Video: Why I’m Against Open Borders

In this video, I make my case against open borders. Open border advocates have been doubling down since Hoppe’s talk was released. In it he suggested a halt of mass immigration.

Video Notes:
  • The common argument for open borders is that it is in violation of the NAP to prevent an immigrant from crossing the border. Confused libertines claim that freedom of movement applies here, but, of course, there is no such thing as freedom of movement according to private property norms. In a society based on private property, there is no freedom of movement, only permissibly granted movement by property owners. Of course, you may move freely on your own property.

 

  • Open borders libertarians miss the mark. While it may require force to stop someone from immigrating, the original act of aggression or violation of property rights was the act of the state taxing people to fund the development of public property and infrastructure.

  • Because the state uses stolen resources to fund public property development and infrastructure, the state can’t possibly grant unrestricted access to public property by opening its borders. It isn’t the state’s property to give away. It isn’t unowned property or a general condition of human action, such as air.

 

  • Whether we like it or not, public property is a means. Roads and other infrastructure are means to attaining ends. Because public property is in fact means, not a general condition, it is a scarce resource that is subject to private property norms. Because it is scarce, it can be exclusively possessed and accessed. It should be clearer now that public property is not the property of the state, or unowned property, but the property of tax victims.

  • Austrian economics offers this great insight: To quote Rothbard in Man, Economy, and State, “action does not necessarily mean that the individual is ‘active’ as opposed to ‘passive,’ in the colloquial sense.” For the state to not enforce the borders is in fact action by the state. Refusing to enforce borders is just as much an action as halting immigration. Therefore, if the state were to have open borders, this would be an action constituting an unjust transfer of resources, namely public property, from victims of taxation to an unlimited number of immigrants.

 

  • Such a proposal should be laughed at by any libertarians who understand private property rights to be the foundation of libertarianism.

  • To be clear, this isn’t a consequential argument that it’s better to have closed than open borders for the sake of citizens. My argument is that open borders is logically inconsistent with libertarian ethics.

 

  • If you still don’t agree, follow the chain of the transfer of property. Tax dollars are taken from citizens without permission, making it an illegitimate transfer. Tax dollars are invested in public infrastructure by the state. By granting unrestricted access to public infrastructure with an open border policy, the state would be unjustly inviting newcomers onto property that they do not have a claim to.

 

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Video: Without the State, we would have Child Labor

Would we still have child labor in the US if it wasn’t illegal?

 

Video Notes
  • A common objection to free markets is something like this, “don’t you know history?!? We had a free market during the industrial revolution and all those kids were forced to work dangerous jobs for long hours! Thank goodness the government came along with some sense and made child labor illegal!”
  • Let’s consider this idea that government ended child labor with legislation.
  • Child labor still exists in the world outside of the US. Now, does it still exist abroad because factory owners or parents are evil and want to force children to work? Or is there something else going on that isn’t being considered?
  • We must ask, why were children working in the first place? Of course, child labor has existed historically as a way of supporting a family. Before the industrial revolution, children were likely to be working with their parents on the farm or whatever. Why? Out of necessity. Because the alternative to the child working and helping out the family, is that the family suffers. Before the industrial revolution skyrocketed human productivity, child labor was often necessary for families to survive.
  • So, as the industrial revolution increased human productivity, it became less and less necessary for children to work, as their parents were able to be more productive and earn more income. It was the increase in productivity from the industrial revolution that allowed families to put children in school rather than working.
  • Had the government outlawed child labor before production got to the point where children didn’t have to work to help their families, children would likely have been forced into crime or prostitution or some other way to provide for the family under the radar, because, the fact remains that something must give if a family isn’t able to provide sufficiently for itself. The family will have to get resources from somewhere to maintain its survival and this tends to be with means much worse than child labor.
  • This means that we cannot end child labor around the world by legislating it away. Rather, undeveloped countries need free markets where people can start businesses, hire one another, and become more productive so as to maintain a higher standard of living.

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Video: Who Created Money?

The Austrian School of economics offers us great insight to the question: who or what created money?

Video Notes
  • Carl Menger, founder of the Austrian School of economics, theorized how money came to be in his work, “On the Origins of Money,” published in 1892.
  • Most people tend to assume money was invented or created by some king or some government at some point in history.
  • Menger debunked this idea. For one, he figured that an event so historic as the creation of money would surely have been documented and celebrated. We can see ancient monuments dedicated to the institution of laws or language, but we don’t see ancient monuments dedicated to the institution of money.

  • Menger’s subjective value theory gave him insight into why money wasn’t created by a king or government, but was a result of spontaneous order among people.
  • Money is useful as a medium of exchange because it has purchasing power. So, if a government tried to introduce a medium of exchange to a barter system, they would have to set the exchange rate for various goods and arbitrarily set the purchasing power of the money. It is unlikely that a medium of exchange would become universally accepted and become money, if its purchasing power were arbitrarily set by a government.
  • Menger understood that for something to become money, it must have some preexisting purchasing power. In a barter system, media of exchange would be introduced spontaneously by people over time to facilitate transactions.
  • In a barter system, exchanges can only take place when there is a double coincidence of wants. That is, 2 people want exactly what the other has and an exchange can take place.
  • The introduction of media of exchange is what brought civilization beyond a barter system and led to the creation of money. Over time, the less marketable goods being used as media of exchange would be used less and less until there was one universally acceptable medium of exchange which is money.
  • Historically, this has been gold and silver. These 2 metals have long been demanded as money because of their physical properties that make them very useful as media of exchange.

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Video: The Broken Window Fallacy

The broken window fallacy, introduced by Bastiat in 1850, can still be heard among some mainstream media.

