This article appeared in the November 14, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Why ‘border’ is the most important word in politics today

Kevin Coombs/Reuters
Anti-Brexit protesters sit near Parliament in London Wednesday.

Today, like many days, borders were big in the news. In one corner of Europe, the Czech Republic joined Hungary, Austria, and the United States in rejecting a United Nations effort to set a global standard for the treatment of migrants. In another, British Prime Minister Theresa May presented her draft plan for removing the country from the European Union.

In both cases, the underlying motive is substantially the same: to more closely control the outside forces that can reshape a country. You could justifiably call that the most vexing issue facing democracies today. So it’s important to understand why this keeps percolating in so many different forms.

In many ways, we’re struggling to adapt to our own success. The past 70 years have showed incontrovertibly that free markets and universal human rights are good. They have dramatically improved wealth and well-being worldwide. But they don’t care about borders.

Free markets compel us to collaborate. Whether you’re Australian or Armenian, they want us to work together to create better products and bigger markets. Human rights compel us to focus on the humanity that binds us. They don’t care where the refugee is going from or to; they care about ensuring her health, security, and innate value.

That puts the border issue in a new light: How can we best protect the good we already have, and how can we best fuel the good promised by progress?

Now on to our five stories for today, which include a look at “super cities” and inequality, automation and the future of work, and the surprising optimism of many young Afghans.  

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This article appeared in the November 14, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/14 edition