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Poll

If America becomes the only industrialized nation to completely open its borders to uncontrolled immigration, as Ian suggests, how many people would move here?

More than 4,000,000,000
- 22 (32.4%)
More than 3,000,000,000
- 0 (0%)
More than 2,000,000,000
- 0 (0%)
More than 1,000,000,000
- 2 (2.9%)
More than 500,000,000
- 6 (8.8%)
More than 250,000,000
- 5 (7.4%)
More than 100,000,000
- 5 (7.4%)
More than 50,000,000
- 8 (11.8%)
More than 25,000,000
- 5 (7.4%)
More than 10,000,000
- 7 (10.3%)
Less than 10,000,000
- 8 (11.8%)

Total Members Voted: 30


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Author Topic: If we had open borders ...  (Read 34149 times)

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AlexLibman

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If we had open borders ...
« on: July 07, 2007, 10:41:39 PM »

What would happen if Ian's position on unrestricted immigration came to fruition?

The Latino "Reconquista" will no longer be a major issue...  I imagine the horizon of both our oceans, but especially the Pacific, filled with boats as far as the eye could see!

Sure, some people in the third world love their homeland and won't come to America even if they could, but most would.  And they'll keep on coming as long as the wages and the quality of life in America are better than in the old country.  The population of the United States is about 0.31 billion, current consumption levels average at over $100 a day.  The people who'd want to come here, on the other hand...  1.1 billion people in the world presently have consumption levels below $1 a day, and 2.7 billion live on less than $2 a day.  And yet even the poorest of those people would be able to make it to this country by signing a contract to work off their transportation.

The people that stay behind in the old countries, by the way, will become poorer as the result of their best and brightest leaving, and the hopes of those countries industrializing will be diminished.  And the most afflicted, famine-ravaged persons won't be able to compete very well in a physically demanding factory environment, so it's up for debate whether the third world will be better off as the result.  Many would come here and not be able to find a job, wasting whatever savings they had in the process.

Now, I do believe that any person, of any race and from any country in the world, is capable of attaining success in a free economy.  Unfortunately for most this success doesn't come until 1-2 generations later, and that's with the help of the current welfare infrastructure.  Most of the people coming off those boats will only be capable of physical labor at first.  Being a Russian immigrant myself, I've seen a lot of Ph.D.'s from the old country babysitting and washing dishes in America because of the language barrier!

Other industrialized countries, the best example being Japan, will continue to limit immigration to what they perceive to be in their national interest, and invest in robotics and other technological innovations to compete with America.  Cheap labor is the reason why China didn't have an industrial revolution a thousand years ago, and America might miss out on the next revolution for the same reason!  Countries like Japan will also invest in overseas factories where the labor is cheapest, thus helping those countries industrialize and, in effect, buying their support on the geopolitical stage.

It's up for debate whether the total GDP of our nation will decline, but the per-capita GDP will definitely be in a free-fall!  With a near-unlimited supply of cheap labor, wages will decline toward the world average.  Or, if there are minimum wage laws, very few people would be making above minimum wage, and the unemployment would skyrocket even more.

(I will not speculate on what effect all this will have on the sanitation and health infrastructure of our country.  For the sake of political correctness, I will pretend that hygiene and infectious disease management standards are the same in Ethiopia as they are in this country.)

Now, whatever magic wand Ian waved to open the borders ought to also work for getting rid of minimum wage laws, welfare, and other all government services and regulations as well; local, state, and federal?  Unfortunately those things are more complicated.

If Michael Moore is willing to advocate government theft for the sake of some idiot who sawed off his fingers, what would he do if there were 40 Nigerian migrant workers sheltering in a basement next door, or politely picketing for work on street corners while their children fainted from hunger?  He'd tell them that property is theft, and the rich American next door is stealing from them!  Even if the majority of them had the moral sense not to turn to theft, enough would.  Sure, you'd have your firearms, but they would have weapons as well, and pretty soon there would be more of them then there are of you.  If they can't get the government to give them welfare, they'll take it by force themselves!  Whether it takes a little violence or a lot of violence, sooner or later the majority of the wealth holders (at least those that haven't fled to some country with a more discriminating immigration policy) would agree to "fairly redistribute their wealth".

This is what happened in all countries filled with poor people competing for low-wage jobs, most notably in Russia in early 1900's.  If America opens its borders and the ratio of "have"s to "have-not"s increases, then Socialism, maybe even Communism, would come back with a vengeance, and free market capitalism would be blamed for all society's ills!

