By Orem Frien
Well, first of all, Svalbard already has this policy. Anyone can come to Svalbard from anywhere in the world and gain residency there. It just happens that the island is covered in polar bears and frost, only has two “major” cities, and is extremely expensive, which is why very few people take advantage of living there. However, Svalbard is able to maintain this open policy because nobody wants to live there. If people did want to live in Svalbard, then the island would be completely swamped with people who are irreverent towards the historic Norwegian and Russian identities on the island.
From a governing standpoint, there is one basic purpose of statecraft: it is a grant of power to specific individuals with the promise that those individuals will use that power to secure people’s livelihoods. Maintaining borders is an incredible help to securing people’s livelihoods since it allows tracking who is in the country and who is not. It also allows for a risk assessment since individuals from different nations pose different risks that are relatively proportional to which nations they come from.
There is no reason to have completely open borders unless the goals are the following:
- Removing all population from lower-middle class countries (individuals from the poorest countries simply don’t have the small level of wealth needed to travel):
- Creating mass cultural conflicts and hysteria in developed countries – perhaps even leading to civil war since governments are not capable of maintaining order:
- Leading to overcrowding in developed countries and a corresponding severe drop in wages:
- Increasing the crime rate in developed countries (because the police would be overtaxed and unable to monitor all new people) and an increasing crime rate in developing countries since the rapid decrease of population will lead to looting and the crumbling of societal pillars.
Now, this is not to say that “closed borders” à la North Korea is the right option either. I describe my position on semi-permeable borders for US immigration in this Related.