Open Borders Day!

by on March 16, 2014 at 9:54 am in Economics, Philosophy, Political Science | Permalink

Today, March 16, is Open Borders Day, a day to celebrate the right to emigrate and the right to immigrate; to peacefully move from place to place. It is a day worth celebrating everywhere both for what has been done already and for the tremendous gains in human welfare that can but are yet to be achieved. It is also a day to reflect on the moral inconsistency that says “No one can be denied equal employment opportunity because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group, or accent” and yet at the same time places heavily armed guards at the border to capture, imprison, turn back and sometimes kill immigrants.

OB Logo

 

Gobbling March 16, 2014 at 10:13 am

Not at my house, my doors are locked and my beer and steaks are off limits except to family and freinds Sorry I can’t play utility-bot for your human welfare theory.

Nathan W March 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

So what you want is free trade in markets where free trade benefits you, and monopoly market in markets where monopoly benefits you.

That part of human nature is fairly well covered by the monkeys.

How about you explore those other parts of being human. Y’know, the parts that actually make us human. How about invite a neighbour 2-3-4 doors down next time you fire up the bbq. You can start with something like “I realized what an ignorant and selfish ***hole I am and decided that I want to see if some different kinds of people would put up with me while I try to learn about how they can be worthwhile people too”

Luke March 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

Actually, that is not at all what he wrote.

Why do you just make stuff up?

TMC March 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Yep. Too funny he mentions ignorant ***hole.

Never heard of property rights?

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Private property ownership is not a human right. If you possess more than you need, you are stealing from the community.

Americans have been stealing from the world community for too long.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm

It’s amazing the number of people who fancy we live in a Scrooge McDuck economy where no one produces any goods and services and the affluent just have a stash they’re not sharing.

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Rich people produce goods and services on the backs of the poor. Look at the history of your country. You got rich off the luck of having a lot of fertile land and the “work ethic” to get a bunch of slaves to work it.

You continue to produce goods and services to the extent you do (cough), by exploiting the poor.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Agriculture currently accounts for less than 2% of value added in this economy and slavery was abolished 150 years ago.

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I’m not the one arguing you are producing much of value anymore. You mainly produce the shell game of legal, accounting and financial services.

It’s a rigged numbers game where Americans end up with most of the valuable goods produced by the poor of the world. All of these legal, accounting and financial “services” are about distributing your immoral “property rights”. So you are good at fabricating these fake rights, not good at producing any of the actual property you assert your rights over.

Cliff March 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm

You do realize America is the #2 manufacturer in the world and produces about $2.5 trillion of manufactured goods per year?

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Yeah, and the #1 manufacturer in the world has no respect for “property rights”.

Cliff March 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Even if it were true, the relevance of that statement would be?? Are you putting forward China as an example of a responsible country America should emulate, or…??

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 9:30 pm

I’m saying we can end this obsession with property rights, end national borders and improve the global economy all at the same time.

True Globalism should not — and will not — be driven by capitalism and multi-national companies. The People will take control of their destiny. Get out of the road if you can’t lend a hand.

Cliff March 16, 2014 at 10:18 pm

You are seriously putting forward China as your example of the communist utopia you envision for the world? Because you think they have open borders and no property rights? I think you are very wrong. They are a corrupt oligarchy with strict border control that managed to raise hundreds of millions of people out of poverty by ending socialism and bringing back a respect for property rights.

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 10:39 pm

The Open Borders Revolution will likely happen first in the West. For obvious reasons, it will need to be an international revolution.

People have evolved, morally, beyond the need for private property and nation-states. Greed, like slavery, is an ugly legacy of the past.

China is an example only in the sense that it proves respect for “property rights” isn’t very important. We need a Universal Humanist government that respects people more than property.

Mike H March 17, 2014 at 8:50 am

Well, we’ll start taking your private property (which you’ve stated really isn’t yours) and then see how you feel about it.

Jay March 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Please stop responding to him, he’s obviously trolling or living in early-20th century.

brad March 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm

What do property rights have to do with sovereignty. Are you one of those people that think the federal budget is just a giant household budget too?

leftistconservative March 16, 2014 at 10:05 pm

we must have more more more immigration so we can boost growth as much as possible.

Growth Uber Alles!
Seig Heil!

GDP Uber Alles!
Seig Heil!

More immigration, more growth, higher corporate profits!

Seig Heil!

Ve vill flood ze labor supply with immigrants, jah!
Seig Heil!

And ve vill depress wages and increase profits!

Seig Heil!

leftistconservative March 16, 2014 at 10:06 pm

More immigrants means more consumers!
Seig Heil!

More consumers means higher sales!
Seig Heil!

More sales means higher profits!
Seig Heil!

leftistconservative March 16, 2014 at 10:10 pm

we must manufacture consent for more mass immigration!

Ve vill cram white guilt and multiculturalism into impressionable young white minds in ze schools!
Seig Heil!

And zen many of them will be too ashamed of being white to vote against mass immigration!

Seig Heil!
White Guilt Uber Alles!

Seig Heil!
Mass immigation Uber Alles!
Seig Heil!
Growth Uber Alles!
Seig Heil!
Housing prices vill rise through mass immigration of fertile immigrants!
Seig Heil!

Mortgage derivatives will rise in value!
Seig Heil!
Corporations will stay solvent!
Seig Heil!

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I agree that there are more important things than efficiency and growth.

I just don’t think that protecting the lucky from competition against the unlucky is one that can win the “external unbiased perspective” when looking to morality.

If you want closed doors because it benefits you, your neighbours and your current countrymen, then advocate for it. But don’t try to tell me that it is ethically superior to want benefits for people who you are closer to than for people you don’t know. Practical, yes. Ethically superior, no.

leftistconservative March 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm

how about this: the pro-immigration drones acknowledge that we are being educated/propagandized to react favorably to immigration of nonwhites in mass numbers, and that the reason this is happening is because it makes the rich richer.

Admit that just like the GOP plank of low-tax, pro-business, the Democrat plank of pro-nonwhite, pro-immigration is evolved and molded to make the rich richer.

And this the way that young americans are propagandized to accept mass immigration via multiculturalism has taken right from the propaganda techniques that dominated germany, japan, china, america and russia from decades ago when the war machines ruled the earth.

And then admit this: you aint even half as smart as you think you are.

Marian Kechlibar March 16, 2014 at 11:18 am

Humans are tribal. That makes us human as well. In every historical era, on every continents, humans formed tribes, clans and states, and self-identified with them. There was no time or place where this would not hold.

Yet although quite obvious, this is precisely the aspect of reality which is absolutely against the current Zeitgeist.

Sometimes, I think that eras could be classified by the sort of facts that were suppressed.

Brenton March 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

I imagine people centuries ago saying “nationalism will never work – humans are too tribal for that”.

Do you seriously think that Americans for example feel they are a part of the American ‘tribe’? Has New York City divided into tribal chaos for example?

Thor March 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm

You said invite them. Precisely. Not let them wander in when it suits them.

Ed March 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm

I want things that work that benefit myself, family and fellow Americans. I expect others around the world to do the same exact thing. I’m not really concerned about what goes on in Port-au-Prince, Aleppo or any other hot spot around the globe. The American poor should not have to bear the brunt of libertarian schemes.

M March 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

So what you want is free trade in markets where free trade benefits you, and monopoly market in markets where monopoly benefits you.

“I expect everyone to act as selfish utility maximizers, but when they actually try to set the laws to benefit themselves as selfish utility maximizers, I get offended and start (selectively) blabbing about the finer altruistic qualities of humanity”

This is an element I find difficult to understand about “Liberatarians”

1. they expect economic behavior within the laws to be wholly motivated by self interest, or at least totally discretionary to individuals that it can be motivated entirely by self interest. when people act in “markets”, they should act in a self interested manner.

2. yet they expect people’s behavior when actually setting and considering the laws to be from the perspective of some sort of impartial self sacrificing altruistic robot. when considering how the “market” ought to be, they should act impartially.

“Utilitarians” when setting the laws, “objectivists and solipsists” when acting within them. Isn’t it clear that this state of affairs is deeply self contradictory, unstable and incoherent?

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Newsflash: people care about people. Maximizing utility can involve wanting better outcomes for people you don’t know.

Kafir March 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm

This is a compelling analogy, Gobbling: if you let anyone who wants come into your house and take your beer, then you will have no beer.

But in a nation that already has (and will still have) well-defined property rights, I’m not sure the analogy fits. If immigrants are allowed into the US, they don’t get my steak, unless they buy my steak. They don’t get my land, unless they buy my land at a price that benefits me. They don’t get my money, in general, unless they do work I am willing to pay for.

