EspañolHuman civilization has come a long way. We have abolished slavery for the most part; women and men have largely equal rights; homosexuals are no less and less persecuted; and religions live together peacefully in most countries. In sum, the world is a much less violent place.
However, it seems we’re not making any progress on making travel and trade easier. Think about Santa Claus. The story about a man flying across the world doling out presents for children would be absurd these days — but not for the reasons you would expect.
Imagine what Santa would have to do without his snowmobile to allows him to fly across borders. The bearded old man takes off on his private jet to complete a 24-hour extenuating mission to deliver a bag full of presents. But as soon as he lands in the first country, immigration and customs officers are waiting.
“Passport, visa, and customs statement, please,” they bark.
Santa is dumbfounded. “What is this? Why cannot I continue my journey? Thousands of children are waiting for my presents!” he tells the employees, who barely raise their gaze from the paperwork.
The old man sighs, fills in the forms, and pays a hefty fee. But when he’s about to leave, the customs officer stops him. “Wait a minute, I can’t let you pass with all these presents.” It turns out that Santa’s thousands of free presents are “unfair competition” or even dumping.
“To introduce all those goods into the country, you will need an import permit and you will have to pay the tariffs,” the employee tells the bewildered Santa, who asks how free stuff could possibly harm the economy.
The customs officer explains that “by bringing in toys at low or zero cost, you’re attacking local industry. Factories will shut down and people will lose their jobs. We can’t allow that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Santa replies. “Are you telling me that giving people free things harms them? If someone came to the North Pole and gave me a bag full of presents I would welcome him with open arms!”
[adrotate group=”7″]”Look,” Santa continues, “I would gladly have someone spare me the job of manufacturing gifts for the world’s children. And the elves wouldn’t be out of jobs. The economy would use the vast resources previously employed in the toy factory in other sectors, where they will work. As a result, the North Pole will be more prosperous.”
Unable to refute Santa’s argument, the employee frowns. “The law says you can’t, so you won’t,” he makes clear.
Even if Santa were to successfully get through customs, he would have to deal with other protection rackets such trade unions. But fortunately, we know Santa Claus has his magical reindeer, so children will get their presents this Christmas.
Unlike the rest of us, he doesn’t have to deal with the burdensome border bureaucracy. He is not one of the thousands of refugees unable to flee war, a Central American migrant risking his life to find better opportunities elsewhere, nor a Venezuelan unable to get car parts, medicine, or food due to trade restrictions.
Since it’s wishing season, I would like next year to bring us more open borders: fewer restrictions on the transit of people and goods, which are among the top measures that keep the world from being a better place.
For those who celebrate it, Merry Christmas!