Focus: Governing Immigration
2018 (40) Issue 2
The focus of this issue puts light on a policy proposal by Margit Osterloh and Bruno Frey. Osterloh and Frey suggest an entry fee for immigrants to govern the migration movement to European countries. In paying such a fee immigrants would acquire a ‘participation certificate’ allowing them to enter a country and to participate in the labour market. Asylum seekers and war refugees could be refunded once their refugee status had been accepted. As the authors argue, such a system would have significant advantages. The process of migration would become reliably governed by transparent rules, the risks and uncertainties for immigrants would be reduced, the immigration countries would profit from the inflow into the labour market, and the countries of origin would benefit from remittances made by the migrants to their families at home. However, how to determine the definite sum for the ‘participation certificate’? This cannot be answered ex ante, Osterloh and Frey argue, but needs to be calculated under consideration of humanitarian, political, and economic aspects. They assume that a credit market will evolve to mitigate the gap between wealthy and poor potential immigrants.
Paul Collier welcomes Osterloh’s and Frey’s proposal as ‘a balanced interjection’ into an important debate even if he sees crucial ethical problems involved. Collier argues that paying an entry fee conflicts with the expectation of becoming a member of a ‘moral community’. The fee would need to be narratively framed not as a price for entry, but as the ‘opening instalment of continuing obligations’. But in order to symbolically express the expectation of a serious moral commitment, the fee would probably have to be extraordinarily high. A high entry fee, on the other hand, would contradict Europe’s ethical duties to the global poor.
Michael Blake also emphasizes the possible moral effects of the entry fee proposal. He expresses the fear that the moral power of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees might be undermined by such an idea. Under the Convention persecuted people have a right to cross borders, and states have a duty to let the migrants in and to bear the costs associated with their basic well-being. The morals of rights and duties, Blake argues, benefits the most vulnerable refugees who do not have economic resources to pay entry fees.
Désirée Lim offers an internal and external critique of the proposal. In her internal critique, Lim assumes that states are best understood as ‘clubs’, but doubts that states are the kind of clubs that you can pay an entrance fee to join. Lim rather presupposes that if the self-conception of modern European states and their citizens is framed within the club-concept, it would be widely open to culturally based negative attitudes towards foreigners. In her more radical external critique, she abandons the notion of states as clubs and argues that imposing a substantial entry fee is impermissible if exclusion of membership deprives non-members of basic rights and interests.
Jörg Althammer and Maximilan Sommer criticize the proposal from both an ethical and economic perspective. Under the first aspect they consider the entrance fee to be unfair by excluding a huge number of citizens who do not command the necessary monetary resources. Additionally, they argue that is to be expected that poor countries will lose their economically active middle-class, which has negative consequences for their further development.
In his contribution Fritz Söllner outlines a ‘rational’ migration policy in a more general manner and asks in which way the Osterloh-Frey proposal would meet its criteria. Söllner identifies several preconditions for realizing the relevant objectives in a rational way. These include extensive border controls, a legal framework which appropriately covers the new reality of mass migration, and integration measures which correspond with the prospects of remaining in the receiving country. Regarding the entry fee proposal, Söllner doubts that an entrance fee could efficiently regulate humanitarian and economic needs at the same time.
Humanitarian migration creates huge benefits for those who are fleeing from war and other forms of violence and concurrently involves net monetary as well as social costs for the population in receiving countries. Herbert Brücker argues for a utilitarian welfare economics approach to achieve an appropriate balance between migrants’ welfare and the costs for receiving countries. He does not consider the entry fee to be an efficient allocation mechanism. Hartmut Kliemt, commenting also on Brücker, underlines the fundamental fact that any system of rights must be locally accepted by some community of individuals, and therefore, to be effective any migration policy needs to convince the citizens of the target country. The utilitarian approach is not consistent with this presupposition.
This focus closes with a reply by Margit Osterloh and Bruno Frey. They analyze how their idea of an entry fee immigration system could be improved by the-mostly critical-contributions of the disputants.
Table of Contents
Title: Cooperatives Instead of Migration Partnerships
Author: Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey
Large-scale migration is one of the most topical issues of our time. There are two main problems. First, millions of persons will enter Europe in the short and middle run in spite of the firewalls we have built. When the income levels in the development countries raises, the migration pressure will even become stronger for a long time. Second, the present integration policy in most European countries is deficient. In contrast to common knowledge, strong social benefits for migrants, multicultural policies and fast naturalization do not further integration. To address these two problems we propose a procedure that takes into account that most migrants react to incentives in a rational way. Migrants in our countries are joining a cooperative and take advantage of many collective goods and social institutions the citizen of the immigration countries have provided. Migrants therefore should pay an entry fee to join the cooperative. This proposal has positive consequences for both the countries of immigration and of origin, as well as for actual andwould-be immigrants. It has many advantages compared to other schemes.