What they get is the opportunity to trade on freer terms with me and my neighbors, and proximity to the markets (particularly for labor) they wish to trade in. It’s not obvious that that should make me worse off, in general. What am I giving up?

If an American neighbor has children, there will be more people near me: do I lose something to them as a result? If a foreign family moves in nearby, there will be more people near me: what do I lose to them?

qwerty March 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Youre really bad at understanding an analogy.

Clealy the problems with immigration is not that they will eat your steak and drink your beer. Thats not how to understand an analogy!!!!

The analogy when it comes to immigration, is what the conseqences of the immigrants would be when they come here, like the cnsequences when strangers come to your house.
When talking about immigrants, clearly it has a lot of consequences for society; like schooling and infrastructure. They will also have free access to benefit from the great institutions that have been created through massive investmenst and hard work from the current citizen. Why should that kind of free-riding be celebrated.
“Open Borders” crowd just assume that once institutions are there, they will always be working out just fine. It a silly idea.

BTW – there is no way you can be sure that america will always have property rights. Immigrants dont have to be just like you and me. They could have all kind of strange ideas. Who knows, maybe crazy ideas are the reasons their homecountries are not working out so good.

Kafir March 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I agree, of course: Gobblings does not think the problem is in particular that immigrants will take our beer.

But if there is a point to the analogy, it must be that what immigrants do is in some important way _like_ taking our beer—that these are analogous concerns. (Otherwise, if Gobblings is just saying that taking his beer is bad, and immigration is also bad, then he isn’t successfully making an analogy at all.)

My point is exactly that immigration is not very much like taking Gobblings’ beer: his beer is zero-sum. Most of the benefits to immigrants to the US are _not_ zero-sum.

Access to trustworthy institutions is not zero-sum: one more person living under American law does not mean that there is less American law for the rest of us. Freer access to existing networks of commerce is not zero-sum. Infrastructure is in most cases not zero-sum.

Gobblings is making an analogy in terms of things that he would be giving away: steak and beer. But if he “gives away” access to markets and institutions, he still has access to markets and institutions. It’s a bad analogy. (I called it compelling; I should have said emotionally compelling but too shallow to be valuable.)

I’m mostly a free-rider on American institutions—I didn’t create them; all I have to do is pay taxes. But it doesn’t cost you, or James Madison, anything to have me benefit from those institutional structures.

For what it’s worth, I do think that the political implications of large-scale immigration are worth worrying about—but that Gobblings’ argument (hands off my beer!) is too simple-minded to address that issue. If your own belief is that immigration should be prevented because otherwise immigrants with crazy ideas will do away with private property, that’s an entirely different argument, albeit one I’m also skeptical of.

So Much for Subtlety March 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Kafir

Access to trustworthy institutions is not zero-sum: one more person living under American law does not mean that there is less American law for the rest of us. Freer access to existing networks of commerce is not zero-sum. Infrastructure is in most cases not zero-sum.

We have done this experiment on a smaller scale. The Great Migration saw a massive movement of Blacks from the South to the North East. Very similar cultures, but not quite. So more Blacks got access to the resources of the North-East. Generally a good thing. But it was not zero-sum. One more Black person moving to Detroit does not make a difference. But Detroit is now 80-90% Black. Enough to have given them control over the police 30 years ago. The first thing that happened was that the Street Crime Unit was disbanded. Police were shifted from fighting crime to maintaining good relations with the Black community.

How is that working out for the people of Detroit?

Commerce is not zero-sum, I agree. But infrastructure is. How many people are happy to ride public transport in any Black majority city? Or any city with a reasonable population of Black people. Why would that be? They are all racists, right?

More zero-sum is politics. White people cannot expect to have jobs in a whole range of city governments now. Nor can a White person expect to be elected in a place like Detroit.

If you give away power, you have given away power. You cannot share power with people who don’t want to share. You cannot share power with people who have radically different points of view about how society ought to be structured.

I’m mostly a free-rider on American institutions—I didn’t create them; all I have to do is pay taxes. But it doesn’t cost you, or James Madison, anything to have me benefit from those institutional structures.

I am sorry to hear if that is true but I doubt it. Americans like to think of themselves as part of a rational and universal experiment. But they are not, or if they are, it is grounded in a specific culture formed at a specific time among a specific ethnic group. American institutions rely on Americans being Americans. It relies on parents volunteering for the PTA, for Rotary, for all the intermediate institutions. This is why America’s colonies are not America. You can try to make Philippinos into Americans but they are not and the Philippines cannot become America. That is why institution building failed so utterly in Iraq. And it always will fail. By doing a thousand and one little things, middle class people create and sustain institutions even if they don’t think they do. Black people do not do so as often. Which is why White suburbs are nice places to live.

If your own belief is that immigration should be prevented because otherwise immigrants with crazy ideas will do away with private property, that’s an entirely different argument, albeit one I’m also skeptical of.

By all means be skeptical. But we have actually done this experiment. We know how it turns out. Go and live in Baltimore. Or Savannah. Or Detroit. Or Trenton. There are hundreds of American cities that were great places to live when they were majority White. And now they are not. Cultures differ. Even very similar cultures. Those free institutions cannot survive without the WASP culture that created America.

Open borders means the slow decline of the US into something more like Mexico. If America is lucky.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm

I don’t think they want to steal his beer and steak.

Mostly I assume they just want a job where they can make good use of their skills (i.e. get a decent paycheque) and a good education for their children.

M March 16, 2014 at 3:08 pm

The point here is clearly that being a citizen of an immigration restrictive country can have existing economic and quality of life benefits for the people who live in it and for the people they care about (their family, their ethnicity, their friends).

These benefits are not “on the balance sheet” and take the form of decreased economic competition for land, wages, natural resources and also lowered policing presence from non-violent cultural norms, future income from high educational standards, the pleasure of living in a culturally tight knit country, etc.

The “beer” is not on the balance sheet. Yet it is still there and we still benefit from it, and it can still be stolen.

In the West, when we ask citizens to change to being an immigration permissive country, we are generally effectively getting the average citizen to pass off value which they currently possess to others (usually, and mainly, to the rich and powerful from their own country).

It is quite right to identify this as a form of fraud, theft and redistribution. It’s certainly very hypocritical and bizarre in the extreme to expect economic agents who you otherwise encourage to be heartless selfish status and utility maximizers (looking out for themselves and maybe their immediate family) to go along with it.

Kafir March 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

“These benefits are not “on the balance sheet” and take the form of decreased [sic] economic competition for land, wages… The “beer” is not on the balance sheet. Yet it is still there and we still benefit from it, and it can still be stolen.”

I don’t think I accept the premise that economic competition is equivalent to theft.

“The point here is clearly that being a citizen of an immigration restrictive country can have existing economic and quality of life benefits for the people who live in it and for the people they care about (their family, their ethnicity, their friends)… the pleasure of living in a culturally tight knit country, etc.”

Your goal of preventing cultural diversity in order to maximize the pleasure of the ethnicity you care about may be valid, but would have more force in a nation that was more nearly homogeneous in those aspects: say, Japan.

And of course all of your arguments apply to intra-national migration as well: when New Yorkers move to Connecticut, or Californians move to Portland, or white people move to Harlem, that’s often a nuisance to existing residents—but I wouldn’t call it theft, or fraud, and I don’t advocate the government restricting freedom of movement to prevent it.

But in general, yes, immigration will impose some costs, which is why I think it would be sensible to price in those costs for the relevant actors through tariffs, to ensure that America as a whole benefits.

So Much for Subtlety March 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Kafir

And of course all of your arguments apply to intra-national migration as well: when New Yorkers move to Connecticut, or Californians move to Portland, or white people move to Harlem, that’s often a nuisance to existing residents—but I wouldn’t call it theft, or fraud, and I don’t advocate the government restricting freedom of movement to prevent it.

I wouldn’t call it theft or fraud either. But I would point out that the Great Migration of Blacks from the South involved a massive destruction of property value as well as city institutions. To the point that no sane person would live in those places now. Black or White. It wasn’t a nuisance. It was a disaster for those pre-existing cities and communities. Detroit was a success story … until the Great Migration.

Now that doesn’t matter much because it is only impoverishing poor Whites and it is only their children who are victims of crime. There are always the suburbs to flee to. But once national governments go the same way as Detroit’s, America will have a problem.

It is not that the government ought to do anything to stop the movement of people within the United States, but there is clearly a case for the government ceasing trying to stop people preventing the destruction of their life savings.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:43 pm

If the logic of free trade works at the level of nations, why should it not work at the level of communities.

