by Neville Kennard, preaching and practising capitalist
The debate about migration, and especially about immigration to attractive countries, like Australia, is never far away. There was a time, after World War II, that the Australian government paid people to come here. For a fee of just Ten Pounds British people and others could get passage to Australia. The “Ten Pound Poms” came by the thousand and we are better off for it.
Now it is different and the debate is how to limit the inflow and what sort of immigration flow is appropriate. There are the Big Australia advocates, like former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. And there are the Small Australia advocates like Greens Senator Bob Brown. No-one can know how many this country can support, or how many is the “right” number. It is unknowable, subjective, and no “study” can determine the answer.
But what if a Price, a Value were to be placed on Australian Citizenship? What if Immigration Slots were put up for Tender, were Auctioned or sold on E-Bay?
Could the market determine the value of Australian Citizenship? Instead of rationing immigration places by category, by trade, by culture or race or bureaucratic and government decree could it be done by pricing?
It is the generations of tax-paying Australians who have contributed to the culture , the way of life, the infrastructure the society that is attractive to would-be immigrants. There is a queue of people wanting to come to Australia, and where there is a queue there is a business opportunity!
Immigrants who paid to come would surely value and appreciate the opportunity and make sure they became good citizens. And Australians who had paid taxes for years to build the country would welcome the opportunity to have their future taxes reduced by the amount the immigrants paid into general revenue. Immigration Fees could reduce other taxes, particularly income taxes, which are very high. It would not be an extra source of revenue for the government but a replacement for some taxes.
Immigrants also could sign a contract not to seek welfare from the government/tax-payers. This could start to reduce the welfare dependence and “churn”. The Immigration Fee could be non-refundable and could be forfeited if immigrants were convicted of serious crimes. Deportation (without a refund) could even apply to miscreants.
Most immigrants are good citizens and add to our well-being, our culture, our standard of living; we are a nation on immigrants and long may it continue; whatever rationing that is considered optimal should be done by that most rational and universal of mechanisms — the market.
But how do poor and impoverished immigrants, refugees for example, ever afford to buy their citizenship? I proposed a “no exceptions” rule to this Citizenship For Sale idea: families, religious groups, charities and cultural groups could subsidise their chosen immigrants. Banks could offer “Citizenship Loans” to immigrants, guaranteed perhaps by families and communities and businesses. Remote communities seeking more people could offer such guarantees to banks for the “Citizenship Loans” with whatever covenants and restrictions they chose to adopt. Companies needing staff could guarantee the loans.
People-smugglers would soon go out of business as would-be immigrants sought to buy their citizenship with savings, family loans, personal guarantees and employment contracts.
“But what about compassion for poor refugees?” many will scream. Well this would be a chance to show true voluntary compassion, with individuals, families, church groups, community and ethnic groups banding together, raising money to bring refugees , or anyone, to our country. Instead of “Coercive Charity”, where money is forcibly taken (compulsory taxes) and then dispensed according to some government decree, this would be true, voluntary, caring and material compassion with the contributors determining where their charity goes.
And then what about selling your citizenship? Could an Australian cash in his or her Aussie citizenship and buy another one? It could be that an Aussie Citizenship is worth say $50,000 while a Tongan or Zimbabwean one is worth a lot less? Now this would open an intriguing new market! If New Zealand Citizenship was worth $60,000 and Aussie was just $50,000 it would say something about the attraction of each country. The value of your Aussie Citizenship could become a point of pride, where we could even see it in the daily financial news along with the price of oil, the US Dollar and gold.
Most countries offer some sort of Citizenship For Sale schemes now, with Business Migration Plans that encourage people to come with their money, to invest and start businesses and employ people. I am saying, take it further and make the whole thing market-driven.
Is such an idea likely to be adopted, likely to appeal, have any chance of adoption? No not likely, most unlikely, almost impossible to imagine. It is too rational and sensible, and there would be too many bleeding-hearts, semi-socialists. A whole raft of immigration bureaucrats could be done away with and the withering away of the state could start. And this is highly unlikely!
- Welcome from Neville Kennard
- Think Tanks Don't Work
- "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
- The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
- Corporate Welfare
- Citizenship for Sale?
- I Don't Vote
- Voting: Right or Privilege?
- Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
- Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
- Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
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- Government Likes War
- Collusion is Our Right
- Why Not the Drug Olympics?
- Unconventional Wisdom
- Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
- Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
- Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
- Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
- Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
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- Your Home is Not an Investment
- Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
- A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
- Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
- Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
- What is a good Australian?
- Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
- The Market Failure Industry
- Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
- Wot if ...?
- The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
- The Tannehills
- Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
- Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
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- Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
- Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
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- Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
- The Tyranny of the Majority
- If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
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- The Immorality of Trade Unions
- "America" vs "The United States"
- Sweet Anarchy
- The Illusion of "Job Creation"
- Gold Is Money
- Guilty Capitalists
- Prosperity vs Growth
- Capitalism vs Democracy
- More people = More fun
- Self-Ownership - the very idea!
- Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
- The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
- Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
- My Journey to Anarchy:
From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
- Government Needs Bad Guys –
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- What Is Obscene?
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- Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
- Neville Kennard Obituary