Almost everyday, we wake up to disturbing news of ‘illegal’ immigrants caught trying to move from one part of the world to another. Many of these are folks who are ready to risk limb and life, to move to parts of the world where they are likely to access better opportunities. They encounter huge challenges in the process. And through them, we come to realize that we don’t enjoy unfettered freedom to live in any part of the world. In fact, our freedoms in that regard are severely restricted. To move from the part of the world you are in to another part, you need to have certain papers. At the very least, to move from one nation to another, you need to have a passport. You may, on top of that, be required to have visas, to move from certain nations to others.
That is not how it is supposed to be. A few centuries ago, people were, for all purposes and intends, free to live in any part of the world. That is how the various major migrations took place. But at some point, borders and immigration desks were established, and it became hard to move from one nation to another. The question that arises is as to whether we will ever go back to the natural state. That is, the state where people had unfettered freedom to live in any part of the world they desired. And that turns out to be a difficult question to answer. The trends are hard to read. We see, for instance, nations coalescing into regional blocs, such as the EU, which makes it easier for folks to live wherever they want. But with other nations opting out of such blocs (as Britain did with Brexit), you realize that we are not making straightforward progress. We are moving several steps forward, and several steps backwards.
There is hope. As people get more and more enlightened, they are giving up things like racial prejudices, and becoming more accommodating. And as population growth slows down, nations are having to open up their borders to expatriate workers. Perhaps a day is coming, when we will have genuine unfettered freedom to live in any part of the world we choose.