Immigration

Bryan Caplan's New Book on Open Borders

It should be of great interest to anyone who follows debates over immigration.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

My George Mason University colleague, prominent libertarian economist Bryan Caplan, has a forthcoming book making the case for open borders. It is entitled Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration. In this recent blog post, Bryan explains the purpose of the book, and its somewhat unusual "nonfiction graphic novel" format:

Open Borders is a non-fiction graphic novel. If you're unfamiliar with the genre, picture a comic-book documentary. While the form is light-hearted, the content is thoroughly researched and carefully documented. I strive to steelman the critics. I've got chapters on all the leading objections to open borders: economic, fiscal, cultural, and political….

While the book is packed with arguments, you can easily read it cover-to-cover (minus the References) in two fun-filled hours. Indeed, out of all my books, Open Borders delivers the most information per minute of reader time. How is this possible? Because combining words and pictures allows me to communicate far more economically than I can communicate with words alone.

Who's the target audience? Everyone from curious laymen to researchers specializing in immigration. And due to the format, "laymen" even includes precocious kids as young as seven. I'm not kidding: My youngest kids kept reading it over my shoulder as I was writing it….

Above all, I consider Open Borders the most persuasive book I've ever written. I know what I'm advocating is radical and scary. I know I bear the burden of proof – and I gladly accept it. I know that political discourse has gone from bad to worse over the last decade. My goal, however, is to be part of the solution. I don't want to demonize, humiliate, or "call out" people who disagree with me about immigration. I want to listen to them, answer their objections to their own satisfaction, and be friends. An impossible dream? Probably. But Open Borders is me doing my best to make that dream a reality.

Graphic novels are not really my thing, so it is hard for me to comment on that aspect of the book. Be that as it may, I am confident this will turn out to be a compelling contribution to the debate over one of the most significant issues of our time. I have long found Bryan to be one of the most impressive academic commentators on immigration policy and debates over related issues. His 2012 article "Why Restrict Immigration?" may be the best short introduction to the case for open borders, effectively combining intellectual rigor with accessibility.

I am also a big fan of Bryan's previous books, The Case Against Education (which I reviewed here), The Myth of the Rational Voter (an important influence on my own work on voter ignorance, though we differ on some key points), and Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. All are major, innovative contributions to our understanding of important issues, and all have had a substantial impact on public debate. If Open Borders is indeed his most persuasive book, that's quite an accomplishment!

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157 responses to “Bryan Caplan's New Book on Open Borders

  1. Caplan isn’t a libertarian. He’s an anarcho-capitalist. He’s in favor of privatizing police powers. Good luck with that. I’ll pass on his immigration opinions.

    1. Actually, many libertarians are anarcho-capitalists.

      1. Damn straight! If someone thinks privatizing police is so beyond the pale that it is not worth arguing and taints every other idea held, they are telling the world a lot more about themselves than they know.

        1. As does anyone who thinks a privatized police force is a good idea.

          1. Does not follow. Why not try responding to the statement?

            1. I did. You say more about yourself advocating for a privatized police force than you appear to be aware.

              1. I did not advocate for a privatized police force.

                If someone thinks privatizing police is so beyond the pale that it is not worth arguing and taints every other idea held

                I said that is someone thinks even discussing the idea is beyond comprehension, they …..

          2. Really, OtisAH? So you can never think of a scenario where mall police (a form of privatized police force) might be less bad than the regular police?

            1. Mall “police”.

              Yours is exactly the level of argumentation I expect on the subject. And again, saying more than you’re aware.

              1. Since I haven’t actually argued anything yet, merely asked you to clarify your own argument, I’m going with a ab’s reaction.

                1. Maybe the advocates of privatizing police ought to make their case first, including some specifics about how this would work, controls, financing, authority, etc.

                  It’s hard to argue against a proposal that is nothing more than a vague suggestion.

                  1. Maybe the opponents of even discussing the idea ought to admit that the mere fact of preclosing all discussion tends to, well, preclose all discussion.

                    1. You should have been there to give that advice on the reparations thread.

                    2. I’m not opposed to discussing it.

                      My first reaction is that it’s absurd, but feel free to make an actual proposal.

                      I won’t stop you, and I might actually respond.

                    3. I’m not sure what proposal you think needs to be made, bernard. Private security are already used nearly everywhere. And as far as I know, they always have been.

                      I’m also not sure why you’re demanding an actual proposal from us since the first mention of it was by JonFrum who made an allegation that Caplan favors such a position. JonFrum never defined what he thinks Caplan said. Caplan’s own writings (such as here) suggest that he really is talking about relatively minor and consensual extensions of the private security used by manufacturers and retailers everywhere.

                      I will note in passing that pre-911, all airport security was run by private police. You’re going to have a hard time arguing that TSA is less bad than the private security that preceded it. TSA is an unaccountable, unconstitutional abomination that also happens (based on tests of their skills) to be even less effective at actually detecting and stopping potential hijackers than the private contractors were.

                    4. Than they still are; Some airports still use private security.

                    5. Rossami,

                      My thinking is that using private security in a specified area, such as a mall or airport, is one thing, and having private police is something else.

                      Mall police, for example, are paid by the property owner. They can can detain someone only if they directly observe a crime. That’s a far cry from patrolling public streets with the power of arrest. It’s a far cry from responding to emergency calls, or lots of other things police do.

                      I’m simply asking how the private police would be paid and supervised, what authority and responsibilities they would have, and so on. I’m also asking for some reason why that would be better than what we have today.

                      To just say we should have private police and it would work because mall cops is not much of a proposal.

        2. What if I think it’s a ridiculous idea but does not taint every other idea its advocate has?

          1. Then you’re unusually rational, for a liberal.

      2. “anarcho-capitalists”

        Hobbes described an anarcho-capitalist world.

        A political philosophy even more stupid than libertarianism.

        1. Hey.

          We agree on something.

    2. Libertarianism has reached the People’s Front of Judea level of ideological branding, I see.

      1. Oh, it’s been there for quite a while. Which is what made all the reason blathering about The Libertarian Moment all so ridiculous.

    3. He’s definitely a libertarian.

      And, you’re not passing on his “opinions”. You’re passing on his arguments.

      If you want to pass on the arguments of one of the clearest thinkers around, then you’re not interested in thinking about this, or approaching the truth.

    4. An anarcho* that believes in police powers? Crazy.

    5. I suppose we’re defining Rothbard out of a movement he supported and helped keep rolling? He’s the guy who made ‘libertarian’ a common word with its own American meaning rather than the non-American socialist libertarians.

