A World Without Borders
Immigration is a controversial topic in the United States and Europe and sparks animated discussions about the proper levels of immigration. But Alex Tabbarok puts forth a dramatic suggestion in an article in The Atlantic – simply eliminate all borders and allow a free flow of citizens from one country to the next.
“On the other side of discrimination lies untapped potential. Economists have estimated that a world of open borders would double world GDP. Even relatively small increases in immigration flows can have enormous benefits,” he writes, adding that immigration is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised.
According to a paper written by Lant Pritchett of the Center for Global Development, if the developed world allowed enough immigrants in to boost their labor force by one percent, the estimated additional economic value created would be worth more to the migrants than all of the world’s official foreign aid combined.
Technology Can Serve Poor Nations If Superpowers Permit It To
The ability of terrorist groups like ISIS to use new technology to advance their aims – by recruiting jihadists through social media and to communicate via online means – is one of the unfortunate realities of the evolution of technology in a disrupted world. However, argues Foreign Policy magazine’s David Rothkopf, there is equal potential for peaceful nations to inflict harm on poorer nations.
While poorer nations can realize gains through tech advances like distance health and education and smart technology used to improve agricultural development, those benefits may be offset by the fact that they “are regularly buffeted by the whims, emotions, and ambitions of tech superpowers that feel empowered to intervene in their lives on a low-cost basis.”
He contends that superpowers could “devastate these poor societies, not to mention others in their weight class, via the Internet or autonomous robot armies deployed on land and in the sky. This is a looming threat in this new world: that the digital divide morphs into a kind of digital colonialism in which the tech haves, without much fear of meaningful retribution, feel empowered to impose their views and values on the tech have-nots.”
When Good Intentions Produce Bad Results For Poor Nations
Angus Deaton, a professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics, argues that the failure of states to provide essential services that are taken for granted in developed nations is one of the major causes of poverty and deprivation around the world. Rather than improve state capacity among poorer nations, the world’s wealthiest nations are making things worse through well-intentioned foreign aid.
“Foreign aid – transfers from rich countries to poor countries – has much to its credit, particularly in terms of health care, with many people alive today who would otherwise be dead. But foreign aid also undermines the development of local state capacity. This is most obvious in countries – mostly in Africa – where the government receives aid directly and aid flows are large relative to fiscal expenditure (often more than half the total),” suggests Deaton.
The prescribed solution is not simply to end foreign aid. Rather, he says, citizens should “agitate” for their governments to do no harm, to improve global trade and subsidy policy, and make better drugs available to more people.