Roy Beck unwittingly makes the case for open borders

In a video titled Immigration, World Poverty, and Gumballs, Dr. Roy Beck (CEO of NumbersUSA, an immigration restrictionist group) argues for the futility of trying to solve the gigantic problem of world poverty by permitting a trickle of immigration:

Dr. Beck’s goal is to argue against immigration, but a careful reading of his arguments shows that they provide strong support to substantially more open borders as a mechanism to double world GDP and end world poverty.

What Dr. Beck gets right

Dr. Beck is correct to point out that the United States currently takes in a very small number of immigrants, and even the most ambitious currently realistic proposals, which may double or triple the number of immigrants, would still be quantitatively insignificant relative to the size either of the United States or the countries sending immigrants. Further, he is also right that, with the exception of illegal immigration (most of it along the southern border with Mexico) most immigration to the US is that of highly skilled workers, rather than the few billion people who live in moderate and extreme poverty.

Thus, Dr. Beck is right to chide those supporters of the status quo who believe that current US immigration policy is making a significant direct impact on reducing world poverty. It’s not.

What Dr. Beck gets wrong and omits from consideration

Dr. Beck does, however, get a few things wrong. Most importantly, he ignores the fact that the value of an individual escaping poverty and improving his or her condition of life is not reduced by the existence of others in poverty. Saving a single starving child is no less worthwhile an endeavor if there are a hundred other starving children. Consider the story of The Girl and the Starfish (quote from Everything2.com):

Once there was a great, great storm. Waves high as mountains, winds strong as giants.

But that’s not important

What is important is the next day, when Old Man Acha comes walking down the beach, looking for bodies and treasure, the last remnants of ships gone to sleep in the storm. He has to pick his way carefully, ’cause the beach is littered in starfish, castaways from the deep. The storm plucked them from their watery beds and deposited the poor souls on the sandy shore. Acha steps around them – many still alive. He keeps ambling up the beach, minding his own business, when he spies a youngling. She’s throwing starfish into the ocean, many as she can, but still not makin’ a dent in the piles. The Old Man, he wonders at this and says:

“Why bother to throw back any? How can it matter when there are so many? You throw back one, you still left with a ton? You never save them all.”

That little girl she doesn’t even pause to glance his way. She just keeps on flinging those ‘fish back in the sea. She stops only long enough to say:

“It matters to this one”

as she flings it into the ocean.

As noted on the Double world GDP page, a literature summary by Michael Clemens suggests that even partial open borders would lead to a greater increase in world GDP than the removal of all barriers to trade and capital flows. Also, as noted on the end of poverty page, a significant fraction of the individuals from poor countries who escape poverty have done so through migration, even with currently restrictive migration policies. The country-level aggregated statistics often paint a misleading picture due to compositional effects, which is why development economists Michael Clemens and Lant Pritchett use income per natural instead of income per resident to track the effect of migration.

Dr. Beck alludes to some of the other harms to immigrant-sending countries, notably brain drain. However, he does not consider all the arguments against worrying about brain drain. And he doesn’t even mention that remittances to poor countries are far bigger in magnitude than all foreign aid.

Finally, Dr. Beck’s argument contains an interesting asymmetry. On the one hand, he dismisses the value of a few million people from third world countries escaping poverty and/or a few skilled workers from third world countries being able to find a job in the developed world that allows them to put their skills to better use for the benefit of the world, based on the logic that these are only a drop in the bucket. On the other hand, he expresses great concern for the even more modest harms to immigrant-receiving countries.

All in all, it’s a great speech, and despite its errors of omission and commission, it does get one thing right: what the United States has today is far from open borders. Something much more radical is needed to make a rapid dent in world poverty. Kudos to Dr. Beck for spreading this important truth!

60 thoughts on “Roy Beck unwittingly makes the case for open borders”

  1. A very stimulating speech, indeed. I wonder, though, if Dr. Beck would try with all his might to save, say, a bus filled with people headed towards unavoidable destruction. What if a loved one of his was on that bus? According to him, attempts to save the bus, or even his loved one, are futile—they’ll all die anyway. But I can’t imagine him still not trying, with all his might, to save that bus—and, more important, his loved one. Robert Wright, in his book The Moral Animal, has after the dedication page this line from Graham Greene’s The Power and The Glory: “Without thinking what he was doing, he took another drink of brandy. As the liquid touched his tounge he remembered his child, coming in out of the glare: the sullen unhappy knowledgeable face. He said, ‘Oh God, help her. Damn me, I deserve it, but let her live forever.’ This is the love he should have felt for every soul in the world: all the fear and the wish to save concentrated unjustly on the one child. He began to weep; it was as if he had to watch her from the shore drawn slowly because he had forgotten how to swim. He thought: This is what I should feel all the time for everyone.”

    I think the much stronger argument he makes is that those who immigrate are the strongest of those in the poorer countries. And if they are prohibited from migrating to richer countries they will, by default, naturally help alleviate the abject conditions of their fellow citizens (even if it is a futile undertaking). Therefore, there will be a net gain, although he shows no data for this and no clear way of how he came to this conclusion. I’m interested in how you would combat this last argument.

    1. Timothy, apropos your last paragraph, take a look at the counter-arguments section of the brain drain page, if you haven’t already done so. If you already have, what do you think of these counter-arguments?

      1. The Starfish response is compelling…, But you show you don’t give a fucking shit about the American economy. Ok…, fine. Either do I. But the death of America by a thousand Starfish (seems you’ve chosen) to be your epitaph… Keep flinging back…, Keep flinging back…, don’t ever give up. If you don’t realize that America is and has been the most giving in history. Be careful about being taken for granted, for that will be taken away. Will you one day be flinging BACK to the USA? I doubt it… Then you’ll move onto…, China?

    2. Dear Tim,
      No argument against his presentation holds any water when you understand that all of humanity faces massive human die-off as Peak Oil reduces all oil energy on the planet. If that isn’t enough, these quotes will give you pause:

      If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity – and will leave a ravaged world. ~Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall

      “The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct. To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people, but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic.” Harvard scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson

      “Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” Dr. Albert Bartlett, http://www.albartlett.org , University of Colorado, USA.

      “Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide [that adds 80 million net gain annually to the planet], but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all—ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.” Dr. Otis Graham, Unguarded Gates

      Lester Brown, author of Plan B 4.0 Saving Civilization said, “The world has set in motion environmental trends that are threatening civilization itself. We are crossing environmental thresholds and violating deadlines set by nature. Nature is the timekeeper, but we cannot see the clock.”

      “Somehow, we have come to think the whole purpose of the economy is to grow, yet growth is not a goal or purpose. The pursuit of endless growth is suicidal.” David Suzuki

    3. Why don’t they stay and fix their own countries. If these people can pay thousands of dollars to come by coyote, they are not the poorest of the poor. The problem is not legal immigration. It is the millions of illegal immigrants that are a drain on our economy. Please don’t tell me they pay taxes. They pay sales tax. That does not cover the large income tax the rest of us are paying (and keeps rising) to cover all the government assitance these people get. As well as the rising school taxes we pay on top of that to educate their children that they dont pay as well. We have homeless and hungry of our own we need to address in a more positive way, not to mention the 17 trillion in debt this country has too.

      1. Why don’t the denizens of Detroit stay in Detroit and fix their own city, instead of draining precious resources from other American states and counties?

