Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Globalization and the Free Movement of Scarce Resources

Craig Newmark, of Newmark's Door, recently linked to this article in Vanity Fair about super models (streaming video available at that site) from Eastern European countries. His posting brought to mind the immigration scandals in Canada involving exotic dancers and (now former) immigration minister, Judy Sgro.

Immigration Minister Judy Sgro, embroiled in a controversy over a residency visa awarded to a Romanian stripper, now says she plans to change the rules that exotic dancers can use to emigrate to Canada.

Under the present rules exotic dancing is classified as one of the jobs the Labour Department monitors for shortages, making it easier for people to emigrate and fill those jobs.

This article highlights important observations about the Canadian labour market.

  • In general, women in Canada have other opportunities to work and earn a living that they prefer, compared with becoming exotic dancers, and
  • Many Eastern European women would prefer exotic dancing to any of their other options.

As the then-minister said,

"When you talk to the women who are so desperate for a way out of [their] countries they say, 'Please keep this program because it does
provide us with an opportunity – as much as we may not like it or approve of it – a chance of a better life.'"

What bothered me most about Craig's posting is that he said he would be unwilling to use the example in the classroom. Why not use it? It is a perfect illustration of opportunity costs and the gains from trade. Has Raleigh, NC, banned exotic dancing?
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