The New York Times magazine has a great piece on OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) who take jobs overseas to send money (remittances in the econ jargon) back home to their families. My UQ colleague Richard Brown has been working on the topic of remittances for years, but its only very recently that the topic has attracted any attention. An obvious implication of Richard’s work on the role of remittances in Pacific Island economies is that Australia should consider opening its labour market to workers from the region, a topic we’ve discussed previously.
Surprisingly, the strongest opposition to this idea has come, not from unions, but from the Centre for Independent Studies. While there are some plausible arguments here, I don’t think they would convince anyone starting from the presumption that unless there are good reasons to stop them, people should be free to move where they want. The CIS view seems to start from the presumption “we will decide who comes here and under what circumstances” (with the implicit assertion that we should feel free to make such decisions for any reason, good or bad, or for no reason at all) a popular view but scarcely one consistent with classical liberalism