PhD candidate Michael Ball-Blakely Makes a Case for Open Borders

PhD candidate Michael Ball-Blakely wrote "Transnational Capitalism and Feudal Privilege: Open Borders as a Tool for Non-Domination" for the APA blog, comparing modern governmental border systems to the feudal caste system and explaining how open borders could serve as a solution to this injustice.

Moreover, many would-be migrants are already in a relationship with high-income countries that serves to benefit the latter at the expense of the former. The current system of divided citizenships, combined with borders that are open to the movement of capital but (largely) closed to the movement of low-wage labor, is a vital precondition for global capitalist development. It creates a reserve army of labor that can be tapped as needed, providing the capitalist core with, among other things, low-cost products.

High-income countries benefit from this asymmetry in mobility. They can exclude would-be migrants when doing so is politically and economically expedient and can selectively admit when the domestic labor market needs an influx of foreign labor. As Honohan notes, this creates a relationship of dependency between high-income countries and potential migrants in low-income countries—one from which individuals cannot easily escape. This makes the relationship of domination more severe and of greater normative concern.

The regime of border control—particularly in the current era of transnational capitalism—facilitates the domination of would-be migrants by their home countries and by the high-income countries that benefit from the system of selectively closed borders. However, it also enables a third relationship of domination: the domination of residents of low-income countries by transnational corporations.

Read the entire article on the APA Blog: "Transnational Capitalism and Feudal Privilege: Open Borders as a Tool for Non-Domination."

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