Borders to imagine a borderless world. The

Borders play an undeniably
important role in shaping world geography and mobility. A border is the
official line that separates two countries, states, or areas. Whilst this may
have been the purpose of a border in the past, in this day and age, the role of
borders is changing as they shape political, social and economic geography. Planet
earth is the natural home man, mobility is still severely restricted, purely
based on what country you may have been born in or which side of the border you
live on.  The western world, acquires a
very narrow-minded view of mobility, as it is largely accessible to us purely
based on our status and supposed superiority over other poorer powers. In
contrast, many Heavily Indebted Poor Countries are restricted in terms of
mobility as they are deemed unworthy of entering supposed idol societies. Borders
help us to understand “geographical concepts of mobility, transnational flows,
citizenship, national/regional identity, diaspora, political and ethnonational
conflicts.” (Paasi, 2013). With the rapid development of globalisation and
advancement of technology, the world is shrinking. Borders are a becoming
political manifestation and tool of suppression. This is evoked through the
rise of wall announcing becoming a popular practice of supposed democracy. However,
this ideology of borders is not a new concept but has been engrained throughout
history. Thus, it is hard to imagine a borderless world.

 

The significance of understanding
how borders shape the world geographically has been a popular issue in the last
centuries. With the advancement of cartography there has been an increasing
ability for people to choose and depict the world as to how they believe it should
look. Theoretically, making it very possible to just draw lines on a map and
therefore, claim control over the territory. Through the expansion of
colonialism, in Europe and the rest of the world, during late 16th
century borders became a functional way of controlling primary resources,
culture, wealth and including and excluding people. Friedrich Ratzel, in his
book on political geography, in the 19th century brought the issues
of borders into light. He evoked borders as a tool and illustrative technique
of power of the organic state, as dynamic rather than static peripheral organs.

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Ratzel led the way for changing people’s perspectives of borders.  Moreover, during the Second World War the insignificance
of borders was callously exploited in geopolitics. The miscalculated border
lines were ruthlessly used to justify violent expansions of territories.  However, after the war ended scholars began
to regard borders as physical lines separating states or as “artefacts on the
ground.” (Agnew, 2008) Moreover, from this they studied border landscapes, the
functional role in social and economic interaction and their perceptions thus
enhancing wider philosophical and methodological development in geography
(Prescott 1987, Newman and Paasi 1998). 
Crucially, from these findings they were able to recognise the relationship
of borders and three intertwined concepts: state, territory and sovereignty.  Therefore, this evokes how the significance of
borders throughout history allowed for a radical geographical concept that
enabled in social, political and economic advancement in geography.

 

Borders are an oppressive method of
controlling the mobility of people. The walling of borders to block ‘alien
bodies’ runs deep throughout history with Hadrian’s Wall, The Great Wall of
China and the Berlin Wall. However, in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks,
walling is now not a territorial or sovereignty process, but instead a
retaliation to the uncontrolled movement of individuals and non-state factors. In
response of trying to combat the war on terror and the fear of the
uncontrollable ‘enemy-other’ walling has become an expressive tool for many
states to try and create a homogenous nation.    The
process of ‘walling’ is a material manifestation used to produce a clear line
between who belongs and who doesn’t. (Silberman, 2012) States and nations
believe that they should keep people but not money trapped. This has been
enhanced through globalization. Reece Jones highlighted that border control
contains labour and keeps citizens who would otherwise move to another location
for a better quality of life, for example, with higher wages in a poorer place
to suppress wage sand maintain a pool of low wage, low skilled labour. (Lurie,
S 2017) Moreover, walls can be a ‘theatrical performative presence of a strong
protective nation state.’ (Minca and Rijke ,2017) Donald Trump proves the
theory that restricting certain borders are an incentive to try and seal off
the internal population to reassure that no ‘bad hombres’ will invade their
supposed homogenous spaces. This is evoked by the fact that Trump has used his
executive power to ban more than 200 million from entering America, yet in 2014
‘more Americans were killed by firearms roughly every five hours than were
killed by terrorists in an entire year.’ (Younge, 2017) Similarly, on the 4th
of December 2017 when the US Supreme Court said that the Muslim ban was fully
enforceable a self-identified Christian in Jacksonville, Florida was arrested for
planning a mass shooting at a local Islamic centre. At the time of the arrest,
they found 2,500 rounds of ammo and twelve guns in his possession. This
suggests that the biggest threat to the U.S. is in fact not Muslims but far
right extremists. (Magane,2017) Moreover, the Las Vegas shooting on the 1st
October 2017 where, a white gunman fired into a crowd of people at a music
festival, leaving 58 people dead and 546 injured, is a testament to this theory.

This stark fact leads me to ask whether the act of trying to suppress the
mobility has caused the Leader of the free world to be less concerned with his
own citizens than terrorists, when the real threat is amendable through his own
executive power. Thus, the desire to suppress mobility through borders is
proving a negligent political tool as, ironically, the majority of security problems
lies within a nation’s own citizens.  

