Open Borders

The Science and Ethics of Immigration

[Amazon Link]

I've been a Bryan Caplan fan for awhile now. I enjoyed his take on why we can't trust voters to generate rational public policy and his look at "why the education system is a waste of time and money".

But, on those topics, Bryan was "confirming my priors"; I was kinda leaning his way before I opened the books. But in this book, he sets out to recommend his titular policy: open borders. Next to no restrictions on foreigners making their way into this country to work. I'm, like, really?

But (spoiler alert) he pretty much convinced me that's the way to go. The moral and economic cases are pretty clear for a libertarian: you have people who want to work, other people who want to employ them, how dare you step between them and ban this capitalist act between consenting adults? And (no question) this is a positive-sum transaction, making both parties better off.

Bryan also handles the (numerous) objections: expanded immigration is not a drag on the welfare state, the cultural differences between Us and Them fade out after a generation, etc.

I should mention the biggie: it's a comic book. The illustrating is done by Zach Weinersmith, the force behind the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal web comic. (Recommended, if you're into that sort of thing.) This works pretty well, too. And I got more than a couple chuckles along the way. (There's a "Notes" section at the end if you want more words than pictures on a certain topic.)

[Amazon Link]
And I should also mention that immigration is one of those topics on which I'm easily persuaded by the last thing I read. See (for example) my take on Reihan Salam's book opposing open borders. By which I was also persuaded. But that was last year.

I am a tall stalk of grass, destined to bend in whichever direction blows the wind…