The economic case for open borders

The economic case for open borders


Singapore is just 26 miles across. It’s a tiny country with dozens of cultures. We’re in one of the largest hawker centers in Singapore. You’ll find Malay food. Can I get one of the popiah? You’ll find halal Indian food. What kind of food is this? This is chicken biryani. You’ll find local Chinese food. This is called a century egg. This shows the diversity that is Singapore. Thirty percent of Singapore’s population are foreigners. Around the world politicians are trying to shut down their borders. But Singapore is letting lots of immigrants in, especially low skilled immigrants. And it’s working out pretty well for them. Immigrants clean this country. They raise its children. They build from the ground up. And Singapore is clean, efficient, futuristic. It’s kind of a financial utopia. If this is the promise of a more open border, why isn’t everyone doing it? I’m Preeti Varathan. This is Quartz. Subscribe to our channel for more videos like this. Immigration is messy and every country approaches it in a pretty different way. If you talk to economist Bryan Caplan though he’ll tell you there’s a best way. Economists call it open borders. The entire world is open to you for where you want to live. Open borders is the idea that anyone should basically be able to move and work anywhere in the world. To understand that think about the European Union. The EU has open borders inside of itself. That means you can move from Poland to Portugal without needing a visa or a work permit. What the EU doesn’t have is open borders with the rest of the world. Right now, no place does. That’s because open borders is really just an ideal, a theory. Open borders is not a trickle down economics. It’s Niagara Falls economics. It’s where you pour a firehose of wealth on the world. Caplan thinks open borders would solve one of the world’s biggest economic problems that people are stuck in countries where they’re not as productive as they could be. And he uses the example of a worker in Haiti. If you allow a Haitian to simply get on a boat and move to Miami the day that he arrives, his wages and productivity skyrocket. You can go from making two dollars a day in Haiti to making 50 or hundred dollars a day in Miami very easily. So just by virtue of moving that Haitian worker is richer. Miami is productively using his labor so it’s also richer, which makes America richer. And that Haitian worker who’s now earning more will probably send some money back home, so Haiti gets richer. Amazing right. Implement that on a grand scale and you’ve got open borders. Economists also love to talk about the United States before the 1920s. Back then the US let almost anyone in and Caplan says the country benefited tremendously from it. If you take a look you can see the US as a result became the world’s richest and most powerful country. You can basically sum up open borders like this. When you let a lot of people in your country prospers. OK, as you might have figured out, this theory is not universally agreed upon. The big worry is that people lose their jobs to immigrants or see their wages fall. But economists have had a really hard time actually proving that. For instance, when 125,000 Cubans left for Miami in 1980, the city’s workforce jump by 7 percent. But economists found they didn’t hurt local wages or jobs. When hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews fled for Israel, economists couldn’t find any evidence that the flood of immigrants hurt Israeli workers economically. Singapore doesn’t actually have open borders but its entire migration policy is built on a very open borders-ish logic. That If you let workers in, your country benefits. Rose Sanchez is from the Philippines. She works full time for this family and lives in their home. She’s the worker Caplan is talking about. A domestic worker in the Philippines makes only two dollars a day. But Rose makes around $550 a month in Singapore. So there’s a huge difference? Yes there is. And that’s just a virtue of being in Singapore? Yeah, working here for eight years I can say my life but any change. How did it change? I have my own house. I have my own farm. I have my own motorcycle. My kids also in the good schools. In Singapore, there are more than 965,000 low skilled workers just like Rose taking jobs Singaporeans don’t want to do and making more money than they ever would at home. Sounds great, right? But here’s the truth about Rose and about all low skill migrants in Singapore. She can’t stay. A community that settles here, will want to integrate more, will want to interact more with the existing population. Alex Au is an activist for the fair treatment of migrant workers. He says the laws around those workers are set up to make it very very hard for them to ever become citizens. We have a very efficient fine tuned system for choosing who comes in and who doesn’t come in and how long they can stay and when they must go back out again. In Singapore a lot of transient workers live in dorms sequestered to the edge of the island. They can’t bring their families. They can’t marry Singaporeans without government approval. They can’t even have children in Singapore. If they do, they’re kicked off the island. This is one of the most pro migration places in the world, and they’ve created a legally inferior class. We’re very happy if Sunday come. Today is Rose’s day off. Her friends are Filipino helpers too. They doll themselves up to send photos to family back home and then they head to Lucky Plaza. It’s the lower budget mall on the strip and every Sunday it turns into a bustling little Philippines. Pretty much everyone here is a domestic worker. Do you feel like a Singaporean? Rose isn’t assimilating because she knows she’ll never be a citizen. I want to be a Philippino and I won’t change that. And that’s exactly what the Singaporean government wants. Rose and her friends don’t fit with the government’s idea of what the Singaporean identity is. And even Alex Au, the migrants rights activist, kind of thinks that makes sense. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect any country to take in large numbers of foreigners in a short period of time. At social and a cultural level, there will always be resistance. That resistance is why we don’t see countries opening their borders all over the world. Even in a place like Singapore, a place that depends on a huge number of migrant workers, there is a fear of what would happen if they got to really become a part of the country. Right now, the question of national identity is an issue everywhere in the world, not just in Singapore. In places like the US and Germany, it’s coming up in a way that it hasn’t in decades. And Singapore is one extreme version of how you deal with that question. Economists make a great case for open borders but they haven’t solved the stuff that’s harder to quantify:. culture, identity, the idea that where you’re from matters. Hey guys thanks for watching. Where would you go in a world with open borders. Let us know in the comments and subscribe to our channel for more videos record.

