What We Owe Immigrants
When I re-wrote a scene from The Edukators, I was expecting some opponent of immigration to try to use it against me. Dennis Mangan has taken the bait:
Toward the end, we get this:
Jan: Now you’re changing the subject. Why don’t you give away your riches to the poor?
Hardenberg: Simple. Because they’re strangers and I don’t owe them anything. It may not be their fault that they’re poor, but it’s certainly not mine. And unless you quit being a bum, get the highest-paying job you can, and hand over all your earnings above your basic needs to the poor, you’re going to have to give same answer.
Which reminds me of nothing so much as Dr. Caplan’s position on immigration, viz. that the world’s poor would be better off if they immigrated here, and that we have the duty to take their plight into consideration. My reply to that is exactly what the rich man says: why is it my problem? “They’re strangers and I don’t owe them anything. It may not be their fault that they’re poor, but it’s certainly not mine.”
Suppose two men, John and Julio, are heading to a job interview. Julio tells John: “I need this job more than you do. Please drop out of the race so I get it.” It’s perfectly reasonable for John to make Hardenberg’s reply: “No. You’re a stranger and I don’t owe you anything.” At this point, Mangan and I are in full agreement.
But suppose instead that John handcuffs Julio to a tree to prevent him from going to the interview. Julio says “Let me go. I deserve a shot at this job too.” At this point, it’s ludicrous for John to reply, “No. You’re a stranger and I don’t owe you anything.” Julio isn’t demanding help; he’s just demanding that John leave him alone. And if John were to object, “You’re not leaving me alone. That job is MINE, and you’re trying to steal it from me!” we’d have to answer, “The job isn’t yours. It’s up to the owner of the business to decide who he wants to employ.”
All of this is obvious to any upright 10-year-old. You’re under no obligation to give your toys away to less fortunate kids, but you’re certainly not allowed to steal toys from less fortunate kids.
Unfortunately, if the victims happen to be born in another country, most adults don’t have the moral sense of a 10-year-old. Don’t want to help poor foreigners? Fine. But at least leave them free to sell their labor to willing employers, rent apartments from willing landlords, and buy goods from willing merchants.
Jul 5 2006 at 4:13pm
I’m not entirely sure as to why yet, but somehow I feel that there is difference between controlling the border of a nation-state and tying a competitor to a tree.
Jul 5 2006 at 5:20pm
“Unfortunately, if the victims happen to be born in another country, most adults don’t have the moral sense of a 10-year-old. ”
Neither do most employers. That’s the problem.
Right now Julio has John not only tied to the tree, he is also wielding a chainsaw. If John must be subject to moral choices, so too must the business owner face the moral choice of declining to employ a footpad.
But to an economic totalitarian like Dr. Caplan, business owners are demigods, Neitzschean Supermen, exempt from moral choices. In that worldview, it’s OK for one set of scofflaws to treat with another set of scofflaws because, dudes, they’re all making us richer!
Thus spake Hayekthustra – and if Dr. Caplan is so upset by quite mild criticism of opinion that he put in the public domain of his own accord, then perhaps his beliefs are less secure than he might like his readers to imagine.
Jul 5 2006 at 5:48pm
Okay Mr. Caplan, I’m pro-immigration, but I think your analogy can be used to bite you.
You’ve stated that a group of individuals have no moral obligation to use their property to help others. If they choose to do so, fine and good, but there’s nothing ethically wrong with failing to do so.
However, isn’t a country simply the property of its citizens (through its government)? Hence, the citizens of the country may indeed choose not to aid non-citizens without fear of being called the moral equivalent of a 10 year old.
The “tie to a tree” analogy only holds if you believe that citizens have no right of property over their own country, something I suspect most would not agree with.
Personally, I believe the analogy holds in that those with wealth *do* have an ethical obligation towards the poor as do wealthy countries towards outside populations. The question, of course, is in degree of obligation.
