Back when I was in graduate school, I distinctively remember a conversation I overheard between a few of my professors.
I was a graduate student in economics working the front desk when three econ professors walked in.
They got into a discussion on politics and race. The entire faculty leaned left as in most colleges. Naturally, I diverted into my work to avoid having to talk about it. This was back in the “don’t ask, don’t tell” age of conservatism in university.
It drifted pretty rapidly into economics-related race topics. A common one back in those days was labor theory.
It wasn’t long until one of the econ professors, the notoriously left-wing one, said something moronic.
What she said I still remember to this day:
- But who will pick the strawberries?
Everyone, in our modern time, knows what she is talking about. She’s referencing low-paid (mostly Hispanic) wage laborers.
The argument is: If we don’t have massive amounts of low-skill immigration, who will pick those darn strawberries? Surely, no American would do it.
And I also distinctively remember thinking to myself that this person has authority over education. That individual is the one teaching the next generation of should-be dropouts.
I never did understand the rationale behind the argument. The other two professors just nodded and shrugged, implying consensus. Certainly, no American could ever pick strawberries.
No, the ivory tower professor that has never worked a real job could never consider working a normal blue-collar job. That has to be left to the Mexicans. They couldn’t get their hands dirty. So they immediately assume everyone else feels the same way.
Besides Mexicans, apparently.
But I still enjoy the “but who will pick the strawberries” argument.
I enjoy that the theory assumes that low-skilled immigrants only desire to come into this country to pick strawberries… and never do anything else.
I enjoy the miscarriage of a long-term outlook; the inability to recognize that the children of the low-skilled immigrant may not want to pick strawberries and will thus be labor competitive.
I also enjoy the hypocrisy of arguing in favor of a cheap labor supply instead of high-paying native favorable jobs.
It’s equally as enjoyable that elitists never seem to realize that Americans can, and will, do any job. We are not a global hive-mind like in the almighty Ivory Tower.
Or the enjoyable insanity that a cheap labor supply is harmful to already impoverished Americans that then have to further compete with diminishing job opportunities from immigrants.
I also enjoy that an economics professor could not deduce that paying more to pick strawberries using a native labor supply would barely increase the cost of said strawberries, which would then simply decrease demand slightly. But, with the economic trade-off of rising wages for impoverished Americans instead of further job loss to that demographic.
Hell, even the basic economic principle that if the cost to pick strawberries increases, it would increase demand for a technological alternative to labor. Any type of technological advancement in that arena would increase production and lower cost. But again, this requires a long-term mindset instead of a “whose picking those berries right now?” mindset.
There also exists dozens of homogeneous, low-immigration nations around the world as examples for “who”. Surprisingly, Japan does not have a massive strawberry pickin’ issue.
Even moreso, the argument doesn’t address the obvious underlying superiority complex that she exhibited. She doesn’t pick strawberries. We need Mexicans to do that. Her work is far superior.
The entire argument reeks of the elitism and short-term mindset that is all too rampant in universities today. One story out of millions.
I admit, this is a random story. But it is one that is bright in my memory still, even years later.
I think it was one of my breaking points where I completely detached from the educational system. It was definitely around that time I gave up on the idea of PhD. Why would I? It would serve no benefit. If anything, it would make me appear to be closer in relation to those idiots. I don’t want to share any similarities with them.
Yet, that individual was tenured, protected, and free to teach garbage ad infinitum for as long as they pleased.
Don’t trust the “experts“. That includes professors. Many of them fail to think through even basic arguments in their own field of research.
The degeneracy of our nation runs deep. It is amazing we have made it this long.
And don’t worry, I’m sure we can find someone to pick the strawberries.
Be Skeptical of Experts: The Paul Krugman Experience
On Universities and Foreign “Donations”
Nothing Is For Free: A PSA To The “Free Stuff” Crowd
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