Video Notes

  • However, the broken window fallacy is alive and well as we can see from headlines claiming the destruction from recent hurricanes is a good thing and will stimulate the economy.
  • Of course, breaking a window will create a need for more spending or consumption, just like a natural disaster will create a need for more spending or consumption. The fallacy lies in the belief that destruction can create prosperity.
  • While the broken window creates a job for a window maker who will now be that much better off, it does so at the expense of the barber who must pay to replace the window.
  • Let’s say it costs $100 to replace the window. While the window maker is $100 richer, the barber is $100 poorer because of the broken window. Had the window not been broken by the kids, the barber may not have had to replace that window for years down the road.
  • That means the barber must make an investment that he otherwise wouldn’t have made. Instead of the barber’s $100 being spent on the barber’s business or spent on shoes, for example, that the barber needs, the $100 is misallocated by going to pay for replacing a window that otherwise wouldn’t have been replaced if it hadn’t been broken.
  • So, not only is the barber $100 poorer from the window breaking, but the shoemaker is affected as well because now the barber can’t afford to buy the shoes he wanted before the window incident.
  • The only way this scenario could possibly considered “good” is if the window happened to be broken precisely when the barber was planning on replacing the window. Otherwise, the spending that results from destruction of capital cannot be considered a good thing. Had the destruction not taken place, there would be no need for spending. This does not mean destruction that results in more spending is a good thing. To the contrary, destruction of capital is never a good thing.

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Video: Minarchists Want World Government


Video Notes



  • Minarchy refers to limited government, whereas anarchy refers to no government.
  • Minarchists attempt to justify the need for a state in various ways. However, I think their arguments have unintended implications.
  • One argument that minarchists try to make is that because people don’t always do the right thing or behave morally, there must be a central authority or government to uphold law created by that government. They are essentially claiming that interactions between individuals must be governed by a third party to maintain order in society.
  • So, if minarchists are to be consistent, they should want to have a central authority or government over the individual nations of the world. If a government is required to maintain order between individuals, then why wouldn’t a world government be required to maintain order between countries?
  • The countries of the world are certainly in a state of “anarchy” as there is no central authority uniting of them.
  • Minarchists who believe in secession are inconsistent because if a state can secede from a union, then why not a county? Why not a city? Why not a community? And lastly, why not the individual?
  • The point of this video isn’t to further divide minarchists and anarchists, but to understand that we really share the common goal of limiting government. If limited government is better than big government, why shouldn’t no government be better than little government?
  • Of course, I would much prefer to live under a minimal government than the monster of a state that we have now. But, I prefer to advocate for the privatization of everything from policing to the courts system.
  • Read my article at LessonsInLiberty.net on public and private institutions to learn more about how private and public institutions operate differently.

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Video: Monopoly in a Free Market?

In this video, I respond to the criticism of free markets that says without government intervention, companies will form monopolies and over-charge consumers.

Video Notes
  • A monopoly is a firm who is the exclusive seller of a good or service.
  • Can there be a monopoly in a free market? Sure, but it would be very different than a government-created monopoly.
  • In a free market, a monopoly can only come to be by providing consumers with the best product or service for the best price, assuming there is no foul play going on. Of course, foul play to prevent competition in a free market would be viewed negatively by consumers. With the government able to create legislation that gives certain companies an edge in our current system, it is easy for companies to get away with crony and anti-competitive practices.
  • It is much more common for monopolies to exist because of government granted privilege rather than because of a lack of regulation in an industry. Larger companies frequently lobby the government to pass legislation that they can afford to comply with, but smaller companies can’t. Regulation tends to promote anti-competitive practices.
  • I’m sure anyone who went to public school in the US is familiar with Rockefeller’s Standard Oil monopoly that was “broken up” by the government in 1911. While Standard Oil had a 90% market share in the year 1880, there were competitors trying to emulate Rockefeller’s practices that allowed Standard Oil to be so efficient and hard to compete with.
  • In fact, in the year 1911, Standard Oil’s market share had gone down to between 60 and 65 percent due to competition over the years.
  • While many people fear that profit-seeking business can easily become monopolies without government intervention, it is the profit motive in a free market that encourages other businesses to enter the market and compete.

 

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Video: Is Money the Root of All Evil?

In this video I discuss the fairly popular idea that love of money is the root of all evil. This idea is based on a few fallacious premises.

Video Notes
  •  What is money? Money is simply a medium of exchange that is used to facilitate transactions.
  •  Without a medium of exchange, we can only trade or barter with each other.
  •  Money makes it easier to meet your ends using your available means. If I raise cattle and I want to buy a TV, in a barter system I would have to find a TV owner who happens to want to trade for my cattle. With money introduced, I can sell cattle for a medium of exchange such as gold which I can then use to purchase a TV and whatever else I want.
  •  Money is a tool that we use to make our lives better. The only evil related to money is greed which comes from within individuals and not from money itself.
  •  Are profits evil? In a free market system where government doesn’t interfere in the market, the only way for someone to profit is by offering a good to be bought by consumers. These transactions, of course, are entirely voluntary.
  •  Not only are market transactions voluntary, but they are mutually beneficial. Meaning, both parties profit.
  •  Read my article on subjective value at LessonsInLiberty.net. In any voluntary transaction, both parties value the other’s good more than their own good, thus the exchange is mutually beneficial. Both parties profit in voluntary transactions because value is subjective.
  •  So, profiting is not a zero-sum game. In a free market, one cannot profit at the expense of others because all transactions must be voluntary. In a free market, one cannot get rich by doing harm to others. One can only get rich by providing value to others.



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