100 thoughts on “The economic case for open borders

  1. Banning low skilled immigrants from having Children in their host country and deporting them if they do sounds like a fantastic idea. SG government is genius for this one.

  2. Is Israel allowed to have an Ethnostate? Yes
    Do they sterilize and deport illegal immigrants from Africa and Arabia? Yes
    Do they have an existing and in progress border wall? Yes
    Do they finance NGOs which import boats of millions of Africans and Arabs into Europe? Yes
    Really makes you think.

  3. As long as the cultures exist that render the 3rd World a collection of backwards countries, open borders will only cause the destruction of the First World countries.

  4. Mate mate mate, it is not Singapore that is currently being flooded with third world migrants, the muslim and african minority that live there has most likely been through a lot of training and they have a lot of will to work and make Singapore great, but that isn't the same case in Europe. These people hop from third to first world in a split second and think that they can act the same way they did back in their own country. Stop this retarded pro-diversity propaganda.

  5. Someone comes from another country and sends money back home…
    How does that improve the economy of a country that is paying his/her salary?
    You need to spend money to grow the economy.
    If he/she sends a lot of his money home he/she drains the economy of a host country (like a virus)
    Add to that the cost of education, healthcare and emergency services…

  6. There is a mistake on the EU map you showed: Ireland is outlined as not part of the EU. Great Britain is leaving, not us!

  7. I'm pretty sure the people who made this video lice in gated community communities, with high walls and lock their doors at night … Wonder why …

  8. Very little of what she says is true.
    More like mis understanding and half truths.
    Singapore is extremely strict with its borders.
    They are also strict on crime and violence.

  9. Low I.Q. immigratrants do more damage to a economy than boost it in the long term.
    They create more crime, increase violence and require more welfare.

  10. Since open, unfettered immigration is so good and beneficial for a country, then maybe illegal, undocumented, refugees, whatever lable you feel appropriate for them, …they should immigrate back to their country they fled to make it thrive thru re- immigration. Im just going by the lefts logic of why they say immigration is good. So it's good if everyone comes here; cause there no mass exodus out of USA, and therefore bad for the country their citizens are fleeing cause more leaving than immigrating or staying? Then Aren't we greedy.? We want all your people cause immigration is good and too bad if other countries are hurt by many bouncing the f out their own country but still hold their flag as they walk across our boarders.

  11. This video is just so factually inaccurate and disingenuous. Singapore does not have open borders, we have a pretty stringent immigration system that only takes in people who can contribute to society at a high level. We do not need you to push your progressive hogwash onto us. Keep that shit in America. 😂

  12. The world isn't doing it because it's insane. Open borders would lead to the end of the nation state, collapse the governments of those nation states, and would leave the world in a state of anarchy with billions of people flooding into different places across the world. Can you realistically picture mass uncontrolled migration on a global scale as a good thing?

  13. Based on the top comments I can only imagine the majority of the dislikes are triggered folk who couldn't be bothered to actually watch a 7 minute video before disliking and circle-jerking all over the comments section. Well done, guys. Well done.

  14. Do they speak English in Haiti then ? Also how's the influx of foreigners going to hurt jobs ? Its going to hurt the locals when it comes to looking for a job. I was in a restaurant before and the waiter could not understand what we was saying to order. We was speaking English in England and don't have any strong ascent and the waiter had to get the manager to help as she couldn't understand a thing… fair enough give imagrants jobs but if they cant do the job to the standard it needs doing then ……

  15. Singapore makes money by being a tax haven and spends it paying people to clean their homes and the street. There isn't very much upward mobility for a housekeeper.

  16. “This shows the diversity of Singapore”

    Whats your point? What is inherently good about that?

    If anything that massive diversity you extol is exactly why many people in Singapore dont feel “Singaporean”. When everywhere is diverse, nowhere is diverse. How can you feel a part of something that has nothing in common?

    Also, are you really going to pretend that all immigrants are the same? We all come from different cultures which shape behavior/mindset.

    Back in the 20s, the US didnt have the massive welfare state that it does now. You can have open borders and a smaller welfare state, or a restricted border and a larger welfare state.

