Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom

  • Thu 3 Feb 22

    16:00 - 17:15

  • Online

    Register Via Zoom

  • Event speaker

    Professor Ilya Somin

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars

  • Event organiser

    Sociology, Department of

  • Contact details

    Professor Linsey McGoey

Join the Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation for an insightful online seminar with Professor Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, democratic theory, federalism, and migration rights.  He is the author of Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom (Oxford University Press, 2020), Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter (Stanford University Press, revised and expanded second edition, 2016), and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain (University of Chicago Press, 2015, rev. paperback ed., 2016). Somin has also published articles in a variety of popular press outlets, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Room for Debate website, CNN, The Atlantic, and USA Today. He is a regular contributor to the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog, now affiliated with Reason magazine.

In Free to Move, Ilya Somin explains how broadening opportunities for foot voting can greatly enhance political liberty for millions of people around the world. People can vote with their feet through international migration, choosing where to live within a federal system, and by making decisions in the private sector. Somin addresses a variety of common objections to expanded migration rights, including claims that the "self-determination" of natives requires giving them the power to exclude migrants, and arguments  that migration is likely to have harmful side effects, such as undermining political institutions, overburdening the welfare state, increasing crime and terrorism, and spreading undesirable cultural values. While these objections are usually directed at international migration, Somin shows how a consistent commitment to such theories would also justify severe restrictions on domestic freedom of movement.

By making a systematic case for a more open world, Free to Move challenges conventional wisdom on both the left and the right. This revised and expanded edition addresses key new issues, including fears that migration could spread dangerous diseases, such as Covid-19,  claims that immigrants might generate a political backlash that threatens democracy, and the impact of remote work.

Chairs: Professor Linsey McGoey and Professor Ting Xu

 This seminar is part of an open webinar series, hosted by the Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation.

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