Let more in, but recognize that you will have to step up your game.

Kafir March 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

A serious proposal:

It seems likely that the benefit to an individual immigrant of moving to the US will generally be greater than the marginal cost to Americans of one more individual entering the country—so open borders make sense if Alex’s goal is to impartially maximize utility.

However—Gobbling’s position (a reasonable and common one) is that we should prioritize benefits to Americans, and discount benefits to current foreigners—so if the immigrant would be a lot better off, and the US only a little worse off, we should still oppose immigration, even if it would produce a net benefit in human welfare.

There’s an easy fix here: estimate the cost an additional immigrant imposes on Americans, and charge an immigration tariff, with open borders to anyone willing and able to pay. This redirects part of the net benefit to current Americans, so that both immigrants and Americans win.

(We could fine-tune the tariff by charging less to less-costly (or more valuable!) immigrants—a discount for fluent English-speakers, say—but it probably isn’t really necessary.)

Any objections?

CPV March 16, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Do it like sort of like Canada does – you can’t come in unless you have a meaningful job lined up or significant assets (like $200,000). This prevents the free rider issues. But this is hardly “Open Borders”.

Kafir March 16, 2014 at 4:51 pm

‘But this is hardly “Open Borders”.’

True. The folks at openborders.info aren’t actually in favor of fully open borders, as Tyler Cowen pointed out. It’s a misleading name.
http://openborders.info/blog/in-response-to-tyler-cowen/

What they seem to be in favor of is taxing immigration, rather than restricting it by other means. And a well-chosen tax on immigration would seem to be both more efficient than Canada’s solution and more beneficial to existing residents.

CPV March 16, 2014 at 6:42 pm

This is hardly the sales pitch in the main post.

Chip March 16, 2014 at 8:23 pm

This isn’t accurate. While Canada does have a skilled immigrant program about 80% of immigrants are family members. Further, the determination of “skills” by the government hasn’t quite matched what business defines as skills.

As a result immigrants to Canada are identified by the same government as among the poorest Canadians along with single mothers and natives.

And finally, Canada has an enormous welfare state primarily through its single payer healthcare system. About half of provincial budgets are devoted to health spending.

What this means is that an immigrant needs to earn a significant amount of money to support his family and repay his health and other costs.

It’s not happening, with immigrants estimated to cost a net $23 billion a year.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm

If they cost $23 billion a year, then that’s most likely pocket change when compared to what they contribute.

Sources please? I want to know what this $23 billion is all about.

Someone March 16, 2014 at 3:56 pm

We already have this. It’s called the investment visa scheme. What we need to do is abolish jus soli and family reunification visa schemes. The US is an attractive destination. It can afford to be selective about the kind of people it lets in. Canada and Australia both seem to be doing well with that strategy. Decreased competition at the bottom end leads to $16 per hour AUD jobs at fast food restaurants and a happy “native” population.

carlospln March 16, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Bullshit. The reason the minimum wage is A$16 here is because that’s what most Australians believe is fair.

And, btw, the real driver of this is resi r/e cost-some of the highest on Earth. But that’s another problem.

Chip March 16, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Canada just scrapped its investor immigrant program because it found they paid very little in taxes. They invest for five years, send their family over to attend school and enjoy the free healthcare, but they themselves remain abroad and declare little income.

There is an interesting story from West Vancouver, which is the richest postal code in Canada and a popular new home for investor immigrants. They found that it had the second highest poverty rate in BC.

Why?

Because these satellite families were declarig little income from the earnings overseas. So the policy brought in a lot of costs and few benefits.

Open borders does not work with a welfare state because it distorts the incentives.

Ayup! March 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Note that when each of the blocks in the Open Borders logo has rotated, the result will be a swastika!

cecilhenry March 16, 2014 at 10:05 pm

AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY??

That’s White Genocide.

Throw those promoting it in jail. Enough

Gobbling March 17, 2014 at 12:33 am

Thanks for all the comments, I appreciate the complexity of the issue and the debate. Y’all are welcome to pop by for beer and maybe steak (the drought is spiking beef prices, sorry).

leftistconservative March 17, 2014 at 10:25 pm

let me in, let me in, little piggy working class american, or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your borders in ….and better yet, my elite benefactors that live off my cheap labor will demonize you as a racist in the media…

Dave Barnes March 16, 2014 at 10:14 am

Yes!
Let everyone in.

Nathan W March 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

How about at least stop making it continuously harder?

That would be a good start.

john personna March 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Or let us in? Every nation with a strong safety net has barriers to entry. We are probably just mid-range.

DJK March 16, 2014 at 10:26 am

Why stop at open borders. Since immigration is so clearly of benefit, the US should solicit for more immigrants, and pay their passage from poor countries.

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 11:35 am

Some US groups do exactly that.

QWERTY March 16, 2014 at 10:27 am

“the moral inconsistency”

It not “inconsistency”. It is pretty clear that most people think it is ok to discriminate between citizen and non-citizen. You know, like e.g. the UN thinks.

It is not that hard to understand. So please stop embarrasing yourselves by pretending otherwise.

It is not really any different from when you discriminate against people on all kind of weird criteria when they ask you if they can move into your house.

Instead we should celebrate the right to build societies and protect the “property right” of these societies from outsiders whom you dont want to be members. Lets celebrate the amazing people who take responsibility for creating decent societies and lets protect their rights instead of celebrating travelling opportunist rights to enjoy what they didnt create.
There are tremendous gains in human welfare that can be achived by protecting these rights, just like the benefits from all other kind of property rights that Alex, Tyler, Caplan supports. The intellectual inconsistency is just amazing.

The moral highground clearly belongs to those that support the right to set up borders to control and protect what belongs to you.

Nathan W March 16, 2014 at 11:06 am

The moral high ground belongs to those who sit on their stack and say “this is my stack, and if you come near it I will shoot you, and if you try to work beside my son, I will beat you and send you to jail”.

God bless America.

Luke March 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

What is your problem?

You have written 3-4 comments and and they are all just plain stupid.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:51 pm

And sanctimonious to boot.

CD March 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Nathan’s comments are lucid and thoughtful, unlike the semi-literate xenophobes above.

I’m sure there are thoughtful arguments against open borders, but my default explanation is that opponents of openness are poorly-educated residents of wealthy countries trying to protect their relative privilege, and so far I’m not seeing any counter-examples.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Instead of an ad hominem, why not present an argument for viewing a country as if it were a hotel.

If everyone’s your brother, no one is.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I salute your thoughtful contribution.

Michael March 16, 2014 at 10:39 am

The other commenters have already pointed out the intellectual and moral failings of Alex’s ideologically motivated but intellectually bankrupt embracing of open borders, so let me just point out the hypocrisy.

Of course, Prof. Tabarrok would welcome 100 million Indian, Chinese, Burmese, Sri Lankan, Ugandan, and Bolivian beggars into his neighborhood if the U.S. suddenly had 100% open borders. He would happily let them build shanty towns near his comfortable upper middle class house in Virginia. Perhaps he’d even let them commit genocide on him and his neighbors in much the way that Tabarrok’s (and my own, I admit) ancestors did on the native Americans who lived there 500 years ago.

Nathan W March 16, 2014 at 11:08 am

The Chinese would be the first to lecture him on the genocides, as it is a first step in tell Americans to get their own house in order before lecturing the Chinese about their domestic challenges.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

What house in order? China had serial death happenings between 1851 and 1976 that produced seven and eight digit body counts. (And that’s leaving the forced abortions unenumerated). But, hey, they’ve got a high savings rate, so it’s all good.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I never said the Chinese were consistent.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm

There was no genocide. The aboriginal population did suffer a demographic catastrophe, but it was a consequence of deficits of immunity to unfamiliar microbes.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Of course there was a genocide. Unconsciously perpetrated genocide is still genocide, whether back then or today where genocide is unconsciously perpetrated in the name of open borders idealism.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:26 pm

There was no genocide. Stop lying.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Yes there was, and it involved both unconsciously perpetrated genocide as well as consciously perpetrated genocide. Unconsciously perpetrated genocide, such as the genocide as being perpetrated today in the name of open borders, is still genocide.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

There is no such thing as ‘unconsciously perpetrated genocide’. That’s a nonsense phrase.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Call it what you want. The whole world knows what happened.

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Since you’re all trafficking in malicious fictions, the whole world apparently does not know.

The Other Jim March 16, 2014 at 10:42 am

I applaud people who come right out and say they want open borders. They don’t hide behind false accusations of racism, or like the idea of having laws but just not enforcing them.

Your stance could not be more wildly, dangerously wrong, but I applaud you.

