Free trade? – and open borders?

Free movement of capital ought to imply free movement of labour. The only people with a right to be able to support having any immigration controls at all are people like me, people such as Greens who do NOT support free movement of capital. It is a cruel joke for free-trade and free-capital-movement fanatics, including the majority of Labour, LibDem, Conservative and UKIP politicians, to call for stricter immigration controls into this country.

If you do not believe in complete abolition of immigration controls, then you ought not to believe in free trade and the abolition of capital and exchange controls.


--    Rupert Read  Green Party Councillor, Norwich.   [If you have an urgent email for me while I am away from a regular computer, you may wish to try contacting me instead on] 

3 thoughts on “Free trade? – and open borders?”

  1. I don’t think it follows that free movement of capital ought to imply free movement of labour. If movement of labour is restricted then it places a constraint on the system which may limit economic growth. However, this constraint would be taken into account by those with capital when deciding where to allocate it.

    Do you mean that if you are the sort of person who believes that a capitalist system is good then you ought to support free movement of labour to be consistent?

  2. Some countries that allow free movement of capital in normal circumstances sometimes restrict it in abnormal circumstances. Governments have the option of imposing controls on capital.

    Restricting movement of labour is a means of control that a government can exert on the population. I guess that it may be harder to stop free movement of labour after you have permitted it. Maybe some governments / political parties are reluctant to let the genie out of the bottle.

    I reckon that in a capitalist system, where there was completely free movement of labour and capital globally, the UK would gradually become a home for the very rich of the world, with poorer people gradually being forced (for economic reasons) to migrate to less pleasant parts of the world to live.

    That would raise interesting democratic issues. If, say, only 10% of the people living in Britain at some point in the future were what we would currently regard as British citizens then how much legitimacy does the British government have? Perhaps of more concern, how much power would it really have in attempting to apply laws?

    So maybe the political philosophy that believes in such freedom of movement of capital is not a simplistic philosophy and recognises some other issues that conflict with it.

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