The Importance of Free Immigration

Judge Andrew Napolitano has incensed critics of immigration with his defence of the idea of immigration as a natural right:

Since the freedom of speech, the development of personality, the right to worship or not to worship, the right to use technologically contemporary means for self-defense, the right to be left alone, and the right to own and use property all stem from our humanity, the government simply is without authority to regulate human behavior in these areas, no matter what powers it purports to give to itself and no matter what crises may occur. Among the rights in this category is the freedom of movement, which today is called the right to travel.

The right to travel is an individual personal human right, long recognized under the natural law as immune from governmental interference. Of course, governments have been interfering with this right for millennia. The Romans restricted the travel of Jews; Parliament restricted the travel of serfs; Congress restricted the travel of slaves; and starting in the late 19th century, the federal government has restricted the travel of non-Americans who want to come here and even the travel of those already here. All of these abominable restrictions of the right to travel are based not on any culpability of individuals, but rather on membership in the groups to which persons have belonged from birth.

Americans are not possessed of more natural rights than non-Americans; rather, we enjoy more opportunities to exercise those rights because the government is theoretically restrained by the Constitution, which explicitly recognizes the natural law. That recognition is articulated in the Ninth Amendment, which declares that the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution shall not be used by the government as an excuse to deny or disparage other unnamed and unnamable rights retained by the people.

So, if I want to invite my cousins from Florence, Italy, to come here and live in my house and work on my farm in New Jersey, or if a multinational corporation wants the best engineers from India to work in its labs in Texas, or if my neighbor wants a friend of a friend from Mexico City to come here to work in his shop, we have the natural right to ask, they have the natural right to come here, and the government has no moral right to interfere with any of these freely made decisions.

I agree with Napolitano. Giving the state the power to restrict freedom of movement is a dangerous precedent, and a dangerous concentration of power. Powerful and well-connected groups and industries can use the largesse of the state to protect their own uncompetitive ventures by restricting immigration.

And why should the state have the power to determine who can and who cannot live where? Surely market forces are a better determinant of the need for workers and migration than a central planner setting migration targets based on their own dislocated criteria?

These are by no means the most significant arguments for the freedom of movement. Ludwig von Mises theorised:

vonMisesimmigration

This is a critical dynamic. If a government enacts laws that are undesirable, workers (if they can) will move to another jurisdiction with more desirable laws. Freedom of movement is the status quo today for capital — under the current global regulatory framework, the free flow of capital means that governments have to compete to attract capital from around the globe. Governments do not have to do the same thing for labour, as the flow of immigration is very restricted compared to the flow of capital. This disparity may well have contributed to the extant reality that around the world — but particularly in the United States — capital’s share of output is increasing, while labour’s share is shrinking. Freer immigration could change all that.

There are various misconceptions of immigration. Perhaps most prominent is the idea that immigrants cost natives jobs. But the evidence suggests that this is not true. Eduardo Porter notes:

For years, economists have been poring through job market statistics looking for evidence that immigrants undercut less-educated Americans in the labor market. The most recent empirical studies conclude that the impact is slight: they confirm earlier findings that immigration on the whole has not led to fewer jobs for American workers. More significantly, they suggest that immigrants have had, at most, a small negative impact on the wages of Americans who compete with them most directly, those with a high school degree or less.

Meanwhile, the research has found that immigrants – including the poor, uneducated ones coming from south of the border — have a big positive impact on the economy over the long run, bolstering the profitability of American firms, reducing the prices of some products and services by providing employers with a new labor source and creating more opportunities for investment and jobs. Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California at Davis, estimated that the wave of immigrants that entered the United States from 1990 to 2007 increased national income per worker by about $5,400 a year on average, in 2007 dollars. He also concluded that the wave had a small positive impact on the average wage of American workers, by lifting the overall economy. If immigrants hurt anyone, it was the previous cohort of immigrants, with whom they most directly compete in the labor market.

Recent estimates have concluded that a liberalisation of global immigration policies could lift global GDP significantly. More importantly, empirical studies have confirmed the reality that immigration eases the fiscal balance — helpful for developed countries with ageing populations and a shrinking tax base. A 2011 report by Madeleine Zavodny of the American Enterprise Institute found that immigrants on average pay much more tax than they consume in government services:

fiscalimpact

This means that one frequent objection to immigration — that immigrants overstretch government programs and infrastructure — is irrelevant. Working immigrants pay more than enough in taxes to fund their own costs — often many times over.

The study also found that rather than taking up jobs, each immigrant worker generated jobs for the native population. The supply of work is not fixed. Each additional 100 H1-B workers were found to have generated 183 new jobs for the native population, and each 100 additional H2-B workers generated 464 new jobs for the native population.

But what about the countries that immigrants leave behind? Surely the countries left behind by thousands or millions of workers will fall into recession? Well, perhaps to some extent — although not so much in countries with higher birth rates or slack employment — but that’s the point. Countries that suffer a labour drain may have to reform their legal and political structure to attract workers. This alone would significantly boost competitiveness in the long run. And emigrants frequently send money back to their country of origin, and acquire new skills while working abroad that they can bring back home, in turn enriching their home country.

On the other hand, it might be unwise for countries to immediately switch from a restrictive policy to an open-door immigration policy. While freedom of movement is an essential economic freedom, a radical change in policy could prove destabilising, and cause significant cultural and social dislocation, friction or ghettoisation. Such a large change in policy should be undertaken slowly and cautiously — it would be unwise for governments to rush forward with policies that are unwanted and unpopular with the wider population.

But in the long run, though, the benefits of freedom of movement are clear, and will likely become clearer in the coming decades as more countries and blocs experiment with freer migration policies.

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122 thoughts on “The Importance of Free Immigration

  1. Freedom of movement calls into question the whole idea of borders which calls into question the whole idea of nations which calls into question the whole idea of governments. Like so many issues of liberty, it is not in the interest of governments to give up their current power. Licensing travel (issuing passports) may not be profitable on its face, but it is one more piece to help establish the legitimacy of government. The benefits may be clear but they will never be clear to governments. It is difficult to get a government to understand something, when their power depends on not understanding it.

    • The benefits may be clear but they will never be clear to governments. It is difficult to get a government to understand something, when their power depends on not understanding it.

      Well, if a few governments try this kind of thing, maybe the clear material benefits will win over more.

      • “Win over more” voters, hopefully, but not many elites, regrettably. The latter must be stripped of undeserved and misused power — not as by a mob and guillotine in Paris, but by a far-sighted assembly in Philadelphia and an army of courageous volunteers.

        There are two venerable sayings which promise punishment of evil-doers, but not very often or very soon: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.” “The mills of God grind slowly, but exceeding small.”

  2. Freedom of movement is only feasibly good when there is no obvious imbalance in state benefits. Otherwise, whoever the local tax-paying population of the host country would be left shouldering the burden. Just look at the EU, and the UK. It’s such an insane idea of the tree-hugging type.

    • Current law in most countries is that welfare eligibility only comes with citizenship or a certain length of residency (usually 5+ years). That is a sensible precaution. But as the data shows, legal immigrants on average pay into the system a lot more than they and their families take in subsidies.

      Basically, I don’t think that fears over a potential abuse of the system that can be prevented quite easily is more important than basic economic freedom.

      • In the UK people are entitled to various benefits from day 1, There are various ‘actual’ evidence and stories of people from other parts of Europe freely admitting it and said with such wonderful benefits there is no way that they would ever leave. In the Netherlands, the government found out only more than a year ago that 25% of their benefit money for children went straight to Morocco to people who had never set food in Holland. And from 2014 Romanians and Bulgarians are free to move too, I already know people who said last year that they would move to England once the door is open. Good that perhaps you don’t have to pay British tax.

        Trying to live in the real world and not theorising in an office might give one quite a different perspective.

        • Yes, EU citizens can claim benefits in any country in the EU, with some restrictions — although the evidence shows quite clearly that Britain does not have a large welfare state in comparison to other EU countries, and there is no evidence that Britain is targeted more than other countries. In Britain, non-EU citizens have to be resident 5 years.

