Friday, February 27, 2015

Darkside Of European Union's Freedom Of Movement

(Commentary posted by Roger Erickson)

Young Spaniards moving to Germany get trapped in dismal jobs

"This is the downside of the European Union's freedom of movement ... Other countries pay for the education of these people and then German companies bring them here to exploit them."
That is rather reminiscent of the strategy behind sharecropping. Freedom of Teilpächten?


NeilW said...

That is the dark side of the whole 'utopian individualist' dream.

The way a country deals with its unemployment in the EU is to export it to another nation.

That's great for GDP, great for profits and great for savings of the Germans.

It is less great for the community cohesion and social life of the individuals required to move thousands of miles to find work, often menial and low level living in hovels.

It's been like this since Manchester in the 1840s, the result is always the same at the lower end and we keep repeating the mistake.

The whole process is then sold by those who have voices - the lawyers and professionals who move countries and have a wonderful life.

Of course what's amusing is that those people would still be able to do that under a Visa system - since they are valuable individuals.

It's the very poor that become a 'slave class' wandering around the continent as gypsies.

It's the Irish navvy all over again.

Magpie said...


While I'm sure things are as bad for Spanish workers in Germany as the article says, it would be silly to imagine things there are unusually bad.

A reply to that article makes that point:

well :) he should look back to Spain and how the foreigners were and are treated there.
Even many years ago, with no economical crisis, you could see most foreigners working as cleaners, even though they had faculty diplomas from other countries. And job-ads excluding foreigners (even those from EU) existed and still exist. And things in Spain did not improve after the crisis... I guess we don't realize how we treat foreigners until we become one.

And in Australia things aren't much better, either:

Visa joy turns to misery with pay shortfalls

But this is among the worse things I've heard:

Heated nails hammered into maid

Ignacio said...

Magpie the jobs are as shitty for Spaniards in Spain, is just people avoids these jobs like the plague as long as possible (which for many is not possible any more). The spanish mentality is hard to comprehend for most foreigners, is not that we treat foreigners badly, is that we treat anyone who is not one of our own badly, hatred between spanish people is usually worse than against foreigners (except the obvious racists cases). This may be perceived as racism, but is a strange mix of individualism and tribalism in reality (is not racial, because not giving a fuck about how bad others are as long as they are not family/friends seems like a national trait).

OFC foreigners are in worse situation (that's why they emigrate after all) and will accept the shitty jobs easier (lack of social net to cover them).

There is also the other side, during the construction boom in the past decade a lot of workers (both spanish and foreigners) made a lot of money working in the construction, and the policy was pretty much open borders to feed the bubble machine, a lot of professionals came from both east Europe and South America for construction related jobs and they made pretty good money (usually undercutting the nationals too), while usually not recycling the money in the economy (sending it overseas).

Not complaining, is like this in many places. The point is that while generalization is not good, is capital who creates the conditions for those flows, and is capital which is always interested in those (in the 'good' and the 'bad' times, for different reasons, but there is always bargaining power over labour in the background as a dominating theme).

Magpie said...

I agree, Ignacio.

The idea I was trying to get across is that labour migration often is a bad thing for the migrants, whether Spaniards in Germany, Asians in Australia or whatever.

Let's face it, there are two groups of people who distinguish themselves as advocates for migration. One of them are capitalists and their politicians. Now, it's not hard to understand why these people are so keen.

(In Australia the thing reaches extremes of absurdity: the same people who want an open immigration policy, also send asylum seekers into concentration camps. At one hand, they keep their corporate sponsors happy by bringing in loads of cheap labour; at the other hand they keep the local racists and xenophobes happy by making life hell to a few thousands of foreigners)

The other group is formed by well-meaning liberals of the social-democratic variety (and some to their left, to be fair). For them the thing appears to be more a matter of claiming the high moral ground, even if the results for the migrants themselves are often shitty.

Ralph Musgrave said...

"Other countries pay for the education of these people..."

That's true of ALL FORMS of migration of people of working age between countries.