There’s a theme emerging in the new international political economy post-Brexit.
The US is willing to offer the UK a trade deal, with a condition attached. That condition seems to be freedom of movement for people.
Australia is willing to offer a trade deal. But wants relaxed migration rules.
Not long ago India made clear that it was in the same place.
And so, I suspect, will be all other states.
And there’s logic to this. Although not often stated the simple fact is that if you allow free movement to trade and capital and deny it to labour the inevitable consequence is that the likely rate of return to capital is increased compared to that for labour. The logic is simple: without restriction capital can seek the best returns. With restrictions labour can’t. Cut out all the other important factors and if you’re going to control labour you have to, at the very least, control capital as much. Actually, because capital has not got family, school, in-law and other ties you almost certainly have to control it more than labour to balance returns.
So of course countries want as much freedom to move as they can get if free trade is sought. It’s the only way to make sure their people aren’t exploited.
We have, then, three options.
The first is to accept free movement of people.
“Freer” movement of people is not the same thing as “free” movement of people.