          Honestly, I think most people just want to work. I think your caricaturing people who come to another country as being lazy scroungers is intellectually lazy. Even if a few are scrounging, there is no reason to punish the law-abiding majority of immigrants for the abuses of a minority who can easily be stopped with simple safeguards.

          The economic evidence for the benefits of immigration is clear.

        • Aziz, I think you’re theorising again. I used to think like you when I was in an ivory tower, but luckily I came to my senses and now live in the real world. What you said clearly shows that you don’t know how the system works, and how people can work the system. With such a line in the sand, I think there is no point for any more back-and-forth.

          Just FYI, the 5-year residency requirement is only for acquiring permanent residency. It has nothing to do with claiming benefits.

          Free movement is all fine and dandy, as long as it’s strictly and rigorously scrutinised if some governments are dumb enough to provide generous welfare with little restrictions on claimants. If the incomers are so skilled and keen to work, it’s not such a big disadvantage to be scrutinised before getting in. Employers would surely be happy to pay up to get valuable employers. Any cost incurred is surely nothing compared to the unnecessary waste scammed by conmen. I can say all this with actual real life experience, not paper so-called evidence as academics or people theorising in an office tend to work with.

          Good luck.

        • Free movement is all fine and dandy, as long as it’s strictly and rigorously scrutinised if some governments are dumb enough to provide generous welfare with little restrictions on claimants. If the incomers are so skilled and keen to work, it’s not such a big disadvantage to be scrutinised before getting in.

          Great. That’s actually what I’m arguing for.

          I would be pretty shocked if any liberalisation of immigration didn’t come with all of these caveats and more. That’s politics. You and a vast swathe of others are convinced that “conmen” playing the system are a great threat even when there is copious actual evidence to show that fraud levels are more like 1-3% of claimants. (http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/index.php?page=fraud_error).

          I’m far more worried about big pharma and the military-industrial complex than I am about a few benefit cheats, most of whom can and should be stopped pretty easily.

          And I think your appeal to “real world” experience is just an excuse to say whatever you want without backing it up with actual evidence.

        • Oh, how sweet, taking a leave from government statistics. Those government departments are constantly in shock when more real evidence is revealed by accident and that they never managed to find out before that. Never mind the incompetence of the people administering the system. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

          And the reality in Europe is that there is very little check and restriction for benefit claimants and immigrants. This has been a thorny issue in recent years but no public debates are allowed. I am sure my friends in California and some other southern states are so thrilled by the idea of freely open their border to the south.

          That’s all for me. This is going nowhere to talk about real life with people who live on theories.

          All the best

        • That’s all for me. This is going nowhere to talk about real life with people who live on theories.

          There is nothing theoretical about what I am saying. Everything I have stated is backed up by empirical, “real world” evidence of the benefits of migration.

    • Actually, the output of capitalism has done more than any force in history to lift people out of poverty through wealth creation. Global capitalist(-ish) economy supports 7+ billion lives, most at a semi-decent standard of living (food, water, shelter) and some (1+ billion) at a middle class standard of living, and that number is only rising.

      We can argue that the distribution of wealth is unfair and the system corrupt, because it is (although it is quite possible that freer immigration would improve that), but arguing against capitalism altogether seems like a dead end, because what can replace it? Central economic planning has completely failed.

      • It doesn’t seem to me that the organization of economic life into an owning class and a working class is the be-all and end-all of all possible worlds. I can think of alternatives. In any case, whether centrally-planned economies (socialist, capitalist, feudal, or other) can be said to ‘work’ or not generally depends on how they’re measured, and from whose point of view.

        • In the West, especially after the emergence of the middle class, the “capitalist” and “labour” classes were mixed up a lot. Most people in America have a private pension fund that owns companies, for example.

          I think there are is a lot of scope for experimentation with different economic mixtures, but I think that we should stick with the basis of the market system, even if some jurisdictions will succeed while choosing some kinds of state control of certain industries (e.g. natural resources).

          My belief in the market system is founded quite differently to most free marketeers, though:

          http://azizonomics.com/2011/09/25/empiricism-in-economics/

      • Not an argument about capitalism other than that TPTB have conveniently fixed the game of freedom to suit themselves. As a libertarian of the left, I am all for freedom and I am also for freedom for everyone, not just the few, or the “freedom” of everyone but in name only. Why should there be freedom of markets, trade, capital flow and not of movement? Sure, one can concoct a rationale for it, but the truth is that limited freedom always favors a group and not the whole, and privileged groups concoct convincing rationales to dupe the rubes. Down with borders.

        • TH: Yes, TPTB rig the game to THEIR benefit. There’s a clue here: the fewer and the weaker TPTB, the better! The basic lesson that US Communist Saul Alinski learned from Marx and Lenin and Obama learned from Alinski is POWER: “Everything we do, we do for power!” Government IS power, of course. There are other seats of power, but most of them are dependent upon government. The Lenins, Hitlers and Obamas target government to become tyrants; we must target government — elections, legislation, impeachments, public awareness, media, judicial appointments, etc.– to defeat tyranny.

      • Truth/reality: “What can replace it (capitalism)? Central economic planning has completely failed.” The elites have brainwashed the “sheeple” and successfully appealed to selfishness and greed. No question. The question is: How can we save ourselves. individually and collectively, from this scourge?

  3. I’m opposed to any restrictions on migration, be it im- or e-. However, I am uncomfortable with the concept of ‘Natural Law’, which seems to posit some kind of supernal being or plane of existence from which it emanates. The simple fact is, restrictions on the ordinary movements of a peaceable person are violence. We need only simple reason, not supernal beings, to let us know that that violence is undesirable.

      • Ye Gods, Anarc and Aziz — “natural law” — as used here or in the US Declaration of Independence (“Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”) — is nothing more or less than “rights emanating from …. our basic humanity”!

        • Yes, I think Anarcissie was just moaning about Napolitano’s choice of religious language. I sympathise with Anarcissie, but ultimately it does not undercut my support of and agreement with Napolitano.

  4. TPTB have ALWAYS desired free movement [market] for labor as this will render the lowest labor costs.

    In the same breath, they do EVERYTHING possible to have ANYTHING but free markets in their particular industry [the purpose of lobbyists], spending billions in an effort to secure minimum competition resulting in a maximum profit per unit.

    If everybody worked for themselves, then free movement would be ideal for all concerned.

    • Imp: Yes, if everyone worked for himself (independently), a lot of things would work ideally. But piggies DON’T have wings and can’t fly; and you can’t support seven billion humans on this planet without organization. Let’s use our talents and energy, of which you have considerable, to improve the human condition.

      • DG, if you were a banker you would say, “Well, I know that the banking system is not so great [for you], but let’s just make the best of it.”

        I understand what you are saying, but if you were a patient of mine, would you want me to say, “Well, DG, this is your problem and I believe that the following would be a really good way to go about resolving it, but instead, I only get paid for doing all kinds of absurdly expensive tests and prescribing [in many cases] worthless drugs, so, here’s your Rx, and good f****** luck!”

        Sorry, my friend, everyone must draw the line somewhere.

        • I agree, Doctors always say good healthy diet AND EXERCISE.

          But who listens to that wonderful advice, instead they want a pill or special programme to motivate them.

        • Dr. Imp.: I would also not like to hear you say, “..but I don’t support big pharma and medical equipment oligopolies, so I will not prescribe nor order what you need.

        • DG, that’s like saying that you are an American citizen but you don’t support the government, the doctrine of constant war, the surveillance state, the welfare state, the fascist banking system, the oligopolies, so on and so forth [but I do pay my taxes].

          We all support all of this crap.

    • Free trade means that embedded labor is imported at the cost of domestic employment without the costs associated with actually bring the bodies along. Embedded labor is scab labor that undermines the bargaining power of domestic labor.

      • Anybody who doesn’t believe that immigrants don’t drive down the cost of labor has never been to California.

        Half the state isn’t working for $10./hour because the cost of living is dirt-cheap!