Title: Two Ethical Hurdles Facing the Osterloh-Frey Proposal
Author: Paul Collier
The proposal that Europe should sell the right to immigration to reflect the access to public goods raises two ethical objections. One draws on the proposition of Michael Sandel that there are things that ‘money can’t buy’. Public goods are the result of a reciprocal exchange of obligations within a community.As such, they are not transactions in a market and putting a price on them can inadvertently weaken their essentially moral nature. The other objection is that selling the right to immigrate would enable the elites of poor countries to exit their obligations to those left behind in their own societies. While potentially damaging poor societies by removing their most able people, it would create the comfortable illusion in Europe that we were being more generous to people from poor countries.
Title: Money, Refuge, and Justice
Author: Michael Blake
Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey have introduced a novel, and potentially powerful, vision of migration rights, on which European states might respond to the current crisis of migration by conditioning admission on the payment of an entry fee. In this comment, I raise a worry about the morality of a world governed by such a principle. While Osterloh and Frey foresee a world in which migration is made more sustainable, with benefits for all stakeholders as a result, I am worried their program would lead to a lessening of support for the moral principles that gave rise to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This Convention, I argue, ought to be preserved as a public statement of the principle that wealthy states have an obligation to bear some costs in the defense of human rights; Osterloh and Frey, I argue, might be undermining support for those moral principleswe currently have the most need to reinforce. Nevertheless, I argue that under emergency circumstances we might have a need for experimentation and political innovation, even if we are confident that what they produce will necessarily involve some degree of political wrongdoing; we might, in short, have a reason to try out proposals of the sort Osterloh and Frey defend, even if the moral worries I defend here are correct.
Title: Migration, Entry Fees, and Stakeholdership
Author: Désirée Lim
The current European ‘migration crisis’ encompasses increasing rates of migration and the accompanying failure of migrants, including both economic migrants and refugees, to integrate. In this paper, I focus on a normative analysis of the entry fee immigration system, providing both an internal and external critique. In the internal critique, I take for granted that states are best understood as clubs. However, states seem to share greater similarities with clubs that are too exclusive to allow membership to be purchased. In the external critique, I argue that imposing a substantial entry fee on club membership is impermissible if exclusion from membership deprives non-members of basic rights and interests, even if measures are taken to equalise their ability to pay. The upshot of the internal and external critique, I believe, is that membership ought not to be contingent on the payment of a fee, or more generally, the acceptance of current members.
Title: Can an Entrance Fee Solve the Migration Problem? Probably Not
Author: Jörg Althammer and Maximilian Sommer
Refugee and poverty migration is one of the key challenges developed Western societies are facing. Due to the unstable political situation in many parts of the world and the lasting high differences in development between the economies, these migratory movements will continue to increase in the future. In order to channel immigrants, the authors suggest that migrants must pay an entry premium to obtain a permanent right of residence. We criticize this proposal from both an ethical and an economic perspective. We argue that a pricing system is neither ethically legitimate nor economically sensible. In order to meet the challenges of migration, a fundamental change in economic cooperation between developed and less developed economies is more appropriate.
Title: Towards a Rational Migration Policy
Author: Fritz Söllner
A rational migration policy has to be based on a coherent set of objectives and its instruments have to be chosen so as to best achieve these objectives. If the focus of migration policy is on the interests of the receiving country, it has to be decided, firstly, how many and what kind of immigrants are to be invited and, secondly, how many refugees are to be accepted for humanitarian reasons. The former are supposed to live permanently in the receiving country, while the latter may stay only temporarily. For the determination of these objectives, the economic and the non-economic consequences of immigration for the native population need to be analyzed. As there will be conflicts of interest, an open debate about the objectives of migration policy is necessary. In particular, it needs to be acknowledged that economic self-interest motivates, at least in part, both the critics and the proponents of immigration. Only when objectives have been agreed upon, can the appropriate instruments be chosen. Among those, the instrument of the entrance fee may play an important role, especially with regard to selecting qualified immigrants.
Title: A Utilitarian Approach for the Governance of Humanitarian Migration
Author: Herbert Brücker
Humanitarian migration creates, on the one hand, huge benefits for those who are protected from war, persecution and other forms of violence, but, on the other hand, involves also net monetary and social costs for the population in host countries providing protection at the same time. This is the core of the ethical and political problem associated with the governance of humanitarian migration. Against this background, this paper discusses whether the provision of protection can be founded on rational ethical principles. By drawing on a utilitarian approach a simple criterion is derived: Humanitarian migration is welfare improving, as long as the benefits of the marginal humanitarian migrant exceed the marginal costs of providing shelter per refugee. Based on this principle, practical solutions for the admission of humanitarian migrants and the international and European coordination of asylum policies are discussed.
