Sunday, 11 February 2018

Immigration and Agriculture

There are some basic facts about agriculture. One ; you cannot do away with agriculture; you have to eat after all. Two; However much you mechanise agriculture, there are large portions of it that have to be done by hand and you need manual labour. Three; agricultural labour is hard hard work. You and I cannot do it. Four; everywhere in the world, the natives do not want to do agricultural labour. Five; You therefore have to "import" labour - poor people from places other than where the farms are and usually from another country. Six; the natives do not want these "immigrants" to come.

This is a real problem, which as stated, does not have a solution. Witness what's happening in the UK.

The Brits don't want to work in the fields. Therefore most of the agricultural labour comes from Eastern Europe (white Christians, mind you; the problem is compounded in the US because the labour is Hispanic). The Brits have voted to leave the EU and don't want anybody coming into their country. End result - fruit is rotting in the fields as reported in the article linked. 

This was not even about illegal immigration - these workers all came perfectly legally from Eastern Europe and since it was seasonal work, actually often went back to their countries after the picking was over. And yet the Brits have spat on their face and told them they are not welcome.

The same rural folk in the UK are the ones who voted for Brexit. London overwhelmingly voted for staying. And the main reason for voting exit ? Immigration. We don't want foreigners; period.

The UK farming lobby wants to reinstate the seasonal workers scheme. The deal is , please come and do the dirty work we don't want to do, stay in some ghetto so that we don't see you, give us all the fruit and then bugger off to where you came from. Couching it in polite language does not detract from what it really is meant to be.

Agricultural labourers should simply organise themselves and show the middle finger to the UK. If you want us to work, treat us as decent human beings and give us the respect we deserve. Or else, you can do your own dirty work.

To paraphrase the Duke of Norfolk - you cannot have your fruit and eat it too !


Deepa said...

This is by far the reigning first world fear on the planet. It is going to take time for them to realize how dependent and intermingled they are with the labour market from around the world.

Ramesh said...

Yes. And if you raise barriers and say only "in country" production, how much prices will rise, and how much shortages will be.

Sriram Khé said...

To quote that ancient philosopher, Forrest Gump, stupid is as stupid does!

I will leave you with the punditry from the past, Colbert:

Fallback Position - Migrant Worker Pt. 1 via @comedycentral

Ramesh said...

@Sriram - Mmm that clip was from way before I started viewing US late night comedy shows.

Well, the issue is age old . In the past it was prisoners of war. Then came slavery. Then came indentured labour. Its now immigrants. Same thing. Humans haven't changed.

gils said...

yaaay....thala is back :) semma post and sensationally put.
ithu UK la mattumilaye ulagam poora ithaanay. have you seen any localite selling paani puri? unless he speaks bad tamil and suspicious slang of hindi people wouldn't buy. aana the moment any issue comes up these are the guys that are beaten up first. ooruku ilaichavan pullyaar kovil aandi

Anne in Salem said...

The US has strict rules about the treatment of immigrant labor brought specifically for agricultural work (H2-A visas), including quality of accommodations, wages, hours, job specifications, etc. The wages of H2-A workers are significantly higher than minimum wage, and all H2-A workers I've encountered work very hard to earn as much money as possible. The workers want to come, and we want to bring them, despite the onerous paperwork and significant cost. The UK will eventually figure it out. The pendulum will eventually moderate. I hope the farmers don't give up in the meantime.

Sriram Khé said...

On the "America First" moronic and unprincipled Republican supporters of the strongman ...
Here are the five of their strongest arguments against immigrants and immigration—and why they're wrong.

Ramesh said...

@Gilsu - Yayay, Gilsu is back. Missed you from the comments section for a long time. Your point is absolutely true. Take construction industry - we only have Oriyas, Bengalis and Assamese working. No Tamil wants to do that work. But at least we welcome them and don't kick them out.

@Anne - Its the same in the UK - the workers are all taken care of in the same way as the US. And yet the Brits don;t want them to come - its an immigration issue and not a worker treatment issue. You have a similar trend in the US.

@Sriram - Two things, I don't read at all about the US these days - gun control and immigration. Its such a waste - your country is absolutely incapable of doing anything on either.

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