Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ISIS and the Refugee Crisis

 

shutterstock_319837088In 1956, Charles Tiebout published a famous paper that hypothesized that when faced with an inefficient government, people would “vote with their feet” and move to another jurisdiction. While he applied his model to local governments, we can think of this happening across national borders as well. This can provide us with some insights about the current refugee crisis.

ISIS views itself essentially as a government and has been at work establishing geographic boundaries. This government is clearly coercive and millions of people are “voting with their feet” by fleeing ISIS-controlled territory and territory that ISIS may control at some point. The fact that a vast number of people have fled indicates that either ISIS wants them to leave or it is ineffective in containing its population.

It doesn’t seem logical that ISIS would want a government with few people rather than one with a large number of people, so we might assume that it has trouble keeping its people within its geographical boundary. If it cannot keep people from leaving, the next strategy would be to keep anyone else from receiving those fleeing ISIS-controlled territory.

The Nov. 13 attacks on Paris, for which ISIS claimed credit, and the more recent attacks fit a strategy of eliminating places that people fleeing ISIS can go to. More than half of our nation’s governors have announced plans to block Syrian refugees from resettling in their states due to the terrorist actions in California and a backlash can be seen throughout Europe as it struggles with the refugees attempting to gain entrance.

The refugee problem that has been created by the violence throughout the Middle East is substantial and difficult to unravel. While the vast majority of refugees pose no harm to countries that receive them, there is some probability that ISIS might send terrorists into the US or Europe disguised as refugees.

The normal politics of immigration make the situation even more difficult. Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has suggested a very interesting solution to the problem. He has offered to purchase a privately-owned Greek island to place refugees. This has a number of advantages, not the least of which is private foundations and governments could provide aid to the settlement without facing the hostility of those in their countries who fear the refugees. The island could become another beacon of freedom, particularly if a social structure were set up based upon markets and constitutionally limited government. It is quite possible that such an experiment would lead to a place where individuals were able to set up a productive society that would outcompete the centrally planned autocracies that dominate the Middle East today.

With its continued attacks, ISIS will be able to enforce its coercive government on many more people than would otherwise be the case. However, if rather than simply closing their borders to the millions of innocents seeking refuge, our governments responded by seeking out innovative solutions to the problem such as proposed by Mr. Sawiris, ISIS will have created its own downfall.

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  1. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Interesting perspective.

    • #1
    • March 3, 2016, at 2:10 PM PST
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  2. TG Thatcher
    TG

    What’s stopping Mr. Sawiris from putting his plan into action?

    • #2
    • March 3, 2016, at 2:16 PM PST
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  3. Gary Wolfram Contributor
    Gary Wolfram

    I am not sure about why his purchase has not gone through but I would be interested in thinking through how an independent state can be set up.

    • #3
    • March 3, 2016, at 2:20 PM PST
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  4. Flagg Taylor Member

    Why do you think the island would become a “beacon of freedom”?

    • #4
    • March 3, 2016, at 2:44 PM PST
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  5. Gary Wolfram Contributor
    Gary Wolfram

    You are correct. I am assuming that one could establish a nation that is based upon limited government and a market economy. If that were the case, and it would take some thinking about how to accomplish this, although we managed it a couple of hundred years ago, then it would become a beacon of freedom.

    • #5
    • March 3, 2016, at 2:55 PM PST
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  6. Petty Boozswha Member

    Ever heard of the Quattara depression? It’s an area in the middle of the desert in Egypt that’s below sea level that could be turned into a waterway the size of Lake Ontario… the refugees could start a new life developing a new economic zone around that area.

    • #6
    • March 3, 2016, at 4:53 PM PST
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  7. Freesmith Inactive

    Don’t sell an inch of Europe. It was hard enough to take it back from the Muslims.

    Why not send them to Japan? It is a rich, technically advanced democracy, has an aging population, a below replacement level birth rate and I’ve never heard anyone at the UN or anywhere else ever call the Japanese Islamophobic.