Title: Universal Rights Localized or Local Rights Universalized?
Author: Hartmut Kliemt
A universalist conception of immigration, assuming that all humans have a fundamental ethical right to equal consideration (Brücker), is contrasted with a particularist ethical conception that restricts equal consideration to members of a given community (Osterloh/Frey). It is argued that within the limits of Robbinsian economics only a communitarian conception is acceptable while an ethical theorist might lean towards a universalist view.
Title: A Pragmatic Approach to Migration
Author: Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey
This reply focusses on three aspects: advantages and disadvantages of our proposed ‘cooperative entry certificates’ for the countries of origin, for the migrants, and for the host countries. It analyzes in what respects our proposal can be improved based on the valuable points made by the commentators. In addition, the question of how to deal with winners and losers within the three groups is discussed.
Title: The Birth of the CrowdLaw Movement: Tech-Based Citizen Participation, Legitimacy and the Quality of Lawmaking
Author: Victòria Alsina and José Luis Martí
One of the most urgent debates of our time is about the exact role that new technologies can and should play in our societies and particularly in our public decision-making processes. This paper is a first attempt to introduce the idea of CrowdLaw, defined as online public participation leveraging new technologies to tap into diverse sources of information, judgments and expertise at each stage of the law and policymaking cycle to improve the quality as well as the legitimacy of the resulting laws and policies. First, we explain why CrowdLaw differs from many previous forms of political participation. Second,we reproduce and explain the CrowdLaw Manifesto that the rising CrowdLaw community has elaborated to foster such approaches around the world. Lastly, we introduce some preliminary considerations on the notions of justice, legitimacy and quality of lawmaking and public decision-making, which are central to the idea of CrowdLaw.
Title: Crowdlaw: Collective Intelligence and Lawmaking
Author: Beth Simone Noveck
To tackle the fast-moving challenges of our age, law and policymaking must become more flexible, evolutionary and agile. Thus, in this Essay we examine ‘crowdlaw’, namely how city councils at the local level and parliaments at the regional and national level are turning to technology to engage with citizens at every stage of the lawand policymaking process. Aswe hope to demonstrate, crowdlaw holds the promise of improving the quality and effectiveness of outcomes by enabling policymakers to interact with a broader public using methods designed to serve the needs of both institutions and individuals. crowdlaw is less a prescription for more deliberation to ensure greater procedural legitimacy by having better inputs into lawmaking processes than a practical demand for more collaborative approaches to problem solving that yield better outputs, namely policies that achieve their intended aims. However, as we shall explore, the projects that most enhance the epistemic quality of lawmaking are those that are designed to meet the specific informational needs for that stage of problem solving.
Title: Why We Should Talk about German ‘Orientierungskultur’ rather than ‘Leitkultur’
Author: Mathias Risse
The notion of Leitkultur has been used in German immigration debates to capture the idea that our living arrangements ought to be shaped by shared cultural identity. Leitkultur contrasts with a multiculturalism that sees multiple cultures side-by-side on equal terms. We should replace Leitkultur with Orientierungskultur, a notionwhose introduction is overdue. German philosophy, especially Kant, has bestowed an intellectual meaning upon an originally geographical notion that is already ubiquitous, making ‘Orientierungskultur’ a natural construct. That notion allows us to say there is an inevitably amorphous but recognizable German culture whose prominence in public life provides a grounding for many and prevents them from feeling alienated from the society they helped build; at the same time, for some domains of public life not participating in default behavior is not merely tolerated but acknowledged as a genuine alternative. Crucially, one way of orienting oneself is to turn away.
Title: Just Instruments for Adaptation Finance
Author: Marco Grasso
The paper discusses Baatz’s work (2018) published in a recent issue of this journal. It first considers the proposed framework of justice within which to evaluate instruments for adaptation finance; it then develops the framework’s criteria of fairness and feasibility further; finally, it proposes an option for increasing the capacity of Baatz’s framework to ensure that instruments for adaptation finance operate in a just way.
Title: Moral Objectivity and Property: The Justice of Liberal Socialism
Author: Justin P. Holt
This paper restates the thesis of ‘The Requirements of Justice and Liberal Socialism’where itwas argued that liberal socialism best meets Rawlsian requirements of justice. The recent responses to this article by Jan Narveson, Jeppe von Platz, and Alan Thomas merit examination and comment. This reply shows that if Rawlsian justice is to be met, then non-personal property must be subject to public control. If just outcomes merit the public control of non-personal property and this control is not utilized, then justice has been subordinated to the objectively less important institution of private property.