Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Global Passport

The announcement by Ban Ki-moon that world leaders have agreed to create a world passport, removing restrictions on our rights to work, travel and live freely caught me by surprise. I thought we were years away from becoming truly global citizens. Perhaps it was the recent realisation that only the crazies still think that immigrants don't add value. Adam Davidson recently wrote an article debunking the myth that immigrants steal jobs. So on an economic level, borders make no sense. On a moral level, borders are the same as the infamous Jim Crow and Apartheid laws. So the only reason we would have kept them was Xenophobia. The silent majority of people don't get riled up that often and so we often only here from the crazies. It is fantastic that sanity has prevailed.

It is somewhat ironic that this announcement comes just after I had become eligible to add a red British passport to my Green Mamba. It is crazy though that the ability to move around should be limited based on points systems determined by education, age and income. In 'Outliers' Malcolm Gladwell talks about the January effect in Ice Hockey. There are a clump of players who do well partly because the get an early advantage. That advantage is that they are born closer to the beginning of the age bracket. When you are little, a year is an eternity in growth. By being on 'the big end', you think you are better than the guys who actually just have some growing to do. This advantage reinforces itself over the years. Limits on travel did the same thing. Those with advantages are able to roll those advantages over into bigger advantages.

But if you are economically active at any level you add value. If you aren't active, but you are supported, there is also social value added. The stuff you can't price like having access to Granny Perspective or child carers. It is not a zero sum game. Immigrants don't just increase the demand for a static number of jobs. They also create jobs. They also have to eat. They also get their hair cut. They also want to do fun stuff. Freedom of movement also means people will naturally go where there are more opportunities. With the introduction of a world passport for all, people will naturally move towards areas where they can live a better life. That is better for everybody.

As Davidson said, 'According to Pew, roughly as many (18% of Americans) believed in 2010 that President Obama was a Muslim as believe today that undocumented immigrants should be expelled from the United States.'

18% is a large chunk of people. Scarily large. But it still leaves 82% of people who accept the logic, despite perhaps having natural biases against people who are different.

Now that we are getting passports, we need a Global Flag and Global Anthem. Any ideas?

Exciting times.

[Yes, the was an April's Fools post. But wouldn't it be great if it were true? The only bit that didn't happen was world leaders agreeing on anything or sanity prevailing. No world passport... yet.]
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