Freetochoose March 16, 2014 at 10:44 am

I’d like to take a moment to thank Alex for continuing to highlight an important injustice.

The trolls posting here that oppose free movement of labor have drawn an artificial distinction between two classes of people based on nothing more than lines drawn in the sand centuries ago. I wonder that if those lines were redrawn and the opponents deposited in a medieval dictatorship in the style of North Korea whether their opinions would change.

The Other Jim March 16, 2014 at 11:02 am

Right — if we opened up the US borders completely tomorrow, I’m sure we’d see a flood of North Korean immigrants, thereby saving their lives.

I mean, what’s stopping them?

QWERTY March 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

Well, basically everyone at the open borders club also believe in artificial distinctions between what is yours and mine, like two classes of people; those who own CocaCola and those who do not, those who Microsoft… and those who do not.

Get a grip. The distinction is based on something as fundamental as the borders of society. They are not drawn in the sand, but are created through historical processes, througt politically (often by the use of force) processes.
They are not random, but the result of human interaction.
Hence, they are not more arbitrary than everything else created by humans can be claimed to be.
And the point being, that these lines are not just redrawn for fun. They are there, and hence the people inside each society have taken responsibility for creating there societies.

That aint injustice. THe injustice is what Alex and you are supporting; the fact that a lot of people who have never created anything can move and just take over the society created by someone else.

You think the word “artifical” makes you sound smart, but it is just silly. Everything in society is artifical; Alex’ property right for his house, the rule of law……

I wonder if your’e some sort of racist who only believes americans can build a democratic society. To you the rest of the world is just some degenerate people who are “deposited”

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 11:44 am

Got an example of something that you’ve personally created that’s worth defending from the rest of the world?

QWERTY March 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Its not something I “personally” have created. Like the shareholders of Microsoft haven’t “personally” created anything. I have just a small part in creating this society, my parents also a part, my grandparent also.
And I image, so do you.
But I dont have any share in the wonderful society they have created in Somalia, Pakistan or Portugal. I think they are allowed to say to me; listen, your a nice guy, but we dont think you can contribute to the society we have created here, so please leave. bye bye.

It really really isn’t that hard to understand.

Clearly our society must be of really high value. Otherwise Alex doesn’t make any sense at all.
Hence its worth defending.

Do you really disagree?

MD March 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm

I made this really great Dunmer thief in Skyrim. He looks really badass. I don’t think it’s fair to let in a bunch of Haitians or whatever who might start spending points on warrior-class perks.

Brenton March 16, 2014 at 8:56 pm

“THe injustice is what Alex and you are supporting; the fact that a lot of people who have never created anything can move and just take over the society created by someone else.”

Take over?

Cliff March 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm

It’s a democracy, so as the Democrats are fond of saying, demography is destiny

Prior Probability March 16, 2014 at 10:47 am

Yes, all you idiots are right … Closed borders are the way to go … In fact, let’s start locally, the 50 States should also close their borders ! (Why stop at State borders? Big cities like New York and LA should close their local borders too?)

Geesh

Z March 16, 2014 at 10:50 am

Your comments say nothing about the people you assail and everything about you. Thanks for waving the ignorance banner so clearly. Now I can ignore you without further consideration.

Gobbly March 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

Yes, because large minorities from a powerful neighboring state never, ever cause problems for the locals.

farmer March 16, 2014 at 11:07 am

if you can convince the Gov’t to close the border between OR and CA, I’ll send you $100

Z March 16, 2014 at 12:32 pm

In the next constitution, you vote where you were born. That ends the practice of lunatics moving into a state and voting their co-religionists into office. New Hampshire used to be a solidly republican state. That’s small “r” republican for the dimwitted lefties reading this. Lunatics from Mass moved in and immediately went looking for a drunk Hibernian to vote into office. My system puts an end to that practice.

msgkings March 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Your system exactly matches that of Caesar Augustus, who forced Jesus’ (human) parents to make a difficult trek to Bethlehem to register in a census because that’s where they were born. They had to have a kid in a barn. I’m not saying you are Caesar or anything. But keep suggesting infringing on the free movement of American citizens, please.

Steve M March 16, 2014 at 5:17 pm

People are not a commodity. If you believe that the people in one part of the world have features that are different from their neighbours and worth encouraging, you should support closed borders around that people.

Z March 16, 2014 at 10:48 am

Alex, like economists everywhere it seems, is convinced “morality” can found on his calculator. Albert Speer believed that too.

The Other Jim March 16, 2014 at 11:10 am

I’m not even sure he’s looking at his calculator. It’s more like navel-gazing.

“Fairness” trumps everything, with no regard to what might get destroyed in the process. Since none of the destruction will ever land on Alex, it’s not worth thinking about. It probably isn’t even real! Just the rantings of haters, most likely.

revver March 16, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Sounds like an old song that’s been played before…

Nathan W March 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

There was a time when one could cross any border, so long as one was willing to play by the rules wherever you arrived, including the possibility that you could become enslaved at any stage along the way.

When did we get the notion that keeping out individuals and families, who very much are not armies, is part of national security?

Selfishness, greed, and unwillingness to compete with workers from other places . From a country who claims to be guided by God, through a message which primarily involves giving a shit about other people (the story of Jesus), and which was founded on the basis of democracy and freedoms which have been flouted to extreme by bringing down democratic regimes throughout Latin America, the Middle East and Africa … I declare that America wins the title hands down of the most vindictively hypocritical nation on earth.

And so, I sit on my high horse and say “you undeserving pile of scum, why don’t you search your souls to find what really matters, and ask yourself whether you will consider welcoming other souls to your land to help build the bounty to ever greater heights”

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Selfishness, greed, and unwillingness to compete with workers from other places

No, just a realistic appraisal of costs and consequences, which repulsive posturing ninnies cannot be bothered to do in good faith.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm

I am more than open to those arguments. I’m not sure what “realistic” means here, but if I’m serious about talking about open borders, I’d be a complete retard if I wasn’t open to discussing the costs side of the equation.

But if it’s really an appraisal of costs and benefits that you’re worried about, then why not frame it more explicitly.

I don’t think there’s any shame in saying “Keep them out. I work in industry x, and I know that wages will fall if more people come”. I don’t think that wins the “ethical/moral argument”, but I am 100% persuaded that it is a very sensible argument to make. It is also one that requires empirical verification and cannot be declared as true across the board.

What bothers me is blanket statements to keep the heathens away from your beer and steak, when all they want is a half a chance to get a decent job.

Hoover March 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

“you undeserving pile of scum”

Do you find this approach achieves your aim of trying to persuade people?

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm

That’s not the point. The point is striking attitudes.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I wouldn’t have said it if I thought it reduced the probability of persuading people.

Hoover March 20, 2014 at 2:31 am

It’s an unconventional approach. I’m not sure it works, particularly on a site such as MR, whose readers tend to be more influenced by evidence than insults.

farmer March 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

I want to start a foundation which has the sole purpose of buying houses directly next to the Freidman’s and Alex’s of the world and then fills those house with Somalis, MS-13 members and Papua New Guineans

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Papua New Guinea is poor but politically tranquil. For a place with innumerable languages and lineage groups, that’s quite surprising.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm

The homicide rate in PNG is 13 per 100,000. That’s high but recognizable to those of us who lived in metropolitan centers ca. 1980.

farmer March 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm

the murder rate in Port Morseby in 2005, the last figure we have, is 54/100,000. I think that’s the extact “creative vibract” Alex’s neighbourhood needs!

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2008/09/28/the_list_murder_capitals_of_the_world

farmer March 16, 2014 at 3:42 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/13/papua-new-guinea-cannibals_n_1670688.html

2 years ago, Australia charged 29 PNG’ers with activities against their enemies to include “eating brains raw and making penis soup”.

Eating human brains is certainly a job Americans do not want to do, it only makes sense to allow immigration

Nathan W March 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

I don’t think it’s practical, but it is a profound statement on injustice and how incredibly unfair it is to never get a chance because you were born in the wrong country.

I don’t have problems with people who say “yeah … it’s kind of wrong, but we can’t just let them all in tomorrow”. What I have problems with is people who truly don’t give a s**t about the people who never had a chance, and feel GOOD about the use of guns, war, mass incarceration and other methods to beat them back down when they dare to try.

Ungrateful SOBs, and I’m not sure whether I’m more focused on the “ungrateful” or “SOB” part of that statement.

Btw … Great ancient knowledge, passed down through the generations and recognized by wise men across cultures and throughout history: BEING GRATEFUL FEELS GOOD.

If you’re not going to let them in, at least be grateful. Do NOT tell yourself how much better you are, how much more deserving you are. Tell yourself, and others, how GRATEFUL you are to have the opportunities you do.

