Decentralized, Online Markets: A Response to Rand Paul?
Recently, Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky and potential 2016 presidential candidate, has made the rounds in the mainstream US news circuits touting his plan for the reform of the US’ immigration policy and the security of its southern border. In response to allegations that he supported amnesty for immigrants who have came into the United States and are living here illegally, he said in an Op-ED for Breibart Magazine:
âI am for immigration reform because I am against allowing 12 million more illegal immigrants into our country. If we do nothing, 12 million more illegal immigrants will come. We must be in favor of reformâsmart reform that starts with border security. Characterizing that position as “amnesty” is simply untrue.â
Despite his fairly libertarian leanings on the topic of immigration– Rand really does want to make it easier for people to enter the United States to work– he is fundamentally wrong on the method by which these reforms should be made. Granted, although he is hailed by many in the libertarian community as a younger version of his father, famous libertarian Ron Paul, Rand does not and has not ever publicly claimed to be a libertarian, only a constitutional Republican. Ron Paul, Rand’s father, has even publicly said that he and his son are âabout 99% the same.â That being said, regardless of Paul’s true ideological alignment, it is clear that he shares many of the same views as libertarians and often appeals to the libertarian demographic in his speeches. So, why does he have such a big government view on immigration? The most effective way to improve an economy is to open the borders and remove any restrictions on immigration. One open border advocacy group even claims that getting rid of all the global, geopolitical borders would immediately double the global GDP.
Senator Paul makes no claims without supporting them, however, which is virtually unheard of in the realm of politics. He cites the 9/11 Commission, a report issued by the federal government analyzing the causes of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, and says that terrorists used âvisas to commit acts of violence against Americaâ and that âthe 9/11 hijackers used visas to enter the country and to stay here while planning attacks.â That is certainly true, but it is no justification for the support of a policy that contradicts most of Paul’s publicly stated opinions. Building hundreds of miles of fence and further militarizing the border will likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars. How does Senator Paul propose to pay for such an operation? Increased taxes, which he constantly speaks and votes against? Borrowing money and thereby increasing the national debt, something that Paul is vehemently opposed to? Or does he want to use the Federal Reserve to print the money to pay for his plan, even though he has worked tirelessly to audit the Fed and hopes to eventually abolish it? Additionally, in regards to the argument stated above that open borders double GDP, why would Senator Paul, an avid supporter of the free market, want to put any restriction on the division of labor, even if it is only a loose visa policy? And what of amnesty? Why is it such an off-limits topic for anyone involved in American politics, especially for those conservatives who claim to be for free trade? Do they not see that granting amnesty and opening the borders aligns perfectly with the principles of free trade? Amnesty doesn’t forgive criminals for breaking the law, it apologizes to individuals– trying to participate in free trade— for being oppressed by tyrannical, protectionist governments.
Perhaps, instead of militarizing the border to stop terrorists from getting in, Paul should focus on eliminating the cause of terrorism. In a 2002 open letter to the United States of America, Osama Bin Laden blamed the US for using its military to set up bases on holy land, the soldiers from which spread the American promotion of acts that he deemed immoral and sinful. The former leader of the terrorist organization responsible for 9/11 blames the US government for using its military might to encroach on the sovereignty of nations, which, he said, is why they attacked the US in 2001! Maybe the US should give up the empire that it cannot afford and stop bullying the rest of the world. Countries hate the United States because we make them hate us by surrounding their borders with military bases and threatening them with violence should they do something that the US does not condone. Just look at this map of US military bases around the borders of Iran. The CIA staged a coup in Iran in 1953 and then the US government surrounded Iran with military bases, and we wonder why they feel so threatened by us! Our foreign policy, especially in regards to the Middle-East, is one of fear and intimidation, of aggressive imperialism. It’s no wonder why the people getting hurt by the US government are joining radical, anti-American terrorist organizations.
Decentralized, Online Markets are Solving the Border Problem
It doesn’t matter whether or not Senator Paul has good intentions in supporting the allocation of a massive amount of money (that the government does not have) in order to militarize the southern border of the United States and close it off to anyone who does not pay the entrance fee. Mr. Paul very likely, probably certainly, has very good intentions, given the fact that he supports reforming the visa system and making it easier to acquire a work visa for the United States. However, a militarized, locked down border and any visa system is antithetical to free trade. Any restriction whatsoever on who and what can cross the arbitrary, geopolitical borders limits the progression of the international division of labor and restrains the growth of the global market economy.
Luckily, decentralized, online markets– such as the Deep Web drug markets– are slowly making it so that we do not have to worry about permission from some government that exerts its arbitrary power in regulating who or what can and cannot cross their imaginary borders. These types of Internet markets do not have to worry about governments as much as traditional markets because of their decentralized nature, they are essentially impossible to eradicate completely. They are also opening up the borders despite the US government’s, including Rand Paul’s, attempts to lock the borders down. These markets are not bound by borders because they do not operate in the physical world, transactions on these markets occur online, where individuals can enjoy as much anonymity as they want. We are seeing the development of free trade in an unfree world; Silk Road and its successors are making the drug trade more customer friendly and much less violent, and before long other international enterprises will start taking to the decentralized Internet to conduct their overseas business. It isn’t hard to imagine a world in which we can order something from a p2p market, anonymously, with Bitcoin, and have it shipped to us by a private delivery service that sneaks across the arbitrary geopolitical boundaries.
True to the nature of the free market, this growing unrestricted, non-physical venue for trading goods and services freely across borders has facilitated the spread of intellectual, political, and economic values of liberty and free trade. This website is just one of many libertarian-friendly places on the Internet, and it started as a direct result of the growing eminence of Deep Web markets. As these markets grow and begin to encompass more areas of the economy other than the drug trade, so too will the principles of individualism and economic liberty. This process of free market progression will take place much faster and effectively than any of Rand Paul’s policy recommendations, no matter how well-thought or conducive to liberty they are. Such is the free market; it moves faster than any politician or member of government ever could. Political boundaries between countries are growing more vague and distorted every day simply because people are choosing not to subscribe to the dogmas of protectionism and nationalism. We want to trade voluntarily and peacefully with each other, we want to respect each other’s freedom of choice, and we want to be friends with each other. No government can stop the demands of the market. Entrepreneurial innovation always out-paces government, and that is precisely what we are starting to see happen with the gradual erosion of territorial borders thanks to cryptography and the decentralization it produces.