    6. JonFrum isn’t a human. He’s a reptilian from the Alpha Draconis star system. He’s in favor of eating us. Good luck with that. I’ll pass on his comments.

    7. Jon is so ignorant of libertarian thought that it is amusing. The guy who among many other things developed the best test of whether or not you’re a libertarian isn’t, in his view, a libertarian…

      http://www.bcaplan.com/cgi-bin/purity.cgi

  2. As a left-libertarian, my primary argument for open borders is usually to call opponents “white nationalists.” But it might prove useful to make a slightly more scholarly case for unlimited, unrestricted immigration. I’ll be adding this book to my Amazon wish list.

    1. Just wishing for somebody to gift it to you, or wishing for the day when a socialist government takes it from somebody else and gives it to you? You could click “pre-order” if you were willing to use your own money.

    2. I’ll gladly accept the title of white nationalist.

      1. I am pretty sure that OBL-t (no relation to OBJ) has his tongue firmly implanted in his cheek.

        1. I’m sure he does. I don’t consider the title an insult. One who recognizes the realities of race and culture is not an evil person, but a normal human.

        2. Yea, it’s a parody account. Still, I do wish to point out that there is a difference between a white person who is “America first” (thus a nationalist) and a white supremacist.

          1. “White supremacist” also connotes a person who believes whites are morally superior and thus destined by God to run the Earth. A person who believes, rightly, that whites are more intelligent and thus, better suited to Western civilization, on average, than Africans and Amerindians is not a white supremacist.

            1. There is a 95% chance that people who express bell-curve type arguments don’t understand statistics. The overlap between any populations with less than one-sigma difference in characteristics is HUGE. A minor deviation in the mean across supposed racial groups (which are not even racial groups because African Americans for one are usually less than 65% African genetically) should not prejudice any individual judgements at all and is largely meaningless. Also 21% of so-called whites have recent African ancestry.

              1. So what? No one is calling for making individual judgments based on racial membership. This is a ridiculous strawman.

              2. It’s still enough to make a hash of “disparate impact” claims of discrimination, especially when you get into jobs where people at the center of the distribution simply don’t have a chance, like STEM.

                Just like the large overlap between white and black physical capabilities doesn’t imply that some sports won’t be largely black, the large overlap between white and back mental capabilities doesn’t imply that some jobs won’t be disproportionately white/Asian.

                Though I’d argue that most of the current academic disparity along racial lines is cultural, not biological.

  3. A comic book format is perfect for a comical argument

    1. Particularly if based on the question begging that first illustrates Caplan’s ‘thinking’ – he simply assumes there is no good reason for a border as a delineation of a system of government. If some imaginary line separates otherwise utterly identical people (per his Haiti thought experiment in the 2012 paper) then the free movement of people between those locales is unjustified. Of course, if those two locales represent competing forms of governance (and culture), then the dismissal of that border isn’t quite that easy.

      In essence he argues that the conditions that prevail within these United States should be replicated globally, as though there were no more differences in govt between us and Mexico, or Canada, then there is between Utah and Virginia. That is not a serious argument.

      1. “…he simply assumes there is no good reason for a border as a delineation of a system of government.”

        That’s not the assumption at all. Open borders is not about eliminating governments. Haiti will remain Haiti, and the United States will remain the United States. It is about the movement of labor. Many of his arguments depend on this remaining demarcation, since the moral justifications for open labor markets may depend on policy choices by the hosting country that treat immigrants differently from natives.

        “In essence he argues that the conditions that prevail within these United States should be replicated globally, as though there were no more differences in govt between us and Mexico…”

        This is not what he is arguing at all.

        1. He does dismiss the idea that the cultures are different, and ignores the effect of supra-mass immigration between different cultures

          1. Because supra-mass immigration isn’t a real risk even under open border regimes. It doesn’t happen from Mexico. Even your own down thread calculation was that 100M people want to move to the US, not that they can, or will, or actually would. More people will move, yes, and jobs will get filled, and the people who get here but can’t find work will move back to be with their families. Just like the Mexicans did during the great recession.

            1. And you base your assumption on what exactly? Those Mexicans who moved back, they had the right to live and work in the US? How many of them moved back?

              That’s before we get to the 100 million Africans, living on less than $1 a day in Africa. Why would they EVER move back to Africa, when they had the right to live and work in the US, even if they couldn’t find a job. Would you?

              1. “Those Mexicans who moved back, they had the right to live and work in the US? How many of them moved back?”

                For illegal immigrants, it would have been about a million people moved back. You might find this surprising, but if a person leaves their family, friends, etc. in the hope of securing a job so he can move them up there, and the job disappears, he’d rather just be back home with his family.

                “Why would they EVER move back to Africa…”

                If your own figures tell you that of the 7+B people in the world only 100M want to move here, why do you think so many Africans are not interested in moving here?

                1. “For illegal immigrants”….

                  Who DON’T have the right to work and live in the US. You’ve changed the question. And under your open borders proposal, they’d all have the right to live and work in the US. So, we’ll reiterate. How many legal immigrants moved back?

                  “This may surprise you”…

                  This might surprise you. What if…instead of the person who couldn’t find work moving back to be with his or her friends and family…what if that person just brought over their friends and family to be with him or her? It’s not like chain migration is a thing. And if the border is open…

                  “Your own figures”

                  Not mine…Gallup’s. It’s a simple survey. Plus it gave people a choice of countries. Canada, the US, Australia, the UK, etc. Now, if only the US was open? Well, many would run there instead. AND reviewing the data, just from a survey, it was 150 million.

                  1. “You’ve changed the question.”

                    You asked me how many Mexicans moved back. You do understand that many Mexicans in the United States are here illegally, right?

                    “How many legal immigrants moved back?”

                    I don’t have any idea. But we do know that work visas dried up during the great recession, which means fewer people (from everywhere, not just Mexico) were taking advantage of our legal immigration.

                    “…what if that person just brought over their friends and family to be with him or her?”

                    If he doesn’t have a job, how could he bring them over and support them?

    2. Hey, Bob

      Where would you place immigration policy on the list of factors responsible for making most of Ohio — the rural sections — such a desolate, can’t-keep-up backwater inhabited by intolerant, ignorant, superstitious slack-jaws?

      Thank you for a report from the ground.

