Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration

Sophy Ramírez  | 16 de abril de 2020  | Vistas: 278

Immigration can be a polemic and a hard topic to understand. Bryan Caplan wrote, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration, a book about immigration and why open borders could be beneficial for the world. He uses a comic style to make the subject easier to understand and assimilate. In this conference, he explains his arguments in favor of open borders as well as the benefits to society.

Caplan presents the migration presumption that libertarians have against government restrictions on human freedom, and how immigration regulation is a massive constraint on liberty. He also comments that most of the people on earth cannot live or work in countries with better political and economic systems without permission that may be impossible to obtain for most individuals. 

They’re laws saying that because you were born in the wrong family because something you couldn’t control happened before you’re born, you are stuck, and because of these laws, there are a bunch of jobs you can’t do, places you can’t live.”- Bryan Caplan

Caplan explains that libertarians often defend immigration restrictions using arguments that they would reject for other issues, these are:

  • Collective ownership
  • Collective guilt 
  • Popular support
  • Fiscal burden 
  • Cultural harm
  • Political externalities

The economist quotes Milton Friedman’s perspective on how a country can’t have free immigration and welfare state simultaneously. With this he argues that the taxes that an immigrant pays compared to the services they use are almost negative, demonstrating that immigrants are beneficial for taxpayers. He also mentions that another reason why people don’t want open borders is because of the cultural damage that could be caused to the country, considering that the foreigners usually don’t know the national language. 

There’s magic culture, which means that when people move to another country they learn from the culture that is there.”- Bryan Caplan

Caplan reveals that people who don’t support immigration have biased thinking, and copy emotions the Government could have implemented with the migratory regulations instead of looking at facts and numbers. Then he states the importance of exportation and importation on the same scale, exposing that services represent 80% of the economy

To conclude he emphasizes that with open borders we could be doubling the production of mankind, and encourages libertarians to support this idea because this is the philosophy that reinforces human liberty.


Economist and author


Nuestra misión es la enseñanza y difusión de los principios éticos, jurídicos y económicos de una sociedad de personas libres y responsables.

Universidad Francisco Marroquín