Boeing And Movement – As American As Apple Pie

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser writes:

Americans, and their companies, have long benefited from their freedom to move throughout our country.

In the 19th century, we moved in search of natural resources, exchanging the stony soil of New England for the rich soil of Iowa. In the 20th century, Americans were more likely to migrate in search of better political environments, like the blacks who fled the Jim Crow states of the South.

The profound role that mobility has played in our country, enabling repeated reinvention, causes me to be deeply worried about the possibility that a National Labor Relations Board complaint will preventBoeing Co. (BA) from moving plane production from Washington state to South Carolina.

That is just the beginning. The full article is worth your time. It can be found here.

18 Responses to “Boeing And Movement – As American As Apple Pie”


  • Without reading the article – I believe Boeing, a heavily, heavily government subsidized corporation wants to move to save money. Am I right?

  • If you accept that freedom of movement throughout American history has lead to amazing gains, I have trouble seeing how you could reconcile that with you agreeing with Jagdish Bhagwati that skilled workers should be inhibited from leaving their home country. I’m worried that you might be reading too many heterodox economists, linguists and other sophists.

  • Gustavo,

    Right – and unions are also heavily, heavily, government subsidized by favorable tax treatments – so it cancels out. And yet freedom of movement is still as American as Apple Pie.

    Darf Ferrara,

    Who said “inhibited”? I said taxed. That’s different. Besides, that wouldn’t be intercountry movements, that would be movements outside the country.

    And really, it’s no different than what we do now. If you take your money outside of the country, it gets taxed. People are capital. Capital costs money. I dont see any moral reason not to.

  • Taxing an activity certainly inhibits it. And to think that an imaginary geographical line should condemn some people to poverty and others to wealth seems immoral to me. I think Brian Caplan and Don Beaudreaux are some of the most convincing voices on this issue.

    You say “People are capital. Capital costs money.” Are you insinuating that people are owned by the state?

  • Do you disagree with having new immigrants pay a fee when entering a country? Say an Indian wants to come to the United States, and the US charges him a $200 fee, would that be acceptable to you? Just because you desire a certain act, doesn’t mean it should be free.

    I am saying that from the home countries perspective, capital leaving harms the home country. Having them charge a tax to leave, thereby discouraging the act, doesn’t strike me as all that radical. If I was president of the home country, I would probably support the tax. Remember, I don’t want my citizens to leave – Id rather them stay in the country and invent, work or build business there.

  • If there are third party costs associated with moving from one country to another, then I think it’s appropriate to tax. Otherwise I can see no reason, either of efficiency or morally, to charge a person for crossing some geographic boundary. If you were running a country as a corporation, where all people were the property of the president, then to optimize revenues you might charge citizens to leave, but I don’t believe that people are slaves of the state. I believe in self-ownership.

  • Obama had no choice considering what’s going to happen to the Unions overseas.

    The games that the Unions are playing in this country will not be tolerated in other countries.

    It’s played differently and they “Other governments, and the business community” are very serious about it.

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