Border deflection

Another recent piece, this time in Inside Story. Opening paras

Supporters of ethnonationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment have been quick to seize on the Covid-19 pandemic as evidence against what they call “open borders,” by which they mean any relaxation of the stringent controls that prohibit international migration by anyone who falls outside a tightly defined set of categories, each subject to numerical limits. The underlying idea is that foreigners who don’t look or think like us are all potential carriers of infection, and that we can keep ourselves safe by excluding them.

The reality is quite different. The vast majority of Australia Covid-19 cases acquired overseas had a recent history of travel to Europe or the Americas, or arrived on cruise ships such as the Ruby Princess. Hardly any (in fact none, as far as I can determine) were new migrants to Australia.

20 thoughts on “Border deflection

  1. Similar arguments from Bryan Caplan:

    “To successfully prevent the spread of infection, you would have to do vastly more than permanently stop immigration. You would also have to permanently stop both trade and tourism.”

    “In fact, if you’re focused solely on preventing the spread of infectious disease, immigrants are plainly better than tourists and sailors. Few would-be immigrants would be deterred by a mandatory health inspection prior to entry, because they expect large long-run gains. For tourists and sailors, in contrast, a mandatory health inspection would often be a deal-breaker.”

  2. Haven’t seen One Nation saying much, though admittedly I don’t hang on their every word.

    I did see Mark Latham say that the crisis shows that man must have mastery over all the animals. This didn’t make sense even in its own terms. It was man’s mastery of one non-domesticated animal (capturing it, selling it at a Wuhan wet market, killing it, cooking it, eating it) that caused the problem in the first place.

  3. Australia and the world need to adopt a ZPG (Zero Population Growth) policy for environmental and sustainability reasons. Australia’s fertility rate is at about replacement level. Therefore our immigration plus refugee intake could be set to equal emigration and meet a ZPG target. This can be done without racist criteria.

    Australia and the world are far too open to international travel and tourism. Tourism is a major polluter and our biosphere system cannot afford the current rates of pollution. Heavy tourism is an environmental and cultural ill (on balance) destroying both environmental and cultural sites. Excessive mobility is also very clearly a pandemic risk in an overcrowded world.

    A democratic nation state is predicated on borders which are semi-permeable; neither impermeable nor fully permeable. The correct settings are a matter of degree and not an absolute one way (open) or the other (closed). Completely open borders for a state presuppose the dissolution of that state as a state. Those who wish to dissolve democratic nation states need to propose a better and realistic alternative: one which does not leave the former states and their peoples without democracy and without the protection of solidarity against absolutist and rogue states.

  4. You think it is bad here?
    I watched an horrific segment on a refugee camp on Lesbos last night highlighting the mean spiritedness and recalcitrance of the Germans.

    As for India, what a tragedy in the making,

  5. Paul Walter,

    I am not sure if you meant to write that the Germans or the Greeks were running the refugee camp on Lesbos. If you really meant the Greeks, I would ask what spare capacity does Greece have to assist migrants? They had not really recovered from the last crisis (Great Recession) before this one hit (COVID-19). As a broader question, what spare capacity does Europe now have to absorb refugees? Given the COVID-19 crises in Italy, Spain, France and even Germany, what spare capacity is left?

    Realism suggests Europe does not have an infinite or open-ended capacity to absorb migrants especially during a global pandemic. Japan takes almost no refugees although it does make significant donations to UNHCR. I don’t accept that the West has an open-ended capacity or an open-ended obligation to take refugees without limit. Realism suggests that is impossible. We can help by ceasing to make war beyond the West and by ceasing to export arms. The money saved (by ceasing expeditionary wars) would supply an enormous amount of aid to Africa and the Middle East.

  6. Yes, Ikon.

    Sorry I did not make it clearer- that vile camp on Lesbos, Grexit penury for Greece and the legendary mean spiritedness of the north European nations.
    Ok, probably not the best site, but western media seems not to cover it and I could not believe the mess that refugee camp is after teev a night or two ago.

