I am going to write four words. I want you to memorize them. Every time you read about the debate over amnesty, I want you to think of these four words.
They would make a great bumper sticker.
They would easily fit on Kim Kardashian’s $65 million behind: two on one cheek, two on the other.
Here they are: Computer programs get amnesty.
Out there somewhere is some kid. He is a computer whiz. He is working on a program that could easily replace at least 10,000 workers in the United States. Worldwide, it will replace 30,000 workers. It is in beta-testing mode.
He may live in India. He may live in Russia. He may live in Israel. He may live in California. It does not matter where he lives. About 30,000 people are going to switch jobs. Some will switch careers. Some will collect unemployment checks. But the digital coding in on the wall. “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
There is no border patrol to stop the use of this program. There are no customs forms to fill in. There is no green card requirement.
BORDERS AND DIGITS
Borders are invisible lines. They are marked by fences. Sometimes. They are marked by checkpoints. Sometimes.
Digits are invisible electrons. They are protected by law. Sometimes. They are marked by registration codes. Sometimes. They can be stolen. Easily.
Describe the employment effects of open borders. Then describe the employment effects of open source code. Tell me about America’s insecure southern border. Then tell me about Linux.
There are about 120 million Mexicans. Most of them will live and die in Mexico. There are 1.3 billion Indians, plus an equal number of Chinese. Most of them will live and die in their own nations.
Assume that about 1% of these people are capable of becoming highly skilled programmers. This is not far-fetched: 20% of 20% of 20% of the respective populations. That would be approximately 1.2 million Mexicans, 13 million Indians, and 13 million Chinese. Now, assume that 10% of them actually do become highly skilled programmers. That is 2.7 million highly skilled programmers.
If not one of them ever leaves home, what do you think their effects will be on employment in the West?
Computer programs get amnesty.
THE STREETS OF LAREDO
Middle-class Americans are in a dither about the border with Mexico. A shoot-out is coming. Obama and Boehner are standing in the middle of the street, guns on their belts.
“I’ve heard about you, Boehner.”
“What have you heard, Obama?”
“I’ve heard you’re a ‘no more green cards’ liar.”
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)