An Agorist’s View On Closed Borders

Borders are a sticky issue within libertarian circles. A lot of libertarians favor tightly controlled borders. Hell, even well-respected anarcho-capitalist thinkers like Hans Hermann Hopped favor strongly controlled government borders. Any libertarian in support of controlled borders is, in my opinion, foolish. But what about the agorist view? Agorism is all about continually transitioning economic activity from the white to the black market. In the case of borders the white market consists of those preventing people from crossing government borders and the black market consists of smugglers helping people across those same borders. And black market actors have enjoyed a great deal of success in overcoming the white market.

Let’s look at a quintessential historical example of heavily secured borders: East Germany. The German Democratic Republic (GDR) erected the famous Berlin Wall in an effort to stop its people from accidentally exiting the utopia of communism. For reasons nobody quite understands there were people who were actually trying to leave. Seeing a market demand many enterprising entrepreneurs stepped up to the plate and created a black market for smuggling people out of the GDR. One of those smugglers was Rainer Schubert. Mr. Schubert operated his successful smuggling operation for three years before the Stasi finally caught him. According to the Glasgow Herald he smuggled more than 100 people across the heavily guarded border. And he wasn’t alone. It turns out that there was quite an enterprise in helping people cross the heavily secured border of the GDR.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the demand for black market operations for crossing fortified borders hasn’t diminished, but has merely shifted elsewhere. The example most Americans are probably familiar with are Central Americans crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Smugglers who bring people from Central America into the United States are commonly referred to as coyotes and they have setup quite a black market business for themselves.

Agorism is necessarily opposed to government control over imaginary lines. By attempting to prevent people from crossing its borders a government creates a white market. As a philosophy based on moving white market activity into the black market agorism supports the efforts of smugglers helping people get across those borders illegally. Such efforts end up moving a lot of white market activity into the black market. People crossing a border illegally are not paying governments for visas, passports, or other travel documents. Because they’re in the country illegally they’re not going to declare any income, which keeps money out of the hands of the revenuers. In addition to that, most of their work will likely be done “under the table” since they won’t want to risk leaving a paper trail that could get them arrested and/or deported so it’ll be paid for with cash (or some other form of exchange that is difficult for the government to surveil).