The above is an excerpt from the book Exodus: How Migration is Changing Our World (titled Exodus: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century for its UK release) by Paul Collier, an Oxford professor of economics, published in 2013 by Oxford University Press.
I'm sorry to say but Collier has got it all wrong. It's exactly the other way around! Let alone a clear one, there definitely is no moral obligation to help very poor people who live in other countries or in our countries either. I myself may and do feel obligated to help because otherwise I cannot enjoy the blessings I have been given; however, I do not see that as an obligation for everyone.
On the other hand, Collier claims “the obligation to help the poor cannot imply a generalized obligation to permit free movement of people across borders.” Of course that is true, the implication that is. Helping the poor has got nothing to do with free movement, they are two unrelated entities. Collier's main assumption again starts from the wrong base, he connects the wrong dots. “obligation to permit free movement of people across borders”... The important point he misses is that nobody, I mean NOBODY, that is we, the “Western” “civilized” people in this case, DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT to block the movement of people in the first place!
Just like Collier starts with the wrong assumption, taking the status quo as the correct one when arguing about “the right to work” in his Guardian article of “Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error”, he makes the same mistake here. That's the trap the reputable professor Collier falls into. Just like nobody has any right... I mean they do but they shouldn't! have any right to prevent anybody from getting a job, nobody should have the right to block anybody from moving around the world we all are born in. Especially not simply because they were born within some stupid imaginary line drawn by a bloody war or bloody politics.
Collier thinks people are focusing on the wrong question, and I think he is focusing on the wrong moral basis. I do not believe helping others less fortunate is a moral obligation. Everybody cannot have the same moral obligations, we all have our own values. However, everybody should have the same basic rights, especially when it comes to the natural rights to the earth we all are born on. Along with that of life and liberty, Locke should have put the right to free movement instead of property as one of the three pillars of natural rights.
Galileo allegedly said “Eppur si muove” after recanting. And yet it moves... I say “Eppur si muovono.” And yet people move... You may make laws, require people to carry passports and get visas, build walls and fences, put surveillance cameras, the police... Eppur si muoveranno. Yet people will be moving... Movement is a natural life force!
Sorry, Collier again gets it wrong. Migration controls are an embarrassing vestige of nationalism and racism! Of course; of course they are. What determines who can go anywhere? Their nationality. And if you discriminate people according to their nationality, that's racism!
In fact, on the October 27, 2013 issue of Financial Times in the review of the Exodus, Ravi Mattu writes:
“The debate was split between the extremes of those who viewed migration as a threat and those who believed that to question it was tantamount to racism.”
Yes, to question the right of migration is tantamount to racism! Exactly! There is no other way of seeing it. What determines who can go anywhere? The place they were born. So it IS Birthplace Racism.
Collier thinks people are focusing on the wrong question. Yes, I agree with him. The question should not be whether we should open borders or not, the case for freedom of movement/migration is clear; what we should be discussing is how do we go about putting this into reality by having the least bad impact on the majority be it migrants or the hosts. For all his "wrong" thesis, Collier is probably right on one thing: Excessive migration can be detrimental. Therefore, some work needs to be done prior to recognizing the right to free migration. But one thing should stop being questioned:
Along with life and liberty, the right to free movement/ free migration should be one of the three pillars of natural rights.*
To Die or Not to Die?
How do we achieve the transition to the universal recognition of the natural right of man to movement? That's the question.
And for so many a people that's a question of life and death. “To die or not to die?”**
*I actually would add "the right to have enough food" to that, making it the four pillars of natural rights. That might also save us from excessive migration as well. But even with that aside, there definitely is a need for UBI (Universal Basic Income) in this global village, high-consumption modern age. Not on a country basis, but on a global level. UBI in its true sense, a universal UBI. For everyone. For every single person living on this Earth.
** Please take action. I wish to go to every country in the world only to burn my passports in the end to protest this worldwide accepted injustice at birth, the birthplace racism, global apartheid. Please support me in my endeavor to Strike at the Root by at least signing your name for moral support.
Please sponsor this mission for protesting birthplace racism.