Freedom is only possible in a wealthy and stable society, with a well-developed culture of education, hard work, self-reliance, and charity.  Freedom is not for everybody, it must be earned.  Just as entry to a free society should be earned, and we're talking about a lot more than just a boat fare or a walk from Mexico.

So, while I agree with Ian on most things, the position I hold on immigration is the minarchist / gradualist position, similar to that of Ron Paul.  There are very few things that the federal government should be responsible for, but keeping our borders secure (and enforcing non-citizen visitation duration limits) is one of them.  It will take decades do phase out welfare, and for those decades the illegal immigration must be halted, and those here illegally should be heartlessly deported, just as an American citizen would be deported if he overstays his visa in Japan or Switzerland.

If there is such a thing as the United States of America, be it a legal fiction or not, it is not a universal concept.  There are stakeholders in this legal fiction, known as citizens - either you are one or you're not.  And it's in the common interest of those existing stakeholders that the in-flow of new stakeholders be limited -- not unlimited and not closed off completely -- to prevent the scenario described above.  Sure, I don't like the idea of a "common interest", people should be able to choose for themselves whenever possible, but unfortunately there are a handful of policy questions for which all American citizens are in the same boat, and immigration is one of them.

That doesn't mean we seal the borders completely, just control it for our national interest, like all industrialized nations currently do.  It's definitely in our interest to let in a million or so immigrants per year, a pretty significant number.  We might even be extremely generous and limit it at 3 million (that's 1% growth per year from immigration - 130,000,000 legal newcomers by 2050), but there must be a limit.  And since there'll be many people competing for those limited spots, we can choose the applicants that would serve our national interest the most.  Why should a high school drop-out from Mexico (no offense to both those groups) have an unfair advantage over the next Einstein from India or China just because of an accident of geography?

There will come a day, probably within our lifetimes, when the third world becomes more "industrialized" (and the first world less welfare-prone), and the need those barriers to immigration will gradually fade away, and all first-world countries, not just the U.S. will open their borders as Ian suggests.  But not yet!
« Last Edit: July 07, 2007, 11:26:03 PM by AlexLibman »
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YixilTesiphon

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2007, 11:24:01 PM »

As many people as the market has jobs for.
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Ed

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2007, 11:24:52 PM »

As many people as the market has jobs for.

Or homeless Mexicans wanting to live in better homeless conditions.
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Andy

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2007, 11:55:50 PM »

Everything you said makes sense only in the context of free immigration being the only change. (even then the idea that the very poorest people in the world could travel as indentured servants seems a little unlikely, why wouldn't they just take the same jobs for lower wages but correspondingly lower standards of living in their own countries. In the context of free trade as well as free immigration what you've described makes little sense at all.

Part of your position that I would tend to agree with is that policies for arrivals from all countries should be the same - except this contradicts your justification for restricting immigration in the first place. There would be no reason to restrict immigration from first world countries to stop an increase in the underclass.

Zhwazi

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2007, 12:04:41 AM »

You don't need a job to work. Just do something and sell it. Human wants are insatiable. You'll find people buying whatever you're selling if they want it and you price it right. Prices would be driven down not only for sellers but buyers too, so you're not losing real wages by accepting a lower price.

It would be the best thing to happen to Americans for the price of everything to come down like that, and the best thing to happen for the immigrants as well.
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AlexLibman

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2007, 12:46:32 AM »

As many people as the market has jobs for.

Oh, I don't think running out of jobs will be the first problem!

Agrarian feudalism was able to provide as many jobs as there was land for the peasants to live off, and the number of people who would prefer American free-market feudalism to their old country (whether due to a better political system, better natural resources, higher agricultural productivity, or lower population density) is a couple billion.  The Mississippi can support at least the same number of peasants as the Ganges!

Some of the newcomers will be able to get better jobs than subsistence agriculture, of course, while some Americans wouldn't be able to do any better than that due to horrendous competition, including many Michael Moore fans to "educate" their new comrades on how all rich people are thieves.  In short, you'll have conditions very similar to those that precede all Communist revolutions - lots of very poor people culturally unaccustomed to capitalism.

This won't be a problem if the migration happened gradually, over many generations, giving time for the newcomers to elevate themselves to better jobs.  But if you just open the borders, there'll be a tidal wave, wages would plummet, and crime would skyrocket!
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 01:33:33 AM by AlexLibman »
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Mike Barskey

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2007, 12:54:06 AM »

Freedom is not for everybody, it must be earned. 

Freedom is a natural right, the right of every rational being by the nature of its existence. If it is something that must be earned, that presupposes that you are earning it from someone, that someone is giving it to you, which makes it no longer a right but, but a privilege. This line of thought is not libertarian or even freedom-oriented.