QWERTY March 16, 2014 at 11:35 am

I cant tell if your are serious about your racist claims, that only americans have a “chance” in the world.

Well, if americans have a “chance” today, it is because there someone decided to fight for it, to make sacrifices for it. It didn’t fall down from the sky.

It is disguting when people like you and Alex claim that the people living in other countries are “trapped” forever and only can be saved by moving to america. It is racist. And not by any standard liberal thinking.

People are not born i the “wrong” country, they are born in the country where their parents live. They can complain to their parent; why didnt you create a richer society.
People are responsibel for creating society, not god/allah.

Otherwise it is also unfair that my dad is not as rich as Bill Gates, Tyler Cowen or Alex. I never got a chance…..

Pierre March 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Qwerty, as a European, I have a different worldview. History is much stronger than any individual. Many great countries, like Poland and East Germany fell under terrible regimes and people born there were as deserving as their parents, but suddently had no other opportunities in life than emigrating.
Individuals are not always responsible for History.
(But I do believe that cultures matter, and that you can’t have millions of people of different cultures in your country without changing it deeply.)

Stubbs March 18, 2014 at 12:04 am

How many divisions does “History” have? How do “great countries” “fall under” terrible regimes? Do you believe in ghosts?

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm

That’s one of the things to be GRATEFUL about. That millions and millions of people BEFORE your time contributed to building societies that afford the opportunities we get.

However, historically speaking, that also involved enslaving entire nations and setting up imperial/colonial relations which assuredly served as an enormous disadvantage in the efforts of those people to build up their societies.

Yes, it is unfair that you never had the chances that Bill Gates had. Then again, you’re probably not as smart as Bill Gates. But more importantly, you’re also not in abject poverty, so I shrug my shoulders and wish you luck in your endeavours. May you find your inner Bill Gates before it is too late.

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Actually, it involved buying slaves from African chieftains, who had captured them as war booty in battles with other African chieftains.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Sorry, Nathan. My people, my country. The lot of you are not giving the slightest thought to the challenges of social and cultural inhomogeneity. The academics of this world do not face such challenges because all the intramural disputation has been wrung out in those little parts of the world in which they live and work.

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 3:38 pm

“My people, my country.” Oh, really? There’s over 300 million individuals milling around between the seas, do they all belong to you? And the real estate as well? You must be very important.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Have you any non-trivial remarks?

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 4:22 pm

So important that you’re the judge of triviality as well as the legitimacy of the state. You must be a cop.

Roberts March 16, 2014 at 6:11 pm

You’re some sort of neocon concern troll who pops up all the time to defend Jews. Plenty of Americans don’t consider you part of their people or country and if they had their way would send you packing to Israel or worse.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm

1. I do defend the Jews from time to time, because they are subject to unreasonable attacks.

2. Yes, American Jews in general are my countrymen, even if Bryan Caplan is not (and my background is old colonial and Calvinist with some potato famine migrants thrown in, if anyone cares).

3. There is no such thing as a ‘neo-con’. There is the conventional starboard, there are varieties of libertarianism, and then there is the alt-right. Bar Michael Brendan Dougherty and perhaps Kathy Shaidle, nearly all of the alt-right give everyone a clown show.

Roberts March 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm

And plenty of Americans don’t consider people like you and Jews part of their people or country and if they had their way would send you packing to Israel or worse.

msgkings March 17, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Too bad those old colonials couldn’t keep the potato famine migrants out to preserve their nation.

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Why not offer an argument?

Cliff March 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Roberts, are you kidding me? What world do you live in?

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Your people, your country.

Any surprise that I’m not one of the ones knocking at the gates?

Drifting March 16, 2014 at 8:04 pm

You don’t become the right country by letting all your best talent emigrate to other nations. If anything the borders should be closed to prevent nations from becoming dependent on remittances rather than healthy local economies, and to give the best and brightest some incentive to change things at home rather than gambling in Vegas.

Case in point, Mexico.

jerseycityjoan March 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Did I miss the part where you say “It will coste each of us a considrable amount of sacrifice to accommodate an open borders policy” then argue why such sacrifice can and should be made?

Where is your list of things that you and your famly are willing to give up for your ideals?

People who advocate for open borders — or anything close to it — do not seem to be willing to admit the reality of what it such changes would bring to the nonelites of First World countries.

Until they do, I do not see how they can have credibility. In all truth though, I think that may be fine with them. They seem to love their beautiful ideal so much, I am not sure they wish to tarnish it with practical considerations.

CPV March 16, 2014 at 11:14 am

These postings continue to seriously undermine the credibility of this blog.

prior_approval March 16, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Seriously? ‘Undermine the credibility of this blog?’

What makes you think that credibility is something that either of the putative owners care about? Apart from the credibility required in the hallowed halls of Hazel Hall, that is.

Michael March 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm

George Mason University should just replace all of their staff with bloggers. I mean, who needs a professor of 18th century English literature when you can get Perez Hilton? We can replace the Physics department with guys who run creationist blogs. I mean, it’s what the market wants and the market is never wrong–why not?

prior_approval March 17, 2014 at 1:13 am

Technically, staff at GMU are essentially all the people who are not faculty or students. In other words, faculty teach Victorian literature – the staff are the ones who actually ensure that the students can register for the class, pay their tuition, etc.

And many of the people connected to the Mercatus Center are neither faculty nor staff of GMU – and it is fair to say that the Mercatus Center wouldn’t want it any other way.

Becky Hargrove March 16, 2014 at 11:20 am

Make everyone’s time count for services and knowledge use arbitrage. Free markets for knowledge use, no matter how “stupid” anyone is or seems to be. Does anyone keep products off the market because they are stupid? Then, and only then, will the open borders that I also support, have a chance of happening.

Al March 16, 2014 at 11:54 am

I applaud the idealism of the open borders idea, and I truly believe the advocates of it are well-meaning. But the idea presents a whole lot of practical problems which its proponents don’t come close to solving.

To take just a single one of these: how will any receiving society (e.g. the US) build additional infrastructure, the water and power delivery systems, the transportation systems, to support the additional population? Alex himself just posted an entry on this very blog about the difficulties — the political and regulatory gridlock — which characterizes new infrastructure projects in the US. This question remains unanswered. These open borders advocates need to actually solve these problems, not just pretend someone else will solve them.

Every time I read one of these open borders posts I feel as though I’ve been magically transported back to Woodstock and everyone just dropped acid.

Steve Sailer March 17, 2014 at 12:27 am

“Alex himself just posted an entry on this very blog about the difficulties — the political and regulatory gridlock — which characterizes new infrastructure projects in the US.”

Right, it’s not utterly a coincidence that the state with the largest percentage of immigrants, California, has the biggest roadblocks to getting infrastructure built.

Rahul March 17, 2014 at 3:07 am

Well, if you are fishing around for coincidences might as well note that California has nearly the highest life expectancy among all states & top-10 for median income & makes the highest contribution to national GDP.

Are you going to give immigrants credit for all these too?

msgkings March 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

And with that, Steve is reduced to a pile of ashes.

Cliff March 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Do they deserve credit for that?

msgkings March 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Hey Cliff, look up! There’s Rahul’s point, flying by.

Al March 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

This article about crowded housing in Los Angeles and Orange Counties recently appeared in the LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/07/local/la-me-crowding-20140308

Is overcrowded housing an acceptable outcome to those who favor open borders? (If not — how will more housing be built? Where will the money come from?) What if city health, fire and safety regulations are being violated frequently in the overcrowded housing — does it become unethical for a city to enforce such regulations if it sometimes means evicting the tenants from the housing?

If we are ever to make open borders more than just a rainbow-unicorn, marshmallow pie-in-the-sky idea, we need a serious, federal regime of laws and enforcement agencies which would consistently, effectively, ethically and practically deal with these sorts of issues.

Please, where is the ethical and legal framework for even _thinking_ about creating such laws and agencies?

Brenton March 18, 2014 at 2:19 am

“If not — how will more housing be built? Where will the money come from?” < from the people who rent the property? A lot more housing could be built in LA County if zoning laws allowed it, lowering prices and reducing overcrowding. If there isn't available housing for evicted people in their price range then they'll either go back home or move to a place (Texas?) where they can afford it, which is happening currently. Nobody is advocating abolishing safety regulations, as far as I'm aware. I'm not sure what your point is.