 

 

 In Europe, the borders pose as being effective
in limiting mobility as the borders have been converted into barbaric war zones
symbolized by barb wire. The International Organization for Migration calls
‘Europe the most dangerous destination for irregular migration in the world.’ (Boyle,
2015) The EU’s collective
response has been to become more focused on securing the bloc’s borders than
protecting the rights of migrants and refugees. For example, in
September 2016, the UK revealed its plans to build a £1.9 million wall along
the highway bordering the infamous ‘Calais Jungle’ to block residents making
shift camps. (Minca and Rijke, 2017) However, in reality the effectiveness of
this approach is questionable as the rise of highly publicized pro-wall
governments corresponds to an increase of unregistered passengers to go to
extreme lengths via smugglers routes. The migrant crisis in Europe has become
an international scandal as powerful and violent images burst onto
international news. Following the fallout of the wider Arab Spring in March
2011 and the unrest in Libya in 2011-2012 post- Qaddafi era there has been a colossal
displacement of people trying to escape civil war.   In
August and September 2015, there was the discovery of 71 bodies in an abandoned
truck in Austria, images of 10,000 people set off on a 500km march to reach
Germany, and a photo of three-year-old Aylan Rurdis dead body found washed up
on a Turkish beach.  (Jones, 2016) 2014 saw
the most people displaced by war in a single year since World War Two and the
largest total displaced in record history with 59.5 million people displaced. However,
whilst in the EU the Dublin Procedure meant to standardise asylum rules each
country retains the right to adjudicate asylum applications. In 2015 protocols
broke in Hungary as they built a highly contested fence-wall on the border of
Serbia to block the flow of migrants along the West Balkan route.  Interestingly, there is prejudice about where
a migrant comes from as in the ‘third quarter of 2015 98% of Syrian applicants
were granted asylum in the EU’ whereas 76% of requests were rejected from
Ghana. (Jones, 2016) This evokes that there is a hierarchy within the immigrant
community. For borders to work, they need to be relatively porous and while their
very existence and workings are at the origins of more deaths at the borders in
Europe (Kovras and Robins, 2016), the current management still gives immigrants
the hope and drive that they need to leave their war inflicted countries. Essentially,
these border controls are robbing all aspects of humanity from migrants. Therefore,
the EU’s borders policies do not effectively contain immigrant’s mobility but
does in fact the opposite as they have become more determent than ever.

 

The ideal of a borderless world is
in theory possible due to deepening globalization and the desire to end war.

Globalization has given rise to contested narratives on borders. Some authors,
borders are increasingly porous, de-territorial or even residual phenomena in
the emerging ‘borderless world’ (Ohmae, 1995).  Moreover, Gary Davis declared himself a
citizen of the world, he announced “I am not a man without a country,” in 1978,
“merely a man without nationality.” (Fox, 2013) His logic was that if there
were no nation states, then consequently there would be no wars. However, this is can be undermined by the fact that
erasing nations and states don’t erase conflict. Conflict has been a
deep-rooted issue throughout written history. Conflict exists not just between
people but between people and animals, people and plants, plants and animal.

Inside each living thing, cells and microorganisms are battling it out for survival.

(Golberg, 2013) Moreover, it is not only biological within each individual,
there is a soul battling against itself. Within each individual are internal
borders and apprehension causing conflict with ourselves. Therefore, a world
without borders is not realistically imaginable as conflict is a part of human
life.

 

Across the board, it has been
suggested that a world without borders would have positive long effects such as
global poverty would be removed and GDP would increase. However, this ideal of
borderless world would create a naïve utopia.  Interestingly, today, a world without borders
does exist but only for the rich. For example, in Portugal they operate a
‘golden visa’ scheme which lets non-EU citizens gain full residency and
unfettered travel across 28 nations by spending £500,000 on property.’  (Muir, 2017) Correspondingly, in Cyprus the Cypriot
government has raised more than ‘four billion since 2013 by providing
citizenship to the global super rich. (Muir, 2017) Consequently this gives them
the ability to obtain all EU living and working rights in exchange for cash
investment. The Cypriots ask for €2 million in property, or € 2.5 million in
company or government bonds. This is significant as it shows that the super-rich
see themselves not only as opportunists using their wealth to gain maximum
flexibility. But they also see themselves as nomads who don’t have to abide to
the same rules as everyone else and therefore, to the rich, borders are
irrelevant. This western, upper class method of mobility is testimonial to the
belief that it is difficult to imagine a world without borders.

 

Borders have a significant economic
implication on the two host nations where the borders lies between. A prominent
example of how borders can affect economic relationships is the Northern Irish/
Irish border. If the United Kingdom were to implement a hard border between the
Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the negative economic effects would be
immense. The soft border that divides the two nations now is invisible and
requires no custom checks.  However, a hard
border would affect ‘more than 3,700 companies that export to the Irish
Republic.’ (Romei,2017) Aiden Gough, strategy and policy director at Intertrade
Ireland, says that ‘some 177,000 lorries and some 250,000 vans that cross the
border for trade every month’ would be severely affected by the hard border. Moreover,
a quarter of Northern Irish milk and more than one third of northern Irish
lambs are processed at plants over the border. This evokes that Northern
Ireland are dependent on trade with Ireland and if the hard border was
implemented t would have detrimental effects by limiting trading capabilities
for Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is second poorest nation within the UK having
a GDP per capita of 27% lower than the U.K average and 57% less than London.

However, Ireland is less reliant on Northern Ireland as it only exports 1% of
its consumer goods there. The importance of trade relationships and the impact
of borders can be further by echoed with the Mexican and American border. The
fact that Trump famously declared “‘I will build a great wall and nobody builds
better than me… and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words” would
have significant economic impacts on Mexico’s economy considering the estimates
of the cost are between $8 billion to $40 billion.  Moreover, there is evidence which proves that
trade with Mexico is vital to the US economy as the “total value of U.S.-Mexico
trade is more than $1 billion every day. Additionally, roughly 6 million U.S.

jobs are sustained by trade with Mexico.” (Ewing, 2016) If Trump was to impose
the walled border then the prosperity of economic mobility between Mexico and
the US would be severely hindered.  Therefore,
the possibility of harsher borders between trading countries has a significant
impact on economic mobility. 

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