterion into play as to how Europe should respond to this influx.

Regarding our own Government's proposal to take in thousands of people, who is going to bear the brunt of providing the resources to deal with them?

Will funds be taken from the needy and vulnerable in this country in order to provide for these new people?

Will those already on the housing list be disadvantaged by increased competition for the existing shortage of housing stock?

It is ludicrous for a Government that is already presiding over a crisis in housing and an overstretched health service to even consider taking in thousands of extra people.

Needless to say, the decision makers with large wages and pension pots won't be affected by the sacrifices that will be forced on the already needy and vulnerable in this country.

Should the burden of refuge and provision not primarily fall on the rich countries of the Middle East, who not only have vast wealth but also share the same language and culture as the majority of the migrants?

Michael Gavin, Walkinstown, Dublin

Heroes who kept tyranny at bay

Fortunately, I was not dependent on RTÉ for any significant coverage of The Battle of Britain Commemorations for World War II, or as it was termed here euphemistically, The Emergency. It was both wonderful and moving to watch on British TV as the surviving heroes of the RAF told of their experiences.

However, one who did not live to tell his story was Wing Commander Paddy Finucane DSO DFC, who was born in Rathmines, not far from where I live. We are free of Nazi tyranny thanks to courageous individuals like him.

Tony Moriarty, Harold's Cross, Dublin 6

Showing decency to refugees

Ireland should immediately abolish all border controls at its ports and airports and tell the refugees and migrants currently corralled in the Balkans to make their way to the Emerald Isle post haste. Let's show the world how decent we are.

Brian Ahern, Clonsilla, Dublin 15

Bordering on the extreme

The Copenhagen criteria are rules that define which country is eligible to join the European Union. One of the criterion that a country must meet is to preserve human rights. Hungary seems to ignore human rights by erecting steel barriers along its border, cleaning their hands of responsibility in the crisis.

Migrants have been subject to tear gas and have climbed 'razor-wire' fences to travel further north. The irony is they don't want to stay in Hungary and it is easy to see why.

Gavin Moroney, Tulla, Co Clare

The letter of the law

According to recent reports, our legal system is descending into the same type of expensive, disorganised ineffectiveness as many other areas of our Government.

Now drunken drivers will get off because the results of their breath tests were not given in English and Irish.

This is, of course, absolutely appalling, and I would like to suggest that for absolute clarity and justice in future, other languages in use here such as Polish and Chinese be immediately added to the list.

Richard Barton, Tinahely, Co Wicklow

Writing with sprinkles on top

What a lovely piece of writing by Billy Keane, a real scoop, 'Every moment in life - and every dollop of ice cream - is special' (Irish Independent, September 21).

He sees a man dropping some ice cream from his cone on Grafton Street as he takes a call on his mobile.

What does the man do after the call? Takes a wooden spatula out of his pocket and spoons up the ice cream back into the cone; Billy decides the man must be an accountant - how apt!

But that's only the beginning. Anyone wanting a bit of feel-good writing - Google and read.

Only a Keane from Listowel could write this stuff.

Magic!

Brian McDevitt, Glenties, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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