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Ethics of Free Movement: Cases of the EU and Brexit
|Issue Date: ||2019-09-05 15:58:57 (UTC+8)|
In this thesis I will elaborate the ethics of free movement, including its instrumental values and intrinsic value in the context of economic immigrants. I argue that there is a moral justification for states to accept immigrants who live in countries with poor economic situations and struggle for survival. Since we live in an extremely unbalanced economic world where birth citizenship almost determines the resources we are able to get in our lives, free movement is a means to alter the situation and to achieve distributive justice. However, to emphasize the values of free movement does not mean other values such as sovereignty, culture or national identity which may be undermined because of the “open borders” policy should not be embraced. Under the condition that the potential immigrants have no difficulty acquiring basic needs, states should still hold the sovereign power to prevent them from entering their borders based on proper justifications. I call this position “closed borders”. The hidden perspectives of the “open borders” and “closed borders” are libertarianism and communitarianism respectively. The fundamental difference between “open borders” and “closed borders” policy lies in how much weight they give to different values. Advocates for open borders value distributive justice and freedom over sovereignty, and therefore, they argue that even one is not under immediate threat to survival, as long as the accepting country is conspicuously wealthier than the sending country, then the accepting country cannot reject the potential immigrant unless there are valid reasons for them to do so. In contrast, from a communitarian perspective of view, the value of keeping a community integrated is higher than distributive justice, and therefore, even a state is much wealthier than a potential immigrant’s original state, there is no moral requirement for a state to accept him.
I will analyze the two positions and the different values stressed by them respectively. The “open borders” position emphasizes that equality and freedom are the most fundamental values in human lives. Therefore, to open borders is to allow those who do not own birth citizenship of certain states to also enjoy the resources as those who do. It exemplifies equality and freedom of movement. In contrast, the “closed borders” position emphasizes the features of a community, and the values embedded in it. Since a nation-state is a political community, it involves values that are vital to human lives, and to open borders will very likely undermine these values. Therefore, it is argued that a nation-state, in order to preserve these values, has the right to close its borders. Both lines of thoughts reflect issues of fundamental importance to human beings; however, when making moral judgements, contexts should be taken into consideration. Therefore, I use the European integration (particularly the foundation of the EU) and Brexit as illustrations to see what may happen as a result of the ideas from the two positions being implemented in reality. The EU represents the idea of open borders so that people within the region enjoy free movement and the values brought by it. However, Brexit reveals the counter force that wants to retain the integrity of the state, rejecting the sacrifice of a certain level of sovereignty in exchange for potential prosperity since the values of a self-determined community can outweigh other values. The purpose of adding the real cases to the analysis is not to say that reality triumphs over normativity but that understanding the real situation helps us evaluate values in concrete contexts.
To conclude, I argue that whether states should accept economic immigrants or not should be based on both the levels of how economically disadvantaged the immigrants are and how economically and socially strong the accepting states are.
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|Source URI: ||http://thesis.lib.nccu.edu.tw/record/#G0105154002|
|Data Type: ||thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||[哲學系] 學位論文|
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