        • Farm work that Americans won’t do for peanuts. To get Americans to do it, the pay would have to be way more plus benefits, which would just mean more imported farm products or much higher food costs. OK , throw in some low level construction jobs like roofing. Even done any roofing in 105 degree heat? Americans won’t do that for peanuts either. So we have a choice, shut the borders and increase agricultural and construction costs, as well as other low wage jobs, or import low cost low skilled labor willing to do it for less than a living wage.

          Where the embedded labor shows up in particular is manufacturing, and the US has shipped its low level manufacturing abroad, retaining only the highest levels, e.g., defense contracting. Those jobs are not coming back even as the cost of foreign labor increases as well as shipping costs with increasing price of fuel because they are now being replaced by automation and robotics.

        • Tom, if you pay people more not to work, you are correct. The welfare state subsidizes business more than it helps people the poor.

          Get rid of welfare except for the truly needy, maintain a population equilibrium [more or less], then you will have a living wage. Even slaves/serfs had it better [in many respects] than do people who must live ten in a house to make it work on minimum wage [part-time, of course].

        • What i am claiming is that if embedded labor is imported, it displaces domestic labor and reduces the bargaining power of domestic labor, just like physical immigration does. Automation and robotics have a similar effect. There are solutions, but they are not being discussed. I live in the US heartland. This issue was on the front page of the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette this morning under the headline, Disappearing Middle Class. We are going to be hearing a lot more about this.

          However, the point of John’s post had to do with freedom, and I asked why freedom of markets, trade, and capital flow but not of movement. What we see with free trade is embedded movement without the freedom to improve one’s position through unrestricted physical movement.

          I am not claiming that freedom of movement is a viable solution to the issue of labor share v. owners’ share. It is a philosophical and moral issue about freedom. Why should the law make some free and not others, as a matter of fact, a whole lot of others? Especially when this has economic effects like reducing labor’s bargaining power? It looks like an instituting of privilege based on social position that favors special interests, excused by trickle down.

        • You must keep in mind that it is only the power of the state that allows any of this nonsense to go on, i.e., citizenship, corporations, taxing, so on and so forth. Get rid of state, then you can have the possibility of free[r] markets.

          Free trade is anything but. It’s a scam.

      • Ding Ding! You make a good point, because free trade allows lower prices without the population seeing the effect of mass migration, or the social dislocation and shock to the indigenous population (Cultural differences that can irritate). Instead of being sacked and replaced with the lower cost worker, they get sacked after they have outsourced their job and wrote the training manual after picking their brains!

        I have been involved in this outsourcing process in Finance. Manufacturing would be the same.

        • Whereas free trade does support lower prices, the result for the common man is less spending power because their wages are being driven down more than prices are being lowered. Otherwise, the middle class would being living like kings by now.

      • Free Trade has reduced the cost of living in Australia (We has high tariffs that made everything from white goods to cars more expensive), but at the expense of opening up the Capital Account of the country, we saw hot money flow into real estate, so the general worker has seen an erosion of living standards due to higher cost of housing. Unless they benefited from the Cantilion effect, i.e. buying and leveraging houses with said hot money, they have gone backwards.

        With less manufacturing “blue collar” work, immigrants bringing money from overseas (Some have questionable sources including ex-Soviet Union immigrants) have pushed up house prices, and competed for menial jobs (Employers see immigrants as less likely to demand safe working conditions and a fair wage)

  5. Speaking from experience I have seen how recent immigrants conveniently calculate that having many children (Which is in their culture a status system) gives them a greater benefit, and when the fixed costs of living are spread, they can accumulate capital. Good for them I say. If the Government allows loopholes to be exploited, then they will receive the wrath of the electorate when it is discovered.

    But isn’t population growth and a younger working force desired by Government and Business? This is what I hear all the time. So what these immigrants are doing is not amoral, nor illegal.

    Human nature is human nature. People like to stay near to their friends and family (Except hopeful lovers or black sheep) so mass migration flow would be fairly static.

    The concept of Nation and therefore borders is based on morals , values, rules and laws commonly shared by the indigenous population. These values are dynamic over time with the mingling of cosmopolitan society.

    This issue is too complicated to allow for the common people, but already today if you have the money to comply with the rules of governments you can have multiple passports. The concept of freedom only applies to the rich.

    • “The concept of Nation and therefore borders is based on morals, values, rules and laws commonly shared by the indigenous population. These values are dynamic over time with the mingling of cosmopolitan society.”

      BR, what are you, the head PR guy for the Association of Wonderful Nation States and other Lovely Institutions?

      You gotta be kidding. The concept of the nation is built on the principle of enslaving people with chains of laws, stealing their labor value through taxes, fees, levies, tolls, assessments, and every of damn thing possible, and then having them celebrate their freedom by spending their children’s future income.

      Excuse me while I barf-up my breakfast.

      • Most Nations were formed due to the self determination push after WW1. This is what I am implying.

        In Africa it failed because States were not formed on ethnicity, hence why Rwanda was a mess.

        Smaller States are natural, because people have shared values. The smallest level is the share house. Bad manners is often a reason to evict.

  6. Pingback: The Importance of Free Immigration | My Blog

  7. Based on Johns Tweet link

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/polish-is-second-most-spoken-language-in-england-as-census-reveals-140000-residents-cannot-speak-english-at-all-8472447.html

    The comments section likes/dislikes polls indicates the majority of British people do not favour migration. Possibly the working classes competing for skilled jobs.

    As England is the hot spot for learning the “Queens Language” the language of business and potentially the language the word speaks in 100 years, many in the EU see it as a practical stepping stone to the USA as well.

  8. There has been a highly virulent campaign against immigrants in the popular press in England for the last 30 years. I think it is very sad so many people write off others looking to better their lives and make extraordinary contributions to the life of this country and as John’s figures show, contribute to the wealth of the nation in not only taxes but in many, many other ways.

    However, I do see it as part of the unfolding scenario of the complete removal of our freedoms, of which gun control is the latest episode in the States.

    My solution – take back our power. Non-co-operation, questioning everything and understanding that government, banks etc are here to serve us. It does mean getting involved at the local, grassroots level and going to parish meetings, and putting local government under scrutiny.

    Realising they are here to serve us changes everything.

  9. Were this argument true, then we could become immensely wealthy simply by dropping all barriers to immigration. India and China could fill every vacant corner of the country virtually overnight. Literally half the population of Mexico would come here, according to one pole, and Latin America, alone, would send hundreds of millions.
    We are already using immigration policy as an affirmative action program for the Third World, not considering what they can or cannot do for us, but asking what we can do fo them.
    Nationhood is irrerversibly bound to kindhip and commonality. When these ideas are abandoned there is a loss of sense of ‘us’ and of national cohesion. What results from a country divided along racial, religious, ethnic, cultural and traditional lines isnot a pretty sight, and there is no better example than the Middle East.
    We ignore human nature at our own peril, and a sense of tribe may be encoded in our DNA. We have learned more in the last 20 years about heritability of physical and behavioral characteristics than in the previous 100. None of these things points toward the desirability of
    a society divided along every possible fault line. While a man may die for a family member or even a fellow citizen in homogeneous societies, such as Japan, there is absolutely no scientific support for unlimited immigration or multiculturalism.
    This argument for unfettered free travel for anyone in any numbers anywhere is possibly the dumbest idea I have ever seen in print.

    • Were this argument true, then we could become immensely wealthy simply by dropping all barriers to immigration.

      Yes — my testable prediction. If the argument is correct, then liberalising immigration will lead to economic growth. As I insinuate, there is probably some threshold at which too much liberalisation too quickly will cause adverse effects. I dont know where that threshold is, so I advocate caution. An immediate global open border policy would be stupid and dangerous. However, it is possible to gradually liberalise immigration policy, which is what I advocate.

      Literally half the population of Mexico would come here, according to one pole, and Latin America, alone, would send hundreds of millions.

