Do we live in a borderless world?

By Micaela Delfino

There were approximately one hundred countries in the world in 1945 and more than fifty countries were formed after the Cold War. Nonetheless, I believe that this fragmented world will start to defragment as it has done over the past years.

The European Union, formed by the Treaty of Rome in 1958 is a political and economic union of 28 sovereign states which covers an area of 4,324,782 km2, with an estimated population of over 508 million. Member states have ceded its sovereignty for it to operate through a hybrid system of supranational and intergovernmental decision-making.

At first, some European states –known as the Inner Six– gave birth to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC). Nowadays, we have 28 member states forming this union and since the Maastricht Treaty (1993) it was established its current name and introduced European citizenship. Presently, the EU has developed an internal single market through a standardized system of laws that apply in all member states.

A lot of people are drawn by the high standards of living (wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities) several of the member states enjoy: a longer life expectancy at birth, a longer education period and a higher income per capita.

On October 3rd 2013 a boat carrying migrants from Eritrea, Somalia, Ghana and Libya sailed from Misrata to Italy and sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa. There were 155 survivors and more than 360 deaths.[1]

Lampedusa is a much chosen destination because it represents the nearest entry to Europe for many of the migrants of northeastern African countries.

Nowadays, tragic events like this one continue to happen. The EU Agency Frontex (from French: Frontières extérieures) provides statistic data of the last few years that show a large increase of sea border African immigrants that arrive to European borders, raising an alarming number of 220.194 in 2014, compared to a 60.173 in 2013, which can be translated to an increase of 265%:

FRONTEX

We can see that language does not represent a barrier these days. Gradually, it has become easier and easier to learn many languages due to the evolution of technology and the use our race has given to it. English, for example, has become the universal language with more than one billion speakers all over the world, and is the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin and Spanish[2]. Mandarin native speakers are 960 million as of 2010.[3]

Globalization according to Martin Albrow and Elizabeth King is the “process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture”.[4] Personally, I consider it can make us change the way we think about personal relationships, international relations, commercial exchanges and also political ideology and geography.

We live in a world that is constantly and non-stop more connected. The Internet has been a major factor in telecommunication. In the past, we could not have thought possible a way that could provide us instant communication and now it has become something so normal and mundane we probably do not conceive we could live without it.

Science has also played a very important role in our globalized era for many factors, one of them is helping us overcome diseases, which has increased the life expectancy at birth which is of, for example, in Spain 86 years old for females and 80 years old for males, making an overall of 83 years old, the second higher life expectancy in the world, after Japan’s.

However the many changes globalization has brought, one thing remains the same: we do not live in a borderless world. We need borders because then we can establish legal regimes and forms of government within those borders, that are probably not the same in every country but they are necessary to insure rights and responsibilities, often differentiated between citizens and non-citizens. The Preamble of the United States established its Constitution with the objectives of forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for common defense, promoting the general welfare and securing the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.[5]

As opposed to the United States Preamble, Argentina assures the blessings of liberty to all the men in the world that wish to live in the country[6]. This englobes the concept of human dignity binding both society and the State to create the certain and real possibility that the individual that wishes to enter the country develops fully its personality and rights.

There are a lot of agreements between nations that insure cooperation that entails both advantages and responsibilities to both ends but overall it represents chances that the State offers to its citizens and also, in some cases, non-citizens to benefit from more possibilities or rights.

More and more we see double degrees and bilateral agreements between universities of different countries that promote a more international education, englobing perhaps different cultures, systems of thought, knowledge and points of view, which make the alumni global citizens able to develop in two professional worlds. These “global citizens” acquire the competences required to work in different scopes and can be inserted in diverse cultures and are more inclined to understand or analyze the international system.

International law now recognizes certain human rights that should be promoted, respected and veiled upon in all nations at an international, regional and domestic level. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a UN General Assembly declaration that, while non-binding, is an authoritative international human rights law that has provided the basis for following international human rights instruments.

I consider that discrimination should not be accepted in any form in any country. There are some groups that face compounded forms of discrimination due to factors such as their race or ethnicity, disability or socio-economic status. This should not be tolerated and is in fact one of the most common topics inside the human rights discussion.

A very important issue is gender inequality. I believe there should not be a difference between salaries for the same work, economic and social discrimination, gender-based violence or laws and policies prohibiting women from equal access to land, property and housing. This is something we have to accomplish together –all of the states– to ensure a better life both for women and men. To effectively ensure women’s rights we have to understand the social structures and power relations that frame not only laws and politics but also the economy, social dynamics and family and community life.[7]

To conclude, I believe that, little by little, the human race is working towards a better way of living that is more connected, related and valuable as well for its members, so that we can later say that we are trying to inhabit the world for ourselves and our posterity, so that they may enjoy the same state of the world as we have and perhaps an even greater one, more evolved, more equal and right where they can be the best version of themselves.

[1] http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/10/04/witness-boat-migrants-used-bottles-to-stay-afloat/2922215/

[2] http://www.ethnologue.com/statistics/size

[3]  “Världens 100 största språk 2010” (The World’s 100 Largest Languages in 2010), in Nationalencyklopedin, Suecia.

[4] Albrow, Martin and Elizabeth King (eds.) (1990). Globalization, Knowledge and Society London

[5] https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/preamble

[6] http://www.me.gov.ar/efeme/diaconstitucion/actual.html

[7] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WRGS/Pages/WRGSIndex.aspx

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