Open Borders Logo Contest

Post by Fabio Rojas (see all posts by Fabio Rojas)

This post was cross-posted at, a group blog on sociology where Rojas is a participant. The cross-posted version is here.

The Open Borders movement seeks a symbol that embodies the spirit of free migration. To achieve that goal, we are sponsoring a logo contest. The winner of this contest will get $200 and their design will become the official logo of the Open Borders web site.

  • The goal: Create a simple logo, like the peace sign, that represents free migration.
  • How to enter: Go to the Open Borders Logo Contest Facebook page and post your image. Join the group and send me a message so I can add you. Then, you can post.
  • The criteria for selection: We seek something that is simple and powerful. Think of an image that a person with little artistic skill could paint on a sign or banner.
  • Who will choose the winner: The Open Borders website editors and the contest sponsors (Bryan Caplan and myself).
  • The winner will be announced on October 1, 2013 or later.

All contestants will retain the rights to their design. The winner will allow the Open Borders website to use the image indefinitely in exchange for the prize money. The winner will allow others to use the image as long as they do so in a non-profit manner. In other words, the winner is free to use the image for their own benefit, but they’ll allow it to be used for Open Borders signs, banners, websites, and the like at no cost.

UPDATE: Although this is not a precondition of participation, it is recommended that you consider releasing your image under one of the Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons licenses are often used for publishing artwork and images over the web in a manner that facilitates reuse while preserving selected rights of the author.

UPDATE 2: Those who do not have a Facebook account or prefer not to post the pictures on Facebook can email the photos to — one of us will post the photos for you. If you prefer to be anonymous and have your identity known only to the site administrators, please let us know in the email.

Fabio Rojas is a sociology professor at Indiana University as well as an active blogger. See also:, a group blog to which he contributes
Fabio Rojas’ personal academic webpage
Page about Fabio Rojas on Open Borders: The Case

12 thoughts on “Open Borders Logo Contest”

  1. It’s ironic that you had to close the borders of your open borders contest and deport satirical logos. It’s almost as if human beings are happier when they belong to communities with some power to regulate who gets to join.

    1. The concept is often called “property.” They can decide whom to bar from it and whom to let on it. Open borders means that they have both of those options without the interference of the government (or perhaps with interference only in some special cases and for very strong reasons).

      Your position is that they do not have the right to decide who posts or comments here, but you have to get approval from the government first, and that the government has to “protect their community” from too many or any comments at all whether they want it or not.

      Which raises the question: Do you have a permit from the government to comment here? Ihre Papiere, bitte!

    2. That’s an excellent observation. I don’t think Hansjoerg gets to the heart of the matter — the logo contest is not the “property” of Fabio, it’s hosted by Facebook and they can change their terms of service at any time. I think the difference is in purpose.

      The logo contest was a privately created group with a specific goal, namely the goal of soliciting logos. Selection criteria for participants and posts were intended so as to further that goal. One can see similar examples in the private sector and public sector. Public sector examples include the military, police, judiciary, and bureaucracy. In all cases, there are criteria, and there should be criteria, to help select people who can carry out the job effectively. You may believe that some of the criteria are faulty, and should be replaced by better ones — and existing criteria, particularly in the case of public sector jobs, should be open to debate. But the fact that there should be criteria is hopefully not in dispute. The same applies to “volunteer” jobs with the Red Cross or Amnesty International or whatever-have-you: the organizations have specific missions and they are looking for volunteers to best fit those missions, and while you may disagree with or critique their specific criteria, the fact that they need to choose criteria in keeping with their missions isn’t the point of contention.

      The case of migration is, in my view, fundamentally different, because a nation is not a joint project of this sort.

      1. Thanks, Vipul, and you are right that I had not thought my comment through well enough. For example, Steve’s point was about exclusion from the logo contest group and I got that mixed up with potential exclusion from commenting here (which I do not advocate BTW).

        However, in both cases someone has a right to exclude someone else from using something. “Someone” could also be an arrangement with several parties in an explicit and voluntary agreement (e. g. including Facebook) and according to some rules and with a defined purpose. It is perhaps debatable whether you should call this “property” in every case, but it is analogous to exclusion from land or the use of tools, etc., i. e. _private_ property to be precise.

        The analogy for immigration is then that the bloggers here have the right to let others enter their property or exclude them from it (individually, or in some arrangement as a group), i. e. an open borders regime. Open borders does not mean that individuals lose their right to exclude others from their property or to form exclusive communities. So Steve’s analogy is false in this sense. (I actually made a similar joke about border controls at Open Borders, but that was strictly a joke.)

        If I take him up on his analogy, though, he would argue for immigration that the consent of the individual parties involved (landlords, employers) does not suffice, because the government has to give its approval. And the immigrant has to obtain a permit from the government. So if he is serious about the analogy, he would have to conclude that also for commenting here or joining the logo group. he needs prior approval by the government. And the government could come up with all kinds of reasons to not grant him such approval: he might change the culture, negative externalities for others, precautionary principle, etc.

        That would be consistent, but also pretty strange.

  2. I ask to this website, if all races are equal in intelligence and differences in national wealth are caused almost wholly by differences in political systems, wouldn’t it be easier to just advocate for those poor countries to adopt our political system?

  3. My suggestion is having a map of the united States, with maps of all the world’s countries superimposed over it, a Mexico over California, a Somalia over Michigan, an Iran over Oklahoma, so that people can visualize the very positive effects open borders will have on their country.

  4. a nation is not a joint project of this sort.

    It most certainly is. Otherwise you are telling us that the body politic can’t decide who or what comes into the country.

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