      1. As opposed to “tolerant” people like yourself who think it’s normal for a faygele to sodomize another man?

      2. I bet the pictures really help you and AOC caliber readers understand the propaganda Rev.

  4. Also advertised by the artist on Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

  5. Color me surprised this morning when I saw on SMBC that Weinersmith and Caplan know each other and are doing a book together.

  6. Yeah, propaganda comics. Academia continues to impress. Shades of Vica comics.

  7. Well one does have to give him credit where due. He is definitely attempting to write at the level that he places on the majority of people aka proletariat serfs. IOW typical of a Progressive whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, et.al.

    1. Caplan is no progressive.

      1. But those libertarian progressives!

        Never has the sense of progressive becoming a talisman for ‘bad’ been more clear.

        1. “Never has the sense of progressive becoming a talisman for ‘bad’ been more clear.”

          Of course the left (including you) never uses “right” or “conservative” as such a talisman.

          1. When they start talking about those conservative communists, we can talk.

            1. Many Soviet leaders were called “conservative”.

              Currently, leftists {like Rep Oman} are calling Guaido in Venezuela a “right winger” even though his party is affiliated with Socialist International.

              1. Neato passive voice.

                And while I don’t know Venezuelan politics enough to know what Socialist International actually stands for, calling Guaido a patsy of the American right wing isn’t the same as calling him right wing.

    2. Progressive:Right::Nazi:Left

      1. I’d buy that. I’ve seem some pretty amusing things called Nazi by liberals.

  8. A guy who writes on voter ignorance and like open borders.

  9. A comic is a fitting format for an argument that is so over-the-top comical, such as arguing for open borders.

    Bryan Caplan was so brilliant on the education issue. Now, it appears he misses the mark resoundingly on immigration. This seems to be a familiar pattern, though, and even the norm among brilliant minds, as they apply themselves to various disparate topics.

    Notwithstanding, I am quite interested in reading his comic, since he’s a very capable arguer and should therefore in turn present the “steelman” argument for open borders. Furthermore I withhold total judgment of his argument–most likely it simply rests on false but attractive premises and assumptions (naivete). There is nothing wrong with open borders in theory; to the contrary, open borders would quite obviously be the best policy in a certain wholly theoretical and perfect world that doesn’t exist.

    1. Did you read Caplan’s short article (linked above)? Pretty short read, and interesting. It addresses–or attempts to address–many anti-open borders arguments that are often made in this comment section.

      1. I read the blog post, will get to the article.

  10. From the excerpt of the book at the link, Caplan dismisses “Immigration as Charity” framing which he says raises awkward questions like “How many immigrants can we afford to take?” and “Shouldn’t we take care of our own people first?”

    How does he dismiss this? As expected, by characterizing immigration as a sort of basic human right that “we owe” each of the world’s 7.53 billion people:

    Respecting people’s right to live and work where they like is not alms, but the simple justice we owe every human being.

    And then, apparently for good measure, he pivots back to the economic question, addressing it with this typical breezily suspect statement: “And simple justice is dirt cheap, because open borders will unlock unprecedented abundance by freeing global labor markets.”

    1. 2/2

      Of course, there are many obvious rejoinders and rebuttals to this abbreviated case and no doubt he addresses many of them in the book. But it will come down to two basic issues:

      1) Justice is cheap to whom? Unprecedented abundance will be unlocked for whom?

      Certainly not for the average American voters living today. Make what you will of the moral case for justice owed to 7.53 billion and counting. But anticipate that voters will quite reasonably err on the side of their own economic preservation and interest. Our globally unprecedented mass immigration scheme redistributes $500B annually from the less well-off to the more well-off, and only adds about $50B in net value to Americans, which accrues mostly to the well-off and is offset by an equal $50B in taxpayer burden.

      2) Caplan’s statement is founded on a very rosy outlook for global liberty, peace and prosperity. I don’t dislike this overall, but it’s subject to criticism, similar to Ilya Somin’s last post on how “moral progress” isn’t guaranteed. Included within this is a truly delusional premise on the current state of American politics and assimilation – our experiment in liberty is a fragile one.

      1. 1) is just Borjas. He doesn’t run from Borjas in his paper. It’s right there under the arguments “Protecting Americans Workers?” As he points out, the overwhelming majority of Americans (87%) are not low-skilled. The effects on the remaining 13% are negative, but relatively insignificant, even per Borjas. And Borjas ignores the benefit of the $50B taxpayer burden, namely the Keynesian effects, and the benefit to the immigrants. But even that argument is easy enough to deal with; you just deny benefits to immigrants that you otherwise give to natives, which we already do, and could continue on a sliding scale so that Borjas’s argument evaporates. Finally, counter his argument that diversity actually decreases the welfare state. People are more willing to give money to others who look like themselves. But when you change the others to true others, support for welfare decreases. It’s counter-intuitive but explains why European countries (which have until very recently been homogeneous) are far more welfare-state oriented than the US, and why the US enjoyed welfare reforms even as illegal immigration was increasing. Really, illegal immigration causes welfare cuts.

      2. 2) Ok, what’s your data? Caplan’s argument is that most people tend towards status quo–Sachs 1994, Samuelson and Zeckhauser 1988)–and so migration from dictatorships to democracies will lead to global increase in support for liberty policies. This argument doesn’t even depend on the fact that people fleeing dictatorships might, you know, not want to live in dictatorships? Maybe the reason they are fleeing is because they want more freedom?

        1. namely the Keynesian effects

          Just a narrow comment to the effect that you can’t claim a Keynesian effect from this $50 billion.

          First, much of the time there will be no such effect.

          Second, when there is, there are lots of other ways to spend $50 billion to get the same effect.

          1. I’m not using Keynesian effects to mean the Keynes Effect. I’m talking about government spending having its own economic benefits. Like the flip side to the 0-30% per dollar improvement on the economy from tax cuts. We might be talking past each other.

            If we are not talking past each other, I’m interested in knowing why there will be no such effect. The $50B that Borjas has in mind is money that is placed into the hands of people who spend it into the economy. That means there will be recipients of that. I’m ready to be persuaded.

            “Second, when there is, there are lots of other ways to spend $50 billion to get the same effect.”

            I don’t disagree, but that does not affect Borjas’s calculations. The point being that the $50B spending isn’t net zero even if you ignore the benefits to the recipients.

            1. No, I wasn’t referring to the Keynes Effect, but to normal Keynesian stimulus.

              Government spending does not automatically have net economic benefits. Under some – many – sets of circumstances it will stimulate inflation instead. To say that it will have an effect is to say that we are spending the wrong amount. Now, that will often be true, but there is no reason to think we are necessarily spending too little to get an economic stimulus. We might be spending more than is needed.

