Monday, April 22, 2019

Malthus and Three Billion Immigrants Flying Into an Open Border America

Dr. Walter Block has told us that he wouldn't like three billion immigrants to enter America, but apparently has no principled objection to them doing so. He is still an open borders man. This great. (I am for an open borders man with a welfare wall.)
But it must be noted the initial confusion arose because Prof. Block did not make this clear in his original post, Do We Really Want Three Billion Immigrants, Even If None of Them Are Criminals? No. Not I.

This is what prompted Drew Brekus to write an email of concern to Dr. Block on whether he had changed his mind on open borders.

That said, Dr. Block has cleared up the confusion and I must add that I can sympathize with Dr. Block in that I get only a fraction of the emails he likely gets and correspondents often want to get into deep prolonged debates over all types of issues that can't possibly occur because we would get nothing else done---including answering other emails.

So Dr. Block writes what I call an "email response," a perfectly legitimate form of response. It is perfectly legitimate in that it is short and to the point. It is not meant to be a paper that is submitted, say, to a refereed journal. It is not going to touch on every nuance.

With this in mind and with Dr. Block's follow-up note, I want to extend my view on Dr. Block's initial email response/post and drag out the thinking a bit further to consider further factors.

Dr. Block writes:
But, one of these three is a rape-fugee! Is that not a problem? 
We certainly need more context to Dr. Block's question. Is he saying that one of the three is, in fact, a rapist or is he hypothesizing that one might be given that a visitor to the US could be a rapist in the same way an economics professor could be a rapist?

To block (no pun intended) all visitors to the US, because one in every ten thousand might be a rapist strikes me as pre-crime treatment of the 9,999 who are innocent?

In other words, if it turns out that an economics professor is a rapist, should we ban all economics professors from college campuses?

On the other hand, if there is a known wanted rapist, immigrant traveller or economics professor, then I have no trouble having him turned over to the authorities.

The next part of Dr. Block's post is most puzzling, he writes:
Also, suppose instead of only 3, there are 3 billion of them, all innocent. Ok, they all get permission to land in a big empty private area in the middle of Nevada. Ok, so far. But, now, they want to get out onto the highways to go elsewhere. Right now, there are no private highways. Isn’t it a problem that 3 billion people, even innocent ones, will soon be intermingling with us? I think it is a devastating problem.
This strikes me as bordering on a Malthusian-type model that ignores basic economics. It is the type of argument used by Climate Fearmonger Malthusians.

All factors are generally held steady in these models accept one and then that factor is allowed to run wild.

Remember, the original email Dr. Block was responding to laid out a situation where three individuals flew in by plane and stayed at hotels.

Thus, a proper understanding of the three billion model would move away from the Malthusian one factor gone wild and recognize that as more and more people attempted to fly to the United States and stay at hotels, the prices would soar and make it prohibitive for most to enter the US under the initial outline of the question.

In other words, basic economics would solve the problem long before we would get anywhere near 3 billion staying in hotels. Hell, in San Francisco, when the annual Dreamforce convention hits the town with just 60,000 attendees, every hotel room is taken in the city and parts of the outer Bay Area.

Dr. Block also raises the so-called "highway problem" where visitors have not paid taxes for the highways but I have responded to this "problem" before. The hoteliers certainly pay taxes as do in many cases guests (in San Francisco the guest tax is roughly 17%).

So please take this as an attempt to draw out more on the topic started by Dr. Block via his initial response to a questioner.

I will publish here at TL any response from Dr. Block.



  1. Open Borders = death to a nation. There really is no longer an American nation. There is only a carcass occupying its land mass.

  2. "In other words, if it turns out that an economics professor is a rapist, should we ban all economics professors from college campuses?"

    Any excuse for banning non-Austrian economics professors from defiling the minds of the next generation works for me...

  3. This is why libertarianism fails. Principles sound good. Results are horrible.