A Hayekian Caveat About Mass Immigration

Here.

17 comments:

  1. Interesting post, Gene. In case I write a response, can you clarify something? Do you think U.S. states ought to exercise migration controls? For example, it would probably suck if 300 million people tried to move to Rhode Island next Thursday.

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    1. Good question. Ultimately, I think the US is now too big, and ought to be governed instead along the lines of the "9 nations of North America" (or however many has been posited) lines. These things are always about trade-offs: we want people to have freedom of movement, of course, but social entities have a right to preserve their integrity. As things stand, so long as the US is a single polity, no, I do not think each state should be able to restrict inter-state movement.

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    2. For example, it would probably suck if 300 million people tried to move to Rhode Island next Thursday.

      Damned touristas. My state wouldn't take to kindly to it.

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    3. The general notion would be this, Bob: when a group of people have united in a single polity, they have committed themselves to be one "people," and thus should permit all of the members of the polity to move about it as they wish... Even though there are costs involved in loss of local knowledge. But that polity can decide who ELSE to admit, and the loss of local knowledge should be a consideration in that case.

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    4. Consider a (very rough) analogy with the family: you can't kick your young child out simply because he supports Democrats while you and your wife are Republicans. But if you are seeking to adopt, you might quite rightly and reasonably choose not to adopt a child brought up by a terrorist group who has taught her to hate Westerners. Again, this is just an analogy!

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    5. People are going to be so excited that you secession 8 times over in the US Gene!

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    6. I guess I want to ask a couple questions to clarify too Gene.
      1) would you support secession unilaterally and with seizure of federal holdings?
      2) would you support secession to establish or protect slavery?

      Just to keep people from getting too excited.

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    7. 1) Depends on the circumstances, but under present conditions, no.
      2) No

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  2. Thus, it is somewhat surprising that libertarian advocates of open borders have paid so little attention to the effects of mass immigration on the local knowledge base.

    Not really. They only use that as an argument against "central planning" (whatever that means). In my experience, if it falls outside of the official bounds of libertarianism, then they're simply nihilists about it.

    I don't think your conclusion regarding immigration is necessarily wrong (I'm iffy on the subject), but this argument based on it disrupting local knowledge doesn't strike me as a good one.

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    1. Why not? (And note again: my argument is NOT anti-immigration, but only that it is possible to have too much immigration.)

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    2. Oh, your argument is that it's possible to have too much immigration? I thought you were using the argument as the basis for making immigration policy more restrictive. My bad. If that's the case, then, yes, your argument is a good one. If it had been the case that immigration should be restricted right now (as I erroneously assumed), then I don't think that particular argument would apply until you have extreme levels of immigration where the effect would be much more noticeable.

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    3. Yes, exactly that, Samson: I am just defending the general right of a nation to decide how many people may join it, and not at all commenting upon current immigration levels.

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    4. Gotcha. Honestly, that seems so uncontroversial that I wouldn't think it would need to be argued.

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    5. But that is the very thing the open borders people dispute!

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    6. But in the overall scheme of things are they really that vocal of a faction that their arguments need to be addressed? Libertarianism may be on your radar because you were once an anarcho-capitalist, but the philosophy is never going to gain widespread relevance in a society that's barely even heard the term (even advocating the abolition of the Post Office is an extremist position).

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    7. Samson, there are many good-hearted libertarians to rescue yet! (In the comments here alone, I have had a handful of people thank me for help in escaping anarcho-capitalism.). We each have our own duty to fulfill.

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    8. :D True. But! It is a very deep hole and it takes a lot of sophistry to convince someone that no one should have any obligations or that starving children should be legal, or even that taxation is incompatible with private property, really. Still, you're able to fight the good fight, so keep that up.

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