      You have no evidence for this. In fact, with the US economy still stuck in a rut (unemployment, underemployment, overindebtedness, etc) and Mexico currently booming irrespective of whether there is a change in the immigration law, it is quite possible that the trend of migration may reverse, and on net we may at some point in the next two decades reach a point where there are more Americans leaving to work in Mexico than vice verse. In any case, at no point did I actually advocate an immediate policy of completely open borders.

      We are already using immigration policy as an affirmative action program for the Third World, not considering what they can or cannot do for us, but asking what we can do fo them.

      Nonsense, I have lots of evidence (detailed in the post) that illustrates that inbound migration creates growth, and that immigrants on net pay more taxes than they receive in government services and welfare.

      Nationhood is irrerversibly bound to kinship and commonality. When these ideas are abandoned there is a loss of sense of ‘us’ and of national cohesion.

      When did I advocate getting rid of nationhood? A more open immigration policy does not threaten the principle of nationhood.

      None of these things points toward the desirability of
      a society divided along every possible fault line. While a man may die for a family member or even a fellow citizen in homogeneous societies, such as Japan, there is absolutely no scientific support for unlimited immigration or multiculturalism.

      Japan is a terrible example. That country has been stuck in a depression for the last 20 years, and with the population pattern they now have will be for the foreseeable future either until their birth rate rises drastically or they adopt a more open immigration policy. The USA probably faces the same dilemma. Fortunately for the USA as a country of immigrants there is no such great stigma toward immigration, and it will liberalise immigration sooner or later.

      I don’t think that multiple ethnicities and cultures is in any way a barrier to a cohesive society. The USA has always been a multicultural society from the start — it absorbed all kinds of diverse religious and nonreligious communities from all over Europe and Africa. German was spoken at home by over 10% of Americans in 1900, for example. Italians successfully integrated, Irish successfully integrated even after some difficulties. And then there were the African slaves, another entirely different culture successfully integrated (with some difficulty, for sure, but trouble is what happens when an economy is based on chattel slavery and white supremacism) after they were freed. Property rights, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, economic liberty, a stable currency (etc) are more important than ethnicity in establishing the basis of a successful country.

      This argument for unfettered free travel for anyone in any numbers anywhere is possibly the dumbest idea I have ever seen in print.

      But that’s not actually what I was arguing for, or at least not any time soon. I am arguing for more immigration and less restrictions in the short term, sure. In fact I am arguing that that is economically necessary because of the unsustainable fiscal balance — new immigrants (especially the highly skilled ones a country like America can attract) are the easiest way to fund the unfunded liabilities. But for such a huge change as a true open border policy, it is necessary to go slowly and carefully.

      In the long run, I think much freer policies may be sustainable. In the 21st century, I expect to see the role of the state shrink through decentralisation. Big, restrictive immigration policies are the domain of big, powerful governments. If the role of the state shrinks, then the norms of migration will change. By the end of the century, I expect the norm to be that anyone with the money to purchase a property will be able to do so and move there, irrespective of what passport they carry.

      The hidden hand is crucial to making this kind of system work. Just as with markets where there are natural forces that solve these kinds of first-order problems like overcrowding (e.g. monopolies generally become inefficient and eventually collapse), similar forces apply with freedom of movement. If too many people move into one place, the property prices will rise, and the people who were there to begin with will have the option to sell and move to another less crowded place if they no longer like where they are.

      • If large numbers of people of differing races, cultures, religions and traditions were a source of wealth the Balkans would be a paradise.
        There is evidence that approximately 50% of all Mexicans would immigrate if there were no barriers. I didn’t quote my source, but neither did you.
        The National Academy of Science disagrees with you. Immigrants take more welfare dollars than do indigenous Americans and, long term, produce a net loss. Mass immigration into a welfare state is an unworkable idea.
        Mass immigration without regard to education, character, skill level and assimilability is mindless. Just ask an American Indian.
        Please don’t call me an immigrant. My people came here in 1650.
        Last time I looked Japan enjoyed a much higher standard of living than most countries in the world.
        The Germans, Italians, Irish and others who came here were all Europeans, and they were virtually totally assimilated. While our forbears, such as Benjamin Franklin, expressed some reservations about German immigration all European peoples shared much in the way of commonality. There is little evidence that, say, Mexicans, Africans and Muslims will not continue to be inassimilable, particularly in light of the fact that in places like London and Paris the Muslim population refuses assimilation as the natives distain them.
        The common mistake uptopians, such as Karl Marx, made was to fail to understand human nature. We are naturalluy divisive and tend to associate with those like us. Otherwise, the myth of the desirability of diversity would not have to be imposed by force of government; it would take place naturally.
        I am not aware of anyone who has studied the subject of immigration in any depth who would agree with your arguments. If implemented they will lead to national suicide.

        • The National Academy of Science disagrees with you. Immigrants take more welfare dollars than do indigenous Americans and, long term, produce a net loss.

          Not true:

          http://www.renewoureconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/img/NAE_Im-AmerJobs.pdf

          And even undocumented migrants end up paying more net taxes than they receive benefits:

          http://archive.truthout.org/undocumented-immigrants-pay-more-taxes-than-they-receive-benefits59264

          The economic benefits of immigration:

          http://t.co/VavkLnUV

          And one more for fun — illegal immigrants commit less crime per capita in America than natives:

          http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2012/06/public-study-illegal-immigrants-commit-less-crime-than-americans/

          Please don’t call me an immigrant. My people came here in 1650.

          You’re the descendant of immigrants. Everyone is. All societies are ultimately immigrant societies (my English ancestors emigrated to Britain a thousand years ago, longer than your European ancestors have been in America) but especially America.

          Last time I looked Japan enjoyed a much higher standard of living than most countries in the world.

          Let’s re-assess that claim in 20 years if they continue to block immigration while their working population shrinks and their retired population grows.

          The Germans, Italians, Irish and others who came here were all Europeans, and they were virtually totally assimilated. While our forbears, such as Benjamin Franklin, expressed some reservations about German immigration all European peoples shared much in the way of commonality. There is little evidence that, say, Mexicans, Africans and Muslims will not continue to be inassimilable, particularly in light of the fact that in places like London and Paris the Muslim population refuses assimilation as the natives distain them.

          Essentially your argument is white nativist nationalism, then. I cannot win this argument by reason, because your position is not reasonable. But the truth is this — you have a right to your life, your liberty, your property, your expression, your movement. You don’t have a right to use the force of government to deprive others of their right to free movement, free expression, to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

        • Ron: You have touched on an “elephant in the living room” of immigration: IMMIGRANTS who do not want assimilation. My understanding is that London and many other European cities have Muslim areas that are far more insular than Italian, Irish, Jewish, etc. US neighborhoods ever were.

        • Heh. The Balkans have hardly been some kind of liberal, free-market, laissez-faire zone over the last several hundred years. Quite the opposite.

          It’s true humans have an unfortunate tendency towards tribalism, but it doesn’t seem reasonable to abandon one’s principles in order to encourage it.

        • Raising the Balkans as a counter to the notion of freedom of movement is like raising Somalia as a counter to libertarianism.

          The Balkans suffered from a LACK of freedom of movement and economic liberty. If there had been freedom of movement and economic liberty, many of the tensions would have never surfaced. Unfortunately, the Balkans for hundreds of years was the playground of empires — the Austrians, the Ottomans, the Russians, the Soviets etc — who set the different groups off against each other, and kept the people in poverty.

          When the tension was really ramping up, with freedom of movement, the people who ended up being slaughtered could have left. But the reality was that there was no freedom of movement, little economic liberty and no real multiculturalism. The reality of the Balkans was hundreds of years of imperial manipulation.

        • Balkans: Wasn’t the recent violence “ethnic cleansing” by Serbs vs. Muslims? And wasn’t that basically Christian vs. Muslim? Culture, history, color, education, skills, etc. have been mentioned as factors in immigration and assimilation, but let’s not overlook religion.

    • I agree with many of your points. The biggest problem with multiculturalism is the advent of Satelite TV. Young children from ethnic families watch English speaking shows in Australia. In the uSA and Europe, they can watch their ethnic shows from cradle to grave As a result they don’t assimilate.