    If you try to have open borders and a large welfare state, I dont see that working out too well.

  17. Only multinationals, drug smugglers, slave traders, and human traffickers benefit from open borders. Open borders are an abomination and go against god's law. Quit trying to revive Nimrod's kingdom.

  18. As an Indian I would never want open border system for my country. Too much liberalism is also not good.

  19. With open boarder u got to understand crime will be different like murders not everyone is going to play by the rule

  20. How stupid is the logic behind this video, i don't even want to start…Quartz you've lost your basic credibility

  21. Oh yeah it would make criminals extremely wealthy. That's the case against it. There is no economic one for it because now that the border is a welcome sign, those milk cartons will be covered in missing children. The next school shooting will be with an AK-47. Scopolamine will become a household name. The same reasons you want a door that locks is why countries need borders.

  22. Would you remove all doors and windows from your house? What kind of attention does a house with no doors or windows attract?? People who want to live in peace renting your attic? Or people who are looking to make money/hide from something.

    It will attract people looking to escape their government or cartel. Which are two warring factions in Mexico and what makes you think that fighting won't cross over into America? Where they aren't subject to their governments laws.

    And for the good people that want a better life, how will we document them? They might as well just start the process of becoming a citizen. We do still do that. But it's a lot of work. There is no way for us to protect non-citizens who are taken advantage of and aren't being paid by their employer. Or are being exploited. And what about crime that is committed against them? Their government sure as hell isn't going to help them, and we shouldn't either. We have so many citizens who that police power need to be allocated to. How many homeless people do you pass by? Any roof that isn't a hotel roof or one of their family members roofs should be sheltering homeless people. If you want open borders why not open a bed and breakfast where you get paid nothing to house 10 illegal immigrants that you feed and help find them jobs. Because anyone who wants that must care so much about people they would sooner endanger their fellow countrymen than to take care of one.

  23. Miami doesn't get richer by hiring a migrant if theres already people willing to do the job. Miami especially doesn't get richer if the migrant sends all their earnings over seas. Open borders would be a catastrophe and huge drain on the US economy

  24. 1:33 they forgot the fact that if one the eu countries went bankrupt (Greece) all the other countries in the EU are going to be heavily impacted and suffer lose in economic areas

  25. What happens to the Florida worker whose job the Haitian just took? … also the Haitian will probably not make $100 when other Haitian brothers come over … More supply of workers will drive the price down, assuming the demand is constant?? .. The researcher making an economic case for open borders probably does not understand economics in the first place.

    P.S: I am pro-globalisation, but this is not a convincing video.

  26. If there were open borders I would go wherever I could get away from America hating leftists like you.

  27. why has singapore been so successful with its 'open borders' model?
    no welfare state & merit-based immigration.
    pieces like this are what you get when inexperienced ideologues present 'the news'…oops…i meant the 'programming'…

  28. Nationalism is pride, Nationalism is civility, Nationalism is right. Language customs and borders should be the battlecry of conservatives everywhere.

  29. It's a good idea but people are too scared and greedy to support something like this. And imagine the implications on governments and their revenue trough taxation and war? They need people as slaves, they can't exist in a free world.

  30. pening our doors to unskilled immigrants at a time when the U.S. economy offers them few op- portunities will only add to our society’s problems.
    • High levels of immigration will push our country’s population past tolerable limits and inflict still more harm on our country’s environment.
    • The continual arrival of large numbers of immigrants, both legal and illegal, will eventually over- whelm American culture and contribute to the fragmentation of our society.

  31. A stupid video. No one is against immigration. Everyone is against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Make a proper video.

  32. Holy crap, another socialist propaganda video filled with lies and loopholes. They’re targeting the young and naive. My Singapore friends say everyone has to go through strict immigration. And have you seen our neighbors by the US border? There’s a reason those people are running for their lives. If we open our borders, you will let untold chaos into the country by the cartels that run Mexico. THINK people.

    There’s a reason we all go through screening at airports. Same goes for borders.

  33. Open border hmmm… lets see this? Oh, terrorist move freely, drugs, gangs, sex trafficking, criminals fleeing (variety of crimes)… Idiot video! Explain how this works!!!

  34. damm evil
    you who shell use my people
    the jews as a way to make a flase promise seem like a full house
    you think you can use my people as a just reson to encourge global lie
    a world who people are less free and traped in a one mind systam

  35. Lol 1:46 they cant even get there maps right Ireland Bulgaria Hungry there free to move as well. If this was a project written by a 16 year old I'd give it D.

  36. Trying to push a political point with made up facts. It might be difficult for globalists to hear this but there are some things more important than money and a person’s national identity is one of them.

  37. Open Borders Economist are mistaking commodities with humans. Humans have a nature that is imperfect violent vainglorious and a history of never ending wars.

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