Chapter 8 On Free Trade and Restricted Immigration

Part I

Hoppe begins Chapter 8 but noting that free trade and restricted immigration are "perfectly consistent ...[and] mutually reinforcing policies."

Part II

The case for free trade is "logically unassailable."  The contrary case for protectionism is one that seeks to protect American jobs, which, in order to so do, must require the imposition of tariffs on goods produced in lower wage countries. Hoppe argues that if international protectionism makes economic sense then interstate and even interlocal protectionism also makes sense. Taken to the logical extreme, people would be better off if they never traded at all since the basis of trade is the division of labor and the recognition that a producer of a certain good can do it more efficiently than each individual attempting to produce the good for his own use.

International protectionism would protect American jobs, but it would do so at the cost of reducing American's standard of living (by increasing the cost of goods to Americans).  Further, since American producers would be required by such laws to use American produced goods as part of their inputs, the cost of goods sold internationally by American producers would be higher than the market would otherwise determine.  Consequently, American producers of exported goods would lose market share.

Part III

Hoppe sees an inverse relationship between protectionism and free immigration.  So long as goods can move freely between a lower wage country (such as Mexico) and a higher wage area (such as the USA), capital will migrate freely to Mexico and workers will stay in Mexico where the jobs produced by capital intensive industry are being created.  If the USA imposes tariffs on Mexican goods, then the demand in the USA for the goods will decrease, the jobs in Mexico will decrease and the need for people to immigrate to the USA in order to find work will increase.

Part IV

"To the extent that a high-wage area such as the United States engages in unrestricted free trade, internationally as well as domestically, the immigration pressure from the low-wage countries will be kept low or reduced...[and] the question as to what to do about immigration will be less urgent."

Hoppe sees three strategies for dealing with immigration to the US and Western Europe:

1.  unconditional free immigration (which he sees as intellectually bankrupt and irresponsible);

2.  conditional free immigration; and

3.  restrictive immigration.

Hoppe goes to some length to repudiate the open borders position (unconditional free immigration) advocated by some libertarians, most effectively by Walter Block. (Block acknowledges that unconditional free immigration will result in the social suicide of the West, but sees this as unavoidable if libertarian principals are to be respected). While Block recognizes the disastrous implications for the social order of unrestricted immigration, he argues that everyone (inlander and foreigner) has an equal right to "public" property (which Block equates to un-owned property); however,  Hoppe has already refuted the concept of public property in Chapter 6, Part II since a state can never be the legitimate owner of property.  

The second strategy of conditional free immigration is based on the theory that immigrants are welcome provided that they are excluded from the "domestic welfare entitlements."  The second policy may initially appear less destructive than the first; however, immigrants will still arrive without an invitation from property owners and property owners will still be prohibited from denying them access to their property, i.e. a policy of forced integration is result of the application of the second strategy.

An important distinction between either of the first two policies and a policy of free trade is that free trade requires both a willing buyer and a willing seller.  There is a reciprocal relationship, which is not present when an immigrant arrives without an invitation from the property owner. In such a case, immigrants may be invaders and ought to be repelled by the government pursuant to its duty to protect rights of private property owners 

In considering the third strategy, one must consider "which immigration restriction is the free trader and free marketeer logically compelled to uphold and to promote." Again, Hoppe returns to the concept of ordered anarchy in which "all land is privately owned, including all streets, rivers, airports and harbors. Some lands have titles restricting their use; others have unrestricted use.

In such an order, there can be no unrestricted immigration.  "[T]here exists the freedom of many independent private property owners to admit or exclude others from their property....There will be as much immigration or nonimmigration, inclusivity or exclusivity, desegregation, or segregation, nondiscrimination or discrimination as individual owners or associations of individual owners desire."

In theory (only) a government would enforce the rights that the inlander property owners wanted enforced. Were the government to act so, there would only be as many immigrants invited as the property owners desired and those no one desired would be kept out. That is, of course, not the policy effected by Western governments.

Were a government to attempt to protect the inlanders from forced integration, it could employ either corrective or a preventive measures. A corrective measure would involve reducing the amount of public property in any locality, which would then allow private property owners to admit or deny admission to anyone that they chose.  The more thorough the corrective measure, the less need there would be for preventative measures, such as valid passports and invitations from current property owners at all ports of entry into the desirable local.  The invitation from the private property owner would render the owner liable "for any crimes by the invitee," i.e. the owner will need to carry insurance to cover these risks.  

Hoppe repudiates the idea of birthright citizenship.  Citizenship can only be acquired by the ownership of residential property, which requires a willing seller, which right to acquire might be restricted (as in Switzerland).

In closing he notes he has sought to make the case for "privatization of public property, domestic laissez-faire, and internal free trade" and restrictive immigration.  

 

 


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