If anybody should be horrified at the idea of open borders, it’s academics in the Humanities. We all know people like my colleague from Peru I wrote about the other day. She teaches 10 courses per semester. Grades 400 essays. On her own. The essays are long and as poorly written as the ones we get from students here. Is there any doubt that for her teaching not 10 but 8 courses for the same salary would be an enormous improvement in labor conditions?
I’m driven nuts by folks who rant against the injustice of having to compete on the job market with candidates who have a PhD from an Ivy, an independent income, a supportive spouse, a helpful thesis director, etc. And in the same breath, these very folks loudly denounce the nation-state and call for open borders, which would mean that thousands of talented, hard-working colleagues from Peru and everywhere else would be on that same market immediately, willing joyfully to take on conditions of labor that none of the current contenders would be able to survive.
I mean, they are not insane, are they? They got to know that their position is total BS, right? There is nothing standing between them and the working conditions of my Peruvian colleague but the nation-state. And it’s obvious to anyone that capital would love to move us all towards the working conditions of Peru. And yet they wail, “bad nation-state, bad parade, bad wall.”
A famous academic in my field just released a book that very pompously argues that the nation-state model is garbage and to hell with it. And his is the accepted, the widely shared position. OK, so he’s unique, he won’t be substituted. But how about people who are not as special?