Bryan Caplan  

The Biggest Idea in Development that No One Really Tried

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Yesterday the noble Michael Clemens spoke at GMU about his impending JEP piece on migration.  To get a feel for what you missed, check out his Youtube tour de force, "The Biggest Idea in Development that No One Really Tried."


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COMMENTS (13 to date)
nazgulnarsil writes:

no one tries it because decreased frictional costs WRT labor mobility drives tax competition.

PrometheeFeu writes:

Thank you for sharing this. I agree that open borders would do wonders for most people involved. I mostly blame natural xenophobia for it not having happened. But let's not forget the role played by Keynesian theory. The same arguments that Krugman et al are bringing up against imports work just the same on immigration.

Philo writes:

A fine talk. The point that labor mobility helped raise European wages to near American levels and the comparison between South Africa in 1994 and the whole world in 2009 were eye-opening.

AMW writes:

Excellent video. Thanks for linking to it!

Clay writes:

Citizens in countries with a mix of predominantly poor, unproductive citizens fare better when they relocate to countries with a more rich and productive mix of citizens.

Students in US schools with a mix of predominantly poor, dysfunctional students fare better when they relocate to US schools with a more academically successful mix of students.

Bryan Caplan argues against fortunate vs unfortunate segregation in the first case.

David Henderson argues for fortunate vs unfortunate segregation in the second case.

ryan writes:

A good idea. Lant Pritchett has been making this argument for years, particularly in his book "Let Their People Come."

Krishnan writes:

Very good talk indeed ...

The South African example he presented, reminded me of the use of the word "stagnate" and "stagnation"

After the elimination of apartheid, there was convergence - between the blacks and the whites - the blacks improved rapidly and the gap narrowed - or one can say that

the whites stagnated compared to the blacks - because the rate of their improvement was much smaller than that of the blacks

(No, I do not agree to how the word "stagnation" is used, but seems to be it applies in this context - if applied the way some seem to want)

One can imagine the amazing change in world economies if we were to allow for Labor Globalization also ... And Clemens is right, it may sound insane and crazy, but it is not.

joe cushing writes:

If we open the floodgates to America, it will delay the time when china passes us in power because it will reduce the population difference between us.

Opening the floodgates will also help us pay for our aging population sense it's younger, working age people who move.

Don't we have countless homes with nobody to live in them?

Cyril Morong writes:

In his book "The Nature of Mass Poverty" John Kenneth Galbraith advocated free migration as a solution

Douglass Holmes writes:

Bryan, this is an excellent presentation, but I also liked the one you did, where you asked if our existing immigration policy was the most humane way to achieve the stated goals of immigration restrictions.
I admire you for your stand on this issue. I am ashamed that many of my brothers in Christ cannot analyze the morality of these restrictions as well as an atheist (or agnostic, or whatever you are).
I do not consider myself an "open borders" believer. I think we should keep criminals and terrorists out. As you have pointed out, our current policies don't do that. I like the term "labor globalization" because it is a better description of what we want - the ability of working people to seek work, even if it's not on the side of the border that they were born on.
Keep up the good work.

Value is determined by supply and demand. A world in which human life is precious is a world in which human life is scarce. No country will control human reproduction as long as some other country serves as a sink for excess population.

Julien writes:

Malcolm, humans were scarcer 200 years ago. Yet they are more productive and earn higher wages today. Human labor remains scarce relative to the human wants.

Also, as Tyler explained in his recent presentation, New York has open borders relative to others. The private property and prices provide feedback mechanisms.

Julien writes:

Errata: I meant Bryan's talk, not Tyler's.

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