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

My ancestors, or at least their contemporaries, performed genocide and theft on the existing population whose level of technological development and numerical disadvantage made their resistance futile. That’s OK, it was in the past and now is now. Forget about those exterminated natives and their bankrupt descendents. Since we’ve secured the place we must defend it, and, in fact, move our defenses, some in economic form, to other distant places. That’s just the way it works. Simultaneously, we must condemn forever, and remind ourselves daily, of the immense but unrightable wrong committed against slaves imported from Africa over a little more than 200 years that ceased over 150 years ago. And we’re also required to absorb a daily reminder that a socialist party in Germany not only attempted to exterminate an entire race but conquer the rest of the globe. Only them, of course. Nobody else had such a plan. The deaths and expropriations of property in Russia and China were just one of those things. Can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm

There was no genocide. Stop lying.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Of course there was a genocide. Unconsciously perpetrated genocide is still genocide, whether back then or today where genocide is unconsciously perpetrated in the name of open borders idealism.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:33 pm

That word does not mean what you think it does, pumpkin.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

Unconsciously perpetrated genocide, which can be entirely unconscious and even self-deceptive, is still genocide.

Cliff March 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Not if it is completely beyond the control or even understanding of the people who “caused” it. If you don’t even know there is such a thing as germs can you be responsible for infecting someone with a disease?

Nattering Nabob March 17, 2014 at 2:54 am

Jeez, call it ‘schmenocide’ if you like. The point is that when a load of disease-ridden Martians start forcibly colonising the Earth and 90% of us end up dead or shunted onto reservations, only a moral idiot would say: “oh well, that’s the way it goes, they weren’t to know…”

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 10:32 am

No “Jeez”, buddy. That word has specific meaning and emotional freight. You all are using it as a rhetorical gesture when it’s use is false and malicious. People carry communicable diseases and always have. That’s not ‘genocide’. That’s the human condition. The demographic catastrophe in question took place in the century after the fall of the Aztec empire, when there were scarcely any settlers in North America.

Nattering Nabob March 18, 2014 at 3:32 am

You all are using it as a rhetorical gesture when it’s use is false and malicious.

I’m not using the word at all. You’re the one saying that there’s nothing to see here if you forcibly colonise a place, against the original inhabitants’ will, and most of them end up dead.

But there’s definitely something to see here. If you hadn’t wronged them in the first place, they wouldn’t be dead. If you hadn’t broken into the house, the owner wouldn’t have died of the disease you were carrying. Quite different from if you bumped into him on the street.

Also, I’m not your buddy. But please, have the last word with whatever specious nonsense you come up with…

Art Deco March 18, 2014 at 9:32 am

Your not saying that? Then what’s the point of your intervention in this discussion?

The vast bulk of them who ‘ended up dead’ did so due to epidemics which require no colonization at all. A scatter of trading posts on the coast would have been quite sufficient. A number of others ‘ended up dead’ due to Spanish participation in extant intramural conflicts between various and sundry Indian states and Indian tribes. The Spaniards collected many allies among the aboriginal populations of Mexico and Mesoamerica. There was a reason for that: a great many aboriginal groupings were nasty buggers (the Aztec and the Carib to name two).

That aside, how do you think tribal formations like the Sioux acquired the lands over which they ranged? Answer: by pushing out the previous inhabitants. So who’s ‘wronged’???

BenSix March 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Oh, so that‘s what everyone’s been celebrating.

TMC March 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Back when most of them came in you had to had a sponsor who’d be responsible for you financially, and most of the time, a job lined up. There are a lot of myths about the past and ‘Open Borders’.

BenSix March 16, 2014 at 1:02 pm

It was a joke. But yes.

yang March 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

The Open Borders crowd are profoundly immoral parasites. Barely human in their thinking.

It is such an inhuman, unnatural, immoral idea that it will never succeed.

But thanks for letting me into your county so I can be part of the new asian overclass.

Joe Smith March 16, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Alex may want to turn Canada into Zimbabwe (or Jamaica or Bangladesh or India) – corrupt, poor, violent. I don’t.

yang March 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

There was no genocide of the Amerindian tribes. 98%+ of the deaths were cause by disease brought, unwittingly, by the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors. Average Amerindian who died never met or saw a European. Most deaths were from starvation when everyone got too sick to work the farms.

There was no genocide of the Americas — no more than the Chinese committed genocide in Europe when they accidentally brought the Black Plague to Europe via trading networks. Killed 1/3rd to 1/2 of Europe.

And trust me, Chinese were plenty racist to white people, just as racist as the conquistadors were to the Amerindians.

And in both cases, neither group was aware of the diseases they were carrying. Germ theory of disease hadn’t even been discovered.

The supposed genocide of the native Americans is one of the great historical lies. There was a great tragedy — a great die off of world historical proportions.

But if I’m unaware I have the flu, cough on you and unwittingly infect you and you get pneumonia and die — then I haven’t murdered you. Even if I think I am racially or religiously superior to you. Even if I hate you.

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm

http://nailheadtom.blogspot.com/2013/07/orders-of-george-washington-to-general.html

“We pitched our tents on the banks of he Arkansas on the 21st of October, 1868, there to remain usefully employed until the 12th of the following month, when we mounted our horses, bade adieu to the luxuries of civilization, and turned our faces toward the Wichita Mountains in the endeavor to drive from their winter hiding places the savages who had during the past summer waged such ruthless and cruel war upon our exposed settlers on the border.” George Armstrong Custer, “My Life on the Plains”, Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1966, pg. 260.

The “winter hiding places” would be described by the natives as “home”.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I believe the Indians in question were Kiowa:

http://digital.library.okstate.edu/encyclopedia/entries/k/ki017.html

They were hunter-gatherers, so had no ‘home’. They ended up around the Wichita mountains because they had been pushed southward by … other Indian tribes (who somehow are not to be regarded as ‘genocidal’).

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Sounds like a pretty good reason to kill them and take their land. But it wasn’t their land, was it? It belonged to Europeans that hadn’t even moved to North America yet. Or perhaps Americans that lived around Boston or Philadelphia or New York. Couldn’t have belonged to the natives. They didn’t have deeds.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm

The tribe still exists, so they were not killed. They were a nomadic hunter gatherer population, so speaking of ‘their land’ is non sequitur, even if they would not have happily shoved some other tribe out of the way.

chuck martel March 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm

OK, you failed both Latin and logic if you ever went to school at all. Maybe you can get a refund from whoever tutored your GED course.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I take it you’ve run out of arguments.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Of course there was a genocide. Unconsciously perpetrated genocide is still genocide, whether back then or today where genocide is unconsciously perpetrated in the name of open borders idealism.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:35 pm

It does not matter how many times you repeat this tripe, it’s still blatantly false.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 7:43 pm

It does matter, because it’s worth repeating: Unconsciously perpetrated genocide is still genocide, whether back then or today where genocide is unconsciously perpetrated in the name of open borders idealism.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Silly statements are not worth repeating, Jason.

msgkings March 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Hey Art, you know this Jason cat agrees with you that the borders should be shut tight (now that your Irish ancestors are in). He’s saying open borders advocates are advocating ‘unconscious’ genocide. Y’all should make up and be friends!

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 9:52 pm

I am not interested in what he agrees with or what he does not. He trafficks in nonsense phrases, he gets slapped.

Joe Smith March 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Canada had a religious movement – the Sons of Freedom – who thought material possession were bad for the soul so they would from time to time burn down their neighbor’s houses to save the neighbor’s souls. Alex wants to burn down our western institutional houses for the good of our souls.

ladderff March 16, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Contrary to its Whig origins, economics is properly considered a special case not of moral theory, but of thermodynamics, with an emphasis on information theory. All useful thermodynamic systems expend energy to stave off disorder. That includes living organisms, man-made contrivances, and whole societies. If there is a break in your skin, you court infection, disorder, and death. If there is a big hole in your refrigerator, the motor will blow out. In all cases energy must be used to maintain the boundary between the system and the entropic universe. There is no real, practical reason to think that human societies are any different. As the impetus for mass immigration clearly itself shows, order and prosperity are the historical and geographical exception, not the rule. It may make sense to conserve these things. That, or get on Jesus’ good side so that when the Rapture he’ll take you to heaven with him. That’s Alex’s plan.

A.B Prosper March 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Worst holiday ever.

native-american March 16, 2014 at 2:31 pm

as a native american i celebrate the genocide that open borders brought my people.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm

There was no genocide.

Jason March 16, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Of course there was a genocide. Unconsciously perpetrated genocide is still genocide, whether back then or today where genocide is unconsciously perpetrated in the name of open borders idealism.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

The spam filter must be on the fritz here.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

This sort of post reminds you that most academics are not really your countrymen. They belong to a trans-national professional-managerial class which does not include you. I do wish you chaps would emigrate (if any serious country would have you).