      I come from two differnet cultures but my father was born here so by the time I cam along, he had no reason to keep me in a ethnic mould. I feel assimilated as an Australian, but I am worldly and retain my culture, through cooking and values.

      • Buddy, old friend, rarely are my nit-picks aimed at you, but….

        I contend that your (most admirable, as reflected in your posts) individual culture/values/character are a product of parenting, only partially derived from ethnic culture.

        • Possibly, I was taught not to lie,because you eventually get caught out (Try remembering a untruthful story). Not commit a single crime, as one day you may want to be a President, Prime Minister, get a Government job, and your enemies will use it against you. Keep your word and pay your debts.

          The biggest spiritual lesson was “God only helps those who help themselves”. That is not Ukrainian Christian (They are devout and superstitious) so I guess you are right.

          So on the basis of that I will never be a Ukrainian Politician :) or any Politician for that matter :)

  10. Really, Ron? How about the immigration of the Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Anglo-Saxons , Celts, Visigoths etc, etc. It all worked out without passports, central planners and controls. Because ultimately, that is what it is about – control. The divide and conquor along ethnic and religious lines is about control.

    Big government, big banking and big pharma is about control, as well as fleecing us in the process. Do you control your life, your health, your community or do they?

    And if you want to control it then you need to take action by supporting your local democracy, your community, shop at the local farmers’ markets and small local shops while we still have them.

    • Yes, and the Romans over-ran most of Europe; The Muslims and Mongols came very close to doing the same; the Gothic immigrants took down Rome; The Vikings took Normandy and part of England; and we took half of Mexico by force of arms, all without passports.
      I hate to say it, but the level of ignorance on this subject is appalling. Of course, big money has always loved the idea of the cheapest possible labor.

      • Labour is cheapest when it is constrained by artificial national boundaries. If Chinese people could leave, the labour wouldn’t be half as cheap.

        • Maybe, maybe not.

          National boundaries implies a nation. With a nation, the cost of doing business/living goes up considerably, one of the main problems in the so-called traditional Western democracies.
          Therefore, wages must go up accordingly [in a functioning economy, unlike what we enjoy today].

          If China opened its boarders, exactly where are these billion plus people going? And who exactly is going to pay them more, and to do what? My local Mal-wart is currently over-stocked with cheap trinkets.

      • And big money and other forms of power have always loved the most gullible (ignorant, lazy, selfish, prejudiced, etc.) population possible.

  11. Immigration is mostly favoured by the ruling elites in both political parties. They try to placate the indegenous commoners by making noises about immigration control..but continue with their policies.

    The Jews who make up part of the ruling elites in Britain and America favour immigration and push for it because they prefer hetrogenous societies for obvious reasons. However some Jews also demonize Muslim immigrants as potential terrorists and anti-semites. It is a dialectic used to alter society and to break it down. From the point of view of the white population it is quite scary to notice the cultural and demographic changes taking place in their neighbourhoods. Many immigrants including Muslims are not of a high calibre, they have criminal attitudes and they want a free ride. They ought to stop such immigrants from entering but this is easier said than done. I hope it does not cause social upheavel and people can learn to live together peacefully.

    • From the point of view of the white population it is quite scary to notice the cultural and demographic changes taking place in their neighbourhoods.

      Irrational fear of people a different skin colour or religion or ethnicity does not make for good immigration policy, or an informed discussion. Evidence-based discussion of the economic reality of immigration is a much better guide.

      Here’s some interesting reading — illegal immigrants commit less crime per capita in America than natives:

      http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog/2012/06/public-study-illegal-immigrants-commit-less-crime-than-americans/

      Undocumented immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits:

      http://archive.truthout.org/undocumented-immigrants-pay-more-taxes-than-they-receive-benefits59264

      • Simply stating that other peoples’ beliefs are based on “irrationality” or “fear” is an utterly daft argument. If you can PROVE their beliefs are irrational or based on fear, then fair enough, but not otherwise.

        But some of the opposition to immigration is actually based on a totally RATIONAL point, namely that migrants can degrade or debase the culture of the recipient country. For example how do we benefit from those delightful Muslim cultural ideas like killing the authors and cartoonists one doesn’t like? And then there are the 20% or so of young Muslims in the UK who think that anyone leaving their faith should be killed: high culture indeed. And then there’s the homphobia and not infrequent holocaust denial in Muslim circles.

        The idea that Muslim immigrants debase our British culture and way of life is an entirely reasonable idea.

        • If you can PROVE their beliefs are irrational or based on fear, then fair enough, but not otherwise.

          The preceding argument was “immigration is scary”. That’s irrational. If it was a statement that immigration is scary because of some scientifically demonstrable cultural or social phenomenon, then I wouldn’t have called it irrational.

          Muslims get an awfully bad press. I am not a Muslim, but there is little evidence to suggest that Muslims “debase” the countries they arrive in. Some point to jihadi terrorism, but Muslims are not even currently (as of 2012) a majority of terrorist indictments in the US:

          And I am fairly sure the problems with jihadism would shrink further if the US and other Western countries stopped propping up unpopular regimes like Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and engaging in drone warfare and occupation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.

          And in any case the numbers are minuscule. Trying to equate Muslims or people from Muslim countries with terrorism ignores the fact that only a very tiny minority of those people are engaged in that kind of activity. We should not punish the majority for the crimes of a tiny minority; the tiny criminal minority should be held legally accountable.

          In the cases of things like opposition to depictions of Muhammad, homophobia, anti-Semitism, holocaust denial, etc, it is also unfair to punish the majority for the crimes of a tiny minority. Clearly, if there is strong evidence that a particular individual is advocating violence or hatred against the West, against Jews, or cartoonists, then they shouldn’t be permitted to settle. The only intelligent way to handle this phenomenon is on a case-by-case basis. The vast majority who statistics show integrate as well as any other ethnic minority (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/jul/03/muslims-integrated-britain) should be welcomed.

        • @Ralph

          The notion that the white indegenous population in Europe respects freedom of speech and diversity of opinion is false. Modern European societies are rigidly managed top down all public opinion is manufactured and all public conversations are filtered to create a consensus reality. This same media matrix creates the monsters, hobgoblins and folk devils that do not fit into the manufactured consensus. It is important to remember that all of it is just manufactured. I will stop believing this when I see a mainstream mass media generated discussion about banking, fractional reserve and the dangers of usury. I will not hold my breath and if any such discussion does take place it will be highly proscribed with the terms of the debate highly ristricted no doubt. There is little freedom of expression, when someone is given a mass platform addressing the masses discussing the above matters I will stop thinking this. Simply put ‘bad ideas’ are sent down the memory hole, filtered out or not given expression, or they are narrowly mis represented…so they do not become popular. Edward Bernays said Democratic Societies need people at the top to manage and shape public opinion…its not even a hidden conspiracy…its all out in the open and obvious.

          BBC Radio 4 is celebrating the life of George Orwell the past week and they had acouple of academics discussing how right or wrong he was about the future. And from my point of view the discussion was highly flawed…they concluded that he was only right about the emergence of surveilence and CCTV….no mention of his accurate depiction of warfare and the logic of war to maintain a hierarchical social system.

          @Aziz

          My reading of the debate on immigration in the UK is that the left wing liberals are all for it, they like the cultural diversity, though most of the probably do not live near the immigrants themselves…they like the idea of eating foreign cuisine etc. However the working class whites in general are more right wing on immigration…they prefer a more white society and immigrants are presented as being scroungers, criminals and ne’ar do wells…they pick out all the murders and crimes commited by immigrants as proof of their undesirability.

          http://roguesgallery666.blogspot.co.uk/

        • Aziz Feb 03 @11:14: “OBJECTION”, John!! Your bar chart of US terrorism indictments compares “Jihadists” vs. “Non-Jihadists”! As unlearned as I am on things Islamic, I know that “jihad” is afforded a range of meanings. Please give us a chart of Muslim vs. non-Muslim — and would a retraction be amiss?

    • If we fail to recognize natural blood ties and the cohesiveness that contributes, the price of diversity for the sake of difference will be an enormous one.