... there are a handful of policy questions for which all American citizens are in the same boat, and immigration is one of them. ... It's definitely in our interest to let in a million or so immigrants per year, a pretty significant number.  We might even be extremely generous and limit it at 3 million (that's 1% growth per year from immigration - 130,000,000 legal newcomers by 2050), but there must be a limit.

It is definitely not in *my* interest to restrict immigration to a million or so per year, or even a generous 3 million. You may be right in regards to limiting immigration is better planning for the massive influx, but even if I'm wrong about the free market being able to accommodate it (those immigrants being *part of* the free market itself!), you suggest that your idea is the only idea - that my "interest" is not the same as yours so it is to be overruled. Again, this is not liberty-oriented thinking.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2007, 12:56:15 AM by Mike Barskey »
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One two three

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2007, 01:24:42 AM »

What the fuck is wrong with you people?  Grow a pair.  I mean, if you cannot compete, kill yourself now.  Thanks.
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AlexLibman

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2007, 01:28:21 AM »

Everything you said makes sense only in the context of free immigration being the only change.

It's a change that can be made on the Federal level alone, and silly liberals can be manipulated into supporting it out of compassion for third-world immigrants.  Wyoming can't issue it's own citizenship or secure its own borders!  Getting rid of the welfare state is more difficult, because welfare can exist on a number of other levels.


Even then the idea that the very poorest people in the world could travel as indentured servants seems a little unlikely.

It's been known to happen illegally with migrants from Mexico - a first-world country with GDP/capita of about $12K/yr, ten times higher than some African countries. 


Why wouldn't they just take the same jobs for lower wages but correspondingly lower standards of living in their own countries?

Maybe they just don't like the weather in Bangladesh, I don't know, I've never been there, but people do want to come here if given a chance.  And the wages in America would have to fall a very, very long way before coming close to what they are over there.  All this talk about getting the minimum wage over $7.00 - what do you think will happen when it falls below $0.70?  Riots!
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freeAgent

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2007, 06:58:42 AM »

I voted for less than 10,000,000 but I don't really have any idea and it doesn't matter what I think.  People should have the ability to immigrate to the US no matter how many of them there are.
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Ed

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2007, 07:00:31 AM »

I voted for less than 10,000,000 but I don't really have any idea and it doesn't matter what I think.  People should have the ability to immigrate to the US no matter how many of them there are.

You're my personal Jesus, man.
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mikehz

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2007, 10:41:52 AM »

We used to HAVE open borders, and the world didn't move here. Some did, but even when we had an open border to Mexico, most Mexicans wanted to stay in the place familiar to them. The same holds true now. Most illegal Mexicans don't plan on staying, but on sending money home for awhile, and then returning there.
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Jason Orr

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2007, 11:02:05 AM »

I really don't see open border policies leading to floods of immigrants.  Many people can't afford the price of transport from their country to the states, and many more simply don't want to move for a variety of very good reasons.  People want to develop their own countries rather than move into an already developed one.  The only thing I could see is a short-term increase of Mexican immigrants on account of the relative ease of getting here, but this would likely not put a large strain on the national economy.  In fact, it could lead to more development along the southern border, considering the surplus of labor.
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Jason Orr

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2007, 01:14:03 PM »

Well out of principle it makes no difference whatsoever what the effects of an open border policy are.  Most people, though, very much care about the effects.  If we ever want another open border policy, we're going to have to convince an alarming amount of people that not everyone in the world is banging at the doors of America (which I think is a really self-flattering view).  I've talked to a number of people who are absolutely convinced that if the United States had an open border policy, legions of poor and/or homeless Mexicans will invade the southwest to cripple the regional and even the national economy, ignoring all case studies of previous mass immigrations.
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Bill Brasky

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Re: If we had open borders ...
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2007, 01:36:41 PM »

Well, just remember this:  For every pair who arrive here and are capable of producing offspring, they will equal ten or so within fifty years. 

This means - by a factor of five - the fifteen million (or more) illegals will equal approximately 75 million by the year 2057, if they completely sealed the borders right now. 

You could easily double that if you allowed the open borders, which means half the current population as it stands now, half of the entire population of this country, will put a nice big strain on the entire infrastructure as it currently stands.  Traffic, hospitals, welfare/social security, the school systems, the utility network into metro areas, all would be maxed out, and that doesnt include the other 300,000,000 who will be breeding the whole time. 

I'd like to see some progression tables of population.  I'll bet we're looking at a total population of around 3/4 of a BILLION people by around 2060, maybe 2070 - and thats not taking into account longevity due to scientific breakthroughs.

Sounds like a hoot.  I'm glad I'll be dead by then. 

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