        2. You make some reasonable points.

          Briefly, on (1) the negative economic effect isn’t limited to “low-skilled” Americans. And you can’t just “deny benefits” to immigrants; most of the cost will be in infrastructure and roads, public education and healthcare costs and the like, which won’t be denied. Maybe you can deny some welfare benefits and so on. But take account of our current political reality, where progressives are tripping over each other to offer MORE benefits to illegals than to Americans, such as free college.

          Your argument that if we flood the country with even more diversity, then support for welfare will fall — precisely because of falling social and cultural cohesion. That seems possibly true. But is the destruction of social and cultural cohesion really a good thing if we are to maintain our experiment in liberty? Can’t you envision at least potential dystopic fallout? I can credit your argument about people flocking to our culture of liberty and embracing it; it’s a legitimate argument. It surely would be a more pleasant thing to believe. But my data for (2) is that we currently have major national contenders for the Presidency who are outright socialists. We have unhinged emotionalism calling for total infringement/alienation of basic rights such as arms for self-defense. If people are disarmed, the power of the state will be terrible.

          1. 2/2

            There is an obvious progressive strategy of divide and conquer, create balkanized segments of society, and then pit them against each other, inflaming class divisions, racial divisions, and so on, in order to achieve their statist agendas. Are you simply just so confident they will fail? If you are that’s interesting.

            But just look at the argument Caplan is making, as a whole. “Don’t worry, most of us will benefit and prosper from this. Sure, there will be some carnage, but you my friend will make out like a bandit. We’ll be able to lower unskilled wages even further then they already are, and then slash welfare on top of that! It will be great with no negative effects! Immigrant and low-skill labor won’t compete with you, it will just make you richer and more valuable. Own real estate? Enjoy your increased real estate wealth. Sure that means a corresponding hike in cost of living, and economic woe for those that don’t own real estate, but hey . . .”

            Seems like a recipe for problems. He paints a picture of a relatively large wealthy and privileged class of those who are proficient in English skills and otherwise well-stationed, served by a massive underclass . . . but the fact that each person gets one vote seems to be lost.

            1. “Are you simply just so confident they will fail? If you are that’s interesting.”

              My world is filled with sincere, earnest conservative and liberal people who disagree vehemently about policy but genuinely want the same things, which is happiness. My most statist friends are not engaged in a conspiracy to take over the world but rather just disagree with me politically on the best ends for improving humankind. Most Americans that I know are not the comically even versions of partisans the left and right accuse each other of being. They’re just normal people who want to live long and spend time with their kids, drink beer, etc. I’m not going to let my fears of a partisan conspiracy get in the way of a good idea. It’s not that I think they will fail, it’s that I don’t think any serious group of people is trying to do what you think they are doing. And to the extent there are small groups of people doing that, I’m certain they will fail.

              1. “I’m not going to let my fears of a partisan conspiracy get in the way of a good idea.”

                That’s good, but my point didn’t depend on the existence or seriousness of an intentional effort on this front. It’s more just that these are the current politics playing out in front of our eyes. I have your answer, though.

            2. “Enjoy your increased real estate wealth. Sure that means a corresponding hike in cost of living, and economic woe for those that don’t own real estate, but hey . . .”

              What I read from economists (including Borjas) is that it will lead to a better living (overall) for native and immigrant. That’s the promise of market efficiency. It’s not zero-sum. There are losers, for sure. But our current policy has losers, too.

              “…but the fact that each person gets one vote seems to be lost.”

              He addresses it. Immigrants don’t vote. And we don’t have to let them vote, if we don’t want them to vote.

              1. The voting thing is a perfect illustration I guess, of how this line of thinking is nice in theory but absurd in reality. Granted, things can always change.

                1. I don’t follow but I’m probably missing something. It’s been illegal for foreigners to vote in federal elections for decades. Many states don’t allow illegal immigrants to vote, and only allow immigrants to vote who have demonstrated an interest in becoming citizens. Some don’t allow suffrage for foreigners at all.

                  1. Possibly M.L. really believes there are millions of non-citizens, here legally or not, who fraudulently vote in our elections.

                    1. You guys are missing the fact that immigrants become citizens, and the political reality is that this will continue to be the case. Even for illegal immigrants, the “path to citizenship” is the big push. And who is pushing this policy proposal? Again and again, it’s pushed by none other than Donald Trump, the horrible racist Nazi who got elected on a platform of genociding immigrants according to some. Now that’s a head scratcher.

                    2. “You guys are missing the fact that immigrants become citizens…”

                      I think that’s already factored into Caplan’s analysis. But there are no set rules requiring immigrants to become citizens. But back to the counterintuitive theory on the effect of immigrants, my entire life has been a trend upwards with illegal immigration, but the country becoming (in general) more conservative.

                  2. What you’re missing is that it used to be illegal basically everywhere for illegal immigrants to vote in ANY election. What we’re witnessing is a creep, (Though that may imply too much gradualism.) towards giving illegal immigrants all the rights of citizenship.

                    It starts with the realization that they count in apportionment, so deportations reduce a jurisdiction’s representation.

                    It moves on to rationalizing that people who aren’t even supposed to be here need basic services while they’re busy not supposed to being here, so you open up the DMV and allow them drivers licenses.

                    Then you rationalize that they’re effected by local policies, too, (Such as the policy of not alerting immigration authorities to their presence.) so you let them vote in local elections.

                    Then you let them vote in state elections. Maybe not openly at first, you just don’t bother to stop them.

                    Then, since states run federal elections, you find it simple to just not bother making sure they don’t vote in federal elections.

                    And now they’re a major voting block that has to be listened to and appeased. And might as well be citizens.

                    1. Brett does seem to enjoy writing his white replacement fan fiction, so that’s something. I liked the change of voice to second person, and ending with the portentous ‘And now…’

                      Of course, for his parade of horribles to happen you need a majority of people to approve those policies, so I guess the issue is that if not enough people agree with Brett, soon even fewer people will end up agreeing with Brett.

                      Truly a nightmare.

                    2. A “creep?” Come on, Brett, that’s your paranoia talking.

                      Apportionment? Well, that happens to be what the Constitution says, so take it up with James Madison.

                      And stop with the voting bogeyman.

          2. I think the most negative economic effects of low-skill immigrants will be on low-skill natives. Non low-skilled Americans don’t compete with low-skill illegal immigrants.

