Is Migration a Basic Human Right?

Listen now:
(photo: Staff Sargent F. Lee Cockran)

(photo: Staff Sargent F. Lee Cockran)

Season 5, Episode 12

On this week’s episode of Freakonomics Radio: The argument for open borders is compelling — and deeply problematic. We hear from economists for and against the argument as well as immigrants, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

To learn more, check out the podcast from which this hour was drawn: “Is Migration a Basic Human Right?

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William Mcgrath

The story is very typical in American mass media.The talk of an open border only pertains to the United States.The reason for that is the reduction of wages.If the immigrants were lawyers or NPR writers or producers the story would be much different.The concept of a borderless world with worker rights and power is a good one.The most absurd concept to come out of your story is that lower paid workers entering a country in huge numbers will have a positive effect on athat country because it will make existing workers "work harder".It should be clear to any thinking person that that is code for worker intimidation.

Jessie Henshaw

I think he would like it if businesses just filled the money bins outside their doors and didn't keep track of it, on the theory that that is EXACTLY what the cells in our bodied do...! ;-)

Doug Foley

Interesting statement:

"Being a Coptic Christian in Muslim majority Egypt was never easy and as the government grew more Islamist, became outright dangerous." (see audio about common death threats and extortion)

I try to be neutral and open-minded about things like this but if Islam is a religion of peace why is it dangerous to be non-Muslim? And increasingly dangerous the more Islamist the government becomes?

LA Vida e bella

Ah hey doug I'm a Muslim so you want to know about Islam being a religion of peace and then why the death threats I'm not gonna be bised or radical I'm gonna just answer the question you posed and I think you've posed a beautiful question and I'm gonna tell what I think is the gods honest truth remember Doug Islam is a considerably new religion then christianity Muslim states were christian majority countries in fact they are the birth place of christianity and Judaism but then Islam came to a land of Christians Jews and idol worshipers and then there was war and stuff like that Islam prevailed and became so powerful that it conquered the Persian empire and constaintanople the capital of Byzantine empire the people of these conquered lands eventually converted well Muslim domination of these lands spans more than a thousand years and you had to pay a special tax if you were a non Muslim so why the hell not but still there are millions of non Muslims living in Muslim majority countries some of them have held on to there religion and traditions for centuries it's not common to face death threats for being a non Muslim but if you preach christianity burn the Koran or discriminate the prophet of Islam it is common maybe its bad maybe our people do that but I admit most of us would do that now just for a moment imagine your that muslim guy who threatened that Egyptian girl it's because your pissed of because your sister wants to convert to christianity and you don't know anyone else who could have given her the bible Allah your all powerful lord commands you to kill your own sister so you don't let her convert you lock her up force her to pray the Muslim way so that you don't have to kill her that law is there to prevent Muslims from leaving Islam in our history there are stories of father fighting son son fighting father in war stories if i told you can make you cry find me own Facebook LA Vida e bélla



What is missing in the discussion is a better understanding of market forces? People pay a price which reflects the value they place on the good/service received. Labor provides a value. Compare a hard-working immigrant Mexican landscape worker with a hard-working US-born contractor. The former likely provides a better basic service and attitude toward the job than the latter for a given price. The latter likely has better education and could charge more for a different more value-added service. The market decides what price for what value. So the argument that immigrants take away job is not sound. As in landscaping, this is also true in financial services, manufacturing, and sales/marketing. America should not be afraid to compete. Government's role is to provide a level playing field. Eg, if foreigners are allowed to immigrate to the US, Americans should be allowed to immigrate to those same countries. This bi-directional flow of persons permits a flow of technology transfer as well as a price/value transfer, resulting in overall benefits for both countries.