Why Immigrate To Signapore
It wasn't just a case of not granting citizenship to immigrants, it was crushing them into serfdom. And this guy was arguing that unfettered immigration will be the humane way of doing things??
Yes; having a similar system in Western countries would be an improvement for both the immigrants and most Westerners. If people knowingly come into this so-called "serfdom" it's that it's still better than what they had back home. Is is forbidding them entry and letting them live worse lives in a more violent environment, as we do now, really more humane ?
I'm going to describe some of the conditions under which the immigrants "knowingly" come to places like Dubai and Singapore. I will also describe their living conditions. I will leave it up to you to decide if it's more humane or not, because I think you have no idea what you are talking about, and I am uninterested in persuading you otherwise.
I will focus on Singapore, because that is what I know best, and because for two years, I volunteered at a nonprofit that dealt with migrant workers issues.
So let's start with how the Bangladeshi workers get to Singapore.
Most of the Bangladeshi workers, and many Indian (primarily Hindi) migrant workers have some form of lifestyle as a peasant back home. They have a small plot of land, maybe a cow or two and that is what they use to till the land and live their lives.
Many have heard of the golden streets of Singapore and they have some dreams of going to Singapore to work and send money back home. They have no real idea of what Singapore is actually like as they lack access to information.
Singapore needed cheap labor, especially in construction and cleaning.
With this dynamic, you will find the enterprising sort that acts as middle men to bring the labor from Bangladesh to Singapore for the companies that need them.
These "entrepreneurs" typically charge an exorbitant sum of money to ferry the workers over. It is done in the form of "training" for the work that they will do in Singapore, "administrative costs" to get the Visa, flight etc. In my time, the sum was about 5000 SGD, which is about 4000 USD off the top of my head.
For a bunch of people who lived on something like a few hundred dollars a year, that is a massive sum. They often take massive loans, selling the land, or that one cow they had in order to attend the "schools" that will train them and send them to Singapore.
The one good thing is that they usually will arrive in Singapore. The first thing that happens is that the company will send someone to come pick them up. The second thing that happens, is that their passports gets taken away.
I know many Americans have never left their shores. Some don't even have passports, and you likely cannot understand the significance of this. The closest analogy I can give to an America is that your driver's license gets taken away and kept under lock and key.
It's much worse, obviously. Without their passports, they can't walk the streets of Singapore legally. Or frankly any other country. The only piece of document they have that allows them the freedom is the work permit, which typically lasts for 6 months to a year. Their freedom of movement is severely restricted.
But the most important thing is that they can't leave Singapore. You can't board a plane and leave a foreign country without your passport. In any country in the world, trying to leave a foreign without a passport will get you thrown in jail and persecuted. They can't walk away from a bad deal. They are trapped.
That's not all. These companies in Singapore actually have to pay a fee to the "entrepreneurs" back in Bangladesh as well, because hey, capitalism. The money for this fee comes from....the Bangladeshi worker's pay.
The typical Bangladeshi worker gets about 600 SGD a month. After the cut, and a bunch of other stuff because hey, why not charge them for accommodations and food as well? They typically have about 200 to 300 a month to live in Singapore, where the poverty line pay was 1200 a month. They sleep between 12 to 20 in a room. Some of these accommodations are really nothing more than converted rubbish dumpsters.
Many of these workers eventually end up in hard labor industry, like construction. It is prone to accidents, and many of these workers do get injured.
They usually also have no recourse when they get injured. A lot of these companies would shed these workers if they get injured and take more than 3 days sick leave. In my time in the non profit, I have seen men who were driven to a remote location and literally dumped after they just broke an arm or a leg.
Very few of these men ever get medical compensation either, and all this time, their passports were still confiscated. They couldn't even resign themselves to having had a bad deal, cut their losses, and go back.
Many of them ended in legal limbo, while they await arbitration between the government and the companies that brought them over. They cannot work, quite quickly run out of money because Singapore is expensive, and resort to sleeping under bridges. They would starve without the few soup kitchens that hands out food.
I don't want to get into the Philipino maids, but trust me, their stories are just as bad in their own way.
And you know what? Singapore is heavenly compared to Dubai, from what I read. Some of these workers die from the conditions they were kept in, and the Dubai authorities didn't give a fuck.
And for the UAE, they would advertise for jobs that sounded quite nice on paper, but when the people that applied actually get there, they find that they are doing menial chores instead. As with Singapore, their "employers" take their passports away so they have no choice but to endure their slavery, because it's still better than getting thrown into Dubai's prison.
I can't recall, but I think some of these human reaource companies resort to kidnapping.
That is how it works in Singapore, a place many people regard as a first world country. The only words I can use to describe this system of transporting migrant work labor to and fro, is human trafficking.
Are they better off in Singapore versus back in Bangladesh? I'm going to say no, they were worse off.
It is quite likely that people like this Caplan chap will think "Oh, but we have western values, these will never happen in a western democracy!" I'm too tired to even laugh.
The problem I have with people like the Caplan chap is that they are so caught up in their lala land, that they don't fill in the blanks. They draw out this grand narrative picture, but they don't account for human motivations. They don't account for how these motivations can distort this grand narrative and drive it into a really dark place. Someone some where will find a way to exploit this, just like those "entrepreneurs" in Bangladesh. Caplan chaps will either not see or can't see the rot that will fester from this distortion, and that rot will spread to poison the society around it.
Well. Take it as you will. I'm sure you'll say that Singapore is Singapore and Dubai is Dubai. The US and Western Democracies are just too different to allow that sort of thing to happen. You might even throw out an argument such as "what you are describing is not open borders though. With open borders, their lack of passports won't matter, they can come and go."
Maybe it is. Maybe it's not. We'll see. One thing I will always respect humanity for, is our amazing capacity and creativity in finding a loophole to make a quick buck at the expense of others.