Some say to me “Ah open borders is nice theoretically; it would be feasible in a world where people were good like you and me, but that's not the case.”
Well... I don't need to answer that argument; Sir Elton John has answered it:
“People are the same wherever you go.
There is good and bad, in everyone...”
If you claim that the words of Elton John are true at the beginning of life, but it changes given a certain cross-section of time and according to a country... I'd say, I might seem like a good person to you while others may seem bad, but that's only because I have not been put in such a dire situation to bring out the worst in me. I have no reason to blow up anybody. I have no reason to kill. I have no reason to steal. I have no reason to resort to swindling or violence. These things I have no reason for. So don't let the politicians, the leaders of the world give anybody reason for these things!
Sure, people are different too wherever you go. We all develop different traits according to our environments and our own nature. People living in scarce environments, living in the heat of Africa cannot be expected to develop the same habits people who live in the harsh winter conditions of Siberia. Your circumstances shape you, naturally. The environment you grow up in shapes you. It's not only being raised in a rich family either. Being raised in a rich family in a poor country or being rich in a rich country is different too. Or vice versa, being poor in a poor country or being poor in a rich country. People in “poor” countries tend to learn to share more, learn to be more grateful etc. When you have everything under your hand, you tend to under-appreciate the small things and are inclined to be discontent. Everything is relative.
“Paese che vai, gente che trovi.” The Italian saying goes. “Country you go to, people you find.”
There are the hard-working Chinese and the lazy Italians as I joke with my husband. There are the punctual Germans and the always late, no-sense-of-time Italians. But these are only generalizations. Just like talking about East and West... These are all sweeping generalizations and stereotypes. It's not wrong, generalizations serve a purpose too; however, the point is not to get too carried away with any generalization and be aware of the limits and misleadings. Be aware of the shortfalls of language; don't let it tell you the biggest lie. Even the northern Italians and southern Italians are different. In the end, we are all individuals with no one matching another in character, values, expectations, beliefs, etc.
Societies and cultures are different but people, on the individual level, are the same. Or rather, same but different. Or different but the same. It's up to our surroundings/our environment to bring out the good or the bad -we all have the good and the bad inside us, it cannot be denied. We also all have the same basic needs and mostly want the same basic things in life. Exceptions do not break the rule.
Then there is the Sufi story where one goes somewhere and finds people to be the same of his reflection...
In short... Feel free to paint everybody with the same brush if you will. But do not taint people with the same brush. It's bad.
PS: “Are people the same or not?” “Are we good or bad?” These are questions that may require deep philosophical discussions as they are too general and vague.
Shall we just go for Depeche Mode, People Are People...?