        1. because no matter what state your in it is still in the USA so dont try to compare immigration with the internal relocation of citizens already contributing to America and probably have been for most of there lives if not all.

  2. Mr. Naik, you contradict yourself in the above blog, as well as distort/misrepresent what Dr. Beck said. This contradiction and distortion indicates your inability to defend your ridiculuos major assertion that open borders could make any meaningful difference to world poverty.

    You say:
    “Dr. Beck does, however, get a few things wrong. Most importantly, he ignores the fact that the value of an individual escaping poverty and improving his or her condition of life is not reduced by the existence of others in poverty. Saving a single starving child is no less worthwhile an endeavor if there are a hundred other starving children.”

    First, ignoring a fact (that applies to a miniscule fraction of individuals) in a presentation that is addressing a mass population phenomenon is not getting anything “wrong”, rather this fact is irrelevant to the argument at hand. Dr. Beck would not argue that immigration does not help some people – don’t be silly. But that is not germane to the issue at hand, i.e. can immigration actually make a “rapid dent” in poverty. Dr. Beck correctly says “No”, you on the other hand, incorretly and foolishly say “Yes.”

    Second, you imply that Dr. Beck is ignoring the alleged positive economic impacts of mass immigration. As patently obvious from Dr. Beck’s presentation, mass immigration (even much larger than today’s levels) could not possibly create a meaningful and “rapid dent” in poverty, even given the most optimistic forecasts . If you disagree, then why don’t you write a peer-reviewed paper in a journal that explains your specific plan on open borders, detailing exactly what numbers of immigration you think best, the alleged ecomonic benefits and costs of same, and exactly where all these jobs are going to come from and where all these immigrants are going to live. It is easy to wax philosophically about “open borders”, but let’s see your plan in detail. You will quickly learn that the devil is in the details. (Also, no serious peer-reviewed journal would publish such a nonsensical and untenable plan). Even better, why don’t you do a video presentation (just like Dr. Beck did) and show exactly where you are going to put all those gumballs.

    Bottom line, your critique of Dr. Beck is invalid because

    A.) It judges him on standards and issues not germane to the common proposition at hand “Yea/Nay: Does mass immigration “make a rapid dent in world poverty?”

    and

    B.) Your critique presupposes that your “great” “open borders” “solution” is not in doubt. You have not proven, let alone even proposed, a detailed plan that even trys to prove it. Fail.

    P.S.
    Why don’t you challenge Dr. Beck to a debate in front of a live audience? I’m sure he’d be willing to debate you any time, anywhere.

    1. @Mike: Skepticism about claims about the doubling of world GDP and the end of poverty is well justified, as is skepticism about practically any grand claim. But it’s certainly not a claim I made up when drafting the blog post. If you click through the double world GDP and end of poverty links, you’ll find plenty of peer-reviewed literature (at the first link) and academics discussing how this points to the end of poverty (at the second link). If and when you do that, I would be very interested in hearing your further criticism of the weaknesses of the case presented.

      I think part of my original post was confusingly worded. I’ll try again: Beck is right about current levels of immigration not making a dent in world poverty systemically. But this is not an argument against open borders, in so far as they would facilitate sufficiently high levels of immigration to make a dent in world poverty. Presumably, there are other arguments against open borders (discussed elsewhere), but the one that Beck advanced makes the case for open borders as opposed to the “trickle of immigration” that describes the status quo.

      Finally, I differ from you in that I think that the starfish story is valuable in terms of not letting us forget that even current levels of immigration help many people escape poverty, and if you value that, then that is an argument for current levels of immigration relative to closed borders.

      Also, a quick word about blogging. It is not the goal of each individual blog post to make a complete case for every aspect of the case. The blog posts usually contain links to other sources, and it would be helpful for discussion if you read through the links and then offer an informed critique.

      1. As you suggested, I looked at the Keenan piece (which appears to be the “best”). Some problems with it though:

        1. It does contain alot of Greek letters and economic equations.

        2. It does not contain the word “billion” (as in 5 billion people) and uses “million” in the context of a specific country and immigration only once.

        3. It appears to be applying marginal/incremental/differential economic equations to a large number. As you well know, this is asking for troubling. That’s why the Laffer Curve is a curve and not a straight line (i.e. diminishing returns).

        4. It does not contain the words “family”, “spouse”, “child”, etc.. How is family relocation factored in here? What is the economic impact of that?

        You said:
        “I think part of my original post was confusingly worded. I’ll try again: Beck is right about current levels of immigration not making a dent in world poverty systemically.”

        Actually, this was the lesser point that Beck was making, His bigger point was that ANY level of immigration would not make a dent in world poverty. The developed world could not conceivably take enough immigrants to do so. That is why Beck used so many gumballs and containers – to show exactly the magnitude of the problem and the relative insignificance of the status quo policy AND any possible level of mass immigration. It is an absolute non-sequitor to claim that since limited immigration is not effective that mass immigration would be. It is obvious (to any one of good faith) that Beck’s point about mass immigration being ineffective given the magnitude of the problem is spot on.

        You also said:
        “Finally, I differ from you in that I think that the starfish story is valuable in terms of not letting us forget that even current levels of immigration help many people escape poverty, and if you value that, then that is an argument for current levels of immigration relative to closed borders.”

        Again, the point is that the “starfish story” is not germane to to the question of MASS immigration and MASS poverty. Even so, for every 10 starfish you help, you wind importing (i.e. immigrating) a criminal jellyfish. Where’s the Greek equation that factors in the murders, rapes, robberies, etc. comitted by immigrants? All of these categories DISPORTIONALLY higher than that of the receiving country’s general population?

        Finally, I revert to my previous points (still unaddressed):

        1. Show a specific plan with all the fine detail (limit it to one country, like the U.S., to make things easy).

        2. Challenge Dr. Beck to a debate.

        3. Make a “anti-gumball” video refuting Beck, by the numbers.

        4. Write a peer-review paper with the fine details, not extrapolations of marginal equations or Greek letters.

        P.S.
        The Keenan piece referenced music and lyrics by John Lennon. Let me now do the same:

        “You say you got a real solution, We’d all love to see the plan.”

      2. You said:
        “Presumably, there are other arguments against open borders (discussed elsewhere), but the one that Beck advanced makes the case for open borders as opposed to the “trickle of immigration” that describes the status quo.”

        This is a whopper, you know – a major logical fallacy. This would only be true if Beck had previously conceded that open borders is superior to a “trickle” – which he did not. Otherwise it is a major logical fallacy – like saying:

        “Fred has proven that 2 aspirins every 4 hours is not effective to treat the flu. This, therefore, makes the case that more aspirins, more frequently will be effective.”

        Complete non-sequitor.

      3. Dear Vipul,
        No argument against his presentation holds any water when you understand that all of humanity faces massive human die-off as Peak Oil reduces all oil energy on the planet. If that isn’t enough, these quotes will give you pause:

        If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity – and will leave a ravaged world. ~Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall

        “The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct. To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people, but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic.” Harvard scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson

        “Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” Dr. Albert Bartlett, http://www.albartlett.org , University of Colorado, USA.

