I am 100% in favor of open borders and damn proud of it. Aside from the humanitarian aspects (of which people far smarter than I have talked about and I may touch on again), and the libertarian “freedom of movement prevents tyranny” argument, there is an economic argument I’d like to discuss.
Proponents such as I will often argue that an increase in population will increase the economic pie because the labor resource of a country is increased. A typical opponent quip is “if these people are so productive, why aren’t they helping their own countries?” This quip ignores the importance of institutions.
Allow me to explain with a parable. Where is a baseball bat more effective: in my hands or Bryce Harper’s? Bryce Harper is one of the best hitters in all of baseball. I am an overweight nerd who can barely hit a baseball out of the infield. In my hands, even the greatest baseball bat ever invented would look like a dud. Only in Harper’s hands would it achieve its full potential. That is because only with Harper are the conditions right.
This is the same with countries. Despite all its problems, the US is still a market-based economy. Mexico, on the other hand, is considerably less so. It is far easier for a resource (and labor is a resource) to be utilized in a productive fashion in the US than Mexico because the institutions are present. And this, in turn, leads to increased wealth for all.