    (My understanding is that only white people can be Islamophobic.)

    Japan sounds like the perfect destination to me.

    • #7
    • March 3, 2016, at 5:37 PM PST
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  8. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Just a quick point: The vast majority of those fleeing Syria have been fleeing Assad’s bombing campaign, the systematic rape and murder by his shabiha, and his torture dungeons — aided by Iran and now stepped up in scope with the aid of Russia’s indiscriminate bombing campaign. ISIS’s abominations are better-known in the United States because ISIS boasts of them, and publicizes them in the most disgusting ways imaginable; but if measured just by the number of victims, ISIS’s atrocities pale in contrast with Assad’s.

    • #8
    • March 3, 2016, at 11:39 PM PST
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  9. Freesmith Inactive

    There’s an old baseball adage: you can’t tell the players without a scorecard.

    That’s why I read you, Claire.

    You provide the scorecard for the Savages’ Mid-East Regionals.

    • #9
    • March 4, 2016, at 6:29 AM PST
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  10. Michael Brehm Member

    Freesmith

    Why not send them to Japan? It is a rich, technically advanced democracy, has an aging population, a below replacement level birth rate and I’ve never heard anyone at the UN or anywhere else ever call the Japanese Islamophobic.

    The simple fact is that Japan doesn’t want them. It already has one of the most restrictive immigration policies on Earth; and from what I understand, it is especially prohibitive of Middle Eastern immigration, and has been that way since long before Syria. With the troubles in Europe, I highly doubt that Japan will reverse it’s policies anytime soon.

    • #10
    • March 4, 2016, at 6:31 AM PST
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  11. Blitter Inactive

    Gary Wolfram: The island could become another beacon of freedom, particularly if a social structure were set up based upon markets and constitutionally limited government.

    The island would be populated with people with no experience of these things. How would it work out any better than our experiments in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why would the place not simply and rapidly turn into another instance of what we already have in the Middle East? That said, this is a much better plan than bringing them into the US or Europe.

    • #11
    • March 4, 2016, at 8:24 AM PST
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  12. Gary Wolfram Contributor
    Gary Wolfram

    Blitter:

    Gary Wolfram: The island could become another beacon of freedom, particularly if a social structure were set up based upon markets and constitutionally limited government.

    The island would be populated with people with no experience of these things. How would it work out any better than our experiments in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why would the place not simply and rapidly turn into another instance of what we already have in the Middle East? That said, this is a much better plan than bringing them into the US or Europe.

    That is a very good question. I think it may be successful because you wouldn’t be overthrowing an existing order. But you would indeed need some way to protect property rights, and perhaps we would get some kind of spontaneous order.

    • #12
    • March 4, 2016, at 9:26 AM PST
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  13. Freesmith Inactive

    Yeah, I know that, Mike, hence my obviously sarcastic suggestion that included

    (My understanding is that only white people can be Islamophobic.)

    How come the Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans are able to get away with such racist, ethnocentric, Islamophobic and culturally hegemonistic policies on immigration, but the West can’t?

    What makes them so special?

    • #13
    • March 4, 2016, at 10:09 AM PST
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  14. Richard Rummelhart Inactive

    You have a basic assumption that is wrong. ISIS is not concerned about the people fleeing. Most of the people in the areas ISIS controls are fleeing because if they did not ISIS would kill them. ISIS wants to eradicate Christianity in not only the Middle East but the world. ISIS wants people to flee so they can steal their land. vehicles and other property. ISIS may be concerned about the woman who are escaping because then they can not rape them, sell them into sexual slavery or force into unwanted marriages.

    • #14
    • March 4, 2016, at 5:02 PM PST
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  15. Tenacious D Inactive

    Freesmith: How come the Japanese, Chinese and South Koreans are able to get away with such racist, ethnocentric, Islamophobic and culturally hegemonistic policies on immigration, but the West can’t?

    Because the Japanese et al. don’t have a history of colonialism.

    ;P

    • #15
    • March 5, 2016, at 9:31 AM PST
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