Steve Sailer in the house March 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Are you guys fucking kidding me?

Drifting March 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Yes, I celebrate businesses efforts to import foreign workers in order to depress the prevailing wages, thereby increasing profits while reducing quality of life. My only regret is we don’t import enough economists.

Jane the Actuary March 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Open Borders?

I started following this blog last fall, and this is the first item that’s just profoundly foolish.

To throw open the border to the U.S. is to invite chaos, and drop pay and living standards down to a level that’s, well, “anything better than where we came from.” Yes, it would be a great equalizer, since the overall welfare of people globally would increase, but at a great cost to Americans. And the fundamental principle of sovereignty says that each country has the obligation to look out for its own people’s well-being, not to balance off improvements in the welfare of others against declines in our own.

Yes, we did once have open borders, but we don’t have to turn large-scale immigration into a State Religion just because Emma Lazarus wrote a poem.

And those who are pro-open borders generally tend to be the elites who expect that they and their progeny will always be on top, one way or the other, or else very trusting in a limitless wealth of the United States, which, if put to use in just the right way by the smartest people, will be more than enough to provide for everyone, or in a coming Star Trek-ian utopia where technology provides for all of our needs.

Consider the taxi drivers at the airport. They wait there for hours just for a single fare, for what must really, in the end, be a miserable hourly rate-of-pay, simply because there are so many taxi drivers. Open immigration would repeat this scenario over and over.

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I started following this blog last fall, and this is the first item that’s just profoundly foolish.

Tabbarok and Caplan are academics with tenure. There are no consequences. What Scott FitzGerald said:

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Tom and Daisy in our time would be the entertainment business, the majority of academics and much of the bar (and, of course, the politicians who promote the worldview of these groups).

leftistconservative March 17, 2014 at 7:08 am

you wrote:
“And those who are pro-open borders generally tend to be the elites….”

The elites are definitely open borders, but far more numerous than the elites are their foot soldiers, their drones.

The elites have created tens of millions of ideological puppets that enable their policies. Both political tribes have a platform that has been molded and evolved to make the rich richer, just in different ways.

The elites manufactured consent for mass immigration through induction of white guilt via propaganda pushed on impressionable young white minds. This induction process begins in elementary school and continues on through college. The educational curriculum has been molded to induce white race guilt into young white minds. Thus, the elites created adults that will enable mass immigration and allow affirmative action and the whole set of race spoils programs. This is how the elite grow the supply of workers and consumers, how they drive up the price of real estate and depress wages, how they increase profits.

We are living in a livestock operation.
And it all starts with propaganda pushed via the educational system.

Remember when the GOP was pushing the idea that they would give out school vouchers once the GOP got into power? Well, they did get into power and then controlled the presidency and both houses. Did they do the school vouchers thing? Nope.

The elite want the school system just as it is. Just like the democrats, the GOP obey Big Money.

Imagine There's No Countries March 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharing all the world…

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

farmer March 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

“open borders but do not get rid of tenure for professors”

watch what they do, not what they say

mucgoo March 16, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Happy open border day indeed
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26600689
Some the top rated comments
“In my opinion, we don’t need more homes we need less people.”
“Curb immigration and then you won’t have to resort to building new cities.”
“Once again, the elephant in the room is population growth. No politician has the nerve to even mention it.”

darcy March 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm

We humans were and are born to migrate with nature as nomadic hunter gather tribes people. We are born with legs not roots. When we discovered that we could establish permanent occupation of territorial areas and restrict rival competitors through violent defensive means, we established the property based agrarian communities. There are 3 basic means of allocating scarce territorial land area properties. First, is the homesteading claim by engaging in defencing possession taking and closing borders. Next, is we invade, conquer, command and establish new closed borders. Third, we start opening porous free trading borders allowing the natural migration of ideas, goods, services and people. Private land property homesteaders associate into community nation borders to create defensive forces against rival competitors. Migrating animals do not recognize fenced and guarded borders in their natural tendency to migrate with the seasons. We have evolved our communities to permit migrating travel corridors offered to migrating animal species including some of our own competitive human species. These global public migrating trade corridors ought to be opened without borders. Private homesteads and gated community properties must continue to establish restricted limited invitational open border access according to each defended territorial land property owner’s criteria for themselves. The more open, the invitational porous travel corridor bordered trade migration routes are, do they tend to create, produce, share greater peace, liberties and prosperity.

James C March 16, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Its because of articles like this from professors like Tabarrok and Caplan, that convince me that Shakespeare was wrong, and a more appropriate target would be tenured economists, rather than lawyers.

CPV March 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

This post has been presented with all the panache of an undergraduate in the throes of his first world saving idea.

Curt F. March 16, 2014 at 7:19 pm

I can’t wrap my mind around the morality of open borders. Can the morality of open borders even determinable in the abstract? It seems like it depends a lot on the morality of the laws an either side of a border.

If laws on one side of a border are bad enough to impel the desire to move across the border, is the immoral point really the border, or the laws on the other side? If closed borders are immoral, why is it also not immoral to deny voting rights to people who live on the other side of a border? Mobility of voting rights seems just as moral as the mobility of persons. I don’t necessarily believe in either one, morally speaking, but I don’t understand how you can think one is moral but not the other.

In general I’m an advocate for immigration reform and expanding nearly all forms of immigration to the US, but I just can’t see the moral case for open borders. If anything this post by Alex makes me more cautious about reform than I had been before. Hopefully, most people in favor of reform aren’t making arguments this weird.

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prior_approval March 17, 2014 at 1:05 am

Every day is open borders for spam, it seems

Rahul March 17, 2014 at 3:12 am

Could have been worse: A Huawei router?

msgkings March 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

What color is the router? Then I can decide whether or not it belongs here.

Jordan March 16, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Profoundly disappointed in the quality of the comments here. Mix of ignorance, stereotyping, rent-seeking, and collectivism.

Hoover March 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

But are you surprised? The topic is known to cause emotional responses. Somebody’s even posted the lyrics to Imagine.

If you’re disappointed, your best bet is to treat the responses as a laboratory or place to analyse human behaviour…

Art Deco March 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Mix of ignorance, stereotyping, rent-seeking, and collectivism.

Pure pretentious nonsense.

Jordan March 16, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Apologies, a bit pretentious. Not nonsense.

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 10:16 am

Yes, nonsense. If it was not, you’d present a counter argument.

Jordan March 17, 2014 at 11:23 am

The fear of “social and cultural homogeneity” does not nullify the human right of movement, the right to private property and its derivation: to transact and exchange such property provided it does not infringe other’s negative rights. The opposite is true.

Problems that allow social and cultural divisions to fracture societies are problems with those societies, with the underlying system, with their all-important institutions. Coercively keeping people in poverty due to the arbitrariness of birth by pointing to our own flawed institutions is disappointing at best.

In totality, free movement has the potential to generate large welfare gains, higher standards of living, more robust and flexible markets, deeper and more extensive global connections, a more rapid diffusion of technology and knowledge. If consequentialism is the preferred metric, it should pass with flying colors. If consequentialism for Americans is your preferred metric then it’s much more debatable (I’ll take the affirmative). But if we enforce groupish consequentialism as the metric, then we are rent-seekers, and I will charge, immoral rent-seekers at that.

Jordan March 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

“social and cultural inhomogenity” ****

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 1:01 pm

1. George Borjas’ research discredited the notion that there are ‘large welfare gains’ from free trade in labor.

2. ‘Ere you decide what are the rights of the people, you have to decide who are the people. Rights are exercised in communities.

3. Communities need order and bonds of solidarity. There are people in this world who feel no solidarity and do not care what goes on outside their own skin.

Jordan March 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

1) Borjas reminded us that there should be effects on wages on for incumbent citizens, especially on the low-end of the spectrum. His results were modest (as I understand them). Certainly those immigrating receive large lifts in welfare, and the welfare of people born inside other borders matters. The idea that Borjas proves there aren’t large consequentialist gains from free movement baffles me. They are potentially massive, and beyond the scope of his analysis, or any conceivable mathematical analysis. The converse argument is that very restrictive movement of persons will result in higher welfare for all. Strikes me as flatly wrong.

2) Rights are exercised at different levels, agree. Rights don’t exist because of that. Rights exist anyways, they are inalieable, that is what makes it a right. I don’t determine rights at the community level. To do so would be to imply that right doesn’t exist somewhere else, which doesn’t make it a right, but rather renders it an unwarranted privilege, a political machination, a gift based on geography, or what have you.