Jul 5 2006 at 7:07pm
John didnt tie Julio to a tree in reality.
In reality Julio came into Johns house (welfare, taxes, free education), took his job (affirmative action) and dictated how he should run his household (lobbying and political maneuveuring).
Jul 5 2006 at 8:36pm
Tom West: Yes, if you concede that a country is the property of its people. I, personally, would not. A “country” is not tangible; it is a word used to designate a geographical area in which a certain number of people people share a government and various organizational laws. The land itself, at least in the United States, is not any single person or entity’s property. Only portions of it are. Moreover, we recognize that the laws governing that land can infringe on personal rights–they can be either just or unjust.
Professor Caplan’s analogy undoubtedly comes from a perspective of methodological individualism. Collective words like “country” and “people” don’t tell us a lot about literal property rights, association, or trade. Though we use such figurative language to explain messy concepts–Caplan even said that Germany and America trade a lot in his Edukators post, as if such a thing is possible–it doesn’t explain reality.
Jul 5 2006 at 11:04pm
Tom West asks, “However, isn’t a country simply the property of its citizens (through its government)?”
No. The way that the government came to control the country, violence, is not a legitimate means of coming to own property. If it were, we would have to say that a car thief actually owns the car he just stole.
You’d be a lot more persuasive if you criticized the views that people actually expressed.
John S Bolton
Jul 6 2006 at 12:23am
There is no right to hostile immigration; but we do owe loyalty to our countrymen, when they’re attacked by foreigners here.
The foreigner cannot be assumed to have peacable intent in the welfare societies of today.
Neither has there ever been a society in which it could be assumed that an incoming foreigner has negligible chance of being an aggressor.
How is it that the impediment to per capita growth arising from mass immigration, described by Solow, gets the Winston Smith treatment by economists today?
Are scholars no longer loyal to the advancement of civilization, and its requirement of continued per capita growth?
How could the fictitious needs of the foreigner to reproduce at grossly irresponsible rates, and drop off the excess on the welfare societies which today are still capable of contributing to the advancement of civilization, while most of the third world, is not, come first, then?
John S Bolton
Jul 6 2006 at 12:32am
Similarly, what right has the employer to summon ‘Julio’s’ dependents with him?
It is not worker vs. workers and employers, really, but newly imported recipients of net public subsidy, to whom we owe nothing; vs. the net taxpayer of our own nation, to whom we owe allegiance, when he is attacked by foreigners here.
Jul 6 2006 at 5:00am
What it it that entitles my countrymen to my loyalty? Last I checked they don’t own me and I never took any loyalty oath.
Jul 6 2006 at 5:25am
A “country” is not tangible; it is a word used to designate a geographical area in which a certain number of people people share a government and various organizational laws. The land itself, at least in the United States, is not any single person or entity’s property.
I’d say a country is as real as a company. Both have assets, rules governing their behavior, and methods by which their owners may attempt to exercise control of the entity. (I’d also argue that citizens have *better* control over their country that most stock holders have over their company…)
I’m sorry, but I really don’t see how a company and a country are that distinguishable for purposes of Bryan’s analogy.
The store owner may hire who he wants, *unless* I own the mall the store is in and get to decide who is allowed on the property.
Jul 6 2006 at 8:10am
If Mr. Caplan’s arguments were anywhere near correct then all countries would be the same and that the culture of a country would have no affect on the quality of life of the inhabitants.
If Mr. Caplan was anywhere near correct on the economic benefit on immigrants then he would be moving to El Paso Texas because of the high quality of life there and the ease in gaining wealth due to the hard work of all of the immigrants. Of course, in reality, El Paso is a backwater that virtually every non-hispanic has already fled with lousy schools, high unemploment, and high crime.
Julio brings more to the US than just his 9cheap)labor. He brings his culture, his beliefs, his actions, and the effects of the history of his native country. Thus, the effect of Julio coming to this country, (illegally and in large numbers) is to establish the culture and belief systems of Julio’s native country.
