A California Reader Says Immigration-Free Japan Is The Model To Follow

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05/10/06 - An Illinois Reader Asks Some Important Questions

From: [Name Withheld]

Re: Edwin S. Rubenstein's Column: Immigration Stunting, Not Stimulating, Innovation

Japan has rigid immigration policies relative to the US. All evidence suggests that Japanese unskilled workers are much better paid on an hourly basis than US unskilled workers.

An interesting statistic would be to compare the hourly wages of the lowest paid 20 percent of workers in Japan to those same workers in the U.S.

With its tight immigration policy, Japan is denying itself the fun and excitement of a growing underclass while the U.S. middle class is slowly giving ground to Hispanic illegal alien workers.

Edwin S. Rubenstein replies: According to the CIA World Factbook, the poorest 10% of Japanese households receive 4.8% of that nation's total income while the poorest 10% of Americans receive 1.8% of our income. Our per capita income is about 40% above theirs. Based on this, it's inconceivable that our poorest 20 percent could be better off than theirs.

The richest 10% of Americans receive 30.5% of the U.S. total versus 21.7% for their Japanese counterparts. This, too, can be blamed—to some extent - on immigration that increases profits and capital income.

It's no secret: the gap between top and bottom dog in the U.S. is many times larger than it is in Japan. Take any major U.S. corporation and the ratio between what the CEO and the average factory worker is paid is many times larger than that of a similar company in Japan. 

At the top this reflects, in part, the obscene payouts for American CEOs—the recently retired Exxon's CEO's $400 million package, for example. At the bottom, cheap immigrant labor puts the average U.S. worker at a disadvantage relative to his counterpart in "xenophobic" Japan.

Read Peter Brimelow's column that details Japanese immigration here.