        “Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide [that adds 80 million net gain annually to the planet], but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all—ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.” Dr. Otis Graham, Unguarded Gates

        Lester Brown, author of Plan B 4.0 Saving Civilization said, “The world has set in motion environmental trends that are threatening civilization itself. We are crossing environmental thresholds and violating deadlines set by nature. Nature is the timekeeper, but we cannot see the clock.”

        “Somehow, we have come to think the whole purpose of the economy is to grow, yet growth is not a goal or purpose. The pursuit of endless growth is suicidal.” David Suzuki

        1. This seems like a bit of a separate issue from immigration. Conceivably one could place limits on births while still allowing for free migration. Alternatively if that might still cause unbalances due to changes in resource consumption options like carbon taxes to limit resource consumption could also be done while still allowing free migration. However, I’m not convinced that overpopulation or resource depletion is a major concern at this time.

          It is trivial to say that at some point humans will use up all the resources Earth has available assuming no wipe out of the species or simply leaving the Earth. Indeed the universe only has a finite number of particles and given entropy there is a finite amount of time and resources that can be put to human uses no matter what we do. Even on a less grand scale it is true that even given the best theoretical technology there is a limit to how many humans can live on Earth at a given time. But all of that is obvious. What is not so obvious is that humanity is actually close to reaching those limits. Economics and history tends to show that as particular resources begin to dwindle, prices rise which incentivizes either finding new sources for those resources or alternatives. We’re seeing this with oil already with the rise in natural gas usage and the gradual development of alternative energies. Predicting a major human die off in the near future seems overly pessimistic in that regard. In addition, more humans means more idea creators and it’s that idea creation that has been undermining Malthusian predictions for the past 200 years.

          There are a number of other potential benefits to population growth in general (either from immigration or from having kids), while most of the costs are actually internalized by the parents (remembering that parents actually have to pay for kids during the time when they are net drains upon society’s resources). For a summation of these arguments (as well as some other sources in the bibliographic section if you’re interested) check out Bryan Caplan’s article on population size.

          1. You said:
            “This seems like a bit of a separate issue from immigration. Conceivably one could place limits on births while still allowing for free migration.”

            I say:
            You mean like China’s one-child policy and coerced abortions? Or maybe deporting pregnant women? Please specify.

            You said:
            “However, I’m not convinced that overpopulation or resource depletion is a major concern at this time. It is trivial to say that at some point humans will use up all the resources Earth has available assuming no wipe out of the species or simply leaving the Earth………What is not so obvious is that humanity is actually close to reaching those limits.”

            I say:
            Watch this video and get back to me:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8

            1. You mean like China’s one-child policy and coerced abortions? Or maybe deporting pregnant women? Please specify.

              Other alternatives could be taxes on having children. Make them sufficiently high and people will have fewer children. Taxes are a strong incentive if sufficiently high.

              Watch this video and get back to me:

              I’m not particularly impressed by this video, but it makes a lot of different claims. The ones about resource consumption seem most relevant to our discussion so focusing on that, some of the problems (such as over-fishing) are due to poorly defined property rights which leaves no incentive for long term cultivation. We don’t seem to be running out of cattle or chickens and that’s because the people who raise the livestock benefit from selling it rather than having another person swoop in and take it. What’s happening on the oceans is not a problem of human overpopulation but of tragedy of the commons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons).

              Also, part of the problem with defining how much of our planets resources we’ve depleted is the problem of proven reserves, estimated reserves, and what’s actually out there. For numerous resources we’ve found that even estimated reserves have consistently gone up over time (the Caplan article I linked to in my previous comment notes how commodity prices have fallen, something not possible if we have less of the commodity while the economist Julian Simon has long noted the expansion of reserves of materials such as copper over time http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_copper#Criticism). Finally, on deforestation the link between population and deforestation is not always a necessary one. The United States for instance has more than tripled in population over the last century, and yet reforestation in that time have been sufficient to have a noticeable impact on climate change (linky: http://www.unh.edu/news/news_releases/2000/november/sk_20001109trees.html). The video seems to have forgotten to notice that while deforestation is occurring in many tropical areas of the world reforestation is happening in subtropical, temperate, and boreal parts of the world: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/95180/icode/. Being populated doesn’t seem to be the big problem with deforestation nowadays but being poor does given that most tropical areas are very poor and most temperate/subtropical/boreal areas are richer.

              So no, I’m not convinced we’ve reached any kind of hard limits on population especially not with continually expanding technological capabilities. Given that, more immigration to areas of the world where new ideas are encouraged and allowed to thrive is likely to be a boost to technology and thus a boost to long-term population sustainability.

              1. You said:
                “This seems like a bit of a separate issue from immigration. Conceivably one could place limits on births while still allowing for free migration.”

                I said:
                You mean like China’s one-child policy and coerced abortions? Or maybe deporting pregnant women? Please specify.

                You then said:
                “Other alternatives could be taxes on having children. Make them sufficiently high and people will have fewer children. Taxes are a strong incentive if sufficiently high.”

                I now say:
                Hmmm – not exactly the response I was expecting. I was expecting something like:

                “China’s one-child policy and coerced abortions is an abomination – I condemned this is in the strongest possible terms.”

                Rather, by not condemning it, you seem to imply that coerced abortions is a possible alternative. Please clarify.

                Also, you indicate that taxing people for having children is a viable possibility. Besides the fact that this comes close to coercing abortions, it is unprecedented as far as I know. Can you cite any precedents for this, that have endured overtime without being quickly abandoned? If not, this would be another example of a hypothetical, unprecedented “solution” (to another reasonable objection) offered by pro-open borders advocates which speaks to the unrealistic mindset of same. (Oh yeah, the precedent must be a host country that specifically targeted immigrants and that host country must have freedom of the press and some semblance of democratic recourse.)

                Oh, by the way, what’s your view on deporting pregnant women? Is this another “solution” that you consider viable?

              2. You said:
                “I’m not particularly impressed by this video, but it makes a lot of different claims……Also, part of the problem with defining how much of our planets resources we’ve depleted is the problem of proven reserves, estimated reserves, and what’s actually out there. For numerous resources we’ve found that even estimated reserves have consistently gone up over time…… Finally, on deforestation the link between population and deforestation is not always a necessary one…….So no, I’m not convinced we’ve reached any kind of hard limits on population especially not with continually expanding technological capabilities.”

                I say:
                Well, as long as you think that there won’t be any problems with resource depletion, then that’s good enough for me.

                Come on, get real. This is Kool-Aid logic that sacrifices known and real dangers and valid concerns on the altar of almightly economic theory. The same logic that brought us NAFTA, WTO and the “wonders” of “Free Trade”. Completely insane.

                You say:
                “Given that, more immigration to areas of the world where new ideas are encouraged and allowed to thrive is likely to be a boost to technology and thus a boost to long-term population sustainability.”

                I say:
                Oh yeah, that’s work out great so far.

                1. The comment, “We’re not hitting any hard limits as to population” must be the most inane, absurd and completely intellectually vacant comment I’ve read in decades. Our carbon footprint destroys and contaminates the biosphere 24/7. We acidify the oceans to the detriment of all marine life. We created the 100 million ton “Pacific Garbage Patch” the size of Texas that kills millions of sea and avian creatures. Eighteen million people starve to death annually because they overshot their carrying capacity. We force the “Six Extinction Session” now causing the end of 100 creatures per day. We overrun the animal and natural world with 80,000 chemicals injected into the land, air and water 24/7–but you don’t see a problem? The human race amazes me in its ability to carry forward with such exuberant illiteracy and stupidity. Frosty Wooldridge, 6 continent world bicycle traveler

                  1. To Mike Russo,

                    If you want to reject wholesale economic theory and the empirical data behind it then that’s a discussion that seems too far afield for this thread. I would solely note that as a general rule, accredited experts are more likely to understand and know about a subject than lay people (exceptions exist but they are rare and require special justification).