Jul 6 2006 at 8:37am
Omer K points to what I think is the major confusion of the immigration debate: welfare.
If immigrants came to the country to be productive; i.e. to work, buy groceries, homes, education, medical care, etc. their only difference is their nationality. The government’s enforcement a welfare system of “public” education, “free” medical care, etc. has made the immigrant potentially non-productive, who lives at the expense of others. The issue is not immigration per se, but the welfare system.
Without the welfare system, the economic arguments supporting immigration hold true. Without the welfare system, John and Julio are able to choose their employers (demigods) and vice versa without burdening any other property owner.
Jul 6 2006 at 8:50am
I hope that in the future my children will have the luxury of being horrified by the expression of a view like Tom West’s, that a country is “the property” of its people. This is the old Hobbesian, absolutist notion of sovereignty, according to which the land and people are the property of the sovereign. 18th-century textbooks used to teach schoolchildren that if the King of Prussia so wished, he could order everyone’s noses cut off, and it was thanks to his generosity that people had the benefit of keeping those appendages. These ideas get submerged for a while, but then along comes the immigration debate and they come crawling out of the woodworks. The idea of sovereignty is so widespread in the world today that you have to get used to it. Let’s try to work for a better world, where our children can read about views like Tom West’s in history books and be horrified by them.
Jul 6 2006 at 9:07am
In my experience most of these immigrants aren’t looking for a new country, they want to make a decent wage. They end up working here for eight to ten years, go back home and start a business for themselves. Why not impel them to pay taxes(which would mitigate the free education and healthcare problem) including Social Security for which they would receive zero benefits, the cost of working here,(which would mitigate the Boomer problem) and document them all(which would mitigate our security problem).
Jul 6 2006 at 9:10am
In a village, there is an elderly couple owning a huge piece of land. There are a some landless labors in a nearby village.
If they do not exchange their land and labor, there will be no production. Both groups will go hungry. If they exchange their land and labor, food is produced. Both parties take their fair share and live life and derive utility out of it. Temporary immigration is : win-win game.
If the landless people are to settle in the land of the elderly couple, then they own the land. No need to give the share to the elderly couple.(publis school, medicaid, medicare, social security and all other things can be claimed because they are the owners now). Elderly people will die. Is it fair? Fair because might is right. Unfair because there is invasion.
My point: guest worker policy may be right. Permanent immigration policy can be possible only after the death of the elderly couple if their offspring do not show up to claim the land. Plus, I propose immigration tax which goes to the pension fund of the elderly couple (I mean social security fund). So, guest worker program is a solution to the financing problem of social security. The workers may bring their kids to the workplace if they have no babysitters. But there is no point that those kids should get the ownership of the land of the elderly couple (I mean, no need to give permanent residency or citizenship.).
Citizens have property right of the country because first settlers (who came and became citizens before this time) established their terriroty like a tiger or lion establishes territory in wilderness.
But the fact is: When workers come, they fall in love with the land. They bring kids with them. Kids fall in love with the land. They expand their culture plus they learn the new culture. So, a non-violent invasion takes place, be it being a construction worker, nanny or University professor. And it is right on the part of the invaded to protect their land, assets and culture by opposing immigration. It is right on the part of the invaders that any country in the world always belonged to the invaders. At least, this time, it is nonviolent invasion.
My conclusion: Fight hard against immigration if you can. If you can’t, then try to be accommodative by exchanging resources on a competitive manner. Try to have favorable terms of trade. If neither of them, then accept reserves or slow death.
(this is my first attempt to participate in this great forum).
Jul 6 2006 at 9:33am
I haven’t read all of the lengthy posts above so forgive me if someone else already made this point.
But it seems that the analogy of John tying Julio to the tree is not exactly right.
John didn’t tie Julio to the tree; rather, John found Julio tied to the tree. Now suppose that John just happens to have the key to the handcuffs in his back pocket. It would cost him 5 seconds and no more to free Julio. Should he do it?