    This touches on it too.

    I also think the decision of the Americans not to end sanctions on Venezuela and Iran at this time also utterly stinks.

  7. If they can’t spare the space for refugees, surely they can spend some money helping cleaning up the camp and putting some medical people in.

    Nothing makes me sick.

  8. Can you imagine what a wonderful world this would be if no man had ever exploited or abused another man or woman? In so many cases it is obvious when we are abusing our power to exploit and abuse others for personal gain.
    But there might be some cases that it is not so obvious. When the colonialists were settling the North American and the Australian continents I can imagine to the European immigrants these new lands looked completely empty. They might have know that there were people who claimed ownership of the land. But the population density of the tribal lands was so low by European standards it is not hard for me to imagine as they began constructing their log or sod cabins that they could not imagine that they were hurting anyone by their activities. It was only by there collective impact that they harmed native societies.
    In fact if only a few settlers had spread out over these continents the natives probably would have been better off as a result. If some settlers had spread over these continents there would have been pros and cons probably with some native people benifiting or losing more than others. But having a lot of settlers flow across the continents was clearly a bad thing for those that lived there first.
    Ditto for cars and airplanes. A few are clearly a good thing. Some start to create problems worse than any problems that they solve. Alot clearly create disaster.
    Right now public transportation looks like a bad idea because it seems like the perfect way to help spread pandemic viruses. But if cities are designed properly people will not have to travel long distances to work or to go shopping. They will walk. They could take a bicycle but in a properly designed city taking a bike will not be neccessary.
    If trains and busses are used only for inter city travel then these methods of travel can be canceled without threatening the lives of a cities inhabitants if a pandemic should threaten. Furthermore a properly designed economy should not allow a business or business manager chose their employees.
    The government should assign them thier employees. This wide spread idea that a firm should be allowed to compete for the best workers by paying higher wages is pure bullshit. Having the best workers in one company could drive another company out of business. What idiots people have to be to actually honor an economic system in which companies try to drive each other out of business so that they can enjoy higher profits by cornering a large market share. The rest of us have to pay the dislocation costs of putting a company out of business. Of course a society does not need two companies making hammers or napalm when only one will do. But a command economy can transition resources in a manner that causes less social disruption than a market economy can. Therefore this frequent neccissity where a person has to drive 50 kilometers to work because he bought a house and then lost his job 3 or 4 years later and found a similar one 50 kilometers away has to become a thing of the past. Well if we can harness nuclear fussion power maybe it can come back.

    But back to immigration now that I took that detour. If your company, or city or nation has been destroyed by American, Russian, or Saudi Bombs (bought from Americans of course) and you need to immigrate you should not get to chose what country you go to. That decision should be left up to the United Nations, or the International Red Cross. And furthermore it would be reasonable that you have to sign a contract to go back once your city or country is rebuilt as well. Although I do have to say that children who have gone through the entire school system of the country that took them in should be granted the right to stay there.

  9. If they can’t spare the space for refugees, surely they can spend a little money helping clean up the camp and putting some medical people in.

    Nothing makes me sick.

  10. “Australia and the world need to adopt a ZPG (Zero Population Growth) target”. But migration has no effect on world population. So we need a zero natural increase target.

  11. Migration has an effect on regional fluctuations. Australia, or the Australian continent, and other regions for that matter, still need their own target population. Distribution matters as well as the global total. If we could imagine a swap of the populations of China and Australia (as as argumentum ad absurdum), the global population would not change but nobody would expect 1.439 billion people to survive in Australia.

  12. At least the bats and pangolins would get some rest…

    Its a question of resources and resources depletion and the capacity for humanity to come up with techno silver bullets to solve those problems in a world designed specifically for control of local populations and regional exploitation of resources without heed to the sustainability of said resources.

    “..ethnonationalist and anti immigration sentiment” is one of many tools the myopics who run things employ to keep the masses divided; incidentally ensuring that they are kept from self realisation themselves- think Stuart Robert for an example. They have used it forever and the most recent example appears to be the leaving out of visa labour here from ANY sort of aid during the current crisis despite these folk having no real prospect of getting back home any time soon.