      • Ron

        Blood ties are important and they are being broken down by technology, mobility, and modern society in general. I see nothing wrong if white people try to strenghthen their bonds of kinship…it would be a good thing for everyone. Families are the backbone of any society…too much individualism and atomism, first the nuclear family, and now just a home for one are destructive. We are social animals and we need to bond with others, we also need a code of ethics to help us to live with each other with the least amount of ego based problems being caused. I am not white or Christian but I encourgae my white co workers to get together with their families at Christmas (because they dread it)…just so they can make the most of it and help to create stability.

        Having strong white families does not mean that the non whites should be scapegoated or feel threatened. We can all get on and live together in harmony can’t we?

        • “We can all get on and live together in harmony can’t we?”

          This is one of the fairy tales people are spoon-fed, that the purpose of society is exactly as stated above, that is, to engender harmony and love. The reality is not so much this case. Harmony and love are derived from within, not imposed from without. Otherwise, we would all have been completely blissed-out for the past several millennia.

          People need to see the motivation behind organizing society. Whereas, there are positives in all things, it seems to me that negatives [in the case] far outweigh them, when you consider the concentration of power in organizations such as governments and corporations.

          I believe that the vast majority of people would live a more fulfilled life as a “free-agent” as opposed to being a ward of the state or an employee [directly or indirectly] of the corporate world.

          Even those who still maintain nice incomes can not be happy in an environment where you must subject those who receive the benefits of your labor-power to the demands of markets crazed with avarice, fear, and finally, sorrow.

          There are no external answers to the human condition. It is what it is, right out there in front of our faces, assessable any time to those with the courage to peer through the magical chimeras constructed by great men of science, and religion, and the arts, and….

          Liberation must come from within, a message that has been put out there by great men and women throughout the ages who have given up EVERYTHING to receive the very same.

        • Rob, you have nailed the most significant fact in this far-ranging discussion — indeed in all human society: “Families are the backbone of any society”.

      • I agree with your comments and Don’s reply. For this reason heterogeneous cultures have a family connection and probably more socialist in that they look out for one another. A homeless man is taken in and nurtured, because they are related in some way.

        One day all humans from all nations will feel this global kinship, but it will take time.

    • I agree, the banksters are the criminals and they also manage our perceptions with their mass media, shaping our actions top down as long as the spotlight is not on the banksters. Classic divide and rule, bread and circuses. Let millions of voices be heard, as long as they dominate, they can lower the volume of some voices or silence them, we will never hear them…

      Some Muslims teach other things aside from what the mass media tells us, but we are never told:

      “Young man! You can also receive a high rank and honour provided you adhere to the following actions:

      1. Lower your gaze (do not look at women with lust and wealth with desire)

      2. Control your tongue ( do not speak too much and be conscious of your words)

      3. Eat that which is pure (nutritious) and halaal (not earned from the proceeds of usury or thefth).

      4. Guard your private parts (against unlawful fornication)

      5. Adhere to the truth

      6. Fulfill your trusts

      7. Honour your guests

      8. Take care of your neighbors (Muslims or not)

      9. Stay away from what does not concern you

      These are the qualities that elevated me to the position that you see me enjoying.” (Tafseer Ibnu Katheer vol 3 pg 459)

      Lesson: This highlights the fact that one does not become honourable and respectable on the basis of his lineage or skin colour. Instead it is the qualities in a person that elevate him.
      Website: http://www.islaaminfo.co.za

      • Thanks for your Islamic insights and quotes. We all need to understand each other a little better. We only have one planet.

      • Khan: You match the wisdom and virtue of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, “I dream that one day my children will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”. [Of course Obama and the current US Democratic Party regime have quietly disowned King*, as they abandon racial equality, integration and brotherhood in favor of politically profitable apartheid and resentment.]

        * MLK, a Christian pastor, preached love, the foundation of brotherhood, non-violence, tolerance, etc. Wretched politicians exploit race by deliberately inciting suspicion, intolerance, revenge — hate, the opposite of love. Can I hope that most Muslims reject hating, killing and enslaving non-Muslims?

  12. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just state the problems instead of dancing around them all the time? If you are going to have institutions that allocate a massive amount of labor-value produced to the few, what so you believe is going to be the result?

    You can’t stroll into an area recently flooded and lecture the dead on how they should have taken more advanced swimming lessons. These systems are dong EXACTLY what they are designed to do, keep the money flowing to the few. Be it immigration policy, health care, the law, education, they are all the same.

    Do you really believe that the elite are worried about the riff-raff moving into their neighborhoods? These folks have already checked-out; private communities, private schools, private clubs, private government, private banks, so on and so forth.

  13. Von Mises is talking nonsense when he advocates the right of people to LEAVE their own country. The opponents of migration have never objected to the right to LEAVE. However, opponents of migration DO WANT to place various restrictions on the right of all comers from anywhere to march into their own country.

    I believe I have a right to leave the UK. I don’t think that Australia necessarily has an obligation to receive me as a migrant.

    • I believe I have a right to leave the UK. I don’t think that Australia necessarily has an obligation to receive me as a migrant.

      Morally, if someone can prove that they can support themselves, (e.g. proof of a job offer) I think Australia (or any other country) has the obligation to receive that person.

      That is just my opinion, though. What is not just my opinion is that immigration is one of the few ways for advanced economies with ageing populations and big unfunded liabilities (e.g. Japan, UK, USA) to fund all of those retirees without selling off national wealth (e.g. natural resources).

    • As we say here, “Good eye”, Ralph — Napolitano addresses IMmigration, Mises Emigration as re the Communist Berlin Wall.

  14. I’ve read various comments with great interest. It seems obvious many followers/commentators of this blog belong to what the ‘popular press’ would call liberal elite or slightly more impolitely leftwing lunatics. I am not white, nor black, nor muslim, I am of far eastern origin but have long lived in the UK. I am also an economist, used to be an academic but now work in the private sector. But I oppose the virtually unchecked immigration as advocated by this post. The author and those support this type of migration have obviously no idea what has happened and is continuing happening in some UK cities and European cities, clinging to only ideas they can get from the press, be it liberal or conservative papers. The assimilation of the majority of muslims created all those foreign looking cities/areas and no-go areas. This is what I have seen when I used to live near one of those, and used to walk faster to avoid the hostile stares of some muslim men wandering on streets in a non-campus based university area. It is not some newspaper stories. It is destroying the English. But the liberal elite seems to have a sense of self-loathing and feel ashamed of their own cultural heritage and hell bent to impose multiculturalism on their own people, meanwhile they live nowhere near the affected areas. It is a shame, and it is sad and pathetic.

    And what happened to “when in Rome do what the Romans do”? Now in Europe/UK it’s pretty much ‘when move to the UK build your own country/architecture there and squeeze the locals out, and make them change their laws/customs to suit the muslims.”

    Aziz, all your repetition of ‘based on evidence’ is a bit tiresome, as those evidence is obviously flawed, probably either incorrectly collected or falsely analysed, based on flawed assumptions. And there is a lot more brutal and raw evidence that everydaymen can see with their own eyes and feel with their own life but is refused to be taken into account by those who talk about ‘evidence’ in their comfortable own home not affected by the implications and repercussions. Talking about evidence in this way smacks of ‘knowing the price (in this case, numbers) of things, and the value of nothing’. In fact, the numbers are deeply flawed.

    All this fancy talk of rights. People also have a right to live their life as they see fit, and to retaining their own culture in their own homeland, especially the locals have a right to not seeing their local area being destroyed by orders or the lack of foresight imposed from above. Why do people on the left insist imposing their own view on others? How about this: all those advocate the current state of migration (in Europe) move to those heavily muslim-concentrated cities and can have their lovely multicultural diversity and leave others alone. Better still, they can move to those muslim countries and use their wonderful knowledge to help develop those countries…. no doubt the muslim host countries would welcome them with open arms.

