Saturday, January 16, 2016

Global Apartheid

We have a tentative grasp on the mysteries of our own lives. We often struggle to understand the workings of the mind of the single closest person to us. Doing so requires patience, benefit of the doubt, kindness and time. Then our families drive us crazy. Our work place becomes a source of rage when it doesn't go our way. Our communities require constant learning as the evolve away from the ones we thought we understood. Our nations baffle us. And the world remains a distant, foreign place we often put out of our minds because our local problems are overflowing. Yet we are confident in our views.

No one understands. Tim Urban looks at 'Horizontal History' which shows just how important seemingly unrelated context is to absolutely everything. The way we see the world depends on so many threads weaving together. No one else sees the world like you do. Hop in a time machine and go back to a pivotal point in your life, and you will not see the world the way you saw it then.

I don't feel I have a grasp on the big issues facing the world. The two most powerful ideas I think would make a difference are very simple. The first is that I think borders are not morally justifiable in terms of stopping the flow of people. The second is that I think there should be a Universal Income. The first is a political issue, but the second is not. 

Give Directly shows that it is possible to redistribute income in a voluntary, transparent and efficient way. We don't need to protest and force governments to raise taxes to do this. There are enough people with more than they need, who argue that taxes should be higher, who could be contributing. We don't need the people who don't want to give. Talk is cheap, we just need to get on with it.

The economic argument in favour of free migration of people is strong. The moral argument is even stronger.  The most complete summary of the issues I have found is on the Stanford University Philosophy Portal, plato.stanford.edu/entries/immigration.


What the ability to move and a basic income do, is empower people to make decisions where the most undistorted information lies. It requires trusting people. It requires listening to people and partnering with them rather than claiming confidently that we understand the issues of others, when we don't even understand our own. And like the closest relationships in our lives it requires patience, benefit of doubt, kindness and time.
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