    As for the local unemployed, they have been encouraged to loath imported labour as the reason for their own exclusion, and in Europe we have seen so many examples of local plebs turned against migrant labour and vice versa as a sort of “wedge” used by those running things whilst the narrow aim of driving down wages for working class people has also been fostered and this also applies also to gender and what they used to call “battle of the sexes”. and of course there is generational conflict.

    How has supposedly rational humanity been able to create such an unholy irrational system, seemingly self perpetuating as some sort of built in cultural bolt on keeps it eternally recycled.

  13. “Australia and the world need to adopt a ZPG (Zero Population Growth) target”. But migration has no effect on world population. So we need a zero natural increase target.

    A key to reducing birth rates has been demonstrated by empirical evidence: it’s gender equality: improve educational, economic, and social opportunities for women and girls.

  14. At an early stage of this morning with time for only a little reflection, I find myself more and more disturbed about what appears to be a hoax or lie perpetrated by those running things as to how things have evolved with cruise ship passengers and crew here and off shore.

    I suspect some huge whoppers are being told the public with the complicity of msm, for very ignoble and myopic reasons.

    Won’t comment for a little unless I become unfair to some people, hope it is not a very large rat I smell, though..will the truth out or is Australia already an authoritarian state?

    Because I am not totally sure through lack of info, I can only hope something akin to clarification starts coming from other sources.

  15. “A key to reducing birth rates has been demonstrated by empirical evidence: it’s gender equality: improve educational, economic, and social opportunities for women and girls.” – J.D.

    I agree completely.

  16. Paul Walter,

    I think you need to be up front about what hoax or lie you suspect is being perpetrated and who you think is perpetrating it. There is no need to self-censorship unless you risk libel. The actions of politicians are open to fair public comment. The actions of companies, corporations and even CEOs are open to fair public comment. This is provided your comments are not personal and are not libel or vilification.

    I think a lot of criticism of a large number of parties is warranted in relation to cruise ships. People who boarded cruise ships (if they did) after key events like the start of the quarantine of the Diamond Princess (quarantined on 4 February 2020) and government travel warnings, bear a strong degree of responsibility for their own predicament. Cruise companies which would not refund money on cancellations and governments which would not mandate such refunds by law also bear responsibility.

    There is also a deeper responsibility on Cruise line companies for running an unsafe business. The regular norovirus and other outbreaks on cruise ships are notorious. There is a responsibility on governments too for allowing this situation to evolve without proper regulation.This would include improper safety standards, overcrowding and registration in countries of convenience (usually tax havens). Plenty of blame to go around and critics should NOT hold back, IMO.

  17. The Fed Lib connected family aboard Ruby Princess & the docking & NSW outbreak locus is it? Keeping a hawk eye on Smirko, pray tell? Smiko’s boss copper mate is on the job, so no worries.

  18. Ikon,
    What if it turned out that a cruise ship operator had been willing to repatriate quickly its crew, via chartered jets, out of the country and this had been prevented?
    Yet a cruise company is slagged in the Australian newspaper and other media as being unwilling to do exactly above, as reported by a TV network this morning.
    Surely a government would have welcomed an opportunity to have ill crew removed quickly, if only to end the chances of infection for belated health teams aboard the ship, or/and these people of necessity removed to facilities here for treatment or quarantine, a big cluster, this.
    Why would authorities and their accolytes have prevented this, yet bagged the company as the culprit in not removing crew and or ship from Australia?

  19. paul walter,

    Where is this story? I haven’t seen it yet. Has it not been broken in any media? I imagine the cruise company would be keen to break the story to a news media outlet if the cruise company had evidence.

    I have a presumption (on years of empirical evidence I contend) that the LNP are villains and that Cruise Company capitalists are villains too. Hence, without evidence as to particular villainy I have to assume there was plenty of bad faith and villainy to go all around.

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