The office building in which I work is having some renovations done. The renovations have been going on for so long I no longer remember when they started. The office towers are having the windows replaced. They do a space when it becomes vacant so it has been on-going for a long time. The tenants on our floor moved out so they have been doing the windows in those units. For some reason we agreed to let them do out office last week. As a result I am working at home.
The plan was to let them do their thing starting last Wednesday and they would be done by Monday. Of course, they were not done by Monday. My office looked like a bomb went off yesterday morning. Some Hispanic guys were milling around with tools, but that’s all they were doing. Another Hispanic guy, who was obviously of European stock, appeared to be in charge. The rest looked like extras from a National Geographic special on the Mayans. Lots of little brown oompa-loompas.
The guy in charge tried hard to avoid me, but I finally cornered him. He was evasive in that Latin way you know if you have ever been to South America. They appear to be saying yes, but they are so vague you really have no idea. On the one hand they are effusively agreeing with you. On the other they are never actually committing to do that which will resolve the confrontation. In my case, I wanted to know when the job would be done. The guy in charge said a few hours, but maybe a few days. Who knows?
Watching the scene, I got a good dose of the Latin Way. This is when a job requiring five people has ten people trying to do it. Because it is a five person job, the extra five people slow down the required five people. Another take on this is where they have three people working in such a way that they produce the work of one person. To white people, two working together can do the work of three. three working together produce the work of five. For Latin America, it never works out this way.
Yesterday morning, that meant some of the Mayans moving around with tools in their hand, others taking turns moving a ladder around the room. Then some of the tool carriers would move a ladder or maybe move some tools around. Everyone once in a while they would say something in their language and one would leave for some reason and the return empty handed. They were working hard, but with no purpose. Instead of screwing off, they just looked busy, but the result is the same.
I fully understand why contractors, landscapers and so forth like Latin labor. They show up and try hard. With the right supervision, they can be excellent workers. That’s the problem. There’s no “smart fraction” coming over to supervise the Mayans. This old chart from the NY Times lays it out clearly. The Mexican immigrants coming to America are mostly dimwits. Add in the cultural issues and the odds of this group spawning a smart fraction capable of rising up in a modern technological society is rather slim.
This is the fundamental problem with the pro-immigration argument. The cheerleaders operate as if every human on the planet is capable of becoming the next Steve Jobs, which is so obviously not true it has to be a lie. Even when they acknowledge that some fraction are never going to be more than guys who carry things for a living, they claim that children of these people will magically flower into high IQ strivers. Biology says that is no more likely than some generation of cats producing litters of puppies.
At the other end the open borders crowd likes to extol, we have Indians. That’s sub-Himalayan Indians. I see car loads of them coming in to work at a programming or engineering shop. There are firms around here that specialize in bringing in these people on John McCain Temporary Work Visas. Those visas he thinks we need to create, despite having over twenty types of them now. These firms rent out apartments, set them up with bunk beds and pack them with Indian engineers and programmers.
What this is all about is avoiding the cost of locals. You can bring in an entry level programmer for about two-thirds the cost of training a college kid. Unlike the college kid, they have no outside distractions, don’t take days off and don’t require constant supervision. Their upside is very low, but they are temps so who cares. If anyone wants to know why kids are not going into STEM fields, just look at the numbers. Pay for engineers and programmers has been stagnant for two decades.
I think the dilemma for patriotic Americans is they sympathize with the contractors and landscapers. The Mayans seem nice. They work hard, even if they are not terribly bright. Everyone knows why the contractors prefer these people over the alternative. At the other end, the Indians also seem nice, when you see them. Unless you are in a stem field or very observant, you don’t notice the 100,000 or so temporary STEM workers brought into to cut the throats of Americans.