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It is very tricky indeed this question. I am very torn between radically different positions on this issue. On the one hand I belive it is very hard to argue against the argument that free migration have the potential to change alot of peoples life for the better. Even restricted forms of immigration from underdeveloped countries impose coasts on the citizens allready living in a rich country and paying taxes. Free migration after the removal of the welfare state should, however, be beneficial for both the immigrants and the citizens of the country where to they migrate. A state without a welfare system would have a natural barrier against seekers of welfare benefits. Only those beliving themselfes capable of getting some sort of employment and improving their lot would migrate to such a country.
On the other hand this means the welfare state have to be dissolved all together. And, as all libertarians know, this seems to be a goal that is impossible to achieve. As long as one lives in a society with a welfare state I think it is very hard to declare support for free immigration. The practical result of supporting such a policy is to impose on one-self an ever greater tax burden and offering non-contributors part in the welfare pie so that you also get ever smaller slices of this pie yourself.
Off course not all immigrants impose coasts on a society even when the society in question is a welfare state. People with large amounts of capital or people that are highly skilled will contribute to the economic development even in such a situation. Than there is the question about equality. People seem to choose to live among people on the same socio-economic level as themselves. I think this is because only that way can people relate and interact with eachother in the private sphere without there arising any feelings of inferiority or supremacy. You can have the best relationships with people that you share economical and educational background with. No antagonistic feelings of hatred does arise under such circumstances.
In countries where there are great differences between rich and poor different social classes seem to live very separate lifes and often seems to feel hatred towards eachother. But somehow the life inside a welfare state is hypocritical. Because the welfare state reduces the freedom of movement for poor people it is only an illusion that these are more compassionate states than the night watchmen state. In a night watchmen state you may be exposed to more sights of poverty than inside the welfare state. But the welfare state actually imposes more poverty overall than a night watchmen state. It is just that the inhabitants of the welfare state have the luxury to not see this poverty. And, over the long run, a state with minimal taxlevels and freedom of choice should improve everyones standard of life faster and more effective than any welfare state can.
But than there is the problem Porphyrogenitus mentions. If you allow very poor people to immigrate to a rich country and that country is a democracy you almost certainly will see the rise of political parties with an socialist outlook. So in that situation you will destroy freedom and impose on yourself a welfare state if you support free immigration.
It would be interesting to hear the differing opinion. I would like to hear what counter arguments libertarians in favour of an open bordes policy have to say on this issue. How is it possible to preserve freedom and stop the rise of socialist parties in a situation where very poor people are allowed to immigrate to a rich country?
Is is a complicated question. As Friedman states different freedoms are interconnected. If you erode the freedom for citizens to dispose freely over their incomes and taxates them in order to create a welfare state there arises a need to restrict immigration in order to preserve effective welfare systems.
All these wars that the US has started in the middle east in recent years is also the pushing factor for emigration from countries in the ME to Europe. Sweden have taken on alot of iraqi and afghani refugees in the few years past. These immigrants have great diffuculty in adopting to their new country and to become a part of the regular work force.
The only reason for asking for not making an interpretation in accordance with the historical intent is, off course, that it makes the constitution more or less meaningless. The purpose of the american constitution was off course to restrict what the elected officials may or may not decide upon to do. If you say that whatever majority presently occupying the seats of the house of representatives and the senate may interpret it however the wish its a useless document. That it doesn’t serve its historical purpose and allows the elected representatives make whatever laws they see fit.
However, the US constitution is not without fault, because it is a document created by mortal men. But, as stated earlier, it allows for making ammendments. The problem with this is that if to many ammendments are made and the ammendments come into conflict with the original intet of the constitution it has become nothing more than a paper tiger. This is a very serious problem.
Islam is a religionen claiming to be Gods final will and purpose for humanity. This sacred scripture contains within it certain rules. You have the same debate within this religious community of Islam about the interpretation of the rules you find within the quran. Progressives say that, for example, the practise of having multiple wifes must be seen in its historical context and should be abandoned by modern practisioners of the religion. On the other hand you have orthodox schoolars claiming that the Quran is the final word of God and therfore its rules applies for all eternity, hence a man may have four wifes at once.
This conflict between the need to sometimes reform a sacred text, whether it is a document such as the US constitution or a religious sacred text, is not easily dealt with. If you truly belives in progressivism whatever people right now think is right should be followed. On the other hand if you go for historical intent or everlasting divine rules, you also get stuck in a way with rules that are, to most, completly moronic. The US constituion can be ammended. But still, I think most libertarians and alot of conservatives have a mind-set involving a belief that the constitution contains at least a few principle and rights that are of an everlasting nature and should never be abondoned whatever the majority hold to be true at any given moment.
It is a very difficult question how to deal with this fact…
Thank you all for your informative answers. I will, in time, read the essay recommended in this thread. Just one further question. Is it correct of me to think that the monetarist, the Chicago School of thought so to speak, differs from the Austrian School in that they think money should be regulated by government instead of the market. Is this the key difference between these schools of economic thought on the matter of money. And is this the key critique of the Austrian school against the monetarist? That is, their faith in the governments ability to outdo the market is fallicious and that we cannot entrust government with taking care of monetary matters?
Pretty depressing answers. What would you tell someone who suggested that a monetary system with inherently deflationary feautures is rigged in favour of holders of vast amounts of capital? In what way would you say that a stable currency which works constantly toward deflation is in the best interests of the “common man”?
Note: I mentioned my wage is 3 400 $ after tax. That is monthly wage. So my wage for a whole year of work is 40 800 $.