I’m now cruising to Bermuda.  Which has me thinking: In an open borders world, cruising would probably drastically decline.  Why?  Because cruise ships show the logic of open borders in stunted form. 

Think about it: On a cruise ship, people of all nations – and all skill levels – work together.  Top-notch pilots and mechanics from Scandinavia ply their craft alongside cabin stewards and janitors from the Third World.  Via comparative advantage, their cooperation allows them to provide an affordable, high-quality vacation to eager consumers.

So where’s the stunting?  Simple: This cosmopolitan cooperation is illegal on dry land.  Resources therefore pour into the unregulated sector, creating a beautiful tourist experience.  But that’s nothing compared to what laissez-faire could accomplish.

By analogy: Remember the famous private plots of Soviet agriculture?  The socialist government owned all the land… except for a tiny fraction in private hands.  Yet this tiny fraction of private land produced a quarter to a third of Soviet foodstuffs!  All the pent-up potential of Soviet farmers poured into the one legal outlet.  Cruise ships work the same way: Immigration restrictions funnel labor into the one place where humans of all nations can legally work side-by-side.  Loopholes in destructive policies are a good thing, but there’s no substitute for repeal.

P.S. Here are my earlier thoughts on the economics and philosophy of cruising.