            “…most of the cost will be in infrastructure and roads, public education and healthcare costs and the like, which won’t be denied.”

            Infrastructure, roads, and public education are typically paid for at the local level by state taxes, which illegal immigrants pay, at least in my state (funded primarily by sales taxes and property taxes). More than half of the means-tested social welfare programs in the United States (at federal level) are SS and Medicare. Illegal immigrants tend young and are therefore payors but not recipients of those (and so far as I can tell are not eligible?).

          3. “But is the destruction of social and cultural cohesion really a good thing if we are to maintain our experiment in liberty?”

            There does not seem to be a point in having an experiment in liberty if we deny it to people who want to experience it. If liberty is so important it is morally required for us to share it.

            “Can’t you envision at least potential dystopic fallout?”

            Of course, but the country has survived long periods of time with open borders. The world has changed, sure, but what can be done can be undone. But the mere potential for a dystopic fallout is not sufficient, in my view, to tinker with markets in a way we know is unproductive, and to refuse liberty to people who want it (on both sides of the border).

            “But my data for (2) is that we currently have major national contenders…”

            One of them is Bernie Sanders, who started his political career more communist, long before the latest wave of Mexican immigrants. I don’t see what that has to do with this discussion. And Bernie Sanders is opposed to open borders for the same reasons as the President, and people in this thread. Is it any surprise that an outright socialist would view free labor markets with skepticism, instead favoring native protectionism for the workers?

            1. I take your point that oversharing of liberty will destroy it, potentially, but that’s an argument that Caplan confronts more directly and persuasively than I ever could. The amount of human welfare that we can bring into the world from this is worth the risk.

              From my perspective, the US already basically has open borders, and has had open borders my entire life. I live in Texas. It is not a post-apocalyptic hellhole. It’s just a place like any other except we have cheaper construction and better Mexican food.

              1. Texas is on the verge of turning “blue” which is just fine or maybe preferable from your perspective. I’m guessing you would have preferred that Hillary Clinton won 2016. Current immigration policy and demographic trajectory will result in an overwhelming Democrat-voting and left-leaning majority — this is according to basic factual trends, and agreed on by left, right, and middle, I’ve not seen it disputed and it seems inevitable barring unforeseen changes (admittedly unforeseen changes are possible). You seem to be OK with today’s progressives who run the Democrat party having that power, accelerating the administrative state takeover of everything, shaping the courts, confiscating guns, etc. You’re entitled to your viewpoints and I don’t presume you have anything but good intentions, but none of that sounds like the right path to me.

                1. This theoretical “open borders” debate is interesting in a science fiction sort of way. It’s also interesting because a certain contingent including Sarcastro would constantly claim that “nobody” wants open borders, when actually as you correctly note, current policy is essentially de facto open borders, and the left defends it vociferously and by all means available, and now that we’re talking about straight up open borders there is also plenty of support.

                  In present reality, is it’s a tall order to argue that current quasi-open borders policy should be continued, legal and illegal immigration levels included — at least from the perspective of the self-interest of most Americans. That’s exactly why it’s almost never tried. Instead of making their case, people just say “you’re racist.” But the open borders arguments here are also applicable there, actually they are the only valid arguments. So it’s very valuable to be having this discussion, at long last, over the merits of immigration policy, rather than small-minded screeching about racism a la Sarcastro. (Above he impugns opposition to open borders as a mere fear of “white replacement,” when actually analyses show that even Donald Trump’s proposal to cut legal immigration by half would only delay the “majority-minority” turning point by a mere five years. It was never about race – it’s about the pace of assimilation and preserving social cohesion and the culture of liberty and American civic values.)

                  1. If we have de facto open borders, where are the 100 million immigrants who would show up instantly?

                    You can’t have it both ways. Either we don’t have open borders, or open borders won’t produce 100 million immigrants.

                  2. “…it’s a tall order to argue that current quasi-open borders policy should be continued, legal and illegal immigration levels included — at least from the perspective of the self-interest of most Americans.”

                    What’s the basis for this? The only argument against it is Borjas, who admits that it is a net benefit when factoring in the foreigners’ utility, and it would be a net benefit for natives but for pretty specific domestic policies (and he’s undercounting other effects). And Borjas is alone in that claim; most economists see it as a net benefit even factoring in Borjas’s counterarguments. By all accounts, “most Americans” are better off with free labor markets. There is a tiny subset that is made slightly worse off.

                    “…it’s about the pace of assimilation and preserving social cohesion and the culture of liberty and American civic values.”

                    As Caplan points out, “social cohesion” (as you’ve defined it) may accelerate socialist policies. Since you’re arguing about future counterfactuals that you can’t guarantee one way or the other, I’d prefer to evaluate labor market policies on the basis of whether they’re a good idea today.

                2. If your objection to open borders is that it will result in your side losing political arguments in the future, it means you don’t have very much confidence in your side’s political arguments. I live in Texas and increased immigration has not resulted in an expansion of the administrative state. As far as correlations go, the opposite, in fact. I’m not going to let the threat of Democrats Gone Wild get in the way of good economic policies. If Texas turns blue and the state Democrats are arguing for economically damaging policies, I’ll argue against them then. I’m not going to deny natives and foreigners the benefit of a labor transaction just because you or others allege that it threatens freedom in the future. I’m not persuaded that increased immigration will lead to socialism.

                  Reagan wasn’t scared of Mexicans.

    2. “…addressing it with this typical breezily suspect statement…”

      One source is Clemens 2011, from his article. Another, on increased real estate wealth, is Saiz 2007, 2003, and Gonzalez and Ortega 2009.

      “As expected, by characterizing immigration as a sort of basic human right that “we owe” each of the world’s 7.53 billion people…”

      It’s a moral argument. It would be difficult to concoct a moral rule that didn’t apply to somebody else because they were on the other side of an imaginary line. But you can try. Do you think it’s morally permissible to murder Mexicans but not Americans?

      1. I referenced real estate wealth above.

        It’s not difficult at all to “concoct a moral rule” that doesn’t apply to somebody on the other side of a border. That’s basically the principles of decentralized government power, self-government, and so on. We have social compacts of sorts I suppose which say that the members of my municipality get a say over what I do with my life and property, and then the residents of my state get a say, and then the citizens of my country get a say. This all sounds like a bad idea and should be minimized, but it’s there nonetheless. And you could call this a moral rule. I don’t need to extend that moral rule to somebody outside my country. They shouldn’t get a say in my government.

