A world without borders makes economic sense | Michael A Clemens | Global development | guardian.co.uk


If we are to run a system of global free trade (and I’m not certain that we should), then it make sense that the various factors of production – land, labour, capital and enterprise – should be as mobile as possible. Okay, land is pretty much fixed, but the other three, right? According to capitalist economic theory, the answer is yes. But ‘capitalism’ is run by the capitalists, and for them it makes no sense.

Rich people want to be able to send their money around the world to find the cheapest labour to exploit – one country at a time. If labour were allowed to move freely, wages would begin to equalise and the game would be up for the rich. Hence they convince us to support closed borders by drumming up fear and using the sense of nationalism they created at the dawn of the industrial revolution. And we let them.

Border controls: keeping the world poor and the rich rich.

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