Monday, October 23, 2006

Yet more on libertarianism

Following on the libertarian debate, David Farrer weighs in with the second part of his argument; and he makes a very interesting point, one that I had not considered.
What about a society that does have a state, even a limited one?
Hoppe writes:
… if the government admits a person while there exists no domestic resident who wants to have this person on his property, the result is forced integration.

Now, as far as I can make out, this means that for a government to accept immigrants without someone already willing to sponsor them is anti-libertarian because it is effectively forcing everyone else to allow that migrant onto their property and forces them to support that migrant against their will.
And his solution:
At all ports of entry and along its borders, the government, as trustee of its citizens, must check all newly arriving persons for an entrance ticket — a valid invitation by a domestic property owner — and everyone not in possession of such a ticket will have to be expelled at his own expense.

Hence, the admission implies negatively — similarly to the scenario of conditional free immigration — that the immigrant is excluded from all publicly funded welfare. Positively, it implies that the receiving party assumes legal responsibility for the actions of his invitee for the duration of his stay.

I believe that we have something of the sort already; if businesses are hiring someone from overseas to work for them in this country (and I'm pretty certain that they do this in the US too), then that business has to "sponsor" that employee in order for that migrant to be able to work, i.e. the business has to prove to the government that they have, indeed, given that migrant a job and he will be working for them for a duration of x (after which the work permit expires, although it can be reapplied for).

So, by David's argument, border control is actually more libertarian—assuming a country with its own borders and governmental system (which we have)—not less, as Doctor Vee suggests.

Interesting, no?


Robert said...

John Oliver and Andy Salzman did a show at the festival a couple of years ago, which deal with this.

They worked out that to adequately man the UK coastline, you would need upwards of a hundred thousand extra immigration officers. Add on an extra thrid, to cope with the EU working time directive, and the personnel costs spiral out of control.

Their solution: employ illegal immigrants to do the job on the sly. An Ironic Immigration Policy. Very funny.

Lysias said...

I read in the Telegraph before the election that a Tory policy wonk proposed a bond/sponsership programme for immigrants, that seems closest to the Hoppean non-coercive immigration system I've heard so far. Sounded like a promising policy even if it was impossible in the existing EU-legal framework.

chris said...

Immigrants to the US without a green card do need a US business to sponsor them. The business also has to show that the work could not be done by a US resident. In many Gulf countries you have to have a job to be allowed residency, lose it and you get thrown out in days.

CityUnslicker said...

I agree with the logic of this argument; which is interesting as it is not an argument that I have heard before.

Must go and explain this to the Bulgarians....

Scottish Theorist said...

The notion of a 'sponsor' is surely just a temporary stage until the individual (or immigrant) can contribute to the shared benefits of the state that he has moved to.
The solution : Each individual may not want entire responsibilty for the actions of the new member of the state but each may be willing to provide a fraction of the proportion of the new members demanded contribution.

Mr Eugenides said...

Irwin Stelzer proposes a not wholly dissimilar scheme in today's (Tuesday's) Times comment.

Andrew Ferrier said...

These are good points, and it's good to see them discussed. However, I'm not entirely convinced that the solution as outlined is really libertarian. Libertarianism is about limiting government to the minimum possible (some argue to nil), and reducing the tax impact to near-nil. A government that policies borders, and the welfare system alluded to, are hardly commensurate with that.