In this post for the APA Public Philosophy Blog, I argue that the current regime of border control serves to facilitate the domination-for-exploitation of low-income citizens and their countries by transnational corporations. In response, I argue that opening borders could serve as what republican theorists have called an anti-power--that is, a right or ability that help can upset power imbalances or change incentive structures, undermining relationships of domination.
High-income countries see large-scale migration as a cost, and indeed a threat. As noted in the literature on world systems theory, the normal result of exploitative relationships between transnational corporations and low-income countries is likely to be large rates of migration into the high-income countries in which these corporations originated and where they ordinarily operate. The current regime of border control prevents this migration from occurring, changing it instead to mere migration pressure. Without this power, high-income countries would experience the (perceived) costs of global exploitation, providing them a reason to seek to regulate the behavior of transnational corporations originating and operating within their borders. This can help change the power dynamics and incentive structures in a global economy, giving poor residents of low-income countries a tool with which they can push back against unjust treatment.