During the Presidential debates, we continue to hear warnings about the "Mexicanization" of the US–a warning that whites may soon be in the minority and Spanish will become our lingua franca. But all this is irrelevant: We are having a REVERSE migration here right now, as Mexican immigrants–both legal and illegal–are crossing back across the border to their home country because it’s where they can find JOBS, because when it comes to manufacturing, Mexico is rapidly becoming as important to the US economy as China.
Ten years ago, 800,000 Mexicans crossed the border every year to the US, mostly illegally. Today the flow is the other way.
In the October 15th edition of the Financial Times, Edward Luce writes:"Mexico is fast turning into America’s most important trading partner–and is already its second-largest export market. Yet the only context in which the country is mentioned on the campaign trail is drugs or illegal immigration. It is rare that reality and politics so sharply diverge."
This change is not only driven by the cost of oil, but by labor costs as well. As hard as it is to believe, Chinese workers are now paid MORE than Mexicans–the average Chinese worker earns 35 cents an hour, compared to $1.72 in Mexico.
The rise in the cost of oil also has a lot to do with it: Mexico is a lot closer than China.
So who is going to harvest our crops? Robots! In the October 15th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Owen Fletcher reports that robotics companies are developing technology that allows tractors to operate without a farmer behind the wheel. But this doesn’t mean we won’t still need labor laws! (Will robots eventually get their own Cesar Chavez?)