On a USA Today post earlier today, a blogger gensmahaut wrote, "Saying that poor unskilled Americans don't want to do the work mexicans do is like saying American programmers and engineers don't want to do the work Indians do. It's complete and utter nonsense. People are ready to do any kind of work in America, at a living wage. Americans are extremely hard working people, I've found in my travels around the world. Take a look at the state of Mexico and you'll see they're by no means any harder working than Americans. Pay a decent wage and Americans will work in agriculture, service sector, just like they have in this country for centuries. There has been no magical disappearance of the work ethic of America's underdogs, on the backs of whom this country rose to great wealth." I call the purple highlighted text a brain spark since it made me wonder, is this a case of the economy working at it's comparative advantage?
In other words, Mexicans and Indians can work at a lower opportunity cost than US workers and the wages reflect the differences. If the wage increases for occupations that foreign labor is employed, then the higher wage will attract domestic workers and foreign labor will be displaced. The market will clear at a higher wage rate.