September 05, 2006

Tear Down The Borders!

Freedom of movement for workers is the next step in globalisation:
WHAT would happen to the world economy if every worker on earth was able to take a job in whatever country they pleased? When economists at the World Bank set out to answer that question they came up with some startling results.

The free movement of labour across the world would double global incomes, their computer modelling showed.

The bank also examined the effects of what it considered to be a "feasible amount" of labour mobility - a 3 per cent, or 14.2 million, rise in the stock of migrant workers moving from low-income to high-income countries over the next 20 years.

Under that scenario global income would rise by about $US356 billion ($465 billion) a year by 2025 after taking account of price changes and other economic impacts. That's more than three times the amount spent each year on overseas aid and dwarfs the expected benefits from full trade liberalisation, the bank said. Developing countries would benefit the most, but incomes in rich countries would also rise.

The World Bank published these findings and touted the benefits of greater labour market mobility - especially for low-skilled workers from poor countries - in one of its flagship publications for this year, Global Economic Prospects 2006.
Mind you, the restrictions on global movement of labour do not apply to everyone:
... there is a "class of super-rich" who hold their wealth in offshore tax havens like Jersey, Monaco, Switzerland or the Cayman Islands. "They live more or less where they choose and their main preoccupation lies with staying rich."
Guess it depends how you define "labour".


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