Thursday, July 20, 2006

Canadians won't move for work. (So what?)

Apparently, Canadians don't tend to move as much as they "should" in order to find work. Personally, I've always found the argument that one should move as far as necessary in order to gain work hopelessly unconvincing. For one, it completely discounts the personal costs of leaving behind family and friends. It also ignores that a spouse or close relative may rely on oneself, and be unable to leave their current place of work. Furthermore, taken to its extreme, this argument suggests that one should even be willing to take up citizenship in another country in order to find work -- which sort of destroys any value one might find in a putative virtue of national loyalty.

What I find really insulting about the article, though, is this little gem:
Mr. Guillemette says one of the obstacles to greater mobility is the federal employment insurance system, particularly the way it provides longer periods of eligibility and lower requirements in areas with greater unemployment. Such "regionally tilted" provisions give the jobless more reason to stay in areas with fewer jobs, he argues.
So, basically, it's a "big government" problem. What nonsense. I also note that this crank has missed a potential incentive for businesses to move to (or open up) in regions supported by EI in this way: namely, that there's a group of potential labourers right there who would (one would expect) willingly take on work that pays more then EI.

But, maybe we should just close all the small towns now and set up nineteenth century-styled labour camps outside all the cities? After all, the only reason one has to live anywhere is to find someone generous enough to give one a job.

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