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Freedom to work...wherever

Freedom to work...wherever

Old Mar 26th 2002, 6:43 pm
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Default Freedom to work...wherever

As a preamble, I'd just like to say that philosophically I believe any human should have the freedom to live wherever he or she chooses to exist on our rather small planet. Luck, lack of luck, nature, destiny or whatever you might think, causes us to be born in a certain place on Earth. That place might be poor, rich, middling in terms of GDP per capita, quality of life, natural beauty, average lifespan etc. What is certain is that as humans we share 99.9% of our DNA and are biologically near-as-damn-it identical on the day we are born and that we do not choose to be born in the place we first exit the womb. Yet the place we are born is a key determinant in the wealth (no matter how measured) we will enjoy until we die. Why should some 'have it good' and others 'have it bad' just because of where they happen to have been born? No one can justify this, no matter how Sophist their arguments. (Buddhists don't concur?)

Yet philosophy is one thing, realpolitik is another. I would like to suggest that the stress many of us are undergoing, with many waiting anxiously for visa approval as we hope to 'improve our lives' by going to live in another country, is unnecessary. In the European Union there has been free movement of labour for many years, yet in the 15 nations that make up the EU, there is scant evidence that significant numbers of people actually do want to or end up permanently moving from one country to another. Perhaps the world's 'rich countries' could simply adopt a free movement of labour charter to allow their citizens a higher degree of freedom of work. By 'rich country' I mean the EU nations, Switzerland, Norway, Malta, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, probably others omitted such as Hungary, Slovenia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea etc. Realpolitik means that South American, African, Asian, Middle East countries would not initially be allowed to join the 'freedom of work' club until they could match 'rich country' freedoms of health, education, politics, environment, human rights. This to avoid difficult 'gold rush' social tensions and to put pressure on 'non-rich countries' to adopt policies to improve their citizens' lot.

There are probably just as many Aussies or New Zealanders keen to work for a few years in North America or Europe as there are North Americans or Europeans keen to work in Australasia. And if not exactly matching, who cares? Freedom is a fine principle we presumably all respect - anyone who does not agree should be locked up and the key thrown away.

Any views?

This viewpoint is definitely not intended to put down 'non-rich countries,' just realpolitik in play - over the next few millennia, what does 50-100 years of adjustment matter?

Best wishes.
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Old Mar 26th 2002, 8:40 pm
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Default Re: Freedom to work...wherever

Nice idea but the reality is that humans have 'human rights' and with those rights come responsibilities. These responsibilities rarely lie with the individual and become the burden of the state (taxpayers). Free movement of individuals would only work where there was no state intervention in peoples lives (real freedom) or when there was a global government / economic system (mock freedom).

The consequence of nation states is that the cost of an unproductive citizen, of which there are potentially many in our Western socialist 'utopia', is very high (healthcare, welfare, housing etc. etc.) and countries are reluctant to take the risk.

That is the reality and economies as small as NZ or Australia cannot afford an influx of unproductive people - the Australian refugee crisis is an example of these economic realities not racism (although it may also be a motivator in some areas)
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