Also, the job interview is problematic. It makes it seem like a zero-sum game. The truth is that freeing Julio would make John richer even as it would make Julio A LOT richer.
Lesson: Pareto gains are hard to analogize.
Jul 6 2006 at 10:26am
If it’s a property issue, then I, as a property owner within the US should have the right to allow an immigrant onto my property to do work for me. That property is owned by me, not the US government, yet the government dictates that I can’t do that without its permission.
I would wholeheartedly support the rights of property owners to make rules. But if we say that it’s a property owner’s right not to allow someone on their property, it’s also that owners right to allow someone on. But anti-immigration respects only one of those rights. To me it seems unreasonable that the US government to prevent me from exercising my property right to employ someone from another country.
Jul 6 2006 at 11:17am
Well, in my example, if the village council/ or the city council stops you from hiring workers you want, you got the right to vote against them or die.
Jul 6 2006 at 12:58pm
I live in Arizona and one thing you must remember, this culture of the immigrants who are coming over is already ingrained in this area. And if we want to get technical, who invaded who? Many Hispanic families had their private property expropriated and given to white people in this area. And now they want to pick our chili peppers when no one else will do it. I don’t see a problem.
Jul 6 2006 at 2:18pm
Tom West: Again, you are using a figure of speech that may be useful for an analogy but is literally false. You do not, under any law or reading of law that I know of that I know of, have de facto ownership of everyone or anyone else’s property simply because you are a citizen of this country. Yes, an entity such as a company or a government can be legally recognized as owning property, as I mentioned before. But “the people”–by which, of course, we really mean “a majority of citizens”–is not legally one such entity. By most understandings of our government and law that I’m familiar with, you do not have partial ownership of my house because you are a member of a large voting group.
Jul 6 2006 at 4:38pm
But suppose instead that John handcuffs Julio to a tree to prevent him from going to the interview. Julio says “Let me go. I deserve a shot at this job too.” At this point, John replies, “You’re trying to drive to the interview IN MY CAR! I’m calling the police.”
But then Julio, who got a B.A. in economics at George Mason, says, “But how dare you appeal for help to an American government agency! By what moral right does the Fairfax County Sherrif’s office have the right to prevent me from freely exercising my autonomy just because we’re within arbitrary lines drawn on a map. And what is this “registration” that you keep waving with your name on it other than a piece of paper issued by some other immoral government agency?”
Then John, who got a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason, says, “Oh, my God, you’re right!. I’m so sorry. Here’s the keys to the car. And here’s $50 to fill it up.”
Jul 6 2006 at 6:20pm
When will EconLog notice
A. That their beloved property rights don’t enforce themselves, but depend upon a political community.
B. That there are more than 6 billion foreigners on Earth, and that 5 billion of them live in countries with lower average per capita GDP’s than Mexico’s?
C. That immigration is not like trade because immigrants come with massive externalities?
D. That Americans, being a civilized people, will never adopt a system of pure laissez-faire for immigrants, but will continue to provide them with medical care, policing, education for their children, and the like
Jul 6 2006 at 6:25pm
Gentlemen, I think we’re straying very far from Bryan’s analogy here. Bryan’s claim is that those who prevent Julio from applying for the job are unfairly restraining him. i.e. they do not have the right to actively restrain him from seeking a job.
This has *nothing* to do with Julio’s culture, worthiness, criminal record, etc., and thus in debating the correctness of Bryan’s analogy, all arguments to that end are entirely specious. The citizens either have the right or they do not.
Bryan’s argument (as I understand it) is that citizens (through their government) do not have the rights over their country that a property holder has over his property (among which are the right to decide who enters).
My claim is that the citizens *do* have a natural right to make laws concerning their territories in the same manner that one has property rights over one’s own property.
