Monday 23 October 2006

Libertarianism (2)

If you'd asked me ten years ago what was the libertarian position on immigration I'd have answered something like this:

Just as the state shouldn't regulate imports and exports of goods, services and capital so it is wrong for the state to regulate immigration. The same principle is involved.

Of course I'd have made the usual caveats about the necessity of abolishing the welfare state before opening the borders, but opened they should be.

However, I'd have forgotten what had been written earlier by Murray Rothbard:

However, on rethinking immigration on the basis of the anarcho-capitalist model, it became clear to me that a totally privatized country would not have "open borders" at all. If every piece of land in a country were owned by some person, group, or corporation, this would mean that no immigrant could enter there unless invited to enter and allowed to rent, or purchase, property. A totally privatized country would be as "closed" as the particular inhabitants and property owners desire. It seems clear, then, that the regime of open borders that exists de facto in the U.S. really amounts to a compulsory opening by the central state, the state in charge of all streets and public land areas, and does not genuinely reflect the wishes of the proprietors. Under total privatization, many local conflicts and "externality" problems-not merely the immigration problem-would be neatly settled. With every locale and neighborhood owned by private firms, corporations, or contractual communities, true diversity would reign, in accordance with the preferences of each community. Some neighborhoods would be ethnically or economically diverse, while others would be ethnically or economically homogeneous. Some localities would permit pornography or prostitution or drugs or abortions, others would prohibit any or all of them. The prohibitions would not be state imposed, but would simply be requirements for residence or use of some person's or community's land area.
This approach has been developed further by Hans-Hermann Hoppe here and here. Specifically, Hoppe denies that there is a similarity between movements of goods and movements of people:
Free trade and markets mean that private property owners may receive or send goods from and to other owners without government interference. The government stays inactive vis-à-vis the process of foreign and domestic trade, because a willing (paying) recipient exists for every good or service sent, and hence all locational changes, as the outcome of agreements between sender and receiver, must be deemed mutually beneficial. The government’s sole function is that of maintaining the trading process (by protecting citizen and domestic property). However, with respect to the movement of people, the same government will have to do more in order to fulfill its protective function than merely permit events to take their own course, because people, unlike products, possess a will and can migrate. Accordingly, population movements, unlike product shipments, are not per se mutually beneficial events because they are not always necessarily and invariably the result of an agreement between a specific receiver and sender.
Complete private ownership of property would have radical implications:
Clearly, in this kind of society, there is no such thing as freedom of immigration, or an immigrant’s right of way. What does exist is the freedom of independent private property owners to admit or exclude others from their own property in accordance with their own restricted or unrestricted property titles. Admission to some territories might be easy, while to others it might be nearly impossible. Moreover, admission to one party’s property does not imply the “freedom to move around,” unless other property owners have agreed to such movements.
In other words, under an anarcho-capitalist system the immigration question does not arise.

What about a society that does have a state, even a limited one?

Hoppe writes:

...if the government admits a person while there exists no domestic resident who wants to have this person on his property, the result is forced integration.
And his solution:
At all ports of entry and along its borders, the government, as trustee of its citizens, must check all newly arriving persons for an entrance ticket — a valid invitation by a domestic property owner — and everyone not in possession of such a ticket will have to be expelled at his own expense.
Hence, the admission implies negatively — similarly to the scenario of conditional free immigration — that the immigrant is excluded from all publicly funded welfare. Positively, it implies that the receiving party assumes legal responsibility for the actions of his invitee for the duration of his stay.
That's pretty radical isn't it? But only a little more so than DK's proposal:
I repeat, you are not blocking the borders, merely vetting the people coming in and only blocking those whom you consider undesirable, i.e. economically or socially damaging.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

online casino
best site
2 November 2006, 10:42:37 GMT – Like – Reply

Wild Pegasus
Let's be frank. If you're not willing to kill immigrants, you're not going to keep them out. Are you willing to kill people simply for wanting to come to Scotland/Britain?

- Josh
25 October 2006, 03:39:55 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

No, no, no, it's way off beam.

For Jarndyce's analysis to be correct, property would require to possess the right to extend invitations - a right reserved to citizens who (foolishly) delegate the power to regulate immigration to government.

One not unreasonable interpretation of his scenario is that immigrants could only be employed in public works - not really a kite worth flying.

It's something of a hyperleap from Ian's comparison of Hoppe's criteria with the current situation in Japan to Jarndyce's white rabbit.
24 October 2006, 21:08:04 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

Jarndyce's original comment is perfectly correct.

Perhaps Milton Friedman's conclusion needs modification. Open immigration will only be possible once we get rid of welfare and privatise all property.
24 October 2006, 20:34:31 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

I suspect, Jarndyce, that it's more that the govt invites them in because it thinks that people from backward countries are more likely to vote for Labour than their opponents.
24 October 2006, 20:21:12 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

Patronising ass.
24 October 2006, 17:15:26 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

I suggest you get yourself a dictionary, Martin.

Domestic adj. & .n of one's own country, not foreign or international.

(That's Oxford, by the way. You may have heard of it.)
24 October 2006, 10:14:00 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply


That's a pretty wide definition of 'domestic'.
24 October 2006, 07:00:08 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

_a valid invitation by a domestic property owner_

That's what happens at the moment. The government invites immigrants in on behalf of that chunk of property that is collectively owned, and which they manage in trust.
23 October 2006, 22:02:29 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

Andrew Ian Dodge
The trouble with modern day immigration for libertarians is that I don't think many of them can quite grasp that there are people who are trying to get into the country who want to overthrow the way of life that exists in the country.
23 October 2006, 15:38:03 GMT+01:00 – Like – Reply

Ian Beattie
The libertarian position on immigration as developed by Hans-Hermann Hoppe appears very similar to the present system here in Japan.
Simply put, an immigrant must be "invited" by a Japanese employer in order to reside and work here. Any and all transgressions committed by the potential immigrant are the responsibility of the Japanese employer. Even a small offence, for example a parking violation, may result in refusal to renew the working visa. At least 10 consectutive years of visa renewals are required before an application for permenent residency will be considered. As proof of payment of income and other applicable taxes is required for visa renewal, I beleive that this eliminates claiming welfare as an option. This system seems to work quite well, and from this perspective seems common-sense and not "pretty radical".
23 October 2006, 13:57:52 GMT+01:00