The urgency of achieving a borderless society for economic, social, and humanitarian progress

The urgency of achieving a borderless society for economic, social, and humanitarian progress

Progress is multidimensional. Progress of a society is dependent on multiple factors.  It includes Economic, Social, Cultural and Technological dimensions. When we define a territory bounded by borders as a country, we limit the potential of that particular region. This also affects the prosperity of the rest of the world. Agriculture confined people within their own territory and took away their freedom of movement. The principle of perfect competition in economics tells us that goods, services, money and people need to move across borders.

There are increasing chances of prosperity with cross border movement of people. Cost of production reduces due to cheaper labour. People who migrate get the opportunity to increase their income. There are 16.1 million refugees in the world today, half of them are children and 6 million are of school-going age. Can we live in peace and prosperity without being inclusive towards them? Little do we know about the pain of refugees.

Most of us in the world have no experience of migration or transnational lives. A borderless world can remove the tag of refugees and create opportunities for them. This will help the rest of the world too. When we allow people to move freely without restriction across borders, the cost of production reduces. Consumers get benefitted.

There are more chances of innovation. Research and Development also gets a boost due to the inclusion of the scientific community from across the globe. The existing production mechanism in a country gets the benefit of cheaper resources. This leads to a growth in the GDP and increases the per capita income.


Decentralization is the distribution of power and decision-making away from a central authority. It can lead to a more democratic and inclusive society, but it is not the only step towards a borderless society. A borderless society would require a significant shift in global politics, as well as the cooperation and coordination of governments around the world.

It has a bigger aim of bringing equity among people. When all countries and key players agree on certain norms forgetting their selfish interest, the world prospers and does not have to bear the brunt of environmental degradation.

We need bonhomie and concurrence among countries in creating norms of decentralization for truly free people.

Economic progress

Free Market economy necessarily means the free movement of labor and capital. Borders restrict the free movement of people. This increases the cost of production as well as reduces the welfare of people. Border regulations work as a birth privilege for people in wealthy countries. At the same time, millions suffer due to the unavailability of work.

International Trade enhances the prosperity of countries and their people. The WTO completed 25 years of its existence in 2020, still the concept of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) between the countries is just a myth. MFN says all member countries should be treated as Most Favoured Nations without disparity. Member countries of WTO do differentiate while offering tariffs to other members. The mechanism is also quite complex. Countries like China try to dump their products across the world with state subsidies.

We do not have a free trading platform in the world which can take care of this. Before the industrial revolution, mankind did not have the idea that wealth could be created. The concept of growth was obscure.

The Industrial Revolution showed us how we can prosper. The following centuries showed that trading could increase prosperity. Ricardian theory of comparative advantage established that all participating countries will gain from trade whether they export or import. A borderless world can only ensure that countries maximize the gains from trade.

This percolates down to prosperity for the people by raising their income level. A world bank study shows that tariff escalation between the US and China could reduce global exports by up to 3%. This in turn will reduce global income by 1% i.e. USD 1.4 trillion. Such a loss will be across all regions.

Social progress

The demography of countries across continents is not homogeneous. Australia and the United States have a huge pool of migrant workers. This has helped them in achieving prosperity. Global population of migrants was 3.5% of the world population in 2019. This was 4 times of what it used be in 1960. Countries like India and China want their people to work abroad and depend on the diaspora for increasing their forex income. Now migration of labour forces impacts local demography and culture. Cultural exchange can create better understanding and international cooperation among countries.

Hofstede analysis shows how we differ culturally across continents. While people in some countries are rule-oriented, others are not. Power distance varies from country to country. However, decentralization has made us agree on certain acceptable norms across the globe. We adhere to these for our own benefit. There is a global unity in cultural practices when everyone can maintain their uniqueness. A global unity in diversity is practiced by global citizens.

A world without borders ensures tolerance towards different types of culture.

Technological progress

With increasing digitalization, we are today familiar with virtual teachers and doctors. These practices are creating opportunities across the globe with an unprecedented prosperity for people. This also ensures a higher level of services. The pandemic has forced educators to adopt technology-enabled learning.

Post pandemic, it is clear that online education is going to stay. With the advent of online universities, today the concept of borders is redundant in teaching and learning. Students of Udemy or Coursera learn in a borderless world and can acquire the skills from experts across the globe. Borderless education and healthcare are expected to transform the global landscape towards a new prosperity.

Finally, prosperity cannot be confined to a particular region. Inequality in opportunity impedes global prosperity. Gains from trade can reach every corner of the world when we are not finicky about national borders.

We need to think beyond borders to achieve global prosperity. 

Borderless world helps us in achieving economic, social, cultural and technological prosperity. Progress of civilization can usher us into a new paradigm of prosperity in a borderless world.

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