“If there's one policy that would change the wealth of the world it
is open borders, standard estimate is that it would double the wealth
of the world.”
Professor Bryan Caplan
Depending on which newspaper you read the UK is currently either
sinking under the collective weight of 100million Bulgarian's and
Romanian's, or about six of them have arrived since the border
controls were dropped. Either way it's a good time to take a look at
the the concepts of border controls and the state's restrictions on
the free movement of people.
To be consistent with my anarchist views I would
have to advocate a world of complete free movement of people, a world
where anyone could move and work anywhere. But is this just a
Utopian fantasy? Would cataclysmic consequences ensue? According to
free-market economist Benjamin Powell, a specialist in the economic
development of poor countries, the answer is no, at least as far as
the economics goes. Immigrants are not a drag on the economy and they
don't 'steal' jobs or depress wages.
Whilst it's good to tackle the economic myths surrounding immigration
and alleviate peoples fears, one problem I have with this is that the
starting premiss is that immigrants have to justify themselves on the basis that they will benefit us. I think what
we should be questioning is by what right do people in one geographical
area deny others the right to come and work there? I can understand
how someone can steal my car say, because my car is a thing that I
consider I own. But in what sense do I own a job, maybe one that I
don't even do? If I don't own it, if it isn't my possession, how can
someone else possibly steal it from me?
But if a first world country dropped all immigration controls
tomorrow, surely that would be a disaster right? Millions of people
from the third world would flock there causing utter chaos. It would
be like building a dam to prevent flooding, then deciding that it'd
been a bad idea and de-constructing it by blowing it up. Well
according to economist Bryan Caplan no, not only should we drop
border controls but we should do so immediately. That's the position he argues in his debate
(video below) with Professor Jan Ting, that border controls are a
massive violation of human rights that leave everybody worse off and the sooner we get rid of them the better for all.
Maybe future generations will look back and laugh at the illiteracy of a people who thought that enforcing massive restrictions on human movement could somehow be a good thing.
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