    • I find your comments rather sad and bitter. First of all, the left-right paradigm is a complete sham. You are also imposing or talking about imposing from above. If we all have choice and thus freedom then we can all move much more freely and choose the sort of society we wish to live in. We also need to stop things being imposed from above and get out to the local democratic level and change things. It does not have to be like this!

      Moaning and complaining does nothing. We be about taking the decisions about where and how we live for ourselves.

      But it all needs totally revamping starting with my being a citizen and not a subject and the pension I worked for and paid in for being there for me to spend and support the local economy in the way I wish and not being sucked out by greedy bankers and stashed away in the Cayman Islands. But economists seem to be the ones totally dazzled by figures and models and cannot see the wood for the trees. I think Aziz is excellent at debunking much of this.

      • It appears ‘sad and bitter’ to you only because it is contrary to your preference. Some people just can’t seem to grasp the basic idea: leave others alone to live life as they see fit. You have no right to impose irreversible changes to others’ life and their community. How you want to live your life with diversity of not is your choice and you can vote with your feet to implement your choice. But it gives you no moral high ground to oblige others to do as you wish or suffer the consequences of your preference/actions. This is not about some economic argument or paper/blog writing and number crunching looking at GDP growths. Only people with no sense and no concern of real life implications would focus on that. Talking about rights, perhaps start from respecting others choice as much as fancy imposing your views on others. All this talk of freedom is rather funny as you seem to favour the freedom of others coming in while sacrificing the freedom of the local population. Any dissent is smacked down or censured with some rightwing name-calling.

        There is no need for any dissertation writing of any empty talk of freedom and rights. Actions speak louder than words. Put your money where your mouth is, and leave others alone. That’s the best to demonstrate you actually mean it.

        • Some people just can’t seem to grasp the basic idea: leave others alone to live life as they see fit. You have no right to impose irreversible changes to others’ life and their community.

          You have this all backward. You have the choice to live where you want. You have your life, your liberty, your property, your freedom of expression, your freedom of movement, your freedom of association. But you have no right to infringe upon the rights of others — and that includes free movement. Your property rights do not extend beyond your property. You do not have to associate with migrants. You do not have to do business with them. You can migrate yourself to somewhere that you prefer (the countryside has very few migrants, for example).

        • I grew up in a tough neighbourhood. My school was a Government funded “United Nations” background school yard. During the Yugoslav war, differnet ethnic group literally drew chalk lines in the yard. Cross them at your peril! Asian gangs ran through it stabbing victims.

          Do you know what the underlying cause of this was. RAP music. It made it cool to be bad and violent. The ethnics related to it. I tried telling people that this is going to set them backwards. I saw Philipinos who thought they were African American.

          Now Sudanese Christian raised kids with a fresh start are getting into the RAP culture, being truants, hassling the “Bitches”, toying with DA PLEECE (The Police). Sad really so much opportunity in Australia.

          Immigration is fine, just teach the immigrants the social faux pas that will ensure they are not ostracised or looked over for that critical career breaking position. The government has a responsibility to school them in the indigenous culture, so that everybody is understood. i.e. spitting in the street is disgusting. Leering is insulting. Pushing and shoving instead of waiting in line, or saying please and thank you. etc.

          I don’t blame them for making mistakes, I am sure I will look like an idiot or offend many people if I went to China without instruction.

    • DSKG —

      As an economist, I take it you can provide me with some empirical evidence for your anecdotal assertions. Unless you can do that, you stand no chance of changing my mind. I got into this debate because I looked at the empirical evidence regarding immigration, and I found positives, rather than the commonly asserted negatives that are so widely dispersed throughout society and the popular press. Anyone who reads blog comment sections knows what the common views are — the idea that mass immigration might be a cultural shock is not some brilliant insight, it is as common as muck. When we actually look at the hard evidence about the economics of immigration, a different picture emerges — one in which economically, the vast majority benefit. Your rejection of evidence as a means to understanding is simply a rejection of the scientific method.

      • Aziz, I have seen the light of the tunnel and am done with pointless theoretical posturing with what some believe as ‘empirical evidence’. Now I busy myself in finance for a better future as obviously that is the only way to go. You and those of the like-minded are free to theorise how it is wonderful for uncontrolled immigration, well, perhaps until one day it comes somewhere near you or you live near them. Adios.

        [As for moving out, it is only natural human nature. It’s always happening, and it’s been happening for decades such as London. But people of a particular political or theoretical bent refuse to take human nature into account. Otherwise, Soviet Union would have been a great success today.]

        • You and those of the like-minded are free to theorise how it is wonderful for uncontrolled immigration, well, perhaps until one day it comes somewhere near you or you live near them

          For your information I have lived most of my life in the most ethnically diverse areas of the country — places like Camberwell, Ealing, Southall, Bethnal Green and Bow — and I like it. I went to school (state school) in Stoke-on-Trent which is quite diverse and very poor, and I witnessed the rise of the BNP ranting about immigration taking their jobs, when the real culprit was the migration of jobs to China. I have also lived in some very ethnically nondiverse areas, and I like those too. There are interesting and trustworthy and good people both from non-native and native backgrounds. I’ve grown up around immigration, and immigrants so if we’re going to casually throw statistics and evidence aside, I have a pretty clear anecdotal understanding of the realities of mass immigration in Britain. So the idea of me as some kind of Ivory Towers theoretician is just fucking preposterous.

          By the way, regarding human nature, immigration is very much in human nature. All of our ancestors were immigrants at some point. All societies are to some degree melting pots. The notion of a pure nativist society is a total myth. People move for economic reasons, they have since the dawn of humanity — to get to resources, to to get work, etc. And they mix for economic reasons — division of labour, skills, sexual attraction, etc.

        • It is equally, and even more, fucking preposterous to insist imposing irreversible changes to other people’s life, culture, and heritage and community just because you see fit. What you refuse to acknowledge is that people have different preferences. And in no way should your preference take precedence, however philosophically dressed up. People of course move, but there have always been careful restrictions. Advocating total open-up is ignorance and stupidity to the highest order.

          And there is nothing wrong if other people want to take pride in and protect their community and cultural heritage not to be destroyed, it’s only unpalatable to the PC brigade. All this is simply self-aggrandising that “I know the best so you shall all follow”. I don’t think others would care much what people of a different political persuasion like to think, but they equally have the right to being left alone to live their life and not be forced out by views and actions of others.

        • What you refuse to acknowledge is that people have different preferences. And in no way should your preference take precedence, however philosophically dressed up.

          Yes people have different preferences, that’s why people should have the freedom to choose where they live and who they associate with, which is why freedom of movement is an essential economic freedom.

          People of course move, but there have always been careful restrictions.

          Which is why — if you actually read what I wrote — I say that liberalisation should be done slowly and carefully and not all at once.

          It is equally, and even more, fucking preposterous to insist imposing irreversible changes to other people’s life, culture, and heritage and community just because you see fit.

          I am not insisting on imposing anything on anyone. This is about giving people freedom to choose where they live and work. I am not advocating taking anyone’s property, or treading on anyone’s rights or forcing anyone to change their culture, or their heritage, or their community or sense of self. The “right” to deny others their rights (in this case, freedom of movement) is NOT a right.

          And there is nothing wrong if other people want to take pride in and protect their community and cultural heritage not to be destroyed, it’s only unpalatable to the PC brigade.

          Taking pride in your heritage and community has nothing whatever to do with denying others their freedom of movement.

          All this is simply self-aggrandising that “I know the best so you shall all follow”. I don’t think others would care much what people of a different political persuasion like to think, but they equally have the right to being left alone to live their life and not be forced out by views and actions of others.

          The people who believe they “know best” are those who advocate denying others’ their right to freedom of movement… I am arguing for a free system where people can freely choose how and where best to live their life.

    • There is no need to worry. I have been to England and I can tell you that the white housing project boys, when agitated would be a fascist Muslim’s worst nightmare.

      I saw it with my own eyes in Australia, when Muslims tried to control Bondi Beach. Since the Cronulla Riots

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Cronulla_riots

      , they have been pretty peaceful.

      The same would happen in the UK if Muslims stifled cultural rights..

