Imagine a world without borders. People and goods could cross freely between countries and a central government could rule everything. To some people it may sound like a utopia, while to others it could sound chaotic.
The idea of a completely border-less world is a little far-fetched, and experts agree that something so extreme could likely never occur. However, a growing number of people are pushing for a world with slightly less strict borders, which just might be feasible. Here are few of the concerns and consequences to consider.
Loosening borders has a lot of potential consequences, but the global economy might just take the hardest hit or have the biggest benefit. The world economy has shrunk by about 5% in recent years, and experts around the world are trying nearly everything in their power to set things on the right path. However, the best way to bring about the most global economic prosperity would be to relax borders even just modestly.
A large number of people want to permanently relocate to another country, but most of them are blocked from doing so by border restrictions and immigration regulations. A worker’s economic productivity matters more on his or her location rather than his or her skills. Consider a bus driver in Ghana, no matter how good he is at his job, he will never earn more than a few hundred dollars a month. However, a bus driver in Los Angeles could easily make more than $30,000 a year. Why the disparity in wages? One of the reasons is that the L.A. bus driver’s job adds more than $30,000 to the local economy, which is more value than a bus driver could contribute in Ghana.
It seems simple that just changing a worker’s location could have such a vast impact on the economy, but it is a true principle. It was first researched as far back as the 18th century by Adam Smith. Take for example a manual laborer in a country like Cambodia, similar work in the United States would earn him nearly six times the amount of money. There’s no question why someone would want to permanently move to a more economically stable country.
However, as more people leave their native countries in search of a prosperous future, things at home can be uncertain. Some people argue that taking native people away from their home countries with struggling economies simply keeps the poverty cycle going.
Global borders help preserve cultures and traditions. However, global unrest has led to a larger number of refugees attempting to get out of their native countries for fear of their safety. A border-less world would make it easier for people to flee conflict, but it likely wouldn’t provide them the same protection they can now enjoy by moving somewhere else.
With our current strict borders, people are often discriminated based solely on where they were born. Racial profiling is rampant around the world, but would loosening or potentially removing borders change that? There are arguments on either side: those in favor of no borders say it gives people a chance to melt together and better understand each other’s cultures, therefore removing prejudices, while people opposed say it could water down traditions and lead to the spread of terrorism.
There’s also the growing popularity of digital nomad-ism. Thanks to modern technology and cloud-based computing, more people are taking their work on the road for life as a digital nomad. These world travelers work from anywhere in the world and tend to move from place to place, staying long enough to feel comfortable before moving on. More than just digital nomads, however, are individuals and families changing their lifestyles to become better citizens of the world by travelling more and absorbing new cultures. Loosening borders makes it easy for these people to experience the cultures of the world.
A world without borders isn’t something that will happen over night. There are lots of things to study politically, economically, and socially when considering loosening or removing borders, and widespread agreement is rather unlikely. However, a compromise can likely be found by both sides on smaller border issues. The question is if it will ever actually occur.