                    To Frosty Woolridge,

                    Question, if we are hitting hard limits on population, why is population still expanding and why are future decreases in population growth predicted to because of decreased birth rates rather than increased death rates (See pages 50-58 for that particular point)? Related, why are life expectancies increasing rather than decreasing? Hard limits on population should mean increasing death rates which should be related to decreasing life expectancy. Also with starvation two points. First the absolute numbers of humanity in absolute poverty (less than $1,25 in 2005 dollars) has been dropping since at least the 90s implying that carrying capacities are expanding faster than human populations effectively everywhere. Second, the world health organization disagrees with your numbers on the number of people dying of starvation every year. As of 2011, starvation doesn’t even rank in the top ten causes of death in low income countries much less the world as a whole. The 10th highest cause of death, road accidents, only accounts for 1.21 million deaths per year meaning that the maximum amount starvation can claim is less than 1.21 million (or approximately 1/15th of the unsourced number you claim at most). Note: While trying to find the number of people who starve to death I did find some numbers that are clearly too high given WHO numbers, but what I found was that starvation in these cases was counted as a “contributing factor.” For the purposes of arguing about hard carrying capacities this is clearly not sufficient. Given lower rates of infectious disease or better health care death wouldn’t happen either, an issue unrelated to the carrying capacity of an area. Furthermore I found that the number of people who are considered malnourished has also been dropping in absolute terms in recent decades supporting the position that humanity is not reaching hard limits on population. All of this in the context of global increases in per capita calorie intakes in every region of the world for decades (with the except of “Transition Countries in 1997-99, but per capita calorie intake remained well above the average daily intake requirements even then and numbers have since rebounded).

                    Now for problems in the natural world that is not the same as hard limits on population. That is limits on non-human animals and plants created by humans, some of which are useful to humans and some of which aren’t. The concern there is to what degree should we value the natural world versus the existence and happiness of humans (humans being willing to pay more for things that destroy natural environments than things that preserve it creating an assumption that humans as a whole tend to prefer the environment destroying things to the environment). For myself, I have no problems helping the environment so long as costs on humans remain fairly low, but population controls would be a cost well above what I think is reasonable to ask.

    2. The comment, “We’re not hitting any hard limits as to population” must be the most inane, absurd and completely intellectually vacant comment I’ve read in decades. Our carbon footprint destroys and contaminates the biosphere. We acidify the oceans to the detriment of all marine life. We created the 100 million ton “Pacific Garbage Patch” the size of Texas that kills millions of sea and avian creatures, 18 million people starve to death annually because they overshot their carrying capacity. We force the “Six Extinction Session” now causing the end of 100 creatures per day. We overrun the animal and natural world with 80,000 chemicals injected into the land, air and water 24/7–but you don’t see a problem? The human race amazes me in its ability to carry forward with such exuberant illiteracy and stupidity. Frosty Wooldridge, 6 continent world bicycle traveler

    3. Well said Mike, but I’m afraid your words are probably wasted as these open border activists wouldn’t know logic or common sense if it kicked them in the nuts. They are ideologically driven and will never admit fault.

  3. re: “But that is not germane to the issue at hand, i.e. can immigration actually make a “rapid dent” in poverty. Dr. Beck correctly says “No”, you on the other hand, incorretly and foolishly say “Yes.”

    “Second, you imply that Dr. Beck is ignoring the alleged positive economic impacts of mass immigration. As patently obvious from Dr. Beck’s presentation, mass immigration (even much larger than today’s levels) could not possibly create a meaningful and “rapid dent” in poverty, even given the most optimistic forecasts .”

    What an odd claim! The modal estimate of the impact of open borders seems to be that it would double world GDP. That would do a lot more than put a dent in world poverty. It would come near eliminating it. It’s unusual to see an argument made that has been so thoroughly pre-refuted.

    1. O.K., let’s see your plan with all the necessary elements, with specific numbers, costs, “benefits”, countries, dates, jobs, housing units, locations, etc.. The first step would be to put forth a feasible, detailed plan in a patent and transparent manner. Write a paper, make a video.

      Until then, you’re just hot air. Dr. Beck showed why open borders is ridiculous by the facts and numbers. Let’s see you refute him in a similar (e.g. video) or comparable (e.g. paper) manner.

    2. By the way, even if true, doubling the world’s GDP would still not have a meaningful impact on world poverty, since the billions of people who live on less than $2/day would only then be making less than $4/day.

      1. @Mike: Actually, no. The detailed estimates related to double world GDP claim that the fractional gain in incomes will be most for the people with the lowest incomes. We should probably put up a summary of the claims to make this easier for people to browse and critique, but a quick summary: distributionally speaking, incomes for the current richest people will remain about the same, or go up somewhat, while incomes for the poorest people will go up substantially, even more so in proportional terms.

        The relevant metric here is what’s called the place premium — http://openborders.info/place-premium — this is the difference (proportional) between the real wage for an identical job across different countries, controlled as best as possible for quality differences. The place premium between the countries with the most extreme poverty and the First World ranges somewhere between 4 and 15, depending on the country, and is at the higher end for the poorer and more “hopeless” countries.

        These facts are not really in dispute at the current margin. The main point of dispute is the extent to which migration will suffer from diminishing returns once the first few hundred million people have migrated. Different assumptions about the nature of such “diminishing returns” account for the wide range (50-150%) in the world GDP gain estimated from open borders.

        See also our blog posts on the place premium: http://openborders.info/blog/tag/place-premium

        1. You said:

          “The relevant metric here is what’s called the place premium — this is the difference (proportional) between the real wage for an identical job across different countries, controlled as best as possible for quality differences.”

          This point is a major problem and indicates why economic formulas, theories and models are limited and best used on the margin. And why externalities are often the downfall of other “sound” economic theory.

          Let me ask you, how exactly does one calculate the “place premium” whilst controlling “as best possible for quality differences” in the following comparison.

          Identical Job #1:
          Apple iPhone worker in China making $2/hour.

          Identical Job #2:
          Apple iPhone worker in USA making $25/hour.

          Oh yeah, when doing so please adjust for these “quality differences”…..

          China:
          – Neglible aIr, water, polution quality regulatory regime
          – Neglible workers rights
          – No freedom to strike, organize, or form real unions
          – No freedom of the press
          – No OSHA
          – One party dictatorship
          – No right to vote (effectively)
          – No private health benefits
          – Neglible public healthcare (e.g. MediCare, MedicAid)
          – No food stamps
          – No retirement benefits
          – No sick pay, family leave, rights for the disabled
          – No Workman’s Compensation
          – No unemployment benefits
          – No welfare programs
          – No Social Security

          If you add in all these other “quality difference” the “place premium” isn’t $23/hour, it is substantially greater. Show me a paper that factors in these as well.

          You also said:
          “These facts are not really in dispute at the current margin. The main point of dispute is the extent to which migration will suffer from diminishing returns once the first few hundred million people have migrated.”

