Would you expect schools to fare well on a cost-benefit analysis if we ignored any gains to the under-18s? Or would hospitals look like a good investment if we counted only the advantages to non-patients? Yet it seems that migration may still be mildly beneficial even after disqualifying any benefit to the people most likely to gain: the migrants.
Several economists have estimated the economic impact of radically liberalising immigration rules and allowing anyone to move anywhere — a typical estimate is that the world economy would roughly double in size.
There is the simple matter of respecting individual liberties. We would not dream of telling young people from Hull that they couldn’t move to London because Hull needs them more. Nor would we insist that the UK’s National Health Service should refrain from recruiting British nurses because those nurses might do more good if they went to work in India…
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