3) I sympathize with and agree most with this. Brings us back to the correct institutions. To protect negative rights is the correct response, so such apathetic individuals cannot affect your just property. To coercively keep such people geographically fenced in is wrong. Would you advocate deporting American citizens who display the traits you fear? Or would you rather a system that allows peaceful co-existence?

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm

The idea that Borjas proves there aren’t large consequentialist gains from free movement baffles me

Welfare gains estimated through some conventional regression analysis at $7 billion. Sofa change in an economy our size.

Jordan March 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Mathematical methods are flawed for estimating the true benefits. That doesn’t mean scholars shouldn’t try, but most are necessarily limited in scope. Most attempt to quantify 1) an increase in immigration and not open borders 2) only economic variables in a sea of many variables and 3) only some economic variables in a sea of many economic variables.

Much of what I’ve seen doesn’t even take into account the welfare benefits of said immigrants, but rather focuses on the net benefit to the “home economy.” This misses the entire point, and approaches the problem through a groupish consequentialist lens. It is of course hard enough to estimate wage and economic impacts on the home country, but it’s hardly a comprehensive argument against open borders. Far from it.

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Mathematical methods are flawed for estimating the true benefits.

You’re bound and determined, Jordan. Just make the numbers up if it helps you feel good.

Jordan March 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I did not make a blanket statement and then move on. I gave examples. Won’t you inspect them? Do the models you cite take into account the richer entrepreneurial pool, the increased access to technology, the information and knowledge diffusion benefits, the human capital accumulation, the more robust and flexibile pricing dynamics, the productivity of remittances, the ability to escape repressive regimes, exercise basic speech, get access to clean water, enjoy basic rule of law, maintain purchasing power?

Are you postulating that 1) Your models do account for this 2) These things don’t matter 3) These things matter, but not enough to offset other things or 4) omething I’ve missed?

And what of the moral aspect to this? You’ve boiled it all down to a not convicing general welfare # that (presumably) only looks at welfare for incumbent citizens based off narrow economic models.

This is my last post. I changed my mind on this issue a few years ago. I went from closed borders to open borders. The moral and consequentialist arguments are convincing. If you think some regressions can encapsulate them, they I fear you may not be grasping the power of such open policy.

Cheers.

leftistconservative March 17, 2014 at 6:40 am

just as a landlord seeks rent for the property he owns, the citizens of america seek to extract higher wages from their own nation, for which they and their ancestors paid in blood, sweat, toil and tears.

The elite want more immigrants. They always have.

The elite treat america as a livestock operation. They always have. They want to cram as many human livestock as possible onto america.

More labor. Lower wages. More consumers. More profits.

Immigration means a more divided populace, which means the will of the people is less well defined. A less well defined will of the people means the people are less able to hold their elected representatives accountable.
That means the elite can better control the government.

Multiculturalism and political correctness are the grease that lubes mass immigration and thereby makes the rich richer.

Multiculturalism and political correctness enable not only higher immigration, but also helps the corporations increase the supply of labor and consumers.

It is all about corporate profits.

leftistconservative March 17, 2014 at 6:59 am

What is really humorous about you and the others like you on this board is that you think you are more educated than us, than me. I have more formal education than you, than anyone here, I would wager. I have read more books than you, I would wager. I have more college degrees than you.

I have done more things than you. I have had more different types of jobs than you. I know the world better than you.

I have worked in power tower offices and turned oily wrenches in the bilges of ships. I have wandered alone like a cloud in third world slums. I am a scientist and a writer.

I am the educated one, not you.

You are the puppet of the elite, dancing on their string. Not me. You.

Jordan March 17, 2014 at 9:40 am

“just as a landlord seeks rent for the property he owns, the citizens of america seek to extract higher wages from their own nation.”

Rent-seeking.

“…for which they and their ancestors paid in blood, sweat, toil and tears.”

Collectivism

“The elite treat america as a livestock operation. They always have.”

Stereotyping

“It is all about corporate profits.”

No it is not.

cecilhenry March 16, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Why are people so anti-white?? Why not address the real issues for the West?

AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY??

Racism is only racism when it is the people of the country trying to defend their ethnic interests, not when their anti-white ‘leaders’ defend theirs.

At what point would anti-whites allow whites such as this the right to protect their ethnic interests, to not be displaced in their country and have their society destroyed– all just so they can look good for the camera. Moral grandstanding and PC prudery aside, one would not dare argue for the converse–that would be called Genocide.

Anti-whites expect an entire race to disappear from the face of the earth without even mentioning, not even whispering about it.

Nobody’s flooding Africa with Non-Africans and giving them free health care, affirmative action and special privileges.

Only White Countries are doing it, only White children are affected, and only White politicians are allowing it.

Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

Ricardo March 17, 2014 at 3:46 am

Should Crimea and the rest of Ukraine open its doors to unlimited immigration from Russia?

Vernunft March 17, 2014 at 4:15 am

I will be moving in to your house right away. Open borders and all. Stock the fridge, because General Welfare.

Petr Akuleyev March 17, 2014 at 5:36 am

“No one can be denied equal employment opportunity because of birthplace, ancestry, culture, linguistic characteristics common to a specific ethnic group, or accent”

Yet businesses and organizations, from large corporations to progressive non-profits, deny people employment all the time because they aren’t qualified, don’t fit the corporate culture, or because they simply aren’t needed. Is that “immoral”? Why shouldn’t countries have the same right to refuse entry?

The Anti-Gnostic March 17, 2014 at 8:50 am

That’s my question as well. Tyler just warbled on about “common vision” in business organizations at Vox and 538. To Tyler and Alex, the US is just a large mall where whoever wants should be able to set up shop, turning a profit being deemed as far as we need to go for a national ethos. But even malls have lots of language about anchor tenants, qualifications, limiting competition, common areas, aesthetics, etc. The US is run with less amity than most shopping malls.

The NFL is one of the most successful business organizations on the planet, and it has all sorts of measures for limiting entry and maintaining parity. Academic institutions are notorious for all kinds of these practices. But as soon as an organization is called a nation-state, apparently all these other rules apply in the name of increasing GDP. Then when it turns out we may only be breaking even at best, all the number-crunching economists suddenly become Kantian philosophers.

Art Deco March 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm

They care about their workplaces and keeping evangelical riff raff out, as you can see here:

http://www.themainewire.com/2014/02/bowdoin-college-christians-lost/

What they do not care about is the country they live in as a social unit. The working people who form the majority are just pairs of hands who work for B & G or the campus accounting office and they have no affinity claims on the faculty. Besides, immigrant populations have much more interesting cuisine.

Ricardo March 17, 2014 at 9:03 pm

The comparison with the nation-state doesn’t work well. Almost all nation-states accord nationality or citizenship to the children of citizens regardless of other personal characteristics. Nation-states are more comparable to a university where legacy admits make up 95% of the student body. That said, I don’t have strong problems with the nation-state but would have serious doubts about the quality of a university that relied so heavily on legacy admits. So maybe we shouldn’t be comparing organizations (which tend to have highly focused missions and which we don’t always need to persist in their current recognizable form across generations) to countries.

TheOtherWoodieGuthrie March 17, 2014 at 8:39 am

I just love the people who say you could never deport all the illegals, but think you could lock up 85,000,000 gun owners.

You cannot have open borders and the welfare state.

Pretty soon the takers outnumber the makers, and it falls apart. Besides,

This land is my land.
This land ain’t your land.

If you don’t get off,
I’ll blow yer head off.

I’v got a shotgun
and, you ain’t go-ot one.

This land was made for only me . . .

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm

If you could forget about the bit about shotguns, your comment about open borders and the welfare state might come across more readily.

I don’t know how the welfare state can function with open borders. For practical reasons, that is why I ascribe to the ideals of open borders but do not advocate it as serious policy.

leftistconservative March 17, 2014 at 5:49 pm

oh, I have a feeling shotguns are going to have their place in how the mass immigration scandal comes to an end at last.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm

What, when the gun-toting Tea Partiers realize that the state has been so powerful for generations that the notion of a meaningful capacity to armed resistance is something for the history books, to the extent that one could tease people about their revolutionary fervour in a manner which will lead them to start seeing CIA shadows popping out of every corner.

I think the right handful of motivational words will do more to influence the powers that be than 75,000,000 disorganized muskets.

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I suggest the following title for the American right:

“WWJD? Biblical evidence that “Love your neighbour” is not synonymous with “git the shotgun” “

Nathan W March 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Ungrateful SOB.

Tom March 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Allow me to modestly propose we begin at the other end and dissolve the state first.

Tom March 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm

It furthermore brings to mind that there ought to be a national Open Admissions day, which might well be more popular. Why strangle higher education and human capital formation?

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