          These “facts” are indeed being disputed at the current margin. Challenge Beck to a debate if you’re so sure.

          1. “If you add in all these other “quality difference” the “place premium” isn’t $23/hour, it is substantially greater.”

            You don’t need to give immigrants welfare to have open borders, so most of the benefits you list are immaterial. Let’s discuss whether open borders makes economic sense first absent the welfare issue, and if we can size the gains from open borders, we can see if the gains are large enough to make this worth exploring further. Turns out the median estimate of economists who’ve studied the issue is that open borders would double world GDP. When multiple peer reviewed studies using different approaches reach the same conclusion, it seems appropriate to conclude that the gains from open borders are in this ballpark.

            Now given that the human race would be about twice as rich (or rather, it would earn twice as much annually) as it is today, it seems logical to conclude that there is a tax system we could enact to ensure at least some of these gains go to addressing any harms that arise from greater immigration. You might retort that such a tax system doesn’t exist. (Though Nathan Smith would in turn retort with his DRITI proposal, covered elsewhere on this site and in some of his published work.) But given the potential gains, surely the appropriate place to direct our efforts now is to study how to create such a system, rather than how to restrict immigration even further.

            As for your question of what study has controlled for statistical differences between worker qualifications or types of work performed, see this paper on the place premium: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/4412631/Clemens%20Place%20Premium.pdf?sequence=1

            (FYI I’m not aware of any peer reviewed study, or even rejected study, that refutes the double world GDP estimates. I think the burden of proof is on those disputing these estimates to produce something more comprehensive than a 6-minute video that doesn’t even get into the weeds of estimating the economic impacts of freedom of movement. If the double world GDP figure is wrong, then the appropriate rebuttal is to estimate an alternative figure, or present an argument for why such estimation is impossible.)

            1. You said:
              “You don’t need to give immigrants welfare to have open borders, so most of the benefits you list are immaterial. Let’s discuss whether open borders makes economic sense first absent the welfare issue, and if we can size the gains from open borders, we can see if the gains are large enough to make this worth exploring further”

              I say:
              Perhaps, in theory, a country doesn’t have to give immigrants welfare and thus, in theory, the benefits are immaterial. However, in reality, countries do indeed grant generous benefits to such immigrants. Thus, this factor cannot be ignored. Prove that “denying” such benefits to immigrants is practically feasible by citing one post-WW2 industrialized country that has done so, without eventually caving in. If you can’t, then this factor cannot be ignored. (Please also note that it was Mr. Naik who bought such “quality differences” up in the context of “place premium”. He (and others) believe such differences are germane. Your argument appears to be with him/them.)

              You say:
              “…given the potential gains….” when referring to increasing the world’s GDP.

              I say:
              These “gains” are not a given. Instead of tryng to apply marginal economic equations to unjustifiable extrapolations, please instead provide a detailed plan (theoretical case study) of an actual country (like the USA) adopting an “open borders” policy. Do this by the numbers – how many, how often, what jobs, where they will live, what assistance will they need, cost of schools, healthcare, welfare, infrastructure, etc, etc., etc.. If you plan on denying specific welfare benefits – be specific – which ones.

              1. “Perhaps, in theory, a country doesn’t have to give immigrants welfare and thus, in theory, the benefits are immaterial. However, in reality, countries do indeed grant generous benefits to such immigrants. Thus, this factor cannot be ignored. Prove that “denying” such benefits to immigrants is practically feasible by citing one post-WW2 industrialized country that has done so, without eventually caving in.”

                Tada: Singapore. Yes, for various reasons it’s problematic to extrapolate from Singapore, but you asked for one country that categorically denies public assistance to immigrants across the board. It’s amply evident that there is no iron physical law demanding that those physically resident in a territory must be granted access to welfare. In fact, even most developed countries explicitly limit welfare access for all kinds of legally present people. Try applying for federal benefits in the US with a student visa or a work visa; heck, try applying for those benefits as a fresh off the boat green card-holder (green card-holders have a waiting period measured in years before they’re eligible for most benefits). Access to these benefits is easily curtailed. You’ll have a similarly tough time in many, if not most OECD countries, under similar circumstances.

                “Do this by the numbers – how many, how often, what jobs, where they will live, what assistance will they need, cost of schools, healthcare, welfare, infrastructure, etc, etc., etc.. If you plan on denying specific welfare benefits – be specific – which ones.”

                This isn’t a plan to import people. This is a plan to get government out of the way of people trying to do an honest day’s work. I don’t see a need to specify what kind of jobs people will do. This is a bit like asking an advocate of free trade to specify what kinds of products will be sold where under free trade.

                Having said that, I think we can all agree more research needs to be done here. I think where you and I part ways is your belief that without a concrete proposal, there is absolutely no reason to be thinking about open borders. My view is that we need to get open borders on more economists’ research agendas so we can really understand the full impact open borders can have, and in the mean time, we can explore meaningful ways to liberalise immigration policy. Some ideas that have been discussed previously (often on this site, sometimes elsewhere) include:

                1. Nathan Smith’s DRITI
                2. A more traditional tariff on immigration (Gary Becker is a leading advocate of this)
                3. New classes of visas (whether for “guest worker” programmes or other things; see the Red Card proposal for instance)
                4. EU-style open borders (where the default is open borders, but a country is allowed to erect border controls when they can transparently state the criteria they used to arrive at this decision, e.g. a destabilising influx of people from one country or another)

                What’s abundantly clear is that the status quo is unjustifiable from both a moral and economic standpoint, and we have a multitude of ways to improve on the status quo. More social scientists and policymakers need to study ways we might be able to open the borders — not bury their heads in the sand and avert their eyes from the inhumanity of closed borders.

                1. You say:
                  “Tada: Singapore. Yes, for various reasons it’s problematic to extrapolate from Singapore, but you asked for one country that categorically denies public assistance to immigrants across the board”

                  I say:
                  Singapore is not a valid example (even ignoring the fact that it is a ridiculuous example to cite for various reasons, as you would seem possibly willing to admit). It is indeed “true” that Singapore denies welfare for non-citizens. However, you failed to mention that Signapore essentially denies welfare to its own citizens! Oops! Here’s an excerpt from a 2010 Economist article (http://www.economist.com/node/15524092):

                  “The government does run a handful of schemes directed at some of the needy, from low-income students to the unassisted elderly. But these benefits are rigorously means-tested and granted only sparingly. The most destitute citizens’ families may apply for public assistance; only 3,000 currently qualify. Laid-off workers receive no automatic benefits….”

                  From same article:
                  “Indeed, acute poverty is hard to spot in Singapore. Public housing is in good shape; no slums are allowed to fester. Soup kitchens do exist, but foreign labourers are often first in line.”

                  Oh, and here’s another nugget which demonstrates that even Signapore’s gov’t is prone to follow the same course as larger Western societies:
                  (http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/3/24/focus/10969821&sec=focus)

                  “The issue took to the media last month when the government re­­vealed in Parliament that at least 2,000 scholarships worth S$36mil (RM87.8mil) were awarded each year to overseas students……

                  But dishing out so many pre-tertiary and university scholarships to fo­­reigners is becoming a sensitive issue.

                  Getting a degree has always been a life-long dream of most Singaporean parents and youngsters, many of whom spend thousands of dollars in private tuition every month.”

