Jun 9, 2017

Migration is a bad idea for automation-ravaged workers

The United States has historically been a place of great mobility — when local economies have lost hope, Americans have often picked up and moved to where the jobs were.

This time seems different: Americans have not abandoned the rust belt towns of Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere in droves as jobs have fled (see chart below), and some say they should. But MIT economist Daron Acemoglu disagrees: migration is too disruptive to families and the cities that workers leave. In an interview with Axios, he said policymakers shouldn't encourage them to go.

Expand chart

Data: Census Bureau, Current Population Survey; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios Acemoglu said:"Migration puts a lot of negative pressure on the families that migrate, who have to go and adapt with low income to an entirely different area."It can leave an economic "wasteland" in the wake of fleeing workers.In Detroit, housing prices and tax revenues have plunged, and it can no longer provide adequate schooling or other public services for those who remain.And while economists see the benefits of the historic readiness of U.S. workers to relocate, they say migration may not be the silver bullet it once was. Economic historian Robert James has written that current workers must have "skills and initiative" if they are to successfully migrate, unlike past great migrations in which just showing up was often sufficient to find a job. He argues, "In today's world, workers must learn to embrace adaptability and flexibility. ... Unfortunately, the U.S. and most other industrialized countries, with their stultifying and rigid education systems, have failed to prepare people for this reality."

Go deeper

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Police officer in George Floyd killing charged with third-degree murder

A protester with a sign with George Floyd's last words. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

The state of play: Freeman said that the delay in Chauvin's arrest, which came four days after Floyd's death on Monday, was due to the need to collect sufficient evidence — and that it was "by far the fastest" his office had charged a police officer. He added that he also anticipated charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death, but refused to elaborate.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,871,347 — Total deaths: 362,554 — Total recoveries — 2,463,332Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,731,035 — Total deaths: 102,201 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.