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No exit

There are many countries out-there that prevent their citizens from emigrating. Thankfully enough, those countries are becoming a thing of the past. Partially because of the stupidity of other countries that prevent immigration. In other words, what’s the point of being able to leave a country if you don’t have anywhere to go?


Economic benefits

There are two main reasons why countries prevent emigration:

  • Politics
  • Economics

From a political perspective, politicians want to retain power, but they can only do so if there is country to retain power over. Take China for example. Emigration policies are very tight. Why is it so? Because if they would not be, most intelligent people would have left by now. China would have found itself without entrepreneurs and without know-how and no chance to acquire it. Furthermore, and this is even more important, politicians would have lost face by being disgraced internationally. It is a shame for people to leave your country en-masse.

And so, countries prevent people from emigrating forcing them to become government slaves and to try to be entrepreneurs in a handicapped environment. Politicians do understand that however idiotic their political system may be, people create wealth and they want that wealth. For that, they need people. And so, they trap them within their borders.


By comparison

Let’s assume for a second that magically a world-wide open border intuitive is implemented. People could move freely between countries. Countries experiencing emigration will be economically weakened while countries experiencing immigration will be economically strengthened.

This would necessarily force politicians in the former ones, to change economic policies towards freer markets. This would need to be so, because it would be the only way to stop the avalanche of people leaving. But freer markets involve more freedoms (you can’t have one without the other). Increased freedom means increased analysis of the current political system. Increased analysis implies criticism and criticism leads to ridicule, which leads to loss of power. This is something politicians will never accept.

And so, by a simple process of comparison, politicians can deduct that opening borders in controlling countries will inescapably lead to loss of power. Ergo, it will never happen, at least not in a voluntary fashion.


The benefit

The benefit of open borders for the people in controlling countries is not only that they may leave in search for better opportunities, is that it forces the government to accept freer markets and freer politics. And this is always a good thing.



The Austro-Libertarian view

Libertarians view the world as plagued by invalid governments. That much is clear. Therefore, if we abolish all governments, we end up with two possible scenarios:

  • Austro-Libertarian territories
  • No Austro-Libertarian territories

If there is a state of affairs where countries dissolve completely, then private property rules absolutely. Immigration, or to be more precise, migration of people from geographical location A to geographical location B is limited by the selling/purchasing and renting of properties. Whether or not a person could migrate depends fully and only on available properties at the destination point. This is only fair since a property exchange of any shape or form can only be executed through voluntary contracts. If you wish to migrate, you will have to secure some sort of property.

This seems harsh, but you must consider that the process of securing a property (i.e. purchase or rental) is a highly lucrative enterprise. Therefore, there will be a thriving market directed at providing just that. This will make migration an easy endeavor.

In a more evolved state of affairs, one where Libertarian territories may be established, migration of people may be subjected to the contractual rules of the owners of such territories. We have seen what these territories may look like in our lesson Austrian-Territories Of Our Own. The crucial difference between such a territory and a country is that belonging to them is purely a voluntary act, subject to a specific contract and as such, there may be exit clauses or failing that, rejection and/or repudiation. In other words, there is always a way out. In such a territory, entry and exit rules may be established for non-property owners by property owners, in the same manner as contractual conditions are established between property owners and renters. You may paint your apartment but you may not add a window. If you wish to stay in our territory, you must have a specific income or rent only in specific locations or being religious or anything else people may wish to agree on. Nothing new or revolutionary here.

In the end, whether there are Libertarian territories or not, migration is always reduced to voluntary contractual agreements which people may or may not accept.

There are no subjective rules dictated by arbitrary politicians and their bureaucratic drones.

Migration is free as in freedom of thought, not as in free lunch. This is so because whether we like it or not, we are economic beings. Things are scarce and therefore there are not free lunches. However, this does not imply that there should be undesirable intermediaries in our lunch purchasing activities stealing our money.



Immigration policies are simply artifacts imposed to us by politicians and bureaucrats. They only serve to keep them in their jobs at the cost of everyone’s wealth. Immigration control is objectionable from a Libertarian perspective, but it is also objectionable from a “standard” economic perspective. You don’t have to believe in Austrian Economics to understand that open borders will benefit you in the mid and long term.

Immigration control may be positive or negative for governments, but it is always negative for people. This is the ultimate truth and it is uncontestable.

You now own yet another small piece of the puzzle. It is up to you to assemble the full picture… or not. Your choice.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.


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