Thursday, September 02, 2004

Immigration

The Guardian reports on the worries of the Optimum Population Trust that a population 'explosion' in the UK will conflict with sustainable development. The immigration issue is, according to the article, less taboo because respected figures (Jonathan Porritt inter alia), rather than non-respected groups such as the Daily Mail, the UKIP and the BNP (note the smear by association) are discussing it. The hypocricy is startling - if groups X and Y both advocate closing our borders to some degree, one is denounced as racist... and the other praised for daring to tackle dangerous issues.
The real issue is not discussed in the piece - population is essentially a Commons problem. In the UK, the welfare state is the commons so additional people are seen as a threat because they might over-exploit the welfare system. Thus we (the framing of the problem legitimates the use of the plural) need to introduce all sorts of illiberal policies, which are acceptable depending on which group they are advocated by.
Interestingly, libertarians are split by the immigration issue. At the heart of the issue lies the issue of private property. In a libertarian utopia all/most property would be private so immigration would be a function of the extent to which property owners consented, which presumably would in turn be a function of economic conditions. See Hoppe against free immigration and Block for free immigration

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