Economic theory, common sense and simulation exercises clearly show that it can be best done by allowing free movement of people.
Ah, but if you’re Branko Milanovic, an economist and specialist on inequality, you’re wondering about a Gallup finding showing that if freedom of movement were absolute, some countries “could lose up to 90 percent of their populations,” and therefore “may cease to exist.” Get this:
So, what?—it could be asked. If Chad, Liberia and Mauritania cease to exist because everybody wants to move to Italy and France, why should one be concerned: people have freely chosen to be better off in Italy and France, and that’s all there is to that. But then, it could be asked, would not disappearance of countries also mean disappearance of distinct cultures, languages and religions? Yes, but if people do not care about these cultures, languages and religions, why should they be maintained?
Destroying the variety of human traditions is not costless, and I can see that one might believe that maintaining variety of languages and cultures is not less important that maintaining variety of the flora and fauna in the world, but I wonder who needs to bear the cost of that. Should people in Mali be forced to live in Mali because somebody in London thinks that some variety of human existence would be lost if they all came to England?
He’s got this all backwards. Don’t the English, the Italians, and the French who already happen to be living in England, Italy, and France have a say here? Should people in England, France, and Italy be forced to lose their country and its culture because tens of millions of Third World people prefer to leave their miserable countries and move to countries where the people who have been living there for many centuries have made a much better place for themselves to live?
It’s really quite bizarre that the views of the people whose countries would be overrun by foreigners who don’t share their history or culture don’t factor into this economist’s analysis. The natives would lose their nation as a nation. I don’t particularly care if Mali or Mauritania cease to exist as nations because all the Malians and Mauritanians have left for Europe. I don’t blame others for caring, mind you, but I don’t. But I very much care if Britain, France, or Italy ceases to exist in anything like their present form because they have been overwhelmed by invaders from very different cultures. It tells us something important, most likely, that this university economist didn’t think to be concerned about what the invaded stand to lose if his dream of the free and uninhibited movement of peoples were to come true.