Island Economics Scenario and the Case for Open Borders
Earlier today I mentioned my support for open borders and also I would like to add that we should make incredibly easy to become a U.S. citizen. I would further explain this with my view that immigrants would boost and stimulate the economy and grow it. Since I don’t believe that economics is some fight for finite resources between rival tribes, but an effort to find the best means to utilize our resources to ensure optimal efficiency.
Four people are on a deserted island: Jack, Sarah, Carl, Deanna.
The four of them have no way of getting off the island but have discovered that it does have resources that can help them survive. Jack goes off and gathers fish, Sarah decides to build huts, Carl wants to gather fruits and nuts, Deanna creates tools to help all of them. At the end of the day, the group gathers with their resources and begin to exchange. What is the best way to utilize these resources?
Perhaps they can distribute the resources evenly? well, Jack has 8 fish and Sarah has 4 bananas. So does everyone get 2 fish and 1 banana? Also what of the huts Carl has made? Should he make four individual huts (is that a good use of wood)? Should he make one hut since they all know each other, one hut for men and one for woman? Should all the huts be the same or should Carl make Jack’s hut nicer in the hope of getting an extra fish? What of Deanna, she is the one making tools what is her priority fish, shelter, or banana? She is in theory the one who basically has the most power in this group because she creates the tools that the other three need to do their jobs? Why can’t each of them just do everything on their own? Well, imagine taking the time to build a hut, scavenge fruit, make tools and catch a fish. It would require an insane amount of energy and that makes no sense. What if everyone worked on the huts together? That is true but does everyone know how to make a hut? Is Carl an adequate enough teacher to educate his peers? Is he even capable of building a hut or was he just assigned to the job because he could not fish or make tools?
The idea of this scenario is that what the four people are doing is economics, they are attempting to determine the best use of their skills and resources, the value of the goods they have made/gathered and are attempting has this out. This is how markets work as people gather to determine the value of their goods and services in the global economy.
Now let me make this scenario a little different. It has been two weeks and four more people join them on the island. Caleb, Shaniqua, Solomon, Issac.
Caleb is an EMT and did some med school so he is right away able to become the island’s doctor. He is very useful in this regard so does it make sense for him to go off and hunt and fish with Jack, possibly risking his life? Is his Shaniqua joins Sarah as a scavenger and the two together are able to gather more fruit and even some that a single person could not on their own get before. Solomon was a Math teacher but has no discernible skills needed on the isaland, but Deanna allows him to work with her. Solomon notes that Deanna’s tool making abilities and her eagerness to repair tools for the others means she is more well regarded and gets an extra fish from Jack. He also admires her, but feels he could do things differently so after training with her for a while he decides to also make tools.
Issac meanwhile has no immediate skills, he helps Jack and Issac with fishing and hut repair/building, but does not really shine in these areas. Where he has shown his skill though is as a mediator. The people fight on the island and he is usually able to defuse the situation, while his skill here may not be as “obviously” practical, it shows that he is providing the service of counseling to the island. Stepping in to ensure the islanders make good decision.
A week later, another person comes to the island, Matthew. Matthew joins Sarah and Shaniqua with foraging for fruit and veggies but decides he is not needed, but he continues to forage for resources like wood and stones to help Issac, Solomon and Deanna. This mean that he has become a provider of raw materials, for the group and has also made Issac’s life easier so that he can focus more on hut building and repair. Deanna now can work on her tools and try make them better than Solomon’s and vice versa
The point of this scenario is that economics is more about utilization than scarcity, the islanders agree they each have skills and should focus on it, though they could have all worked together to get some of the jobs done (like building the huts), but they felt that Issac should be put in charge of that. Furthermore, everyone’s work becomes easier and new potential businesses (Solomon’s tools and Caleb’s practice) due to an influx of people. Was there skepticism about letting more people in? Yes definitely, but the long run showed the island was improved by each new group. Furthermore, not everyone had immediate or desirable skills for the island but showed they could function within it.
The case for an open border policy or and pro immigrant policy is that each group whether they show immediate potential or not will ultimately improve the economy of the United States. More people will mean more workers, and more workers means the market will grow. Competition will mean an eagerness for improvement and a variety for consumers. Plus a larger tax pool to which we can harvest from. New skills, markets, and variety.
Article from r/Libertarian: For a Free Society