        You might argue that this is too specific to be a general moral rule, and I think you’d have a point there regarding the seeming universality of moral truth and the existence of absolute moral truths, but then in that case I don’t need to concoct a moral rule. Even if there’s a moral argument that every person does have or should have this or that right, it doesn’t follow that some specific person or group of people should sacrifice their interests to secure that right, or that an imperialist United States should reach across the globe to secure by force of violence the rights of 7.53 billion people (laughable but that’s how some people think).

        1. “That’s basically the principles of decentralized government power, self-government, and so on.”

          Immigration restriction is an affront to these concepts because it is A telling B (a resident) that they cannot do business with C. The arguments for self government are themselves moral arguments, which is why open borders advocates must confront the potential harms on self-governing. That’s why Caplan addresses political and social arguments against immigration. This is an important discussion. I acknowledge that we govern with meta rules, but there are not going to be moral rules that explain permissive treatment of people in terms of which side of an imaginary line they were born on. If it is important to keep people on the other side of the imaginary line out, it has to be because it’s better for all people to do so.

          “They shouldn’t get a say in my government.”

          There is no requirement that if you let an immigrant into your country, they must have a say in your government.

          “…it doesn’t follow that some specific person or group of people should sacrifice…”

          I agree, but this isn’t about asking people who are passive actors to make a sacrifice. Closed borders is a regulatory policy that is made by people to prevent other people from doing things that they want to do. You wouldn’t say that steel workers shouldn’t have to sacrifice just because they’ve convinced the government to initiate tariffs against another. The tariff is a policy, not just people live and let live.

          1. You asked for a moral rule or argument that makes a distinction among people in different countries. I provided that easily. I get that immigration restriction is a wielding of government power and therefore suspect, but only to the same extent as the entire concept of distinct nation-states with borders is to begin with. It’s really not an affront to a principle of decentralization and self-government specifically, though, it’s more in support of that.

            1. Your further stipulation that a moral rule “has to be because it’s better for all people to do so” is very interesting. There’s many directions one could go with that. If we take a step back and just consider the sort of nationalist paradigm, as opposed to more aggressively international approaches to bettering the human condition, I think it’s very easy to see that decentralized units of government power, each limited as necessary to their appropriate areas of authority such as control of borders and other international matters, should all generally act in their own economic self-interest, within a framework of cooperation and in a spirit of good will and benevolence. A nation is really not unlike a corporation with a duty to its shareholders which are the citizens each with one share. A nation’s government acting in an upright manner for the benefit of its own people is probably the best thing it can do for the world at large, because this will serve as a beacon of light and an example to others, whereas what governments typically end up doing throughout history is killing and oppressing its people. This seems like a better approach than undertaking the sort of misguided globalist and interventionist projects that never seem to turn out well.

              1. “A nation’s government acting in an upright manner for the benefit of its own people…”

                The argument is that open labor markets are better for the locals, too. That’s why immigration restrictions are the “interventionist projects”–you’re intervening with locals who are trying to do something, specifically hire people from other countries.

                What “globalist . . . projects that never seem to turn out well” did you have in mind? Has the human condition been made worse by free trade?

    3. From a philosophical level, it all boils down to whether one considers migration to be a human right or not.

      If it is not a human right, then that implies that migration is a privilege that is granted only by first acquiring permission from some authority. (the state, the collective, etc.)

      And if this is the case, then it implies that the state may rightly prevent a person from exercising his/her right to associate with another person, by denying permission for that person to migrate onto private property even if both the guest and the host agree to the migration.

      So if you believe that the right to association is a fundamental human right, then it must follow that the right to migration must also be a fundamental human right. The two go hand in hand.

      1. “And if this is the case, then it implies that the state may rightly prevent…”

        This does not follow from your argument, necessarily. But this talk of “human right” is pointless. Say what you mean. From whence do these rights emerge, except out of ordinary moral arguments about humans.

        1. Well, I meant “the authority”, not just the state per se. Whomever is granting permission for people to migrate, in the absence of consideration of migration to be a human right.

          All human beings have certain inalienable rights by virtue of their existence. I take it to be axiomatic. The only dispute in my mind is what those inalienable rights precisely are.

          1. My first objection is that it being the case that immigration is not one of your inalienable rights, it does not follow that the state “may rightly” prevent the migration. Because there might be some things that are not inalienable rights (however you want to define them) but it is still morally required for us to respect them.

            Second objection is that talk of inalienable rights is cheap. First, all rights are, as a practical matter, alienable. Second, it’s pointless to have a moral discussion distinguishing between alienable and inalienable rights, since the category of what constitutes the latter is itself just a moral argument. You may think it is “axiomatic” but presumably you’ve thought harder on it to at least be able to articulate why a human being does (or should) have this or that inalienable right. What is it you mean when you say that something is “inalienable”? What is it about “existence” or “human being”ness that gives rise to this set of inalienable rights?

  11. I love the bit about unsurpassed economic benefits – its almost like tax cuts that pay for themselves. Supply-side immigration?

    1. The Open Borders cult is like all cults, a matter of faith alone.

      1. Like the MMT cult…

        1. And supply-side economics.

    2. The economic benefits of free markets over central planning well supported. What’s surprising is that anybody who presumes that free markets are better forgets this fact when it comes to labor markets.

      1. If people were just labor, you might be right. People are not just labor though, they come attached with a host of other things.

        1. Yes, like consciousness, feelings, needs, desires, etc. All of which strengthen the moral argument for opening labor markets to improve the lives of other human beings.

          1. But weakening the economic argument.

            1. Why? If people with consciousnesses, feelings, needs, and desires are bad for the economy, do you think we can bolster GDP by not breeding?

              1. If you’re making a purely economic argument, you want labor to be perfectly interchangable with other labor. If the labor is NOT perfectly interchangable, it weakens it significantly.

                Imagine a free market for 16 inch 52 cog stainless steel gears. Now, imagine a free market that interchanges those with some 15.5 inch gears, some 53 cog, some pig iron, some slightly corroded, some 51 cog, etc.

                Then imagine some of those gears have feelings and want to change the entire machine entirely to something else.

                1. Well if there are employers who think that foreign workers can do the same or equivalent work of native employees, who are you to tell them that they’re wrong?

                  1. So, this is actually a considerable shift in the argument from a simple free market algorithm to more individualized circumstances.