Note, that this doesn’t necessarily impinge on the rights of property holders within the country. Perhaps a better analogy is the condominium owner. He owns his property, but he is subject to other overall constraints set by the body of owners, of which he is a member.
By the way, let me make it clear. While I argue that citizens of a country *do* have the right to restrain immigration, I am *not* in favour of severe limits on immigration. Having the right does not imply approval of the exercise of that right.
So Bryan, going to defend your analogy from this moral 10, sorry, 9-year old?
Jul 6 2006 at 6:47pm
Mr. Smith, I’m confused. Are you claiming that the citizenry *doesn’t* have the right to govern itself?
If so, what do you propose as the replacement for the right of a people to govern themselves. To be honest, I can see only anarchy or external rulership, neither of which look very attractive to me.
To me it seems unreasonable that the US government to prevent me from exercising my property right to employ someone from another country.
If I understand the implication, are you saying that the country does *not* have the right to make laws denying access to non-citizens? My claim would be that you have the right to hire the person, but not the right to automatically have him reside within the country. That right rests with the people (who I hope would allow him that right).
You do not, under any law or reading of law that I know of that I know of, have de facto ownership of everyone or anyone else’s property simply because you are a citizen of this country.
Um, just about every law on the books is an expression of the right of the government to interfere with *someone’s* property, so the government manifestly claims the right to limit your rights of property. And if rights derive from ownership, then in small way I do have partial ownership over everything in my country.
However, realistically speaking, we’re talking about non-privately owned elements. And since there are no privately owned elements that can survive on their own (i.e. can realistically exercise sovereignty), there is a defacto control by the state over all property.
Even in the United States, the protection of the Constitution only exists as long as the people do not choose to vote for its repeal.
John S Bolton
Jul 7 2006 at 4:13am
Also, if the foreign hiree steps on a landmine while crossing the border anarchistically, may the employer sue his own government, which planted the mine?
This demonstrates that the employer or landlord who summons an illegal alien, has no right to fulfillment of such an agreement.
Regarding the responsibility of loyalty to fellow nationals when foreigners attack, someone who publicly forswears that, is also deportable.
For some reason, anarchists are not found giving up their citizenship this way.
It wouldn’t be because none of them are honest in such beliefs, though, would it?
Jul 7 2006 at 12:43pm
“Regarding the responsibility of loyalty to fellow nationals when foreigners attack, someone who publicly forswears that, is also deportable.
For some reason, anarchists are not found giving up their citizenship this way.
It wouldn’t be because none of them are honest in such beliefs, though, would it?”
No it would be because you’re an idiot that has no concept of what legal citizanship actually is. Refusing loyalty to joe down the street is not legally equivalant to renouncing citizenship. Now I suppose you can campaign to make citizenship laws more nationalist and socialist, and there is gruesome historical parallel, but thats not the way most citizenship laws work today.
Jul 7 2006 at 5:04pm
We may or may not want immigrants, but we certainly don’t want reluctant immigrants. Get rid of all import barriers, have totally free trade and then see how many people actually want to leave their families and cultures behind for an uncertain life in the west. Practise what we preach on free trade: give people a chance to develop in their own country.
Jul 8 2006 at 5:36pm
We have a political system in which we elect representatives. Generally speaking it is expected that they will do what the majority wants. It is clear that the majority wants immigration reduced. Why should our representatives not follow those desires and reduce immigration?
It seems clear to me that elites, for various reasons, want more immigration. This is clearly a contest between the elites and the common citizens of the US.
Jul 9 2006 at 8:57am
A completely false, fallacious and rubbish argument.
The right of private property and the forbidding of trespass upon private property are THE fundamental building blocks of classical free-market economics.
For example I cannot invite myself into Bill Gates’ mansion start sleeping in his bed, eating his food and swimming in his pool and summarily declare myself an employee of Mr.Gates.
Try it you like and see what the reaction will be.