        • Whilst I don’t condone yob violence, what was happening at Cronulla and Bondi (All Sydney beaches for that matter) was the pestering harrassment and denigration of bikini clad women (Our culture) by VERY unsavoury elements in the Muslim community (Muslim leaders have a responsibilty to curtail unsavoury portrayal of Australian women as objects of denigration). After a few text messages went around, a mob mentality spread like wild fire and it was literally a battle between the Anglos and the Muslims.

          Muslims must understand that a Beach culture is prevalent in Australia, so they can not impose their values once they arrive. That is the unspoken rule of fitting in in this country.

          If bikini clad women offend, don’t visit the beach. Go to the outback.

  15. I don’t think the anti-immigration people are dealing with the obvious fact that interfering with the movements of peaceable persons on public thoroughfares is an initiation of unprovoked violence.

    The idea that groups have some kind of right beyond personal property rights to forcibly exclude other groups from their area or proximity on grounds of culture or appearance or ancestry raises the question of collective rights, which its proponents need to make explicit and define. In general, the notion carries a lot of very unpleasant historical baggage.

  16. Excellent post Aziz it really has me re-examining my views on immigration.

    Also, slapping my hand on head as something that should be more obvious and self-evident that I never even considered it before.

    • One thing that makes me pause is the story out of the U.K. where Muslim gangs are attacking passersby for wearing short skirts or drinking, and has been labeled as a group imposing Sharia law in what is basically their neck of the woods.

      Now what von Mises said” To let the attractive force of it’s own culture prove itself in free competition with other peoples” is noble, but what if that attractive force becomes it’s own undoing and is replaced by an inferior culture? (Not to imply a particular set of Muslims are an inferior culture per say, but people attacking others and enforcing Sharia law is definitely inferior behavior).

      • One thing that makes me pause is the story out of the U.K. where Muslim gangs are attacking passersby for wearing short skirts or drinking, and has been labeled as a group imposing Sharia law in what is basically their neck of the woods.

        The evidence for this is one YouTube video of one group of Muslims acting idiotically and violating others’ liberties. It is simply harassment. But the video could also very easily have been faked. I have lived in Britain all my life and this is not widespread behaviour — I have certainly never encountered it before, and I have lived in areas with very many Muslims. There are various gangs in cities around the world, the majority of which are not Muslims. People coming up to you with a gun and saying “give me your wallet” (which is not unheard of in Britain) seems vastly worse than a group of Muslims saying “you’re not allowed to drink alcohol”.

        In reality, the evidence shows that Muslims are integrating as well as any other group into Britain:

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/jul/03/muslims-integrated-britain

        • The truth about Muslim assimilation and behavior in Britain, European cities, Australia and elsewhere is of enormous importance, as about the Feb 03 post, including link, by Khan on what (most) Muslims are taught. What does Shariah inculcate, and how prevalent is such in Muslim countries and in Mosques elsewhere?

          I am one among many Americans who “lobby” for strength and policy to prevent and, if necessary fight, WW3 to defend against global* Muslim Jihad. We see the Muslim Brotherhood taking advantage of Obama (raised a Muslim) foreign policy to thwart democracy (and threaten Israel). Obama proclaims that the threat is limited to miniscule numbers of al Qaeda “insurgents”, along with blatant lies about the defeat of al Qaeda, Benghazi, Ft. Hood “workplace violence”, and stability in Egypt (giving them anti-Israel weapons).

          Are we mistaken?

          *We see that Muslim mass murder and destruction in nations unrelated to Western “invaders” of the Near East, and even against other Muslims.

        • I agree. We must be very careful to look out for faked videos. Australia has many Muslims and we have a big drinking culture. I have not heard of this in Australia. Muslims are very peaceful in Australia. Some hot head youths make an embarrassment for their community but generally have accepted Australian culture and way of life.

          In time the relaxed nature of Australia will temper the strict nature of Islam. I already see it with the youth today.

          Overall alcohol is a toxic substance but in moderation is found to have health benefits. What is right?

  17. Whether immigration is good, bad, or indifferent is immaterial in a world where EVERYTHING is good, bad, and indifferent. This is why it always comes down to balance. When [fill in the blank] is in balance, then competing forces are at a stand-off, and peace has a better chance of breaking-out.

    Immigration is an ideal that should be the right of every human being. It is not the case because of the need to have legal private property. And although private property allows “civilized” society to crawl forward, it does so at a great cost to our individual human freedoms, one which should be the right to canvass the planet at our discretion.

  18. I don’t see how freedom to cross borders (into public space) interferes with the right to have legal, private, personal property. That is, if someone from another country lands at LaGuardia Airport, and I own a house in Astoria three miles away, how does the former impinge on the latter?

    • Legal private property forms the foundation of almost all law as it is known. Without it, nothing that you recognize as civil society could [would] exist.

      Perhaps one might argue that without the above, one would have anarchy, but, one can also make the assertion that what we enjoy today is its brother-form, controlled chaos.

      Pick your poison.

  19. One has to wonder if the unintentional result of immigration is the hollowing out of certain societies. Use Pakistan for example. The educated, wealthy, moderate or secular Muslim immigrates at a higher percentage than the radical, undecuated and poor Muslim. This reduces capital investment and skews the society towards radicalism.

    There is no free lunch, even with free immigration. Remember one must count what is seen and not seen to truly understand the impacts of a policy.

  20. If the state has the right to regulate, why should that right stop at immigration? Your premise denies the rights of those negatively impacted by immigration. You complained about the state not enforcing law when it came to the bankers but you seem be saying that immigration law should be ignored.

    Guess your labor is not at risk. Thanks for looking out for the rest of us.

    • States do not have rights. Only persons have rights, at least if you believe in classical liberal theory. If you believe in group rights, though, you need to formulate and explain them, because others may not know what they are.

      One of the most primordial rights is the right to come and go in common or public space. Obstructing that movement is clearly a form of physical coercion or violence. Consider the situation on a personal level: I live in Queens, New York. If I see someone from the next block or the next neighborhood walking peaceably on my street, am I to run out waving a gun and telling them to get off ‘my’ street and go back where they came from?

      In Adam-Smithian theory, people who labor productively tend to increase aggregate wealth, which enhances the ability of others to labor productively, and if people can move around freely, many of them will move to maximize their ability to labor productively, which ought to enhance most people’s economic opportunities in the same community.

      • Anarc Feb 04 @18:27: You have named the key for human affairs to be what they ought to be — only individuals have rights, not governments. And you remind that CLASSIC liberalism is libertarianism (as above): individuals, not the mob (state, proletariat, “the people”, etc.) have rights. The US Declaration of Independence makes it crystal clear: “All men are created equal ..they are endowed .. with certain unalienable rights. — That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    • This is an important point. In my youth I did many menial contract labour jobs in factories. Now with the increase in overseas students these jobs are quickly filled, or they are favoured because Labour Agencies know these workers will bend over backwards to keep them. If you were a middle aged worker with a mortgage, and lost your job, you would be overlooked by these Labour Agencies as a worker, and most likely would lose your home, even if you were willing to replace your suit for a pair of overalls and safety boots.

      The rights of the indigenous population to be protected from unfettered competition for available work, when structural shifts occur due to government policy must not be compromised.

    • Mike —

      I don’t agree with breaking the law. I’m not arguing people should break the law. I am arguing that immigration laws are bad and counterproductive, and we need more legal freedom consistent with our natural rights.

      The thing is immigrants create far jobs than they take — http://goo.gl/DCzNx

      Immigrants start 28% of US businesses — http://t.co/hEfPOrTd

      That’s good for the rest of us.

      A libertarian free market case for open borders: http://t.co/blcWLqUU

  21. Interesting but I have heard of this before in the context of floating tax havens which does not auger well! That is exactly what we want to halt so that money lying in offshore havens – £32 trillion was the figure I last saw – brought into the economy to help create jobs.

    • The situation in Sweden is complex, but the problem is more one of unemployment that the government and private industry in Sweden has allowed to fester than anything else.

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