Dan Klein responds to Bryan Caplan on immigration

Here is one bit from the longer piece, graciously reproduced by Bryan on his Substack:

Big changes have large and unknowable consequences, including critical consequences about basic political stability, functionality, and integrity. Liberal civilization is not entirely natural to man. Alexis de Tocqueville worried that despotism is.


Would Bryan call for Sweden to open its country of 10 million people to the world’s 8 billion people? (Listen to the UnHerd conversation with Swede Ivar Arpi here.)

Would he call for New Zealand to do so?

If the ranking shown above would not go for Sweden or New Zealand but would go for the United States, why the difference? What is there in the Swedish case that changes the ranking?

On the same premise: You’d think that open border advocates would confront that matter directly, telling us which countries should have open borders and which shouldn’t. Maybe they do this. A discussion of where open borders is/is not recommended would, I should think, also elaborate the basis for the separating nations into those two bins.

I would stress that I favor a 3x increase in immigrant flow for the United States, but not Sweden.  I do not favor Open Borders for any country that large numbers of people might want to move to.  I also observe that the nations that have done the most to take in more immigrants — Canada and Australia — maintain a pretty “hard ass” control over their borders.  There is a lesson here.  When a citizenry feels “in control,” they are more likely to be generous to arriving outsiders.  Some of us call that “the control premium,” following I think Cass Sunstein.

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