How Immigration Makes Everyone Richer

Release Date
November 7, 2016


Economics Entrepreneurship Immigration Liberty Politics & Policy

There’s no reason to fear the work of immigrants; it makes Americans richer, immigrants richer, and people world-wide richer.
There are widespread fears that immigrants will steal local jobs and freeload off the welfare state… Professor Don Boudreaux tells us why these are myths.

Economics Made Easy – Foreigners Are Our Friends (video): Bryan Caplan explains the economics benefits of free trade and immigration
Immigration Myths Debunked (video): Ben Powell debunks 3 common myths about immigration
Economics Made Easy – How Immigration Can Help the Economy (video): Ben Powell explains how immigration brings economic gains

There are two inconsistent concerns that are expressed immigration in the United States, and they’re often expressed by the same people. Immigrants are coming here to live off the welfare state. They’re also coming here to take our jobs. It may be one or the other, but it’s probably not both. If you look at the amount of effort that Uncle Sam spends to prohibit and prevent or make it more difficult for immigrants to work … My belief is that immigrants come into America to work, not to live off the welfare state. I think the data actually show that out over the long run. By the way, if that were not true my preferred solution would be to let’s redouble our efforts and get rid of the welfare state rather than preventing people from moving here.
The great, late Julian Simon taught that human beings are the ultimate resource. Human creativity, human work effort, that is what makes an economy prosper. That’s what makes economies grow. Human beings become more creative and more productive when they are in societies that allow and more encourage that creativity and productivity than in other societies where it’s more suppressed and prohibited. America, fortunately, remains one of the freest. It’s not as free as I would like by any means, and the trend, I don’t like the trend, but it still remains one of the freest places on earth. It’s still a very dynamic, largely private property market economy. When workers come from other countries, high-skilled, low-skilled, for me it makes no difference … When they come to America, that’s adding more creativity to our economy and to the global economy. It’s unleashing more creativity for the global economy. Workers are moving from economies that are less free, say in Guatemala and in Honduras, even Mexico to the United States economy, which is more free.
The global economy grows because we have more creative people with that creativity unleashed in the global economy. It makes Americans richer, it makes the immigrants richer. It makes people worldwide richer. There’s no reason to fear the work effort from immigrants.