Coyote Charity

Many of the OWS protesters have made a principled point of not making any demands with their protests. The reason people have protests is a frustration with their representation-in and functionality-of the system (OWSers prefer the term system to government, but its the same thing). They don’t see another way to affect change. There’s nothing left to do but howl one’s protests into the abyss. In the present case the OWS protesters see the GOP as obstructionist and Wall Street as a too heavy thumb on the opposite side of the scales. “The system is broken and so we have to work outside it to change it” has been an extremely effective populist message for approximately the last 7 years. So, many have begun discussing the ways in which change can be affected outside the traditional political channels. But protests and community organizations are ineffective, unimaginative, and stupid. And in the end they are still appeals to government.

I’d like to add what I think is a more useful (if illegal) proposition to the list of extra-governmental, civil disobedience tactics. Matt Yglesias and the boys at EconLog have also talked about how desirable it would be if we could open the borders quite a bit more. More legal immigrants would mean young workers who would buy and rent housing, reduce unemployment, and require almost no social services. There is even a bill currently being introduced by Senators Lee and Schumer that awards an immigrant a visa for investing $500,000 in housing. I tend to agree with Bryan Caplan and Arnold Kling that this is a second best option to openning borders without charging a fee. But, if legal immigrants who can afford half a million bucks in housing are great, I’d like to suggest that illegal immigrants who can afford an often similarly priced coyote are even better.

Have a look at this graph from, a website that tracks blackmarkets:

  1. Afghanistan$11,900 to Australia
  2. Africa$2,200 to Americas / $692 to Europe / $203 to other Africa
  3. Americas$4,528 to Europe / $2,984 to other Americas / $8,500 to U.S.
  4. Asia$9,374 to Europe / $26,041 to Americas / $12,240 to other Asia
  5. China$75,000 to USA / $41,800 to UK/ $15,000 to Italy
  6. Cuba$10,000 to USA
  7. Europe$6,380 to Americas / $2,708 to other Europe
  8. Guatemala$7,000 to USA
  9. India$277,000 to UK
  10. Iraq$10,500 to United Kingdom
  11. Israel$1,500 from Africa
  12. Malaysia$450 from Thailand
  13. Mexico$4,000 to USA / $5,000 to USA by boat
  14. Morocco$24,000 to Europe
  15. North Korea$6,000 to South Korea
  16. Somalia$10,000 to USA
  17. Thailand$21,000 to Japan
  18. Vietnam$28,500 to Europe

Those are exactly what they look like, going rates for smuggling a person from one country into another. If you want to give real charity; I mean truly change and better the life of a poor person and their children forever, without diminishing anyone else’s quality of life and in fact improving the receiving country’s economic situation, then what you want to do is help these people out. Pay to smuggle someone into your preferred first world country. That’s right. Because here’s the thing, if legal immigrants area good deal, illegal immigrants are even better! They don’t cost anything. They often pay Social Security and payroll taxes that they will never collect services on. They don’t collect welfare or medicaid or food stamps. They are employed at a high rate and often in jobs Americans won’t work. Their children born in, say America, become citizens in every sense.

If you really think its important that these people pay some sort of fee for entry, that they need to compensate displaced American workers, then you’re just plain mistaken but that’s okay because you can still take my advice. Just make it a loan and have them pay it back when they get here. As you’re paid back you can give the proceeds to the US government or perhaps the local unemployment charity.


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