                2. You say:
                  “It’s amply evident that there is no iron physical law demanding that those physically resident in a territory must be granted access to welfare. In fact, even most developed countries explicitly limit welfare access for all kinds of legally present people. Try applying for federal benefits in the US with a student visa or a work visa; heck, try applying for those benefits as a fresh off the boat green card-holder (green card-holders have a waiting period measured in years before they’re eligible for most benefits). Access to these benefits is easily curtailed. You’ll have a similarly tough time in many, if not most OECD countries, under similar circumstances.”

                  I say:
                  Don’t say “amply” – there’s nothig “ample” about Signapore, which is an invalid example anyway.

                  I did not claim that there was an “iron physical law” which demands welfare for immigrants. In reality, however, it essentially always happens, if not at first, then eventually. Even allowing for Signapore, which is an invalid example, can you now name all the countries that do extend welfare benfits to immigrants? Now calculate the ratio between those that do and those that don’t and you can calculate the probability of a country doing so. (More valid if it was population-weighted.) Answer: >>95%.

                  Also, you imply (but interestingly do not assert) that immigrants in the U.S. are not huge users of welfare programs. I wonder why you didn’t make the assertion, but rather only implied it. Could it be that you know it is not true? See this study:

                  http://www.cis.org/sites/cis.org/files/articles/2011/immigrant-welfare-use-4-11.pdf

                  “Among the findings:
                  In 2009 (based on data collected in 2010), 57 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal and illegal) with children (under 18) used at least one welfare program, compared to 39 percent for native households
                  with children.”

                3. You say:
                  “This isn’t a plan to import people. This is a plan to get government out of the way of people trying to do an honest day’s work. I don’t see a need to specify what kind of jobs people will do. This is a bit like asking an advocate of free trade to specify what kinds of products will be sold where under free trade.”

                  I say:
                  I asked for many things beside “what jobs” – like numbers of people, cost of schools, welfare programs, etc., etc.. Ignore the issue of specific jobs/industries (for now) and focus on all those other things that lend themselves readily to aggregate quantification and specific policy decisions.

                  How about just focusing on the very last part of my request, for now:
                  “If you plan on denying specific welfare benefits – be specific – which ones”

                  Which one of these programs would you deny or allow for immigrants?
                  – Food stamps
                  – Unemployment insurance
                  – Workers Comp
                  – Medicaid
                  – WIC
                  – Free schooling for the children of immigrants
                  – Free medical care (i.e. walking into an emergency room for a cold)
                  – Social Security

                  Some more questions:
                  – Who pays for the cost of imprisoning criminal migrants OR would you automatically deport them?
                  – Do children born of these immigrants become U.S. citizens, i.e. “birthright-citizenship”?
                  – How will the victims of criminal immigrants be compensated?
                  – What will happen to an immigrant who loses his job? Unemployment insurance? Welfare? Deportation?
                  – Would you allow for immigrants from Middle Eastern countries? From China? Are all countries in play?
                  – Will disabled immigrants be allowed? Blind immigrants? Immigrants who cannot speak English? Immigrants with diseases, criminal histories? Old immigrants? Poor immigrants? Many of these specific people have a much more compelling moral justification to emigrate from their home than their more capable countryman. If you’re gonna play the moral card, why not allow the “damaged goods” immigrate as well?

                4. You say:
                  “This is a plan to get government out of the way of people trying to do an honest day’s work.”

                  I say:
                  To be consistent, you must also oppose all minimum wage laws and maintain that we should abolish them, and that we would be better off without them.

                  Please confirm.

                  1. I’m not sure about John, but I do think minimum wage laws should be abolished. In practice, one might argue that minimum wages as currently set in the US are not high enough to be causally significantly implicated in unemployment (though Europe is a different story, and its minimum wage policies as well as other labor regulations have been causally implicated in high unemployment rates). But even then, I would still argue against any proposals to further raise the minimum wage further and would view such proposals as a step backward.

                    This is not too different from what I think our positions are regarding migration. A no borders world may be an ideal to aspire to, but a reasonably straightforward and transparent visa system that embodies a presumption in favor of allowing people to migrate would be a big step forward. Similarly, no minimum wage may be ideal, but a minimum wage that is lower than the hourly wage that most workers would earn from employers absent a minimum wage is a reasonable approximation.

                    1. You said:
                      “I’m not sure about John, but I do think minimum wage laws should be abolished. In practice…”

                      I say:
                      Thanks for an actual response to a question, I think this makes it your first. You have not responded to almost all of the other reasonable questions and challenges I have put forth. Please do not be evasive.

                      Also, while you are at it, please address whether you would like to see the following “government-meddling” programs/policies abolished:

                      – FDA
                      – OSHA
                      – SEC
                      – Anti-Trust Laws
                      – Welfare Programs
                      – Social Security
                      – Tariffs
                      – Anti-Discrimination Laws
                      – MedicAid and MediCare

            2. You say:
              “I think the burden of proof is on those disputing these estimates to produce something more comprehensive than a 6-minute video that doesn’t even get into the weeds of estimating the economic impacts of freedom of movement. If the double world GDP figure is wrong, then the appropriate rebuttal is to estimate an alternative figure, or present an argument for why such estimation is impossible.”

              I say:
              The 6 minute video is more than enough to demonstrate that the shear magnitude of the problem could never be solved by open borders. There are simply too many poor people, in ever-increasing numbers, for mass immigration to even make a dent in the problem. It’s obvious.

              You say:
              “I think the burden of proof is on those disputing these estimates to produce something…..”

              I say:
              No Sir, the burden of proof is on those who are proposing something radical and unprecented to demonstrate that their “solution” is practically feasible, based on specifics, precedent and hard data, not Greek-lettered economic equations. Let’s see your detailed proposal or plan.

              Also, I ask you, in what other context is your course of action (generically speaking) ever utilized? Where do people ever adopt a specific course of action (e.g. policy) based solely on theoretical extrapolations? Who exactly do we sue if your proposal turns out to be incorrect? Are you the deep pockets, are you worth a few quadrillion dollars?

              1. “The 6 minute video is more than enough to demonstrate that the shear magnitude of the problem could never be solved by open borders. There are simply too many poor people, in ever-increasing numbers, for mass immigration to even make a dent in the problem. It’s obvious.”

                The primary mechanism under which freedom of movement significantly reduces global poverty is its narrowing of the wage gap between the rich and poor world. It works as follows:

                1. A significant number of people migrate from the poor world to rich world (though most still remain at home); these people benefit immediately from rich world incomes

                2. This emigration simultaneously raises wages at home, because wages have artificially been depressed

                The largest wage gaps observed under open borders in the late 19th century were on the order of about 2 to 1, i.e. someone earning 50 cents in Sweden or Italy could immediately double their income if they moved to the US and did the exact same job (say, loading cargo on to ships). Today, the equivalent gaps are more on the order of 6 to 1 or 10 to 1 or 15 to 1. These gaps have never been observed in *any* unified labour market. The 2 to 1 gap is observed today between Guam/Puerto Rico and the US, or between French overseas departments and metropolitan France.

                By guaranteeing a fair market price for the poor of the world — whether they stay at home or emigrate — open borders will dramatically raise these people’s wage incomes. If you’re interested in the subject of how immigration contributes to development, Lant Pritchett has probably written *the* book on it: http://www.cgdev.org/sites/default/files/9781933286105-Pritchett-let-their-people-come.pdf

                “Also, I ask you, in what other context is your course of action (generically speaking) ever utilized? Where do people ever adopt a specific course of action (e.g. policy) based solely on theoretical extrapolations?”