Jul 9 2006 at 11:13am
It’s silly I think to contrast “violent” immigration restrictionists and “non-violent and moral” pro-immigration advocates. Markets cannot function in the way they would in a world where all relations were voluntary and founded on market principles. In such a society, markets could create the equivalent of large subdivisions, where groups could associate and disassociate from whoever they wanted.
There is little ability through the market to express a desire not to live in the vicinity of the large masses of proletarian immigrants who have come in recent years, not least because of the presence of public spaces and the operation of housing discrimination laws. Likewise, in a pure market-based society, property rights, deed restrictions, and other decentralized actions could create a variety of exclusions that are inexpressible under the current order. To speak frankly, people could find ways in a true “market” society to avoid Mexicans and other immigrants like the plague, but there’s almost no way to do so now. Markets are inoperable here, so laws must take their place. And in the absence of a functioning market, democratic rule-making mimics what would happen if the country were, in fact, a large home owners association. We’re comfortable with democratic control of other market property–home owners associations, corporations–why not here? Perhaps it should be proportional to wealth, but what kind: real property, assets, etc.? It’s probably the best compromise to deal with this common property–the country’s common spaces and common border–democratically.
The Austrian School of Economics has done a great deal to show that the free market principles at work among today’s immigration enthusiasts are pseudo-principles, even setting aside the issue of the strain such newcomers present to our generous welfare state. They are pseudo-principles, because they recognize all wealth is subjective and that means the “wealth” impact of one’s displeasure for Mexicans or one’s displeasure at Mexican crime, poor people and their decrepid Third World values, and all the rest must be given equal weight to Tyson Chicken’s desire to pay its workers Third World wages.
Our immigration crisis is not a conflict between free market and democratic principles. In reality, it is a conflict between certain market participants and their prerogatives against a large mass of people who have already expressed their will through laws to disallow these transactions. The Julio example is bad, because Julio is trespassing. It’s one thing to chain someone to a tree. It’s quite another to build a fence around a certain plot of land and say, “Stay out.” That’s what’s happened here. And, more important, this fence is legitimate, particularly as it relates to strangers. It’s no more violent or illegimate than the fence around an exclusive piece of property owned in common.
Jul 9 2006 at 10:59pm
Six legged insect,
If you want to cite the argument that some Austrians have made against immigration, you should learn what it is.
“To speak frankly, people could find ways in a true “market” society to avoid Mexicans and other immigrants like the plague, but there’s almost no way to do so now.”
Austrians have generally been clear that adding more interventions to cope with the consequences of existing interventions is a bad idea.
“They are pseudo-principles, because they recognize all wealth is subjective and that means the “wealth” impact of one’s displeasure for Mexicans or one’s displeasure”
Read Hans Hoppe’s “A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism.” You’ll find that this Austrian denies that you have any right to the subjective value of your property, only to its physical integrity. The argument that some Austrians have made against immigration is not the one you have in mind. I doubt that any would argue that state force should be invoked against immigration just because it diminishes someone’s subjective well being.
“And, more important, this fence is legitimate, particularly as it relates to strangers. It’s no more violent or illegimate than the fence around an exclusive piece of property owned in common.”
Except that the people who want to put up a fence do not have a common ownership claim to the land that they want to fence in and they most certainly do not have a claim to my property. If I invite Julio on to my land, you have no right to build a fence to stop him. You may build a fence to keep Julio from crossing your land to get here, but that’s it. Unless you own a continuous patch of land which wraps around the globe in a circle between Julio’s home and mine, the only argument you can make from property rights is that you are entitled to stop Julio from certain potential travel paths. The conclusion you want is much stronger: that you are entitled to stop Julio from ever making it onto other people’s property.
Jul 10 2006 at 12:12am
Ah, James, must we begin with juvenile name attacks. Roach is my family name.
