The Right to the Free Movement of Labour
In considering what ought to be done about the ‘brain drain’ of skilled medical workers, of many kinds, from the poorer to the richer countries, one key issue is the question of whether there is a right to the free movement of labour, a right to sell one’s labour wherever one chooses and wherever there is someone willing to buy it. This question can be framed in two ways. If one believes in moral rights, one may ask whether there is a right to the free movement of labour. If one believes that the concept of a right is a legal and political one, and that one cannot talk properly about rights unless they are legally supported, one will ask whether there ought to be a right to the free movement of labour. But nothing, I think, hangs on the way the question is framed, provided that one does not mix the two ways of talking. This chapter will be considering a slightly narrower question: is it ever justified to interfere with the free movement of labour, and on what grounds?
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- Kant, I. (1991), Political Writings, 2nd Edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar