What’s the difference between open borders and Open Borders?

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?

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One thought on “What’s the difference between open borders and Open Borders?

  1. It would be to the economic advantage of the poor countries to have people from the rich countries retire there since the money they would spend there would help the poor country’s economy. Also the retirees would hire poor country people and provide them with employment when their own country could not. However the money than seniors spend here in the US provides employment and livings for millions of Americans who wouldn’t get getting that money if the seniors weren’t living here in the USA.

    If the Cuban government was “smart”, they could build Cuba into a “medical tourism” center by providing medical services at price far below what the same services would cost here in the USA. The money spent by Americans in Cuba would definitely have a positive effect upon the Cuba economy. Of course the US medical establishment wouldn’t like this and doubtlessly would use their influence to prevent Americans from going to Cuba for medical services.

    These are examples of “foreign trade” that would benefit both Americans living here and people living in poor countries. However every dollar spent outside the US is a dollar that someone here in the US didn’t earn…

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