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The free movement of money and people: debates before and after 9/11

Robin Cohen

CSGR Working Paper No. 160/05

In this paper I review the ethical, theoretical and practical cases for the free movement of people and money. I provide a commentary on the debates before and after the events of ‘9/11’, noting how the self-limiting conditions in historical debates on the free movement of labour contrast with neo-liberal demands for the unfettered market in the case of the free movement of money. Extensive restrictions on the movement of both money and people have been made in the post-‘9/11’ period, either in the name of cultural nationalism or the threat of terrorism. I examine whether these further measures are working or can be justified by reference to ‘the harm principle’ and to general concepts of social justice and the public good.

Keywords: Free movement / ethics of immigration / border control / migration security / migrant rights / movement of money