                See: free trade. Or voucher schools. Or privatisation of publicly-owned companies. Or pro-choice abortion laws. Or decriminalisation of homosexuality/miscegenation. The list goes on and on. Britain was the first large polity to abolish slavery in the modern world, and they didn’t do it by piecemeal experimentation (though they did consciously pursue a policy of mitigating adjustment costs — one might call apprenticeship their “keyhole solution” for abolition).

                Moreover, open borders is not a radical idea in the sense that we need to tear down all border checkpoints to accomplish our goal. We on this site don’t endorse any one way of achieving open borders; there are less radical ways to accomplish this. You don’t need to abolish visas for instance; you just need a fair visa system. What we need is an immigration procedure that treats people seeking to live or work or study or play in a new place fairly, instead of treating them as guilty enemies of the state until proven innocent.

                1. You say:
                  “See: free trade. Or voucher schools. Or privatisation of publicly-owned companies. Or pro-choice abortion laws. Or decriminalisation of homosexuality/miscegenation. The list goes on and on. Britain was the first large polity to abolish slavery in the modern world, and they didn’t do it by piecemeal experimentation (though they did consciously pursue a policy of mitigating adjustment costs — one might call apprenticeship their “keyhole solution” for abolition).”

                  None of these are valid examples since there was “a priore” evidence and/or knowledge of the reality of what such changes would yield and/or they are reversible.

                  Free Trade:
                  There are prior precedents and it is easily reversible.
                  Voucher Schools:
                  Prior precedents and easy to study in pilot programs.
                  Privitization:
                  Prior precedent, piecemeal approach, can be undone sometimes.
                  Pro-abortion laws:
                  Other countries, precedent, reversible.
                  Slavery/England:
                  History, other comparable countries were not-slave, reversible.

                  The problem with mass immigration to “cure” mass poverty is:
                  a.) that the current levels of immigration have yielded horrible results
                  b.) it is not reversible IN PRACTICE.
                  c.) there is no prior precedent
                  d.) it cannot be done piecemeal

                  1. Mike,

                    I might be misunderstanding, but b.) and c.) seem to be contradicted by my meager understanding of history:

                    For c.): The US, and many other countries around the world, had de facto and de jure open borders. The US started restricting immigration at the federal level only in 1875.

                    For b.): Continuing on c.), the US gradually passed laws restricting immigration, culminating in the 1924 legislation that restricted almost all immigration. Many opponents of immigration view the 1924 legislation and the subsequent slowdown of immigration as one of the main factors that was causally responsible for enabling the assimilation of previous waves of immigrants. Those who favor more liberal immigration policies view the post-1924 period as something undesirable, but both sides do seem to agree that the US did transition to substantially more closed borders. It seems that other countries’ immigration policies have also moved in both directions (liberalization and restriction) many times.

                    Now, there are many differences between then and now, and presumably you have some in mind. It is also true that in absolute numerical and proportional terms, the scale of migration if open borders happened today would be far greater than the scale of migration under open borders in the 19th century. Reduced transportation and communication costs and a more globally interconnected economy, and (arguably) the existence of a welfare state may be causally responsible (though the latter can be restricted, at least in the short run, as we’ve discussed). At best this suggests gradual opening of borders and keyhole solutions, which brings us to:

                    Point d.) “It cannot be done piecemeal”: I don’t see what you are hinting at here. If the goal is to eliminate poverty immediately, yes, that would argue for opening the borders immediately, but I can see that you consider this dangerous, and I would agree that there is a huge risk to immediate open borders. But there are lots of ways (some of which John alluded to in a preceding comment) to open borders gradually and piecemeal. The EU has opened up piecemeal (with new countries being added gradually) and while there is hope of further opening up, it’s not something that is completely inevitable.

                    Further, proposals to open borders further can have explicitly attached propositions that specify conditions under which further opening of the borders will be stopped. Existing immigration legislation that specifies caps for various visa types already does something similar: the quotas for various types of work visas (such as H1B in the US) have, under some proposals, been required to be sensitive to the economic conditions of the US. Those who fear the worst from liberalized immigration policies can explicitly specify conditions that halt further liberalization in the event that their (arguably) pessimistic predictions come true.

                    1. You said:
                      “For c.): The US, and many other countries around the world, had de facto and de jure open borders. The US started restricting immigration at the federal level only in 1875.”

                      I say:
                      Please prove your claim as to “de jure”. I think it was the case that there was no specific law or policy that prohibited mass immigration RATHER THAN a specific law or policy that sanctioned it. Since mass immigration was a relative new phenomena in the 19th Century, this would not be surprising.

                      Secondly, the max level of immigration in the 19th Century into the USA appears to slightly over 1 million in one year with an average annual rate more like 300,000. Even adjusting per capita, this would not qualify as ridiculous mass immigration, especially considering that the USA was a growing country/economy, not a developed, mature country/economy, as is the case now.

                      (see this graph:
                      http://wps.ablongman.com/wps/media/objects/124/127330/images/NASH10421801.gif)

                      You said:
                      “I might be misunderstanding, but b.) and c.) seem to be contradicted by my meager understanding of history:”

                      I say:
                      By “reversible” it should be clear from the context and examples cited, that “reversible” applies to the effect of a policy (as well as the policy itself) rather than just the policy. Mass immigration is not easily reversible since it require mass deportations, which rarely (if ever) has occurred.

                      You say:
                      “…..I would agree that there is a huge risk to immediate open borders.”

                      I say:
                      Please specify these risks. Obviously, you should have already done your homework on this angle and should have a list already prepared. Let’s see it.

            3. Dear John Lee,

              No argument against his presentation holds any water when you understand that all of humanity faces massive human die-off as Peak Oil reduces all oil energy on the planet. If that isn’t enough, these quotes will give you pause:

              If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity – and will leave a ravaged world. ~Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall

              “The raging monster upon the land is population growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct. To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people, but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic.” Harvard scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson

              “Unlimited population growth cannot be sustained; you cannot sustain growth in the rates of consumption of resources. No species can overrun the carrying capacity of a finite land mass. This Law cannot be repealed and is not negotiable.” Dr. Albert Bartlett, http://www.albartlett.org , University of Colorado, USA.

              “Most Western elites continue urging the wealthy West not to stem the migrant tide [that adds 80 million net gain annually to the planet], but to absorb our global brothers and sisters until their horrid ordeal has been endured and shared by all—ten billion humans packed onto an ecologically devastated planet.” Dr. Otis Graham, Unguarded Gates

              Lester Brown, author of Plan B 4.0 Saving Civilization said, “The world has set in motion environmental trends that are threatening civilization itself. We are crossing environmental thresholds and violating deadlines set by nature. Nature is the timekeeper, but we cannot see the clock.”