In any case, the Austrian theory of value is that wealth is subjective. That is rising wages, my desire to avoid Third worlders and congestion, and someone else’s love of planned communities are equal economic values. They should and could all be expressed in an anarcho-capitalist society. In the current milieu, rising wages alone does not prove a particular transaction is wealth-maximizing if it is offset by other, greater harms that are not included in traditional economic calculations. In this sense, the Austrians echo the Ronald Coase argument of equal and opposite externaliteis in the Problem of Social Cost.
Second, Hoppe has basically made the argument I’ve made in his article “On Free Immigration and Forced Integration.”
He wrote, among other things, “To libertarians of the Austrian school, it should be clear that what constitutes “wealth” and “well-being” is subjective. Material wealth is not the only thing that counts. Thus, even if real incomes rise due to immigration, it does not follow that immigration must be considered “good,” for one might prefer lower living standards and a greater distance to other people over higher living standards and a smaller distance to others. ”
“Instead, a second, related shortcoming will be the focus here. With regard to a given territory into which people immigrate, it is left unanalyzed who, if anyone, owns (controls) this territory. In fact, in order to render the above argument applicable, it is – implicitly – assumed that the territory in question is unowned, and that the immigrants enter virgin territory (open frontier). Obviously, this can no longer be assumed. If this assumption is dropped, however, the problem of immigration takes on an entirely new meaning and requires fundamental rethinking.”
Hoppe notes that the current policy far from being one of de facto free migration impeded by state violence, actually is a form of state violence to coerce integration. He concludes, “What should one hope for and advocate as the relatively correct immigration policy, however, as long as the democratic central state is still in place and successfully arrogates the power to determine a uniform national immigration policy? The best one may hope for, even if it goes against the “nature” of a democracy and thus is not very likely to happen, is that the democratic rulers act as if they were the personal owners of the country and as if they had to decide who to include and who to exclude from their own personal property (into their very own houses). This means following a policy of utmost discrimination: of strict discrimination in favor of the human qualities of skill, character, and cultural compatibility.”
I agree. And I think he basically shows that you don’t the Austrians as well as you think you do.
Jul 10 2006 at 1:19am
Austrians like Rothbard and Walter Block actually severely dissagreed with Coase’s best known idea, the Coase theorem. See here: http://www.mises.org/journals/jls/1_2/1_2_4.pdf
Jul 10 2006 at 3:15am
Sorry about the name; I though it was a self chosen nickname or something.
I really appreciate you quoting Hoppe as it is now clear that he directly contradicts his own views. Either he’s right in “On Free Immigration and Forced Integration” or he’s right in “A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism” where he claims that a person only has a right to the physical integrity of their property, not its subjective value.
Jul 10 2006 at 9:38am
I belive Hoppe does not contradict himself. He notes according to someting like the marginal theory of value that every participant in the market values things differently and has subjective values that may deviate quite far from market prices. This is wny markets are often wealth-maximizing; I can get a bargain when I idiosyncraically value things like ’77 Pintos and old Apple II computers.
On the other hand, for a system of property rights to be workable, it must have some objective referent, and the physical invasion text is more easily administered than a system that aimed deliberately to preserve market “value” as in certain zoning schemes. I believe there is no contradiction.
Jul 13 2006 at 8:28am
What puzzles me about this comparison and debate is that the immigrants want to come here because they want to make use of our system, and yet you’re proposing to destroy the system for their sake. Why do we offer so many opportunities that poor Mexicans cannot get at home? Because we have a better system (political, legal, financial, economic) then they have.
You’re saying that the system that was developed and enforced by US citizens doesn’t have the right to exist, and that foreigners should be free to violate it whenever they find such violations convenient. But this will only kill the goose that we’ve taught to lay golden eggs, when it’s the eggs that they’re coming for to begin with.
Without the rule of law, our system will fall apart. Your argument – that enforcing laws is equivalent to tying someone to a tree – pretends to give illegal immigrants what they want, but in the end it hurts all of us.
At least I assume that you’re talking about the ‘rights’ of illegals to force their way in, regardless of current laws, since legal immigrants are already allowed to compete for jobs.
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