BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan, illustrated by Zach Weinersmith [in Booklist]

Borders, walls, detention camps, caged children … the dividing headlines seem never-ending. Regardless of readers’ immigration politics, economics professor Bryan Caplan (The Myth of the Rational Voter, 2008) will provoke: “Let’s put this in perspective,” he writes. “The world now produces about $75 trillion a year. Open borders would easily double this.” For eager naysayers, he’s ready with a comeback: “Why do math when you can hastily point fingers at foreigners?”

Beyond global prosperity, Caplan debunks protestations that opening borders will increase the financial burden on native populations (more working-age immigrants actually mean higher benefits with lower taxes); threats to safety (lightning is three times more likely to kill than terrorism); threats to culture and language (“cultural greatness” equals the opportunity to choose the best lifestyles, art, food, and more). He’s also got responses to every limiting political -ism, from egalitarism to Kantianism to utilitarianism. That his numbers-don’t-lie arguments are supported by comprehensive research – including 31 pages of source notes! – makes easy dismissal impossible.

His partner-in-insight Zach Weinersmith provides crisp, easy-to-grasp artistic support, with his own occasional insertions of humor (comical t-shirts, peanut gallery “duhs”) and pathos (a child’s beached corpse, a toddler in a “Don’t deport my mom” shirt). His dedication-page plea for information about a missing family member pointedly sets the stage for open borders.

Review: “Graphic Novels,” Booklist, September 15, 2019

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2019


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