Open Borders?

“According to Clemens, we are all victims of an epic intuition fail. “Development is about people, not places,” he has said many times over, and often the best way to make a person richer is by allowing them to move to another place. We don’t really care about helping poverty-stricken Liberia, we care about helping poverty-stricken Liberians. It sounds almost too simple at first: A very large percentage of people who have gone from extreme poverty to relative financial stability have done so by moving across borders. So why don’t we just let more people move?”

This is a great article in the Atlantic about the Open Borders movement, advocating the abandonment of immigration restrictions. I don’t know exactly what I think about it all but it has made me think.

Edit: Here is another perspective from the Crooked Timber blog. Thanks Oz.

3 thoughts on “Open Borders?

  1. Thanks Oz. I think the non-income benefits/costs should definitely become a broader part of the conversation. Hopefully if the movement generates a broader following and evolves, these wil be more fully considered. I read the original Atlantic article and tried to imagine Australia having these policies and to be honest, it’s virtually impossible to do so as it’s a pure hypothetical. Obviously there would be massive unknown ‘transaction’ costs.

    I think for Australia, we should start with a serious discussion of the environment in the Pacific. The government of Kiribati is calling for more liberal immigration allowances in relation to climate change. As a more concrete example, should 100,000 Kiribati citizens be given access to Australia? I don’t think it’s an easy question but over the next 10-20 years, perhaps it will need an answer. In terms of global population, this is a small minority but for Australia, it could be an interesting policy debate about how to address the effects of a changing environment.

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