There are two meanings here. I’ll define them below:
- There are open borders, where borders are open and anyone can move between them
- There are Open Borders, where borders to rich states are open to people from poor states, but the borders to poor states are closed to immigration
Open borders are fairer than closed borders. If people can move from poor states to rich ones, that’s good. But what about people who want to move from rich states to poor ones? Open Borders addresses the first issue but not the second one. Libertarians are enamored with the second type of open borders these days, for a couple of reasons. The main reason, and the only one I’m going to name here, is that most of us are pragmatic and therefore support any kind of liberalization in labor markets we can get. If we can get our respective polities to open up their borders to poor migrants, so be it. Let’s do this in any way we can.
But what we are advocating for is not open borders. It’s labor market liberalization. I understand the need for sloganeering these days. I get it. Y’all are thinking on the margin. I’m all for Open Borders.
How, though, do we get actual open borders?
How can senior citizens from the US have the freedom to choose retirement in not only Florida or Oregon, but Tamaulipas or Veracruz, too?
How can middle class Californians have the freedom to choose between not only Texas or Colorado for relocation, but Chihuahua or Neuvo Leon?
My answer is, of course, federation, but I also realize my argument is politically unfeasible for the time being (even though it’s an old argument). Any other ideas, or is Open Borders the best we can do for now?