Humans Before Borders – A Night of Discussion
17 September 2019 - lisbon

We recently enjoyed a return visit from our friends at Humans Before Borders, as part of their regular series of discussion evenings here at the Hub.

The night began with a hearty vegan stew, that allowed everyone to mingle and get to know each other.

humans before borders impact hub

When we moved into the auditorium, the first open question was: “What is a border?”

We considered the Natural, Human, Physical and Psychological. 

It was pointed out that  private property necessitates borders, as a form of protection, but also of exploitation and hierarchy.

We agreed that every person has their own personal limits and borders. Some of them we decide on, others we are born with or inherit and learn. And many people have limits and borders imposed on them by other people and institutions.

The discussion pushed and pulled between the implication that borders are bad…and the acknowledgement that they are necessary and inevitable – even animals have borders which govern their social lives.

The second major question was: “Are borders an expression of differences, or the creators of difference?”

We considered colonial administrators drawings straight lines in the desert, and the evolution of national borders.

It was pointed out that the same percentage of the global population is currently migrant, as has historically been the case = 2-3%. But that the mode of migration and its public presentation/reception has shifted significantly.

We started to explore how one could have borders for some things, but not for others…the benefits of border checks to identify human trafficking for example, and the movement of illicit goods.

Many of us expressed a desire to have open borders, but accepted the impossibility of it in practice. 

We explored what size of legal entity is the ideal one to enclose with borders. We considered the postcode lottery of local schools, hospitals and other services, then moved up to international comparisons, and then considered supra-national entities such as the EU.

We ended with contributions from an article in The Atlantic posted on the event Facebook page, which included:

“Closed borders are one of the world’s greatest moral failings but the opening of borders is the world’s greatest economic opportunity.”

It was an enlightening evening, and we look forward to hosting more!