                    And I’m sure there are employers who can find foreign laborers for specific jobs that would be equivalent (or better!) to native workers. And if they want to hire them, they are free to. So long as the foreign laborers do the work in their own country. Happens all the time. It’s called outsourcing.

                    The difficulties occur when the company wants to bring the foreign labor inside the United States. Then, there’s the whole social compact issue. The common rules and regulations we’ve all agreed to live by. And some of us, decided by a democratic vote, have decided “so many new people, but not so many more new people”

                    There are reasons, generally around cultural assimilation time, and a desire to keep the current social order and protections for individual liberties in place.

          2. Hmm, I’m not familiar with an obligation on the part of this society or govt to make the lives of all people around the world better. Apparently in your universe, “We the people” means all of humanity.

            1. Famously, “The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer’s Social Statics.”

              Some people need reminding that it doesn’t enact Rawls’ A Theory of Justice, either.

            2. “Apparently in your universe, “We the people” means all of humanity.”

              No, in my universe, me means me. I get to decide what I think is right and wrong. What are you going to do about it?

      2. Well then it depends just a little on what market we are talking about. As far as I know, there is no global market for labor, but there are many local markets.

  12. So Trump openly told border agents to refuse to admit migrants, and specifically instructed them to defy the law and judges seeking to enforce the law.

    I am anxiously awaiting David Bernstein’s book on the lawless behavior of this administration.

    1. By any means necessary. No more third world invaders.

  13. Oy…another open border spiel. Where to begin.

    1. The true “Steelman” argument references the sheer numbers involved. Most common pro-immigration arguments just want “more” people. But an open borders argument wants VASTLY more people. Last polling said over 100 million people wanted to immigrate to the US. An open borders arrangement would let them all immigrate. That would represent immigration of ~30% of the US population in a single year. In the modern era, immigration rarely exceeded 1% a year

    2. The logistical, housing, feeding, and other issues would be massive, and indeed, near crippling. But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is Cultural assimilation. Every modern immigration study is predicated on immigration rates of a max of 1-2% a year, not 30% a year. At 1-2% a year cultural assimilation is slow, but feasible. At 30%….it more closely resembles the British colonization of North America or Australia, or the Goth colonization of Rome.

    1. Continued…

      3. When immigration rates are so high that the immigrate culture overwhelms the native culture, it’s not reasonable to assume native rates of GDP per capita. Instead the IMMIGRANT rate of GDP per capita is a more appropriate model.

      4. In such a case, what would occur is a drastic DROP in the US GDP per capita, so it would more closely resemble Brazil, India, or Nigeria.

      5. Aggravating such a situation would be the likely drain in the rich and most educated in American society, as they flee the low GDP per capita society in favor of countries with higher GDP and higher GDP per capita

  14. Let’s now address the author’s “moral imperative” to “live and work where you want”.

    This isn’t entirely true.

    1. From a libertarian perspective, if I own my house, I get to decide to lives there. You don’t have a right to live there.

    2. Likewise, if I own a business, I don’t have to hire you. You don’t have a right to work at my business.

    3. Taking this a step further, my neighbor and I own a field in common. We take care of it, and own the deed. You don’t have the right to use it, nor live in it.

    4. Likewise, if my neighbor and I own a business together, you don’t have the right to work there. It’s our choice. Our business.

    5. Taking a modest leap is a social compact between a number of people in a town. We decide on services together, we decide how to take care of the common green, and so on. We have invested in its upkeep and infrastructure. We may INVITE other people to use the common green, and live in the town, and thus become members of it. But you don’t have the right to DEMAND to be part of that compact. You especially don’t have the right to bring in you and 1000 of your closest friends to demand to be part of our small town, which we’ve built. It’s ours, it’s own property, we decide.

    1. 1. There’s a whole section in his article about this.

      2. The reason libertarians support open borders is because border restrictions are a restriction on economic liberty for both immigrant and native. You’re right, you don’t have to hire immigrants. But why should you get to tell another business owner whether they can hire immigrants?

      3. Right, but if your neighbor wants to invite someone into their property, why do you get to tell them they can’t?

      4. Yes, but if your neighbor’s neighbor owns a business, why do you get to tell him who can and cannot work there?

      5. The argument here is to decentralize the decision from the federal and state governments, and leave it to individuals to decide who they want to invite in. But of course social compacts exist and people can restrict immigration. That doesn’t even attempt to confront the moral argument of whether they should. Each of your arguments has this feature. You’re trying to justify the right to restrict movement, not arguing that it’s a good idea.

      1. 2. It’s called a social compact. A contract. A deal. An arrangement. It’s like making a deal with the common land that the cows will be watered on THIS side of the field.

        3. Sure. But can my neighbor invite someone to live on the field we have in common? (Depends on the deal made, really). Can they invite 2 people? 10 people? 100 people? Again, depends on the deal made originally. But sometimes, people might say that inviting someone to live on land you own in common might require both of you to make that choice.

        4. Sure, they can hire whoever they want. Unless they’ve signed a contract with us otherwise.

        5. I’ve addressed this point extensively in the post above.

        1. 2. Yes. An agreement between A, B, and C to prevent D and E from doing business together. Not unlike zoning laws. A social compact can be an agreement between A, B, and C, to take taxes from D. We all agree they exist. Now make the argument that the specific one you’re advocating for is a good idea.

          3. You don’t own my business or my home in common with me, so if I want to invite people into that business (employment) or onto my property (invitee) what business is it of your’s?

          4. The entire libertarian argument is that social compacts that interfere with individual liberties should be viewed skeptically. You’ve turned that on its head. Are social compacts good in and of themselves just because they exist? Are there no taxes that you think are a bad idea?

          5. I accept your agreement to disagree.

          1. 2. No, it’s an agreement between A, B, C, and D to agree by the same common rules. Then D wants to do something that breaks those rules for his personal advantage. I’ve made the argument why it’s a good idea, extensively, in the post above, which you have declined to argue against.

            3. If you own your own business, without any contracts, deals, arrangements or such, go do what you want. Hire who you want, fire who you want, abuse who you want, however you want, kill who you want.

            Most businesses some sort of contract or deals in place that make all that problematic.

            4. I’m a moderate libertarian. Inevitably some social compacts interfere with individual liberties. Indeed, even guaranteeing some individual liberties interferes with individual liberties. Some are good, some are bad. I’ve extensively argued why “open borders” would be a system that would end in the destruction of the protection for many of the individual liberties we currently possess

            1. 2. If there actually were such an agreement, then D would be breaching his contract with the others if he violated it. But there isn’t any such agreement, and D never agreed to any such thing.

