Monday, September 20, 2010

Government without borders

Cafe Philo in New York City will meet this week on Thursday, September 23, 2010 with a discussion on the topic of "Could we live well without borders?" This continues my preparation for that discussion with some thoughts on government without borders.

The first thought is whether the agenda for some people is so-called world government, whatever that really means. It could be something as simple and loose as the European Union or something more grandiose such as the United Nations on steroids. I would simply note that if even the Europeans have been unable to form a single, unified government, it seems extremely unlikely that the rest of the world would go even further along the route to world government.

Another approach is closer to the EU model, where the national governments remain intact, but the borders are essentially fully open to citizens of the union. But other than elimination of a relatively minor hassle with physically crossing borders, this doesn't really change much at all. One thing that is changed, at least in the case of the EU, is that people can freely cross borders to find work. That is a significant difference, but in practice, relatively few people even want to move anywhere away from their home, let alone into another country even for something as important as work. So, that is a marginal benefit.

And we still have the problem of countries that may not be formally recognized or who are being formally sanctioned. Movement of their nationals needs to be restricted.

Hmmm... if we instantly switch to government without borders, I wonder what would happen with Kashmir, caught between India and Pakistan. Or Israel and Palestine.

Tax collection and law enforcement would be even more problematic with government without borders.

Government without border is a great concept for "sunny days", but borders provide "fire walls" that protect countries and their citizens on "rainy days" or at times of great stress.

-- Jack Krupansky


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