              “Somehow, we have come to think the whole purpose of the economy is to grow, yet growth is not a goal or purpose. The pursuit of endless growth is suicidal.” David Suzuki

  4. I think you miss something simple here. Open borders mean that every person who is able will leave where they are, destroying the destination country and depriving their own country of what they have to offer. Better to leave the brightest and best to help improve the country they are in, because otherwise we all get to live in abject poverty eventually.
    What needs to be done instead is to teach and equip these peoples to do better in the existing situation. Convoy of Hope has programs teaching gardening and poultry husbandry to those in poverty. These projects are lifting individuals and communites out of the depths of poverty. They are reviving hope, and offering a future to many people instaed of dragging a few out of the situation, they are empowering a few people who can in turn teach others from what they learn.
    As the old adage says, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. We have so much “technology” that can be shared by those in need and used to make their lives better.
    But instead we have a ruling class that flies about in jets, telling us how we aren’t doing enough for this cause and that cause. I like to say I will listen to Al Gore as soon as he flies coach and hires someone to hang his laundry on the clothes line. Most of the people doing the talking are just part of the problem.

  5. The Starfish response is compelling…, But you show you don’t give a fucking shit about the American economy. Ok…, fine. Either do I. But the death of America by a thousand Starfish (seems you’ve chosen) will be your epitaph. Keep flinging back…, Keep flinging back…, don’t ever give that up. But if you don’t realize that America is and has been the most giving in history, which means nothing to you, your interest is singular. Be careful about being taken for granted, for that will be taken away. Will you one day be flinging BACK to the USA? I doubt it… Then you’ll move onto…, China?

    1. Absurd writing and total mis-representation of Beck’s brilliant video on the futility of mass immigration. The United States today runs so far into ‘overshoot’ that we will be lucky to survive to 2050. We lack enough water, energy and resources to keep up this massive population juggernaut. Talk about incredibly stupid to advance open borders–the whole world would love to transport their poverty stricken masses. When I read such incredibly stupid writers and their absurdly stupid points of view, I want to intellectually hurl my lunch. The human race continues its galloping increases at 80 million, net gain, annually. By 2050, there won’t be enough other creatures left nor any environment let alone quality of life and standard of living for all Americans. The third world will add another 3 billion people by 2050. Water and Oil will not be enough to support our huge populations. Camp of the Saints will become our reality. Frosty Wooldridge, 6 continent world bicycle traveler.

  6. What you don’t acknowledge about his arguement is that it makes a great case for increasing international aid… not just for emergencies but targeted to basic health, education and skills programs that help people lift themselves out of poverty in their own country. I’ve seen it work when it’s done correctly… it isn’t just throwing money at the problem. In fact, once people have the basics… drinking water that doesn’t kill them, access to education and basic health services and a means of getting whatever they can produce to a market, the next steps don’t cost anything at all because they are more than happy to pay for it. They can only do this through savings co-operatives and micro-finance organisations as the loans they need are too small for commercial banks and the people have no collateral.

  7. This article is stupid. Did you even watch the video? His main point is about how this immigration is draining our resources and leaving more of our people in poverty. How long before we have nothing left even for ourselves? He’s not against helping other poor countries where they are, he even said so. He’s worried about destroying us where we are. This article talks about not being able to save them all but it’s important to the ones we do save. We can’t save all of the poor American children that are dying in the streets here. But why not concentrate on saving what we can of them?

  8. We cannot continue our current immigration policy. We are not able to support them any longer and add in the terror issues and we have to stop this lunacy.

    We must take care of our own.

  9. you try to make a sweater with not enough yarn.

    The hard facts are that massive emigra tion of the better educated and more energetic, precisely the people more non-conformist, more capable of changing their poor societies, leaves fewer of them in theis society. Ie effect, they weaken the forces of change and thus strengthen the corrupt, wealthy elites who defend no change.

    Funny how the “progressive” in the West who promote open borders contribute to the perpetuation of corrupt, inhuman and poor societies.

    What we need is the opposite; restrict immigration, pressure the corrupt elites with personal sanctions such as no travel, no foreign accounts, ant also push to help local entrepreneurs.

    Open immigration punishes poor countries. Is a form of charity that dehumanizes.

  10. It’s certainly a great and valid point that helping one person is a worthwhile thing to do. My dad used to see starving children on TV and think, “What can you do?” because it was so overwhelming and he didn’t have much money at all (still doesn’t). But then he realized that, while to us, helping one person doesn’t feel like a big deal, it’s certainly a big deal to that person you are able to help, just as it would be a big deal to any one of us. And I do wish that some of us would be more thorough and clear, but the point here is not to say that immigration does no good for anyone or that doing good for some is of no worth because there are so many you can’t help. The point is not to stop immigration.

    The point is that people are very wrong to think that we need to overwhelm ourselves with immigration thinking we are ending world hunger (you can’t save 20 people from drowning, all you do is drown yourself and they still drown) and that the best way to bring people out of poverty is not to try to import everyone to where the wealth is but to help them where they are by helping them to bring wealth to themselves.

  11. Your kidding! Do you believe your own B.S. The world is far far far far far away from even considering open borders. I think you need to grow up and mature a bit more because I have no doubt your position will change within 5-10 years when you wake up to world chaos some of which has been around for thousands of years. It’s not going to change anytime soon nor should it. Your utopian ideals are admirable but your reality is in Atlantis. At this point in time, all you are going to accomplish (is zero) if your belief actually dis happen (which it won’t) is expand the chaos and make for a world no one can feel safe in. Hope to hear you’ve found something productive to do with your life in 5-10 years.

  12. What a moronic blogpost, the foundation of the claims are rooted in appeals to emotion and unnecessary obligations. The West is not required to provide anything to nations with standards of living lower than theirs, they choose to do so and now you bite the hand that feeds, asking for more? Open borders means no nations exist, only the Earth, free travel. If you do not see that nation-states are inevitable as a civilization advances, then I think we have the answer as to why you had to leave your shit country for a better one, that kind of primitive mindset is bound to result in desolation. Instead of whining to other leaders to help you, take agency over your own people’s shortcomings and fix the issue yourself. In the meantime, don’t like it here, fuck off back to your shithole instead of complaining. Use your basic reasoning skills: if whites provide advanced living standards, why, then, would you (who reaps the benefits of that system whites produce) initiate ‘white flight’ by flooding white nations and turning it into a replica of where you came from?

  13. Vipul, your arguments are largely anthropocentric. Helping millions of humans from underdeveloped countries by moving them to nations where their ecological footprint and materialistic lifestyles will increase will only further harm the environment. You claim they are able to contribute their skill set to the world in this way, but how? I have met countless brain-drain immigrants working for capitalistic, eco-destructive corporations as engineers, researchers/scientists, allopathic doctors (abandoning their traditional vedic medicine) or other types of technical experts. Most of you guys end up working in the areas of defense, Big Pharma, entertainment, chemical/ag conglomerates, etc., because YOU JUST WANT TO MAKE MONEY. You could have stayed in India and made a big difference…why come here? What immigrants (smart or dumb, rich or poor) need to do is STOP REPRODUCING, not expand outward. You “hail from India,” a country that is vastly overpopulated and whose numbers are due to double by 2050. Many of your nationality then move to other countries to overpopulate us, get a free or highly subsidized education, take our jobs, and continue to reproduce on our soil…while many of our own citizens are jobless and dealing with extreme debt from student loans. Please confirm that you have no children, have had a vasectomy, and that you paid EVERY PENNY of your Mathematics PhD from the University of Chicago from your own pocket, and that you recommend the same for all other immigrants. Only then could I respect and even begin to consider what you have written on your website.

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