              1. D kinda did agree.

                Ever register a business? Ever check the fine print?

    2. 5 is not a “modest leap.” It changes the subject entirely, from actual contract to “social compact.” It changes the subject entirely from private property to some nebulously quasi-private public property – and then defines away the actual private property as public.

      1. Perhaps you would prefer an intermediate step. A corporation, owned by 11 people, in equal shares, where decisions are made by a democratic vote of the board?

        1. With a 2/3 vote necessary for substantive matters, and a majority vote sufficient for merely internal matters…

          1. Sounds about right.

  15. I think Ilya needs to stay in his professional lane. His views on the border are terribly wrong.

  16. At the end of the day, the debate about open borders comes down to this.

    Those who promote open borders believe that of the 1.3 Billion people living in the world on less than $1.25 a day, no more than maybe 1-2% would want to immediate immigrate to the US if given residence and working papers.
    Moreover, the open border proponents somehow believe, that if in the US with green cards (but unable to find work), these people would migrate back to their home countries if they couldn’t find work.

    Whereas I believe, that’s preposterous and ignores common human nature.

  17. Its always fascinated me how Libertarians think you can allow unfettered migration of populations that are nominally socialist into a nation, yet still work towards a limited governments scheme.

    1. They don’t actually think that. They just don’t care.

    2. I’d like to point out that “Libertarians” didn’t think that until recently.

      1. Right, they’ve decided that their commitment to their ideology of universal values takes priority over small government.

        1. Mostly I think it’s a matter of actual libertarians getting replaced by liberals who like the sound of “libertarian”.

          Just another institution in the march through the institutions.

    3. So people running away from terrible economic systems are fans of those systems?

      Yeah. That makes sense. To a Trumpist idiot (last word redundant).

      1. If you run away from an epidemic you can still be a carrier without liking the disease.

        People flee terrible systems without fully understanding what made them terrible in the first place, and arriving at their refuge, proceed to turn it into the place they fled. Because they brought with them the values and thinking that had ruined the places they left.

        1. People flee terrible systems without fully understanding what made them terrible in the first place, and arriving at their refuge, proceed to turn it into the place they fled. Because they brought with them the values and thinking that had ruined the places they left.

          So the refugees from Cuba and Vietnam and are all Communists? Soviet emigres are Commies too? Post-WWII refugees from Europe are Nazis, etc.?

          Awfully condescending of you to claim they don’t know “what made them terrible in the first place,” but you, Bellmore the All-Knowing, do know. That’s not a defensible position.

      2. You mean kind of like leftists leaving places like California in droves, move to places like Nevada, Colorado and Washington and then voting for the same abject stupidity that they left in the first place?

        No, that can’t happen here…

  18. As outlined in his 2012 paper, Caplan generates his moral premise favoring “open borders” from an incoherent analysis that he attempts to illustrate as a hypothetical: he equates the quality of the wrong done to a US citizen who volunteered in Haiti being refused re-entry to the US, with that of the Haitian citizen being prevented any entry into the US.

    Caplan bases his moral argument on how the US governments’ interference with the needs or desires of the Haitian is somehow indistinguishable from the harm being done to the US citizen who is not being allowed the due process that was promised when the citizen exited to Haiti for the two-week volunteer gig. This is an obviously false premise: the frustration of desires for a better future is not at all the same as being prevented from resuming a pre-volunteer life.

    From this fundamental classification error, where Caplan derives a specious moral imperative to “open borders”, he attempts to build a well-sugared illustration of just why people should effectively abandon national demarcation. The temptation to explore why the comic-book form might be effective in reaching an audience who might be convinced by Caplans’ false moral imperative is almost irresistible and would be pure speculation, short of some interesting market research.

    1. From Caplans’ paper; note the inappropriate use of “migration” re. the returning volunteer in order to conflate the two situations:

      Abstract
      Consider the following thought experiment: Moved by the plight of desperate earthquake victims, you volunteer to work as a relief worker in Haiti. After two weeks, you’re ready to go home. [?] But the official response is simply, “The United States does not have to explain itself to you.”

      You don’t have to be a libertarian to admit that this seems like a monstrous injustice. [?] What’s so bad about restricting your migration? Most obviously, because life in Haiti is terrible. If the American government denies you permission to return, you’ll live in dire poverty, die sooner, [?] Which raises a serious question: if you had been born in Haiti, would denying you permission to enter the United States be any less wrong?

      This thought experiment hardly proves that people have an absolute right of free migration. [?] Nevertheless, my thought experiment does establish one weak conclusion: immigration restrictions seem wrong on the surface. To justifiably restrict migration, you need to overcome the moral presumption in favor of open borders (Huemer 2010).

      Emphasis added to something he deems “a weak conclusion”, when in fact it is “a moral confusion”.

  19. Wouldn’t it be easier to export American values (which lead to our prosperity) to the potential immigrants’ home countries then letting them come to the U.S.?

    1. We tried that with colonialism. It works well, but liberals whined.

  20. The more I read the actual arguments (or what open borders types claim to be their strongest), the dumber they become. In that link you provided, Caplan literally used a strawman to conflate denying re-entry to a US CITIZEN with an illegal immigrant as impetus for exploring a loaded premise that the burden of proof is not on him to prove that immigration is a net good. He doesn’t even address the real premise; immigration is not about net good or bad because life isn’t a cost benefit analysis. It’s about maintaining the demographics necessary for our way of life. Thousands of years ago, people would have laughed at you if you suggested undermining the cultural hegemony of your tribe or nation state simply because foreigners produce items of value. Of course they produce items of value! Anti-immigration is not the racist, intolerant strawman open borders misrepresent it as. Out of respect for the uniqueness of others and their inherent value to the world, those societies should be permitted to live as they see fit. If they want to have a democratic republic with a Constitution, yes, that means keeping subversive populations out as much as possible.

    1. What is this “cultural hegemony” you guys keep talking about?

      And how does someone coming here to find work and a decent life undermine it?

  21. Nearly 150 comments, and I do not see this point made:
    Name a 1st world country that borders on a third-world country (indeed, one that is approaching the status of a failed state) that has open borders.
    Australia, for example, is a first world country that is NEAR a lot of poor countries, but is insulated by hundreds of miles of ocean on every side; Australia is also 90% vacant. How do Australia’s immigration policies compare to those advocated by Caplan and Somin?

    1. If you think Mexico is third-world, the United States is one.

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